Hackers Digest #34: Don’t Eat Food

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Welcome to this week’s installment of the Hackers Digest, a feature that explores some of the fresher 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. Stop multitasking already.

In the age of the mobile device and the internet, many professionals feel as though they’re able to tackle an insane amount of tasks at the same time. For example, a copywriter might be staying on top of email, managing social channels, writing a story and talking on the phone all at the same time. But while multitasking has been considered a virtue in the past—you get more done when you’re able to tackle multiple projects at once, right?—it turns out that workers who care about being productive may want to revert to the tried-and-true method of focusing on one task at a time. According to a new study, there’s no such thing as “multitasking.” When you split your attention on many things at once, you’re really just switching between tasks. If you want to be a more productive worker, it’s time to change your behavior. The story is over at Digital Trends.

2. Your annoying coworkers are really killing your productivity.

As if you needed data to confirm your suspicions. According to a new study from India, 60% of workers feel as though their annoying coworkers are making them less effective at their jobs. We’ve all been there before, focusing on a huge project while a colleague—well-intentioned or otherwise—stops by our desks to chat about anything from politics to sports to something they’re working on. These interruptions add up, causing a measurable decrease in productivity across an organization. That being the case, companies that have not yet done so should consider allowing their employees to work from home every so often. That way, they’ll be able to work without distraction—which should make them more productive. The Economic Times has the scoop.

3. Seven tips for a better home office.

Do you work at home? If so, how much thought have you put into the configuration of your office? If you want to take your productivity to the next level, it may be time to reorganize your home office. As it exists right now, there may be a number of things that are holding you back. For example, if you don’t have a dedicated office space, you risk blending your personal and professional lives together. When that happens, you’re unable to really tell when you’re working and when you’re not. You usually end up “somewhat working” for the vast majority of your waking hours. With a dedicated workspace, you’re able to easily tell when your shift ends. You’re also able to focus more directly, which in turn enables you to produce even better work. For the rest of the tips, head to sitepoint.

4. Can spiritualism make you a better worker?

There’s a lot of competition out in Silicon Valley—that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. But the way startups deal with trying to be the best at what they do? Those tech folks have some crazy habits, to be sure. There’s a new trend taking over the valley: spirituality. Case in point? Nootrobox, a startup that develops drugs geared to increase brain functioning, has its employees fast for 36 hours beginning every Tuesday. According to the company’s CEO, giving up food has helped Nootrobox improve Tuesdays to the point where they’re the most productive day of the week. Fasting, as you may know, is associated with many of the world’s major religions. But Silicon Valley’s obsession with spirituality extends beyond this one example. Just look at how popular the Burning Man festival is becoming for some of tech’s elite. Read about how successful companies are using spirituality over at Quartz.

5. Your office is probably too dark.

How much attention are you paying to the presence (or absence) of light—natural and artificial—in your office or workspace? If you’ve not thought about how light affects your productivity, now is as good a time as any to start exploring how you can brighten up your office to increase your output. For example, you may want to move your desk closer to the window so that you’re able to soak up natural light during the day—something that’s good for your peace of mind and your physical wellbeing. But be careful about straining your eyes too much due to window glares. What’s more, studies have recently concluded that looking at a blue light before tackling an important task can produce better results. Is your workspace properly lit? Get illuminated over at Bloomberg.

6. Productivity tips from the man himself, Rube Goldberg.

Rube Goldberg is perhaps best known for his series of cartoons that depicted excessively complicated machines designed to perform relatively simple tasks. Inspired by Goldberg’s drawings, one kinetic artist has created a business—with videos and branded content—that showcases his own Goldberg machines. Joseph Herscher recently sat down with the folks from Fast Company to show off his work and describe his creative process. The artist believes that Goldberg’s inspirations have encouraged him to see things differently, with ordinary objects being utilized for purposes that they were most certainly not designed for. Can Goldberg’s approach to the world help you with your own job? For the story and videos of Goldberg machines in action, head over to Co.Create.

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