Maximizing Your Productivity
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Maximizing Your Productivity
Personal Productivity Advice for People who Work in Small to Mid-Size Organizations
Curated by Bob Corlett
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You have 70,000 thoughts a day. This is how to organize them for maximum productivity

You have 70,000 thoughts a day. This is how to organize them for maximum productivity | Maximizing Your Productivity | Scoop.it

The average person has 70,000 thoughts each day, and if you don’t learn to organize them, they have the potential to wreak havoc on your productivity. When you succumb to the flurry of thoughts running through your head, your mind becomes disorganized, and the more...

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Does Variety Fuel Happiness at Work and in Life? It Depends - Knowledge@Wharton

Does Variety Fuel Happiness at Work and in Life? It Depends - Knowledge@Wharton | Maximizing Your Productivity | Scoop.it
Doing similar things at one time or infusing variety in your workday could significantly change your perceptions of productivity and how happy you feel.
Bob Corlett's insight:

Happiness flows from engagement in the task and a feeling of having spent your time productively. As the author's noted:, "In [the research], we looked at the effect of variety of our activities on overall happiness. We found that over a day or a week or a month, variety — perhaps consistent with people’s perceptions — leads to greater happiness. However, over shorter periods of time than a day, such as an hour, 15 minutes [or a] half-hour, when variety actually does get experienced as multitasking, it actually becomes fairly stressful, and instead of variety increasing my happiness, it makes me less happy."

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Is Overwork Killing You?

Is Overwork Killing You? | Maximizing Your Productivity | Scoop.it

Fascinating perspective with a ring of truth to it:


"... commitment to work is no longer the consequence of organizational loyalty. It is an expression of talent.


This shift still allows organizations to exact commitment by offering that precious appellation, “top talent,” in return. Seen as a ticket to thrive in a mobile job market, “talent” is an ever more valuable label, and devotion to work is that ticket’s price. No wonder companies that churn their workforce and squeeze them to the ground claim to hire only the most talented.


Reflecting and sustaining this shift to a more personal relationship with work is the current obsession with passion, authenticity, meaning, and the like in popular management writing (including my own). This more intimate relationship with work makes it both more rewarding and more exposing. Where once only artists lived to work this way, now more and more of us do."

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The Science Behind Why You Procrastinate In The Afternoon (and How To Stop)

The Science Behind Why You Procrastinate In The Afternoon (and How To Stop) | Maximizing Your Productivity | Scoop.it
It’s 3 p.m. and you find yourself struggling to focus on work. You can’t seem to stop checking Facebook. Instead of being productive, you welcome distractions like text messages and co-workers coming...
Bob Corlett's insight:

This is an excellent, research-packed post. 

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5 Easy Ways to Work Smarter, Not Longer

5 Easy Ways to Work Smarter, Not Longer | Maximizing Your Productivity | Scoop.it
Working insanely long hours is doing you more harm than good. It's time to distance yourself from the cult of overwork--here's how.
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To-Do Lists Don't Work

To-Do Lists Don't Work | Maximizing Your Productivity | Scoop.it
Stop making to-do lists. They're simply setting you up for failure and frustration. Consider the to-do lists you're currently managing: how many items have been languishing since Michelle Bachman w...
Bob Corlett's insight:

I have long been a fan of this approach. If you want something done, put it on your calendar, not your to-do list. 

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The Biggest Office Interruptions Are...

The Biggest Office Interruptions Are... | Maximizing Your Productivity | Scoop.it
...not what most people think. And even a brief disruption of just 2.8 seconds has shown in research to lead to a doubling of errors.
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MONEYBALL AT WORK: They've Discovered What Really Makes A Great Employee

MONEYBALL AT WORK: They've Discovered What Really Makes A Great Employee | Maximizing Your Productivity | Scoop.it

"Hiring decisions have always been limited to a few imperfect factors, including what appears on a resume and what impression a candidate gives off in an informal interview.


That's all changing...


Using new tracking and analytic tools, researchers have learned to value things like adaptability, social and emotional intelligence, resilience, and friendliness, as well as raw intelligence."



Bob Corlett's insight:

This worthwhile article neatly debunks many hiring myths. Do grades and degrees and SAT scores predict success in most jobs? No. 

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9 Habits of People Who Build Extraordinary Relationships

9 Habits of People Who Build Extraordinary Relationships | Maximizing Your Productivity | Scoop.it
The most extraordinary professional relationships are built by ordinary actions like these.
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Ivon Prefontaine's curator insight, April 18, 2013 7:24 PM

There are elements of serving, being mindful, and being present in building relationships. These people would be attentive to the needs of others.

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Relax! You’ll Be More Productive

Relax! You’ll Be More Productive | Maximizing Your Productivity | Scoop.it

"... the best way to get more done may be to spend more time doing less. A new and growing body of multidisciplinary research shows that strategic renewal — including daytime workouts, short afternoon naps, longer sleep hours, more time away from the office and longer, more frequent vacations — boosts productivity, job performance and, of course, health"

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The cult of busy

The cult of busy | Maximizing Your Productivity | Scoop.it
When I was younger I thought busy people were more important than everyone else. Otherwise why would they be so busy? I had busy bosses, busy parents, and always I just thought they must have reall...
Bob Corlett's insight:

Washington is obsessed with people trying to look important by being busy. But much of it is an illusion. Scott Berkun provides a healthy alternative approach. 

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Willpower is useless unless you have a clear image of your future self | Careers & HR | Executive | Financial Post

Willpower is useless unless you have a clear image of your future self | Careers & HR | Executive | Financial Post | Maximizing Your Productivity | Scoop.it
Using willpower to achieve goals may be futile without a clear picture of the future.
Bob Corlett's insight:

Want to make your New Years Resolutions stick? Check out this fascinating neuroscience research on what actually improves your willpower. 

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Why You Won't Finish This Article

Why You Won't Finish This Article | Maximizing Your Productivity | Scoop.it
Distraction at the office is hardly new, but as screens multiply and managers push frazzled workers to do more with less, businesses say the problem is worsening. Companies are experimenting with strategies to keep workers focused.
Bob Corlett's insight:

Businesses have praised workers for multitasking but that isn't necessarily a good thing, When you are focused on just a few things, you tend to solve problems faster.

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Research shows people need these 5 things to be happy at work - Fortune

Research shows people need these 5 things to be happy at work - Fortune | Maximizing Your Productivity | Scoop.it
Research and studies show there are five attributes that make people happy at work.
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Work Life Balance Tip: Go for Flow Instead

Work Life Balance Tip: Go for Flow Instead | Maximizing Your Productivity | Scoop.it
Forget work life balance, it's a bad concept. Work is a subset of life. It isn’t separate. Here's a work life balance tip: Forget balance and go for flow.
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The Secret to Success? Don't Give Up

The Secret to Success? Don't Give Up | Maximizing Your Productivity | Scoop.it

"Increasingly researchers are seeing that aptitude isn’t everything and that “non-cognitive skills” like persistence, planning and self-control can be more important than intelligence in the long run." 

Bob Corlett's insight:

Success is less about talent and more about grit, resilience, and learning from failure, 

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The best (and worst) times to do things at work

The best (and worst) times to do things at work | Maximizing Your Productivity | Scoop.it
Bob Corlett's insight:

Some of the best-known recommendations about time management are not supported by the facts. Here are some research-based recommendations about the best timing for your work tasks. 

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6 things that will make you more productive:

6 things that will make you more productive: | Maximizing Your Productivity | Scoop.it
Everything you need to know about 6 things that will make you more productive:
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How Your “Someday” List Reveals Who You Really Are And What You Really Want To Do

How Your “Someday” List Reveals Who You Really Are And What You Really Want To Do | Maximizing Your Productivity | Scoop.it

If you say you're going to do something someday what does that mean exactly? According to the team behind productivity app Any.do if you don't make progress on that goal within six weeks, you're probably never going to".

Bob Corlett's insight:

Not sure I buy this as a universal truth, based on who they sampled, but it's a thought provoking question. 

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Experts Take Notes. | Ben Casnocha

Experts Take Notes. | Ben Casnocha | Maximizing Your Productivity | Scoop.it

Recently, Mark Zuckerberg addressed a large auditorium of young entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley.... Every seat was taken, and the 20-somethings who aspired to entrepreneurial greatness were listening with rapt attention.According to my friend who relayed this story, there were two older folks in the front row who stood out: John Doerr and Ron Conway. They are both legendary investors in Silicon Valley.


They stood out not just because their gray hair shimmered in the sea of youth around them, but because they were the only people in the audience taking notes.


Bob Corlett's insight:

Constant learning is the hallmark of most successful people. Experts and highly productive people often take more notes than others. 

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Ten research-based steps to a happier life - Barking Up The Wrong Tree

Ten research-based steps to a happier life - Barking Up The Wrong Tree | Maximizing Your Productivity | Scoop.it
I went through a number of great books on happiness and pulled together ten research-based tips that can help build a happier life.
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The Case Against Multitasking

The Case Against Multitasking | Maximizing Your Productivity | Scoop.it
If you think you're good at multitasking, you're probably just fooling yourself. That's the point of a new study in the journal PLOS One, showing that people who think they are awesome at multitasking are also the ones who are pretty terrible at it.
Bob Corlett's insight:

This is really bad news for me, because i love to mutlitask, so I must be lousy at it. 

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Cynthia Kyriazis's curator insight, February 1, 2013 9:05 AM

If you're a multitasker, here's some interesting information ;)

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Want That Promotion? Practice Your Job.

Want That Promotion? Practice Your Job. | Maximizing Your Productivity | Scoop.it
Most of us yearn for promotions, but we rarely think about improving our job performance. Georgetown professor Cal Newport suggest taking cues from elite athletes and musicians and deliberately set out to practice our work.
Bob Corlett's insight:

There’s a difference between doing things you already know how to do and doing things that force you to stretch and improve your skills. Psychology professor K. Anders Ericsson, a leader in this field, explains that to get better—and win the promotions and opportunities most of us dream about—we must set out to intentionally improve our performance. In studying why some people develop remarkable careers, this is a key unheralded distinction between the average knowledge worker and the stars at most companies: the former work hard while the latter systematically train hard skills. Ericsson called this type of structured activity deliberate practice, and in his decades of research on the topic he’s found it to be the key for expert performance in every field. 

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Why Our Brains Like Short-Term Goals

Why Our Brains Like Short-Term Goals | Maximizing Your Productivity | Scoop.it
Put an end to failed New Year's resolutions. The key to accomplishing a grand vision is to work your way there with small, manageable goals.
Bob Corlett's insight:

Collecting wins, no matter how small, can chemically wire you to move mountains by causing a repeated release of dopamine. But to get going you have to land those first few successes. The key to creating your own cycle of productivity is to set a grand vision and work your way there with a few, achievable goals that increase your likelihood of experiencing a positive outcome.


“Your vision is your destination, and small, manageable goals are the motor that will get you there,” says Dr. Frank Murtha, a New York-based counseling psychologist with a focus on investor psychology, behavioral finance and financial risk taking. “Without the vision you’re on a road to nowhere. Without the goals, you have a destination but no motor. They work in tandem, and you need both.”

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Love Learning's comment, January 4, 2013 6:26 AM
I agree that small achievable goals make sense, but I think the link to the neuro science bit is highly questionable. The experiment mentioned is no more than skinner box grinding and suggesting that we don't learn from failure is plain wrong.