Hackers Digest #36: Productivity Hacks for a Night Owl

night owl

Welcome to this week’s installment of the Hackers Digest, a feature that explores some of the more interesting 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. Where you sit in your office matters more than you think. 

Do the people you sit near at your office play a huge role in your productivity? According to new research from the Harvard Business School, the answer is simple: absolutely. The study—which analyzed three types of workers—found that pairing folks with complementary work styles next to one another went a long way toward boosting efficiency. In fact, organizations that have mastered the “proper” approach to the office seating chart tend to see their workers’ collective productivity shoot up 15 percent, the study found. It turns out office behavior is quite contagious. Whatever you do, make sure you don’t sit near a toxic employee. You’ll be 112.5% more likely to become a toxic worker yourself. The story is over at Fast Company.

2. Companies are increasingly investing in technology to boost productivity.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that organizations are increasingly investing in technology in order to increase their staff’s productivity. But the commonality of such investments is something you might find interesting. A recent report revealed that 97% of organizations have begun their digital transformations. To accelerate decision making and drive business efficiency, organizations across all industries are investing in a number of different technologies, from cloud applications to IoT solutions to cloud infrastructure and everything in between. Though a vast majority of companies are investing in technology to drive productivity, many of them haven’t completed their digital transformations just yet. Datamation has the scoop.

3. Clean up your filthy workspace. . .

In addition to the people who work around us, our environments play an enormous role in how productive we are. Case in point? There’s a classic study that proved students holding hot cups of coffee were much more likely to say a person is “warm” than those holding cups of iced coffee. So if you want to reach your full potential as a professional, it’s imperative that you hack your environment and make sure you’re working in a room that’s conducive to productivity. How do you do that? For starters, you need to take control of the clutter before it takes control over you. Clutter causes fatigue. You won’t exactly be able to direct all of your focus on a specific task if you’re constantly reminded of how filthy your desk and workspace are. Beyond that, you might find you’re a more effective worker if you use different environments to do different kinds of work. Writing a blog post? Use a laptop. Reading a white paper? Find someplace quiet and bring your tablet. For more on those tips and others, head over to Lifehacker.

4. Rigid productivity systems aren’t for everyone.

At Knote, we write about all kinds of productivity systems and technologies. But just because rigid systems like the Pomodoro Technique might work wonders for a specific set of individuals doesn’t mean that it’s an approach that will benefit every single worker. According to one professor of behavioral neuroscience, that’s due to the fact that we all have different “neural styles.” Yes, we may all be human beings. But no two humans are exactly alike. We experience different things, we consume different things and we think different ways. Instead of thinking that one productivity approach is going to revolutionize your performance, it’s time to start thinking about productivity like you’d think about a diet. There are hundreds of different kinds of diets. But only one of them will work the best for you. Productivity systems aren’t much different. Quartz has the story.

5. How parents who work from home can increase their output.

Working at home when you’re a 20-something can be challenging enough. Working at home once you’ve spawned a batch of children? It’s a whole different beast. As any parent who works from home will tell you, it can be impossible to be productive when the kids are constantly popping in to see what their mommy or daddy is up to. Sure, you want to spend time with your kids. But you have bills to pay, too. You won’t be able to reach your full potential if your children are disrupting you every few minutes. So what can you do to solve this conundrum? First and foremost, you need to set rigid boundaries. Your kids have to know that there are certain times when they’re not allowed to pester you. Next, you need to set up your environment in such a way that helps you be productive. Try to make your office as quiet as you can. You’d also be wise to establish a routine and stick to it. For more on those tips and others, head to Business.com.

6. Six tricks a night owl can use to get through the workday.

The world seems to be designed for folks who love to hop out of bed first thing in the morning. Unfortunately, many of us are wired differently. There a ton of night owls walking amongst us, and it’s generally difficult for them to be forced to adapt to schedules created by early birds. It turns out that there are actually biological differences between the two types of people. Those who wake up early in the morning generally achieve peak productivity before lunchtime. A night owl generally doesn’t hit peak productivity until the afternoon. Still, many offices expect workers to show up at 9 a.m.—regardless of whether they’re night owls or early birds. How exactly can you be productive in the morning if you’re a night owl? Here are some tips: Create a cheat sheet the day before so you know what you’ll be doing. Perform autopilot tasks first thing in the morning, and carve out time for harder tasks during when you have the most energy. Those tips and more are over at Fast Company.

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