Hackers Digest #26: Eat Less Meat for Productivity


Welcome to this week’s installment of the Hackers Digest, a feature that shines a light on some of the more interesting ideas about productivity that emerged over the past several days. We explore every nook and cranny of the Internet to find the six best hacks and productivity stories of the week so you don’t have to.

Here’s what’s on tap this week:

1. Can you be more productive by not eating meat? 

Have you ever thought about how your diet affects your productivity? Perhaps not. But even if the evidence linking specific foods to upticks in productivity is a little scant, that doesn’t mean diet has no effect on your output. One writer, a self-described carnivore, decided to take a month-long break from eating meat to see whether it would make her a more productive worker. While the science behind meat and productivity might not be there, the author, at the very least, found that by eliminating meat from her diet, it was much easier to figure out what to eat when meal time came around. She knew right away that she couldn’t, say, go to a BBQ joint and order a rack of ribs. In other words, removing meat from the equation made her food decisions easier (think Obama’s suits). Added bonus? Anecdotally, the author felt more focused and even happier. Fast Company has the story.

2. How to make your open office layout actually conducive to productivity.

Instead of sticking members of the team in cubicles and forcing them to quite frankly be miserable, many companies are shifting toward an open office layout—you know, basically a big room where everyone can see each other if they spin around in a circle. But anyone who’s actually worked in any of these kinds of offices will tell you the same thing: They are kind of the worst (and can make you miserable, too). Forget privacy, and forget peace and quiet. Throughout the day, you are distracted by conversation after conversation, some of which are about work. Despite evidence indicating open offices don’t actually help productivity, it seems as though they’re here to stay—at least for the time being. So how can you be productive in an open office environment? Do your damnedest not to turn into the company jerk who ruins it for everyone else. Head to Slate for the rest.

3. Moving your office? Here’s how you maintain productivity during the transition.

Maybe you’ve outgrown your office and need a bigger location. Maybe rent is jacked up and you need to find a more affordable workspace. Maybe your location is terrible, and you’ve finally found an attractive spot to set up shop. Whatever the reason, from time to time, many companies are forced to move offices. Unfortunately, such transitions can be particularly time-consuming and stressful. With workspaces being moved and people running around, how are organizations supposed to be productive when they’re moving spaces? It turns out that with a little bit of planning, your team should be able to stay on top of its workload even when you’re in the middle of a move. For more, head to Small Business Trends.

4. Want to be more productive? Work out during the day.

You can’t be fully productive if you’re not feeling well or not taking care of your body. For this reason, it comes as no surprise that exercise has been linked to productivity. But does the time of the day during which you exercise play a role in how effective of a worker you are? According to one study, very much so. Humana recently launched a Vitality program that encourages employees to exercise on a regular basis—during the workday. Three years after the program was launched, the company reports fewer unscheduled absences, lower health care costs and, you guessed it, more productive employees. Sounds like it’s time to take a field trip to the gym with your coworkers. The story is over at WFLA. 

5. The case for the six-hour workday.

In America, it’s almost as though the more hours you put in each week, the bigger the badge of honor you get to wear. But there are countless studies that indicate everyone has a breaking point; working past a certain number of hours eventually results in a decrease in productivity because we’re humans, not machines. Still, it seems unlikely that U.S. workers will get a break from jam-packed workweeks anytime soon. Which is unfortunate, because according to a new European study, workers are considerably more productive when they clock six-hour shifts. Companies that switched to six-hour workdays saw an uptick in productivity and a decrease in absenteeism—not surprisingly. The Guardian has the scoop.

6. These tips will make you more productive on the go.

Are you the kind of worker who hardly ever sits down at your desk? Do you work on the road, at the airport and at coffee shops most frequently? When you’re constantly traveling, it can be extremely difficult to be productive. Luckily, there are a ton of folks who are in your shoes, and some of them have even gone the extra mile to offer tips as to what you can do to improve your effectiveness while you’re on the road. Learn how to take your game to the next level by using predictive keyboards, gesture recognition and handwriting recognition over at Tech.Co.

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