Hackers Digest #46: Throw Away the Cheetos


Welcome to this week’s version of the Hackers Digest, a feature that explores some of the more fascinating 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 in the news this week:

1. Richard Branson’s productivity secret.

If a billionaire is able to do one thing every day that doubles his productivity, why can’t you? According to Richard Branson, he of Virgin fame, maintaining a steady diet of exercise every day has contributed to his health and mental sharpness, which together drive him to increased productivity. The business leader gets up every day at 5 a.m. and starts exercising shortly thereafter. Science says exercising strengthens mental clarity, reduces stress and enhances creativity—all of which, together, can help us realize considerable productivity gains. The best part about Branson’s productivity secret? You don’t have to reach deep into your wallet to make serious changes. Go for a run. Do pushups and sit-ups. Walk more often. The story is over on CNBC.

2. How the Internet of Things can make workers more productive.

For quite some time, we’ve been hearing about how the Internet of Things would transform both our personal and professional lives. As the technology evolves and we get closer to IoT tools being rolled out across the enterprise, it’s time to start thinking about how, specifically, IoT-enabled devices can improve personal and team productivity. For example, intelligent lighting systems can illuminate and dim themselves at specific times based on occupancy or the prevalence of natural light to reduce distractions and make workers more comfortable. What’s more, connected HVAC systems can automatically adjust themselves over the course of the day to take outdoor temperatures and time into effect. These kinds of updates can help automate the ideal working environment for individual employees and teams. For more, head over to TechTarget.

3. Want to be more productive? Do nothing.

Most of today’s workers are charged with the task of doing more and more work. We try to devise productivity tricks or we take our work home with us, content to log 12- or 13-hour days on a regular basis. But according to recent studies, adding more and more work to your plate can actually work against your productivity. While 134 countries around the world have laws prohibiting workers from logging more than a certain number of hours, the U.S. conveniently does not. But that doesn’t mean you’re able to get more things done simply by logging more hours. In fact, if you want to take your game to the next level, it’s recommended that you put work down and consciously spend more time doing absolutely nothing. When you work more than 50 hours in any given week, your productivity takes a hit. Psychology Today has the scoop.

4. Your office redesign should boost your productivity—not hurt it.

There’s no shortage of research highlighting the link between our physical work environments and productivity. From time to time, office managers might decide to switch things up in order to enhance team productivity. But simply deciding to redesign an office isn’t enough to ensure your updated environment will be conducive to productivity. You have to do things the right way or you could end up with a space that’s even worse than the one you started with. So how do you go about ensuring a productive redesign? It starts with having a detailed plan. Next, you’ve got to ensure that you stick to a schedule so that construction isn’t dragging on and on, cluttering the minds of your workers—and distracting them. If you’re not an expert in office design, you’re probably better off leaving the project in the hands of an architect who knows what he or she is doing. The details are over on Sourceable.

5. Those Cheetos are killing your productivity.

When energy lulls during the day, many of us head to the nearest vending machine or convenience store to grab a snack. A Snickers, bag of Fritos or some Skittles will usually do. While the sugar and carbs we get from such snacks might give us a temporary boost of energy, junk food is terrible for our long-term productivity. So instead of splurging for unhealthy snacks, it’s time to start paying more attention to your diet. Cut out the processed foods and sugar as much as you can. Eat more vegetables and lean meats. If you’re addicted to junk food, it may take some time to develop a healthier snacking habit. But over time, you will if you stick to it. Eventually, you’ll stop crashing in the afternoon. The Danbury News- Times has the story.

6. Eight habits of especially productive people.

Study a group of spectacularly productive people, and you’re bound to see some similarities. According to one recent article, productive people share eight habits. Among them? They ignore distractions as much as possible. To this end, they shut off their smartphones, steer clear of social media and minimize the time they spend in their inboxes. Understanding there’s no point in wasting time for the sake of wasting time, productive people also tend to avoid unproductive meetings. What’s more, productive people also tend to set deadlines for themselves—and stick to them. For more on those three tips and five more, head over to Inc42.

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