More on Productivity
4 months ago
Three Simple Daily Practices That Will Immediately Double Your Output
Most productive people are habitual.
Early in the day, do important tasks.
In his best-selling book Eat That Frog, Brian Tracy advised starting the day with your hardest, most important activity.
Most individuals work best in the morning. Energy and willpower peak then.
Mornings are also ideal for memory, focus, and problem-solving.
Thus, the morning is ideal for your hardest chores.
It makes sense to do these things during your peak performance hours.
Additionally, your morning sets the tone for the day. According to Brian Tracy, the first hour of the workday steers the remainder.
After doing your most critical chores, you may feel accomplished, confident, and motivated for the remainder of the day, which boosts productivity.
Develop Your Essentialism
In Essentialism, Greg McKeown claims that trying to be everything to everyone leads to mediocrity and tiredness.
You'll either burn out, be spread too thin, or compromise your ideals.
Greg McKeown advises Essentialism:
Clarify what’s truly important in your life and eliminate the rest.
Eliminating non-essential duties, activities, and commitments frees up time and energy for what matters most.
According to Greg McKeown, Essentialists live by design, not default.
You'll be happier and more productive if you follow your essentials.
Follow these three steps to live more essentialist.
Prioritize Your Tasks First
What matters most clarifies what matters less. List your most significant aims and values.
The clearer your priorities, the more you can focus on them.
On Essentialism, McKeown wrote, The ultimate form of effectiveness is the ability to deliberately invest our time and energy in the few things that matter most.
#2: Set Your Priorities in Order
Prioritize your priorities, not simply know them.
“If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.” — Greg McKeown
Planning each day and allocating enough time for your priorities is the best method to become more purposeful.
#3: Practice saying "no"
If a request or demand conflicts with your aims or principles, you must learn to say no.
Saying no frees up space for our priorities.
Place Sleep Above All Else
Many believe they must forego sleep to be more productive. This is false.
A productive day starts with a good night's sleep.
Matthew Walker (Why We Sleep) says:
“Getting a good night’s sleep can improve cognitive performance, creativity, and overall productivity.”
Sleep helps us learn, remember, and repair.
Unfortunately, 35% of people don't receive the recommended 79 hours of sleep per night.
Sleep deprivation can cause:
increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and obesity
Depression, stress, and anxiety risk are all on the rise.
decrease in general contentment
decline in cognitive function
To live an ideal, productive, and healthy life, you must prioritize sleep.
Follow these six sleep optimization strategies to obtain enough sleep:
Establish a nightly ritual to relax and prepare for sleep.
Avoid using screens an hour before bed because the blue light they emit disrupts the generation of melatonin, a necessary hormone for sleep.
Maintain a regular sleep schedule to control your body's biological clock (and optimizes melatonin production)
Create a peaceful, dark, and cool sleeping environment.
Limit your intake of sweets and caffeine (especially in the hours leading up to bedtime)
Regular exercise (but not right before you go to bed, because your body temperature will be too high)
Sleep is one of the best ways to boost productivity.
Sleep is crucial, says Matthew Walker. It's the key to good health and longevity.
11 months ago
Working from home for more than two years has taught me a lot.
Since the pandemic, I've worked from home. It’s been +2 years (wow, time flies!) now, and during this time I’ve learned a lot. My 4 remote work lessons.
I work in a remote distributed team. This team setting shaped my experience and teachings.
Isolation ("I miss my coworkers")
The most obvious point. I miss going out with my coworkers for coffee, weekend chats, or just company while I work. I miss being able to go to someone's desk and ask for help. On a remote world, I must organize a meeting, share my screen, and avoid talking over each other in Zoom - sigh!
Social interaction is more vital for my health than I believed.
Online socializing stinks
My company used to come together every Friday to play Exploding Kittens, have food and beer, and bond over non-work things.
Different today. Every Friday afternoon is for fun, but it's not the same. People with screen weariness miss meetings, which makes sense. Sometimes you're too busy on Slack to enjoy yourself.
We laugh in meetings, but it's not the same as face-to-face.
Digital social activities can't replace real-world ones
Improved Work-Life Balance, if You Let It
At the outset of the pandemic, I recognized I needed to take better care of myself to survive. After not leaving my apartment for a few days and feeling miserable, I decided to walk before work every day. This turned into a passion for exercise, and today I run or go to the gym before work. I use my commute time for healthful activities.
Working from home makes it easier to keep working after hours. I sometimes forget the time and find myself writing coding at dinnertime. I said, "One more test." This is a disadvantage, therefore I keep my office schedule.
Spend your commute time properly and keep to your office schedule.
Remote Pair Programming Is Hard
As a software developer, I regularly write code. My team sometimes uses pair programming to write code collaboratively. One person writes code while another watches, comments, and asks questions. I won't list them all here.
Internet pairing is difficult. My team struggles with this. Even with Tuple, it's challenging. I lose attention when I get a notification or check my computer.
I miss a pen and paper to rapidly sketch down my thoughts for a colleague or a whiteboard for spirited talks with others. Best answers are found through experience.
Real-life pair programming beats the best remote pair programming tools.
Here are 4 lessons I've learned working remotely for 2 years.
Socializing is more vital to my health than I anticipated.
Digital social activities can't replace in-person ones.
Spend your commute time properly and keep your office schedule.
Real-life pair programming beats the best remote tools.
Our era is fascinating. Remote labor has existed for years, but software companies have just recently had to adapt. Companies who don't offer remote work will lose talent, in my opinion.
We're still figuring out the finest software development approaches, programming language features, and communication methods since the 1960s. I can't wait to see what advancements assist us go into remote work.
I'll certainly work remotely in the next years, so I'm interested to see what I've learnt from this post then.
This post is a summary of this one.
9 months ago
7 Scientifically Proven Things You Must Stop Doing To Be More Productive
Smarter work yields better results.
17-year-old me worked and studied 20 hours a day. During school breaks, I did coursework and ran a nonprofit at night. Long hours earned me national campaigns, A-list opportunities, and a great career. As I aged, my thoughts changed. Working harder isn't necessarily the key to success.
In some cases, doing less work might lead to better outcomes.
Consider a hard-working small business owner. He can't beat his corporate rivals by working hard. Time's limited. An entrepreneur can work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but a rival can invest more money, create a staff, and put in more man hours. Why have small startups done what larger companies couldn't? Facebook paid $1 billion for 13-person Instagram. Snapchat, a 30-person startup, rejected Facebook and Google bids. Luck and efficiency each contributed to their achievement.
The key to success is not working hard. It’s working smart.
Being busy and productive are different. Busy doesn't always equal productive. Productivity is less about time management and more about energy management. Life's work. It's using less energy to obtain more rewards. I cut my work week from 80 to 40 hours and got more done. I value simplicity.
Here are seven activities I gave up in order to be more productive.
1. Give up working extra hours and boost productivity instead.
When did the five-day, 40-hour work week start? Henry Ford, Ford Motor Company founder, experimented with his workers in 1926.
He decreased their daily hours from 10 to 8, and shortened the work week from 6 days to 5. As a result, he saw his workers’ productivity increase.
According to a 1980 Business Roundtable report, Scheduled Overtime Effect on Construction Projects, the more you work, the less effective and productive you become.
“Where a work schedule of 60 or more hours per week is continued longer than about two months, the cumulative effect of decreased productivity will cause a delay in the completion date beyond that which could have been realized with the same crew size on a 40-hour week.” Source: Calculating Loss of Productivity Due to Overtime Using Published Charts — Fact or Fiction
AlterNet editor Sara Robinson cited US military research showing that losing one hour of sleep per night for a week causes cognitive impairment equivalent to a.10 blood alcohol level. You can get fired for showing up drunk, but an all-nighter is fine.
Irrespective of how well you were able to get on with your day after that most recent night without sleep, it is unlikely that you felt especially upbeat and joyous about the world. Your more-negative-than-usual perspective will have resulted from a generalized low mood, which is a normal consequence of being overtired. More important than just the mood, this mind-set is often accompanied by decreases in willingness to think and act proactively, control impulses, feel positive about yourself, empathize with others, and generally use emotional intelligence. Source: The Secret World of Sleep: The Surprising Science of the Mind at Rest
To be productive, don't overwork and get enough sleep. If you're not productive, lack of sleep may be to blame. James Maas, a sleep researcher and expert, said 7/10 Americans don't get enough sleep.
Did you know?
Leonardo da Vinci slept little at night and frequently took naps.
Napoleon, the French emperor, had no qualms about napping. He splurged every day.
Even though Thomas Edison felt self-conscious about his napping behavior, he regularly engaged in this ritual.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt's wife Eleanor used to take naps before speeches to increase her energy.
The Singing Cowboy, Gene Autry, was known for taking regular naps in his dressing area in between shows.
Every day, President John F. Kennedy took a siesta after eating his lunch in bed.
Every afternoon, oil businessman and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller took a nap in his office.
It was unavoidable for Winston Churchill to take an afternoon snooze. He thought it enabled him to accomplish twice as much each day.
Every afternoon around 3:30, President Lyndon B. Johnson took a nap to divide his day into two segments.
Ronald Reagan, the 40th president, was well known for taking naps as well.
Source: 5 Reasons Why You Should Take a Nap Every Day — Michael Hyatt
Since I started getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night, I've been more productive and completed more work than when I worked 16 hours a day. Who knew marketers could use sleep?
2. Refrain from accepting too frequently
Pareto's principle states that 20% of effort produces 80% of results, but 20% of results takes 80% of effort. Instead of working harder, we should prioritize the initiatives that produce the most outcomes. So we can focus on crucial tasks. Stop accepting unproductive tasks.
“The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say “no” to almost everything.” — Warren Buffett
What should you accept? Why say no? Consider doing a split test to determine if anything is worth your attention. Track what you do, how long it takes, and the consequences. Then, evaluate your list to discover what worked (or didn't) to optimize future chores.
Most of us say yes more often than we should, out of guilt, overextension, and because it's simpler than no. Nobody likes being awful.
Researchers separated 120 students into two groups for a 2012 Journal of Consumer Research study. One group was educated to say “I can't” while discussing choices, while the other used “I don't”.
The students who told themselves “I can’t eat X” chose to eat the chocolate candy bar 61% of the time. Meanwhile, the students who told themselves “I don’t eat X” chose to eat the chocolate candy bars only 36% of the time. This simple change in terminology significantly improved the odds that each person would make a more healthy food choice.
Next time you need to say no, utilize I don't to encourage saying no to unimportant things.
The 20-second rule is another wonderful way to avoid pursuits with little value. Add a 20-second roadblock to things you shouldn't do or bad habits you want to break. Delete social media apps from your phone so it takes you 20 seconds to find your laptop to access them. You'll be less likely to engage in a draining hobby or habit if you add an inconvenience.
Lower the activation energy for habits you want to adopt and raise it for habits you want to avoid. The more we can lower or even eliminate the activation energy for our desired actions, the more we enhance our ability to jump-start positive change. Source: The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work
3. Stop doing everything yourself and start letting people help you
I once managed a large community and couldn't do it alone. The community took over once I burned out. Members did better than I could have alone. I learned about community and user-generated content.
Consumers know what they want better than marketers. Octoly says user-generated videos on YouTube are viewed 10 times more than brand-generated videos. 51% of Americans trust user-generated material more than a brand's official website (16%) or media coverage (22%). (14 percent). Marketers should seek help from the brand community.
Being a successful content marketer isn't about generating the best content, but cultivating a wonderful community.
We should seek aid when needed. We can't do everything. It's best to delegate work so you may focus on the most critical things. Instead of overworking or doing things alone, let others help.
Having friends or coworkers around can boost your productivity even if they can't help.
Just having friends nearby can push you toward productivity. “There’s a concept in ADHD treatment called the ‘body double,’ ” says David Nowell, Ph.D., a clinical neuropsychologist from Worcester, Massachusetts. “Distractable people get more done when there is someone else there, even if he isn’t coaching or assisting them.” If you’re facing a task that is dull or difficult, such as cleaning out your closets or pulling together your receipts for tax time, get a friend to be your body double. Source: Friendfluence: The Surprising Ways Friends Make Us Who We Are
4. Give up striving for perfection
Perfectionism hinders professors' research output. Dr. Simon Sherry, a psychology professor at Dalhousie University, did a study on perfectionism and productivity. Dr. Sherry established a link between perfectionism and productivity.
Perfectionism has its drawbacks.
They work on a task longer than necessary.
They delay and wait for the ideal opportunity. If the time is right in business, you are already past the point.
They pay too much attention to the details and miss the big picture.
Marketers await the right time. They miss out.
The perfect moment is NOW.
5. Automate monotonous chores instead of continuing to do them.
A team of five workers who spent 3%, 20%, 25%, 30%, and 70% of their time on repetitive tasks reduced their time spent to 3%, 10%, 15%, 15%, and 10% after two months of working to improve their productivity.
Last week, I wrote a 15-minute Python program. I wanted to generate content utilizing Twitter API data and Hootsuite to bulk schedule it. Automation has cut this task from a day to five minutes. Whenever I do something more than five times, I try to automate it.
Automate monotonous chores without coding. Skills and resources are nice, but not required. If you cannot build it, buy it.
People forget time equals money. Manual work is easy and requires little investigation. You can moderate 30 Instagram photographs for your UGC campaign. You need digital asset management software to manage 30,000 photographs and movies from five platforms. Filemobile helps individuals develop more user-generated content. You may buy software to manage rich media and address most internet difficulties.
Hire an expert if you can't find a solution. Spend money to make money, and time is your most precious asset.
Visit GitHub or Google Apps Script library, marketers. You may often find free, easy-to-use open source code.
6. Stop relying on intuition and start supporting your choices with data.
You may optimize your life by optimizing webpages for search engines.
Numerous studies might help you boost your productivity. Did you know individuals are most distracted from midday to 4 p.m.? This is what a Penn State psychology professor found. Even if you can't find data on a particular question, it's easy to run a split test and review your own results.
7. Stop working and spend some time doing absolutely nothing.
Most people don't know that being too focused can be destructive to our work or achievements. The Boston Globe's The Power of Lonely says solo time is excellent for the brain and spirit.
One ongoing Harvard study indicates that people form more lasting and accurate memories if they believe they’re experiencing something alone. Another indicates that a certain amount of solitude can make a person more capable of empathy towards others. And while no one would dispute that too much isolation early in life can be unhealthy, a certain amount of solitude has been shown to help teenagers improve their moods and earn good grades in school. Source: The Power of Lonely
Reflection is vital. We find solutions when we're not looking.
We don't become more productive overnight. It demands effort and practice. Waiting for change doesn't work. Instead, learn about your body and identify ways to optimize your energy and time for a happy existence.
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9 months ago
The Burnout Recovery Secrets Nobody Is Talking About
What works and what’s just more toxic positivity
Just keep at it; you’ll get it.
I closed the Zoom call and immediately dropped my head. Open tabs included material on inspiration, burnout, and recovery.
I searched everywhere for ways to avoid burnout.
It wasn't that I needed to keep going, change my routine, employ 8D audio playlists, or come up with fresh ideas. I had several ideas and a schedule. I knew what to do.
I wasn't interested. I kept reading, changing my self-care and mental health routines, and writing even though it was tiring.
Since burnout became a psychiatric illness in 2019, thousands have shared their experiences. It's spreading rapidly among writers.
What is the actual key to recovering from burnout?
Every A-list burnout story emphasizes prevention. Other lists provide repackaged self-care tips. More discuss mental health.
It's like the mid-2000s, when pink quotes about bubble baths saturated social media.
The self-care mania cost us all. Self-care is crucial, but utilizing it to address everything didn't work then or now.
How can you recover from burnout?
Are extended breaks actually good for you? Most people need a break every 62 days or so to avoid burnout.
Real-life burnout victims all took breaks. Perhaps not a long hiatus, but breaks nonetheless.
Burnout is slow and gradual. It takes little bits of your motivation and passion at a time. Sometimes it’s so slow that you barely notice or blame it on other things like stress and poor sleep.
Burnout doesn't come overnight; neither will recovery.
I don’t care what anyone else says the cure for burnout is. It has to be time because time is what gave us all burnout in the first place.
9 months ago
A Search Engine From Apple?
Apple's search engine has long been rumored. Recent Google developments may confirm the rumor. Is Apple about to become Google's biggest rival?
Here's a video:
People noted Apple's changes in 2020. AppleBot, a web crawler that downloads and caches Internet content, was more active than in the last five years.
Apple hired search engine developers, including ex-Googlers, such as John Giannandrea, Google's former search chief.
Apple also changed the way iPhones search. With iOS 14, Apple's search results arrived before Google's.
These facts fueled rumors that Apple was developing a search engine.
Apple and Google Have a Contract
Many skeptics said Apple couldn't compete with Google. This didn't affect the company's competitiveness.
Apple is the only business with the resources and scale to be a Google rival, with 1.8 billion active devices and a $2 trillion market cap.
Still, people doubted that due to a license deal. Google pays Apple $8 to $12 billion annually to be the default iPhone and iPad search engine.
Apple can't build an independent search product under this arrangement.
Why would Apple enter search if it's being paid to stay out?
Ironically, this partnership has many people believing Apple is getting into search.
A New Default Search Engine May Be Needed
Google was sued for antitrust in 2020. It is accused of anticompetitive and exclusionary behavior. Justice wants to end Google's monopoly.
Authorities could restrict Apple and Google's licensing deal due to its likely effect on market competitiveness. Hence Apple needs a new default search engine.
Apple Already Has a Search Engine
The company already has a search engine, Spotlight.
Since 2004, Spotlight has aired. It was developed to help users find photos, documents, apps, music, and system preferences.
Apple's search engine could do more than organize files, texts, and apps.
Spotlight Search was updated in 2014 with iOS 8. Web, App Store, and iTunes searches became available. You could find nearby places, movie showtimes, and news.
This search engine has subsequently been updated and improved. Spotlight added rich search results last year.
If you search for a TV show, movie, or song, photos and carousels will appear at the top of the page.
This resembles Google's rich search results.
When Will the Apple Search Engine Be Available?
When will Apple's search launch? Robert Scoble says it's near.
Scoble tweeted a number of hints before this year's Worldwide Developer Conference.
Scoble bases his prediction on insider information and deductive reasoning. January 2023 is expected.
Will you use Apple's search engine?
8 months ago
How I set up my teams to be successful
After 10 years of working in scale-ups, I've embraced a few concepts for scaling Tech and Product teams.
First, cross-functionalize teams. Product Managers represent the business, Product Designers the consumer, and Engineers build.
I organize teams of 5-10 individuals, following AWS's two pizza teams guidelines, with a Product Trio guiding each.
If more individuals are needed to reach a goal, I group teams under a Product Trio.
With Engineering being the biggest group, Staff/Principal Engineers often support the Trio on cross-team technical decisions.
Product Managers, Engineering Managers, or Engineers in the team may manage projects (depending on the project or aim), but the trio is collectively responsible for the team's output and outcome.
Once the Product Trio model is created, roles, duties, team ceremonies, and cooperation models must be clarified.
Keep reporting lines by discipline. Line managers are accountable for each individual's advancement, thus it's crucial that they know the work in detail.
Cross-team collaboration becomes more important after 3 teams (15-30 people). Teams can easily diverge in how they write code, run ceremonies, and build products.
Establishing groups of people that are cross-team, but grouped by discipline and skills, sharing and agreeing on working practices becomes critical.
The “Spotify Guild” model has been where I’ve taken a lot of my inspiration from.
Last, establish a taxonomy for communication channels.
In Slack, I create one channel per team and one per guild (and one for me to have discussions with the team leads).
These are just some of the basic principles I follow to organize teams.
A book I particularly like about team types and how they interact with each other is https://teamtopologies.com/.