Hackers Digest #48: Take Cold Showers

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Give Up Hot ShowersWelcome to this week’s installment of the Hackers Digest, a feature that explores 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. Take an actual lunch break.

It’s no secret that many of today’s workers feel as though they have too much on their plates each week. To make sure they’re able to tackle their full workloads while still maintaining a life outside the office, many of these professionals have taken to eating their lunch at their desks. In fact, a new study revealed that two-thirds of employees eat their lunch where they work at least a few days a week. You might think that spending more time at your desk would work wonders for your productivity, but you’d be wrong. According to the study, workers feel as though their colleagues who eat at their desks are anti-social—which isn’t the impression you want to give off to your peers. Coworkers are also distracted by the actual choices of food their colleagues eat; it’s hard to focus on much else but the distasteful aroma of microwaved fish, for example. Finally, those who eat at their desks are likely to put on some pounds. Unhealthy workers aren’t as productive as their fit peers. For more, head to DNA.

2. Blast music at the office.

Does your office let people listen to music? Or is it so quiet you could hear a pin drop if you listened carefully enough? Another recent study revealed that a majority of workers in the U.K. believe that listening to music makes them more productive at work. What’s more, psychologists believe that nearly four out of five workers can benefit from listening to music in the office—though 38% of them are simply unable to due to their company’s policies. If your company doesn’t allow employees to listen to music at work—either through speakers or a personal device (e.g., an iPod)—it may be time to rethink your approach. Newsweek has the scoop.

3. Bring nature inside your workspace.

If your office has plain white walls and lacks natural light, it’s almost certain that you’re unable to reach your full potential. Research has proven that workers are less stressed and perform in higher levels when they have plants in their offices. They also can produce more even if the colors from nature appear inside the office (e.g., a wall painted green). If you want to make your team more productive and your office looks like it’s straight out of the 1950s, it may be time to bring a couple of fikus plants and mini waterfalls into your workspace. What do you have to lose? For more, head to Nature World News.

4. Nature may help increase your productivity in the coming weeks.

When the weather’s nice, it can be impossible to force yourself to sit in the office and get things done. When the weather’s awful—and miserably cold, in particular—it can be impossible to work up the willpower to leave your house. That being the case, with winter right around the corner, you may find yourself with much more time on your hands. In addition to cold weather creating more opportunity for you to stay indoors and get work done, workers are also more likely to see their superiors during the winter months as fewer people take vacations. This helps develop stronger, more productive work relationships. The takeaway? If you want your productivity to improve, you may just have to wait a few more weeks until nature helps you increase your output organically. The StarTribune has the story.

5. Take cold showers.

If you are truly committed to becoming a productivity wiz, you are likely willing to give anything a try—including tips and tricks that aren’t the most pleasant-sounding. Case in point? Studies show that exposing ourselves to frigid cold temperatures can make us more alert and increase our metabolism. That being the case, you may want to consider giving up hot showers and beginning your day by taking a cold one. Folks who’ve done precisely that report higher levels of energy and alertness throughout the day. For more on that tip—and three other unpleasant ones—head over to Entrepreneur.

6. Abandon your dedicated workspace.

In the age of the mobile worker, does every employee really need his or her own dedicated workspace? What happens when half of the office is traveling and the primo spots are going unused? What happens if the person you’re stuck next to annoys the hell out of you? Instead of going with the old-fashioned “one employee, one desk” approach, some innovative companies are giving hot desking a try. Simply put, hot desking is the practice that enables any employees to sit at any desk. Not only does hot desking allow companies to use their resources more effectively, it enables workers to rub shoulders with folks they otherwise wouldn’t. Whether that’s the CEO of the company or someone in a completely unrelated department will depend on the day of the week. The story is over at Digiday.

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