02.16.20169 min read

5 Things You Need to Read: The Productivity Edition

Productivity. It’s a hot buzzword, no doubt. Can you think of a single small business owner who doesn’t wish they could get more done in less time?

A quick Google of “productivity hacks” returns 1.2 million results—and that is just the tip of the time management iceberg. Productivity is a popular topic—we are responsible for a few of those Google results ourselves, and they are consistently among our most popular posts.  

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Heck—we even offer a free course to help small business teams get productive.

But, no matter how many lists we read with titles like 15 ways to revolutionize or morning routine” or “23 apps to help you double your work in 50 percent less time,” we still seem to have a hard time making the lessons stick.

We get off-balance; we procrastinate. Some of us may experience occasional issues with the vortex of adorable cat videos available on YouTube (not mentioning any names). 

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We run from meeting to appointment to school pick-up to home. Sleep? It’s for the weak. We’re trying to do more and more work in less and less time—and it shows.

So, this week we thought that we’d devote our roundup to going beyond the countless lists of hacks and apps and tools (as much as we love them) and share some articles and tweets that challenge assumptions, ask the right questions and dig into some less obvious tactics to getting stuff done. 

Do We Have To Work 8 Hours A Day? (via @podio)

Work less? Okay! This infographic from Podio shows the history of the eight-hour work day, calls attention to all the reasons it does not work and suggests three alternate work patterns that may be more effective. Bonus points—it’s an infographic, you can scan it quickly (and get back to being productive).

Who should read it?  Have you ever wondered how this standard eight-hour work week came to be, or wondered if there was a better solution? This post is for you.

Nobody Cares How Hard You Work (via @99u)

As you sink into the couch, or slide onto the barstool, at the end of an exhausting workday, it’s hard not to experience the warm glow of self-congratulation. After all, you put in the hours, cranked through the to-do list; you invested the effort, and got things done. Surely you’re entitled to a little smugness…”

This thought provoking post from the fine folks at 99u tackles the myth that effort equals results. It’s been drilled into our head since childhood—hard work is what matters most. But, as a small business owner you know that you can work yourself to the bone—but unless your hard work is getting results, your business won’t last. In order to get those coveted results you’ve got to do the right things, not just the hard things.

Who should read it? Raised with that old fashioned work ethic that leaves you exhausted every day, yet not getting done what you need to do? Read this to shift your hard work paradigm, and do more of what really matters. 

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My Motto: Screw Productivity Tips That Only Make Your Life More Stressful (via @musejobs)  

I once dated a guy who tried to tell me how to ride the subway.”

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I have to admit: Jennifer Dziura had me from the first line. If you’re from NYC, you probably don’t want to be told how to ride the subway. And if you’re already trying to cram in more than 24 hours should hold, you might feel overwhelmed when yet another blog post tells you how you can do it all a little faster or better or prettier. Think of this as the anti-productivity hack. Instead of 17 (or 23 or 57) ways to be more productive, it comes down to one thing: What if we put pleasure first and actually enjoyed our work?

Who should read this? Anyone who feels their anxiety creep up every time they read a list of things they should be doing. Read this post and see what happens if you go against the grain.

50 Better Questions To Ask Than How To Be More Productive (via @charliegilkey)

“How can I be more productive? It’s a question that many of us ask ourselves without realizing that the question, as stated, is impossible to answer.”

Part of getting the right answer is asking the right question. In this post, the mastermind behind the popular blog Productive Flourishing shares fifty questions you can ask that will lead you to the kind of deep insight that will get you focusing on actions that will really make a difference to your small business.

Who should read it? Tired of chasing productivity without any real understanding of what that means for YOUR business? Skim the questions and choose three that really connect. Free write your answers and see what valuable insights you uncover.

Sleep Deprivation is Killing You and Your Career (via @inc)

“The negative effects of sleep deprivation are so great that people who are drunk outperform those lacking sleep.”

Eight hours? You’ve got to be kidding. Sure, we all know we need sufficient sleep for optimum functioning, but somehow the 24 allotted hours in the day don’t seem to be enough to make it happen—especially for entrepreneurs. Yet, prioritizing work over sleep is detrimental to your body, your mind, AND your business. For a dose of ten research-backed recommendations, take the time to read the entire thing (that is, if you’re not too tired to focus).

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Who should read this? Perpetually exhausted and living on caffeine? Need some proof that an afternoon nap will benefit your business? Don’t miss this one.

Want more reading?  Check out our top productivity posts: 

The 13 Best Productivity Apps, Tools and Methods

Top 6 TED Talks for Unusual Productivity Solutions

The Infographic Guide to the Best Productivity Apps and Tools

Now we want to hear from you. Take our quick poll and tell us your biggest productivity challenge (bonus points for anyone who can guess mine).

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