Hackers Digest #53: Make Your Bed

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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. Eighteen bad habits you should cut out in 2017.

Let’s face it: You’re a human being, so you have some terrible habits. It’s the beginning of another new year, which means now is as good a time as any to reevaluate your habits and your lifestyle to see whether making any changes can improve your productivity. If you’re like most people, you probably sleep next to your smartphone—you know, just in case you get that super important phone call in the middle of the night (that never comes). According to science, the light emitted from your phone can seriously hurt your sleep cycles—and even make you depressed. So you may want to leave your phone elsewhere when you sleep. In order to make sure you don’t drop the ball on any important task, you might also spend hours each week thoroughly plotting your every move. Of course, that doesn’t leave a lot of time to actually get your work done. For more on those bad habits and 16 others, visit Business Insider.

2. You won’t be productive if you hate your job.

We’ve all had jobs we’ve hated. Some of them—like that awful retail job you had in high school—are rites of passage. Others—like that terrible entry-level position where you were meticulously micromanaged—are stepping stones. Sooner or later, you’ll have to come to the conclusion that in order to reach your full potential and be as productive as you possibly can, you need to work at a job that you actually like showing up to each day. When you’re in a good mood, you’re much more likely to want to accomplish more—and even help your coworkers tackle their workloads. If you’re in charge of a team, it is critical that you do whatever you can to make work fun (or at least more enjoyable). That’s the ticket to increased productivity. Forbes has the story.

3. Stop using social media so much.

Stop me if this sounds familiar: You’re cranking away on a project and making some serious progress. All of a sudden, you realized you haven’t checked Facebook for a good 17 minutes. You navigate over to your timeline to see that one of your friends posted yet another picture of their new kid. How exciting! Back to the project. But wait! You need to see what’s going on in the Twitter universe. You hang on that one guy’s every tweet. You get the picture. Many of us are addicted to social media to the point where it unmistakably holds us back. To make the most out of your workday, you may want to try unplugging for blocks of time while you tackle your work. For more on that tip—and a hodgepodge of advice from other productivity authors—head over to the Financial Times.

4. The practicality of digital minimalism.

Lots of people write about productivity. Unfortunately for those in the enterprise world, a lot of these folks are academics or authors who don’t know what it’s like to go to the same office for eight hours every day. Still, many of these writers encourage a philosophy called digital minimalism, which is worth exploring regardless of your profession. Cal Newport, for example, argues that workers should eliminate all of the technology from their lives until they figure out what they absolutely can’t live without. That probably doesn’t make sense to you if your boss sends you any number of emails on a daily basis. He or she likely expects a response, at least occasionally. Still, with how much technology exists in the workplace, there’s almost certainly something you can cut out of your routine—giving you more time to get the important things done. For more, head over to diginomica.

5. Stop trying to be a perfectionist.

A new year brings with it an insane amount of articles focusing on specific habits you may want to drop or adopt to become a better version of yourself in 2017. Here’s an interesting thought: You’ve almost certainly heard the phrase “perfect is the enemy of the good.” When you focus so intensely on creating flawless work, you end up wasting a ton of time—which makes it that much more difficult to get your entire workload done each week. So instead of trying to score a 100 on every quiz, so to speak, you may be better off shooting for a B+ in everything you do. Leave it to your peers and managers to help polish your work into an A. But really, a B+ will probably do the trick. Fast Company has more on that tip—and nine others.

6. Can making your bed in the morning make you more productive?

Admiral William McRaven led the team that killed Osama bin Laden. While giving a commencement speech in 2014, McRaven told the students that they should start their days off by making their beds. To the admiral, making one’s bed lets you start the day with a “win.” You’ve already accomplished something, so perhaps you’re more inclined to move on to the next task and accomplish that, too. Of course, not everyone is in the habit of making their bed in the morning—as one writer recently uncovered in his research. In any case, you may want to try making your bed in the morning for a week or month or so to see what effect, if any, it has on your productivity. What do you have to lose? Quartz has the scoop.

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