Hackers Digest #51: How Eisenhower Got Things Done


Welcome to this week’s installment of the Hackers Digest, a feature that explores some of the more interesting 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. Four tips for a successful and productive 2017.

The beginning of a new year is as good a time as any to break bad habits and start good ones—in both your personal and professional life. For those that are seeking to take their productivity to the next level in 2017, one writer has put together a list of four actionable improvements that can be made to become a more effective worker. For example, instead of spending all your time in team meetings and one-on-ones, you may want to try holding as few meetings as you can so that you have more time to spend on your work and managing your own long-term goals. As you know, meetings aren’t exactly the most productive use of time—particularly when you can use a platform like Knotable to share relevant information and keep colleagues posted on your progress. For more on that tip and three others, head over to Forbes.

2. Eat lunch with a friend or a group of them.

You might think that in order to reach peak productivity, you’d have to sit at your desk all day long, cramming away at work—which would entail eating lunch at your desk. But believe it or not, studies have shown that employees who eat lunch with large groups are remarkably more productive than their peers that keep to themselves. What’s more, workers who socialize with their colleagues are much less likely to be stressed—particularly when a company is announcing a round of layoffs. For more on that tip and a few others, Elite Daily has you covered.

3. Is profit-sharing the key to a more productive team?

If you want your employees to reach their full potential, you may want to think about how you compensate them. Sure, you can pay everyone a zillion dollars, and maybe that would convince them that they should bust their tails day in and day out. But odds are your company doesn’t have that kind of resources. Good news: It turns out that studies have shown profit-sharing initiatives are linked with productivity—perhaps not surprisingly. Since workers are interested in helping their company make as much money as possible—because it trickles down to them—they’ll work hard and police their coworkers to make sure they work hard, too. The story’s over on Harvard Business Review.

4. Nine habits productive people can’t live without.

When you want to become a better worker, it certainly doesn’t hurt to take a look at how exceptionally productive people get things done. The folks over at Entrepreneur did all would-be productivity wizards a solid by compiling nine tips and habits that productive folks tend to stick to. For example, productive workers are known to tackle the least fun task that’s on their to-do list first thing in the morning. That way, the rest of their day is freed to focus on more interesting and engaging projects. Productivity gurus rarely multitask, and they’re unlikely to veer off topic in the event they find themselves in a work meeting. They also make sure to get ready for tomorrow before they leave the office every day. Read the rest of the story over on Entrepreneur.

5. President Eisenhower’s key to productivity.

Dwight D. Eisenhower served as the 34th President of the United States of America from 1953 to 1961. A five-star general during World War II before running for the nation’s highest office, Eisenhower needed to get a ton of things done over the course of his illustrious career. Ike, as he was known, created a relatively simple productivity system that is actually quite clever. It’s now called the Eisenhower box, and here’s how it works: Essentially, you divide a box into four quadrants labeled Urgent and Important Tasks, Important but Not Urgent Tasks, Urgent but Not Important Tasks and Not Urgent and Important Tasks. Categorize all of your responsibilities according to which quadrant they fall into, and you can begin tackling your work—or delegating it to someone else—right away. The University Herald has the scoop.

6. How to reduce the chances your productivity habits die off.

Anyone who’s ever experimented with new productivity hacks knows the routine: You try something new and it works great. But sooner or later, for whatever reason, it stops working and slowly but surely you descend back to square one. Why is that? Well, some of us our project-oriented workers while others are process-focused workers. If you find yourself in the first group—let’s say you’re thrilled when you finish each assignment—you may find yourself better off if you break down each project into as many little projects as possible. For example, if you’re writing a six-section white paper, treat each section as its own project. That way, you’ll have six instances of positive reinforcement compared to only one. What’s more, you may want to train yourself to focus on your work process more than the end results. By focusing on improving your processes instead of caring about specific goals, your work is always a work in progress—which is something you may find motivating. Fast Company has the story.

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