Welcome to this week’s installment of the Hackers Digest, a feature that shines a light on 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. How the CEOs of billion-dollar companies get things done.
When you’re running a billion-dollar company, it’s safe to say you’re doing at least some things right. The folks over at Mashable recently put together a list showcasing the productivity hacks of nine CEOs who run unicorns. For starters, there’s Jack Dorsey, who actually runs two unicorns (Twitter and Square). Running two companies is hard work—unsurprisingly. To stay productive, Dorsey segments his weeks into days where he gets things done. On Mondays, for example, he’ll focus on administrative tasks. On Tuesday, it’s time for products. On Wednesday, he’ll look at his companies’ marketing strategies. Dorsey has found that giving each day a theme enables him to get more things done. Then there’s Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, who doesn’t answer emails the same day he receives them. He waits until the next day to write back. More on those two CEOs and others are over on Mashable.
2. Utilize the Rule of 4.
If you want to take your productivity game to the next level, you need to spend less time in meetings. One writer suggests that you implement the Rule of 4, which essentially states that you never spend more than four hours of your time in meetings on any particular day. This enables you to invest an adequate amount of energy in your own work while also tackling administrative tasks. Everybody who toils away in meetings all day knows how unproductive your time can become. By making it a priority to never spend more than four hours in meetings, you’re forced to only attend the important meetings, giving you more time to tackle your top priorities. The story is over on The Observer.
3. Figure out an approach to taking breaks that works best for you.
Do you take regular breaks? Or do you hammer away at your keyboard all day? Believe it or not, even a 30-second break can increase your output by 13%, according to a recent study. If you’re not taking breaks, you may want to try a system to see if it works for you. For example, you can work hard for 25 minutes and then take five minutes off. Or you can work for 50 minutes and then take 10 minutes off. You can use breaks in a number of ways. Have a snack, read an article or grab some exercise. Head on over to Entrepreneur to check out an infographic that explains the benefits of breaking, the various kinds of breaks you can take and what you can do during your downtime.
4. Drink seven cups of coffee each day.
Millennials are becoming an increasingly larger part of the workforce. What do these younger workers do to stay on top of their ever-expanding workloads? About nine percent of millennials say they take some sort of legal stimulant to get things done, like Adderall or caffeine pills. Eleven percent of them say they chug at least seven cups of coffee each day. One in 12 millennials admits they have actually slept overnight at the office to stay on top of their workloads—yikes. Another interesting stat: 46% of millennials say they regularly skip lunch to get things done. To read more about what millennials do to stay productive, head over to Glamour.
5. Decide whether you’re doing an A+ or A- project.
As any worker knows, some projects matter more than others. Sure, you should always try to do the best job you possibly can. But when it comes to writing a blog that’s going to be buried on your company’s website or putting together an e-book for your most important client, it’s safe to say you need to spend more time on the latter project. One COO recently wrote about a simple but profound productivity hack. When you sit down to get started on a project, decide whether you’re doing something that’s A+ work or something that’s A- work. An A- project means you get the job done quickly and efficiently. An A+ project is something that takes twice as long. Whatever you do, never do A work. Shoot for an A+ or an A-. The story is over on Inc.
6. Create a better password policy.
How many passwords do you have to remember for your work-related accounts? According to a recent report, poor password policies are responsible for decreased productivity. For starters, having to log into so many different platforms and accounts takes time away from getting actual work done. Then there’s likelihood that at least someone will forget one of their passwords, requiring IT intervention. To sidestep this unfortunate reality, many employees use unsafe password practices—like writing their passwords down or using the same password for every account. This, of course, causes a number of other problems. If you want your team’s productivity to improve, consider creating a better password policy. The case is made on Network World Asia.