Welcome to this week’s edition of the Hackers Digest, a feature that highlights 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. What freelancers do to increase productivity.
From the outside, being a freelancer is glamorous. You make your own schedule, you work when and where you want and you tackle projects you’re generally interested in working in. But when something sounds too good to be true, it often is. Freelancing is a job just like any other. But without a boss breathing down your neck all day, it can be difficult to motivate yourself to get your work done—particularly when the weather’s getting nicer like it is right now. While freelancing can be challenging, it’s certainly not impossible. To be productive while working on your own, you just need to know how the best practices for getting the job done. Some of those tips include setting a dedicated workspace, making use of automation and targeting the right clients. Read about those tips and five others at FastCompany.
2. What science says about the benefits of taking a break.
We’ve all been there, feeling like there’s so much work to do that it’s absolutely impossible to step away from your laptop for even a couple minutes. But you’re not a robot. You can’t just expect to keep on cranking out project after project after project; you’ll burn out sooner or later. So you need to take a break. Good news: Science says you can take a breather without feeling bad at all. Believe it or not, taking a break actually can work wonders for your productivity—if you break the right way. To be most effective, work in 50-minute blocks, taking a 15- to 20-minute break in between said blocks, so the theory goes. If possible—and come on, it has to be possible—put your devices down and focus on the world around you during your breaks. Head to care2 for the story.
3. Are millennials responsible for the productivity crisis?
There’s been no shortage of articles of late highlighting the productivity stagnation. Everyone’s wondering why, with all these advances in technology, we’re collectively becoming less productive. Could the dip in productivity be blamed on those pesky millennials? According to one business owner, most definitely. In a recent survey commissioned by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, the business owner said his millennial employees spend less than half of their time on value-producing business activities. They prefer social media, browsing the web, texting and the like. When you stop to think about it, are there really younger people who don’t waste an insane amount of time on the internet during work hours? The story is over at The Telegraph.
4. The key to productivity is strategic boredom.
You will never be able to focus all of your attention on your work in perpetuity—even over the course of several hours. Your mind is infinite; you’re bound to get distracted by something over the course of a day. Instead of letting those distractions lead you down wormholes that suck up hours of your time, you’d be better off creating a schedule that includes specific blocks of time dedicated to doing absolutely nothing. This tactic—called strategic boredom—is said to increase productivity by allowing your mind to relax. Once your break time is over, you’ll have more energy to tackle the rest of your day. For once, being bored isn’t a bad thing. Inc. has the story.
5. Forget standing desks—it’s all about the collapsible desk.
Last week, we talked about the link between standing up and productivity. But according to one source, standing up is only half of the productivity equation. Meet the Edge Desk, a collapsible desk that lets you toggle between standing up and sitting down. This contraption kind of makes sense: Some tasks can definitely be accomplished standing up (e.g., checking email), but other tasks might be better off being tackled when you’re sitting down (e.g., writing a whitepaper). Interested in giving it a try? You can snag one on Indiegogo. For more, head to Paste Magazine.
6. The recipe for tripling your income.
Who doesn’t want to make more money? After suffering a health crisis—and eventually overcoming it—Ryan Levesque decided he needed to change his lifestyle in more ways than one. He realized that decision fatigue—the concept that each decision you make over the course of the day tires you out, rendering each subsequent decision worse—was hurting him, so he fixed it. By overhauling his workspace, eliminating wardrobe choices, automating exercise and making it as easy as possible to eat healthy—among other things—Levesque was able to triple his income quickly. Find his story over at Business Insider.