Hackers Digest #30: Productivity Hacks from Prison

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Welcome to this week’s installment of the Hackers Digest, a feature that highlights some of the more innovative ideas about productivity that were published 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 we found this week:

1. Want to be more productive? Grow a little taller.

As if simply being physically taller wasn’t enough of a blessing, it turns out that those of us who are furthest from the ground when we walk get paid more and are also more productive than our shorter peers. A seven-year study revealed taller men are more likely to perform better on aptitude tests, have better social skills and are more self-confident than those who wish they grew a little more. If you’re on the shorter end of the spectrum, there’s probably not much you can do to benefit from the link between tallness and productivity. But that doesn’t mean all hope is lost—assuming you’re keen on procreating at some point. A person’s height is determined within the first 1,000 days of their life, the study says. Feed your babies nutritiously, and they could grow into giants. Bloomberg has the scoop.

2. Three productivity tips from the minds of prison inmates.

Think that folks who are locked up in jail can’t teach you a thing or two? Think again. We often talk about what business leaders and entrepreneurs do to become more productive workers. But just because some people might not fall into those categories doesn’t mean they don’t have anything worthy to share. Case in point? A recent article explores three productivity tips from the most unlikely of sources: prison inmates. Yes, they are locked up. Yes, they might have made some wrong decisions. But, like anyone else, they are trying to make the most of their situations. If you want to be productive—on the inside or elsewhere—you need to read every day and write every day, according to the inmates. You also need to bootstrap yourself, living off less whenever you can. Read about the tips over at the Good Men Project.

3. Fifty quotes that should inspire productivity.

Thanks to the internet, it’s easier than ever to find a zillion quotes about seemingly every topic. Productivity is no different. Recently, a writer compiled 50 productivity-related quotes from all sorts of famous people from over the centuries. Everyone from Theodore Roosevelt to Bruce Lee to Peter F. Drucker has chimed in on productivity over the years. Peruse the list, and who knows? Maybe you’ll find a quote that will stick with you for the rest of your life. Get inspired over at YourStory.

4. Spending an insane amount of money on Amazon isn’t productive.

Ever ordered a ridiculous amount of stuff from Amazon? You probably didn’t really need that roll of Velcro, did you? It’s no secret everyone’s struggling to become more productive—both inside the office and out. It’s true that Amazon has made shopping incredibly easier—and cheaper, too, in many instances. But just because you don’t have to leave your home to buy a mop, Brita filter replacements, a package of boxer shorts and a new USB cable doesn’t mean you need to purchase these items on a weekly basis. While you might feel good completing an order on Amazon—“I really needed this, and I didn’t even have to go to the store!”—if you’re spending a ton of money on things you don’t really need, how can that possibly be productive? Amazon can help you be productive, for sure. But be careful not to fall into the productivity spending trap. For more, head to Lifehacker.

5. Two quick tips that may make you a more productive writer.

Anyone who has to write for a living—constantly or even occasionally—knows how difficult it can be to crank out piece after piece after piece, particularly when you’re on a tight deadline. Still, if you don’t work, you can’t eat. If you’re struggling with your productivity, you may find some assistance in these two tips. First, figure out which time of the day is most conducive to writing. Some folks might prefer the morning, others might prefer the wee hours of the night with a cocktail in hand. Next, write in bursts and step away from your computer the moment a burst has come to an end. At the very least, that’s the recipe that works for one professional writer. Read his take over at Forbes.

6. Block websites to increase productivity.

Despite advances in technology—and particularly gadgets designed specifically to make us more effective workers—the world is suffering from a decrease in collective productivity. Some business leaders attribute that decline to the fact that their workers, younger ones especially, spend a heck of a lot of time browsing the internet aimlessly instead of investing their energies on value-creating business activities. For this reason, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that more than half of small- to medium-sized enterprises recently admitted they were planning to block sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and eBay so that their workers couldn’t waste their time there. Is your team struggling with productivity? Are you struggling to get your own work done? If so, it may be time to consider blacklisting some web domains on your employees’ computers. You can also use an app like RescueTime to block specific websites for specific periods of time on your own machine. The story is over at Business News Western Australia.

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