Hackers Digest #35: Afterhours Emails Are the Devil


Welcome to this week’s edition of the Hackers Digest, a feature that shines a light on some of the more innovative 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. Say no to afterhours work emails.

It’s 10:17 p.m. and you’re sitting on your couch watching TV when all of a sudden you start thinking about that email you forgot to send to an employee or colleague. Common sense tells you that you should just pick up your phone and shoot out a quick message. But is that really the best approach? According to a recent study, we’d all be wise to stop sending emails afterhours. Sure, a boss might think nothing of sending out a quick message and having his or her employees deal with it first thing in the morning. But employees receiving the email might not know that. They could figure the boss wants them to drop everything right this second to address the message. In this light, the afterhours email becomes an incredible source of stress. It turns out that the always-on organization might not be all it’s cracked up to be. Fast Company has the story.

2. It’s time to gamify your approach to productivity.

Want to become a more effective worker? If so, it may be time to turn your work and productivity into a game. There’s an app called Habitca, and it could help you become a more effective worker. Quite simply, Habitca gamifies your workflow. You win swords and shields and things of that nature when you complete certain tasks. You lose items when you don’t complete certain tasks. According to one writer, the gamification approach most definitely works. For some reason, he couldn’t stand the prospect of losing virtual items—which made him more productive. Bottom line? The writer thinks it’s an incredibly stupid approach. But it’s one that works for him. For more, head to Linux Journal.

3. Five scientific tips that will make you a better worker.

What if the trick to productivity could be found simply in the way you approach work? For example, maybe your productivity problems are the result of being unable to correctly prioritize things. Maybe you spend so much time tackling non-important tasks that all of a sudden it’s the end of the week and you still haven’t gotten your work done. Or maybe your productivity problems stem from the fact your workspace is working against you. Your productivity could also be suffering because you have terrible habits. More on those three tips—and two more—are over at The Week.

4. Wait a minute—is standing up really that good for productivity?

A few weeks ago, the internet blew up when a new study told us the easiest way to become nearly 50% more effective at work: Instead of sitting down use a standing desk instead. But when something sounds too good to be true, it often is. It turns out that the study which made the initial claim wasn’t really all that reliable. For starters, there wasn’t any baseline data to base it off of. The survey only focused on workers who were new on the job. So no, standing desks won’t make you an insanely more productive worker. But that doesn’t mean they are without benefit. Standing desks are good for your health. They’re also good for employee engagement. To read the story, head over to Fast Company.

5. Does what you wear to work have an impact on your productivity?

Years ago, nobody needed a dress code at work because everyone would be dressed to the nines every time they walked into the office. But over time, that’s all changed. At first, some companies started casual Fridays. Then there became a summertime dress code. Ultimately, that led to a number of current companies simply deciding to nix the dress code altogether. Is that the right choice? According to one management consultant, casual dress doesn’t adversely affect productivity in offices that are more relaxed by design. But on the other hand, casual dress does not mix with more formal environments. So if your company is a serious one, you may want to think twice about relaxing the dress code. It might do more harm than good. The case is made over at the Miami Herald.

6. Three golf lessons that can make you a better worker.

Are you a golfer? In a recent article, one golf enthusiast wrote about how the game ties into work productivity. For example, imagine you’re teeing off at a beautiful course when all of a sudden your ball hooks tremendously to the left and into the woods. You might be quick to blame your club for the disastrous hit. But it’s not the club’s fault; it’s almost certainly your own. So while technology can help improve your work productivity, it won’t solve all of your problems. You still have to create things on your own. You alone are responsible for the integrity of your work. Another tip: the pre-shot routine. In the business world, you always need to have a plan. You need to envision the effect of your actions. Incorporate a pre-shot routine into your workflow, and you should avoid unforced mistakes. Read the story over at Business2Community.

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