Hackers Digest #44: Don’t Work Yourself to Death

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Welcome to this week’s installment of the Hackers Digest, a feature that explores some of the more engaging 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. Three irrefutable laws for business productivity.

The key to increased productivity isn’t necessarily about following someone’s advice down to the minutest detail. After all, the system that works for someone else might not work for you at all. It turns out that productivity might stem from a few high-level laws. The closer your adhere to these principles, the more likely you’ll be to find yourself tackling all your work ahead of schedule. What do these laws look like? For starters, any workers, regardless of industry, can separate his or her tasks into high-value work and low-work. Whenever possible, focus your energies on your high-value tasks and leave the low-value work to other people. Next, tasks can always be sorted by urgency and profitability. You’ll want to take care of the most important tasks in the event you’re unable to get everything done. Head over to Pacific Business News for more.

2. Everything you need to know about productivity explained by the Girl Scouts.

What if you learned everything you needed to know about productivity decades ago? One writer’s experience as a Girl Scout helped shape her view of productivity and how she approaches work. Her first insight into Girl Scout-related productivity stems from the fact that sometimes it’s easier to understand things or complete tasks when we break them apart into as many miniature concepts or assignments as we can. A project stops being a 10-page white paper and starts being 10 one-page sections that are easier to finish on their own. Additionally, the writer recalled getting badges for completing certain activities or learning specific information. It felt good to be rewarded. There’s a lot of research that proves the link between employee recognition and productivity. If you manage employees, it might be time to recognize their efforts more regularly. Fast Company has the scoop.

3. Seven productivity tips to kickstart your mornings.

If you’re struggling with getting everything done each week, maybe it’s because you’re a slacker in the morning. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that; a ton of workers struggle to roll out of bed on a Monday. But if you want to take your productivity game to the next level, it may be time to start making some changes in your routine. If you’re a slow starter, consider getting some exercise in each morning before you start trying to complete your work. Get the blood flowing and your energy where it needs to be before settling into a big project. You might also want to try filling up three pages of paper with your thoughts—whatever they might be—before you leave for work. Get your brain moving in the right direction right when the day starts. More on those tips and others are over at sitepoint.

4. Making the most out of your Slack experience. 

It’s no secret Slack is one of the hottest business collaboration services on the market. But does it really live up to the hype? While some users swear by Slack, others are less into it. If you fall into the latter category, could it be that you’re using the tool incorrectly? Maybe that’s because nobody’s ever told you how you should be using Slack. To get the most out of your Slack experiences, you’ll want to make use of as many integrations as makes sense for your work situation. You’ll also want to designate an “owner” of each Slack channel you create so that no messages get ignored. When you’re talking to someone specifically in a channel, be sure to mention them directly. Otherwise, they may not see your message. Finally, when you’re ready to tackle your work because you’ve collaborated so productively, be sure to utilize Slack’s ‘do not disturb’ feature. You’ll be free to direct all of your energy at the projects at hand. Those tips—and many others—are over on business.com.

5. Stop working yourself to death.

There’s the tendency of the “hardest workers” to always be in the office. They’ll come in first thing in the morning and often be the last ones to leave. When they get home, they’ll be in their inboxes plugging away to prepare for the next day. This despite the fact that a preponderance of evidence suggests productivity grinds to a halt after 40 or maybe 50 hours of work in a given week. Instead of burning the midnight oil or encouraging your employees to do the same, it might be time to work smarter. Stop making terrible decisions that you have to spend hours reversing. Don’t let your workers burn themselves out by working themselves to death. You’ll regret it sooner or later. The Financial Times has the scoop.

6. Build a green office.

If you’ve ever worked in a dilapidated office, you know how discouraging it can be to show up to work first thing in the morning. Maybe there are stained tiles on the ceiling. Maybe there are few windows and you don’t get to see much natural light. Maybe it’s designed in a way that enables you to hear two coworkers whispering across the room. Whatever the case may be, the layout of an office can often work against productivity. On the flipside, if you design your office space the right way, your workers will be more productive. So what does the office that’s conducive to productivity look like, anyway? It’s got lots of natural light and an impressive amount of plant life, for starters. You’ll also want to make sure there’s a lot of air flowing through the office. Do that, and employees will be healthier, happier and more productive. The story is over on businessGreen.

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