Hackers Digest #38: Productivity Dies at 2:22 P.M.


Welcome to this week’s edition of the Hackers Digest, a feature that explores some of the newer ideas about productivity that came to light 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. Why you dread 2:22 p.m.

Ah, the afternoon slump. Even if you’re cranking out project after project with ease during the morning, it’s only a matter of time before your productivity takes a huge hit in the afternoon. Right? Work ceases to be a place where you focus on getting your tasks done. It turns into a place where you think about the clock and can’t wait to head home. As a recent study revealed, this phenomenon is quite common to the point where researchers have pinpointed 2:22 p.m. as the precise time that workers start to crash into the proverbial wall. To avoid becoming a less effective employee, stay hydrated. You’ll also want to avoid eating too much at lunch. Overeating will send you into a most unproductive food coma. The survey found that workers were also affected by not getting enough sleep, working in warm offices, and having too much work on their plate. The Sun has the story.

2. Your obsession with productivity is holding you back.

Since you’re reading these words, chances are you’re interested in becoming a more productive worker. That’s great. But don’t let yourself obsess over productivity to the point it actually makes you worse at your job. Believe it or not, focusing too much on becoming more productive can work against you—if for no other reason than you end up devoting an ever bigger chunk of your time figuring out what you could do to do better, which naturally leaves you with less time to tackle work-related tasks. Are you spending too much time trying to become a better worker? Some signals that indicate you may be include being consistently conscious that you’re “wasting” time, being a “slave” to your email inbox (i.e., checking your inbox constantly) and always talking about how busy you are to your coworkers and peers. For more on those tips and others, head over to Forbes.

3. The 10 websites you’re wasting all your time on.

It’s no secret that virtually everyone who’s on the internet all day for work is bound to waste their time sooner or later. Whether that’s reading up on their favorite sports team, trolling an enormous archive of cat photos or reading the news depends on the particular person. If you want to become a more effective worker—or you want your team to improve its productivity—you may want to consider blocking a number of websites (in some cases, your company might have no choice but to not block them, however). Recently, a firm identified the top 10 websites that are sucking up workers’ time at the office. Odds are you could probably guess a few of those off the top of your head: Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Amazon make the cut. But can you guess the other six? CNBC has the scoop.

4. Watch the Olympics at the office for productivity.

We’re midway through the Summer Olympics. Have you noticed a decrease in your team’s productivity? If so, take solace in the fact you’re not alone. According to a new study, two out of every five employees expect to be able to spend some time watching the Olympics during work hours. Others say they’ll call in sick or try to come up with an excuse to leave early. Whatever the case may be, intuition tells us that most bosses would probably not be too keen on allowing their employees to watch sports during work hours. But is that the right approach? The Summer Olympics only comes around once every four years. Because a vast majority of your workers will likely be interested in the games, you are much better off embracing the Olympics and turning the event into a team-building activity that drives employee engagement—which boosts productivity. You’ve still got a week left, so why not give it a try sometime over the next couple of days? Get inspired over at Business News Daily.

5. Give up command and control.

Have you ever worked with a product manager, editor or boss who would always seem to find something wrong with the first draft of a project you turned in? It wouldn’t matter whether you typed up the world’s best white paper. He or she would find a bunch of things wrong with it. You’d go through a couple rounds of revisions before he or she signed off on it. Eventually, you’d be conditioned to realize that, no matter how good or bad it was, your first draft you need to be seriously reworked. So you began writing sloppier first drafts, knowing they needed to be updated anyway. That’s not exactly the recipe for productivity. Instead of micromanaging your employees—or allowing your boss’ to do the same to you—you’d be much better off working in an environment that allows a lot more autonomy. Only when you stop telling people how to do their jobs can you build a truly innovative—and therefore productive—culture. The story is over at Forbes.

6. Leave your smartphone in your pocket.

A decade ago, it would have been unfathomable to expect that you’d be able to have your personal cell phone on your desk, checking it every single day. But as smartphones continued to become more powerful and more ubiquitous—and the workforce began to fill up with more and more millennials—it was only a matter of time before that rule went out the window. Nowadays, it’s not uncommon for workers to check their personal phones throughout the workday, texting and taking calls as they see fit. It should come as no surprise that bosses say personal cell phone use is really working against team productivity. If you want to be productive, put your smartphone down—now. Newsday has the story.

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