A Life of Productivity

Productivity advice that actually works

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How to take a coffee nap

Takeaway: To take a coffee nap: drink a cup of coffee and then immediately nap for 20-25 minutes (depending on how quickly you fall asleep). You’ll wake with a boost from both the nap and the coffee—and the effects of caffeine are actually stronger after a coffee nap. Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes, 47s. Now that more of us are working...

Starting a new project? Conduct a pre-mortem

Takeaway: A pre-mortem is a ritual that helps you account for all that could go wrong with a project—in advance of those mishaps actually occurring in real life. Three steps to do a pre-mortem: identify the projects you want to go well, imagine the worst case scenarios, and create a plan to make your project more resilient using the knowledge you collected....

The task of least regret

Takeaway: It’s common productivity advice that you should begin each day by “eating a frog”—doing the hardest thing on your list. I find it even more helpful to begin each morning with the task I’m proudest (and most relieved) to have accomplished. Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes, 18s. There’s a common bit of productivity advice that suggests we...

Here’s how to (properly) put down your phone

Takeaway: Last week I challenged you to go as many days as possible without charging your phone. Some practical tips to help you do that (especially during this anxious time): rethink which jobs you hire your phone for, rearrange your home screen, take advantage of your phone’s many modes, and opt to get news alerts from a single source.   Estimated...

The Two-Day Phone Challenge

Takeaway: This week, try going three days without charging your phone. Or, if you can’t stomach that idea, try two. Estimated Reading Time: 44s. Could you make your phone’s battery last two days without charging? As a stretch goal, what about three days? How differently would you need to use the device to make it last that long?  ...

Inbox Zero is a state of mind

Takeaway: A few tactics to help you inbox with intention: track your email usage, adopt email sprints, take an email vacation, suggest phone calls for longer discussions, and send less email. Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes, 38s. Podcast Length: 26 minutes, 8s (link to play podcast at the bottom of post). While the idea of Inbox Zero...

To become more productive, stop hustling

Takeaway: The most productive people don’t hustle themselves into an early grave—they work with calm deliberateness, prioritizing thoughtfulness over speed. This will help you work with greater intention. Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes, 45s. There seem to be two schools of thought for how we should approach productivity advice.  ...

To lead a more intentional life, try opting out

Takeaway: Cait Flanders’ new book, Adventures in Opting Out: A Field Guide to Leading an Intentional Life, explores how we can step away from the default and choose a life guided by intention and purpose. A number of ideas to think about: how our culture and the stories we’re told shape our values and goals; using intuition to identify what we really...

Tonight, pick one problem to sleep on

Takeaway: The next time you reach a strong impasse with a problem, sleep on it, by writing down the problem before heading to bed. Incubating unresolved problems overnight lets your mind wander, rest, and unearth insights you might not otherwise have had. Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes, 13s. Podcast Length: 18 minutes, 34s (link to play podcast...

Success Hides Problems

Takeaway: Success can distract us from the problems that may compromise our future achievements and happiness. It can draw attention away from what needs to be fixed, provide a false sense of comfort, and lead to harmful side effects. Always be on the hunt for problems to fix—while also staying grateful (and humble), and recognizing the price of the...

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