13 Ways to (Productively) Waste Time

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Blog Content:Please tell me

  • Quote: -Henry Ford
  • Article: Many studies and personal experience show that working long and hard can reduce productivity. We need a break and a refocus, but we do not want to waste the time. This article hits on some ideas to take a break without wasting valuable time. The article link by Jessica Stillman from Inc. Magazine is: http://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/13-ways-to-productively-waste-time.html?cid=sf01002 . The article also has a lot of great imbedded links.

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Improved productivity means less human sweat, not more.

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13 Ways to (Productively) Waste Time

Need a few minutes browsing the web to recharge your brain? There are better options for those minutes than dogs on skateboards.

It’s 3:30 in the afternoon or right before lunch on a Friday and it’s clear: your brain just isn’t going to do any more work at this exact moment. Experts suggest you not fight the impulse.

Numerous studies have shown that we actually get more done if we take periodic breaks away from work to refresh. So the question isn’t should you kick back for a few minutes, it’s what’s the best use of that time? Facebook, cute kittens, or a quick glance at the sports scores might be the go-to answer for most of us, but the Web offers far more than just brain-rotting distraction. Here are a few fresh ideas:

Parlez-vous Français?

The Web is a great resource for those looking to learn a second language. Try Duolingo for a handful of European languages. Memrise is a great tool to build your vocabulary (or remember anything really). Or, if you’re not looking for fluency but just want to know how to ask for the bathroom on your next trip abroad, BBC Languages can help.

Study Up

No matter what subject you want to learn, there’s probably an Internet resource to assist you. Try Khan Academy for free, bite-sized education videos (great for refreshing the memory about your kid’s homework), or Coursera or Yale Open Courses for a deeper dive.

Read Something Smart

Know you want to read something smart but not sure what exactly you’re after? The eclectic offerings at Medium, a platform to share your ideas in writing, might be for you.

A Knowledge Injection

Sometimes you just don’t feel like reading. That doesn’t mean you can’t be learning. TED has more than 1,700 fascinating talks to suit every inclination, on topics ranging from dancing dung beetles (seriously) and body language to Larry Page on the future of Google.

Go Zen

Why do you need to take so many breaks in the first place? Are you stressed? Zenhabits can help you calm down, simplify, and enjoy life more.

Code

Of course you want to learn how to code–everyone says you ought to–maybe now is the time to actually get started. Codeacademy can help you learn JavaScript, HTML/CSS, Ruby, Python, or PHP.

Plan Dinner

This is a strategy for double enjoyment. You get to fantasize about the tastiness now and actually savor it later. Cooklet, Epicurious, or Serious Eats, among many others, offer inspiration. (Note: not recommended immediately before lunch.)

Make it Yourself

Are you a DIY enthusiast? Hackaday offers you a new project with instructions every single day.

Set Your Financial House in Order

Want to finally keep track of your spending and set your household budget in order? A few minutes on Mint.com is all it takes. Need info? The Simple Dollar and Get Rich Slowly offer advice.

Seek Out Answers

Do you have a question you always wanted an answer to? Q&A site Quora can help. A generous community offers thoughtful responses to just about any question, with even high profile folks like startup founders and VCs taking the time to share their knowledge. Or you could just browse through the myriad, fascinating questions others have already asked.

Shred

Inside every serious entrepreneur, there’s a repressed guitar hero dying to come out. Feed your inner rockstar (or jazz great) on your break with Justin Guitar. (Note: requires an office where you won’t feel mortified strumming a guitar.)

Stargaze

This isn’t only for the overnight shift. Heavens-above.com lets you learn and track all the constellations.

…or Just Go With the Dog on the Skateboard

Sometimes, honestly, nothing will do but LOLcats. Here’s the good news: you can actually plausibly claim that looking at cute animal pictures boosts your productivity. Thank you, science.

 

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 GUEST BLOGS WELCOME!

 

     Jeff

      Advance always, retreat never!

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5 Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective

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#PLAN — #PUSH — #PREVAILKey for Choice

Blog Content:

  • Quote: – Jarod Kintz
  • Article: Deeply believe that making a to-do list is critical for many reasons. It provides a path with mile-markers that I look to as marking progress and accomplishment. I feel a sense of satisfaction when I am able to mark an item off the list. It doesn’t matter if it is a big or a little item, just taking out the red pen and drawing a line through the task feels good. This article Gwen Moran from Fast Company ( http://www.fastcompany.com/3026738/work-smart/5-ways-to-make-your-to-do-lists-more-effective?utm_source=facebook ) adds five keys to making the list an even more productive tool. I hope you find value in the article.

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Jarod Kintz

“To Do Today, 1/17/08
1. Sit and think
2. Reach enlightenment
3. Feed the cats”
― Jarod Kintz, “I Should Have Renamed This”

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5 Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective

If your daily task list has become a compilation of things you never get done, use these tips to make it work for you.

To-do lists seem pretty straightforward: A list of all of the tasks you plan to accomplish during any given day or week. And, really, there are few things more satisfying than drawing lines through each entry. Progress!

But, many times, they balloon to unrealistic levels, and we end up feeling overwhelmed and ineffective. That’s usually because we’re using them as a catch-all for every task that’s thrown at us. Instead, our lists should be derived from our larger goals and include tasks that move us toward those big-picture endeavors, says Robert C. Pozen, senior lecturer at Harvard Business School and Brookings Institution senior fellow. Pozen, author of Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours, says some simple tweaks can make your to-do list a better productivity tool.

1. Write it the night before.

When you take a few minutes to write your to-do list the night before, you can hit the ground running the next morning, Pozen advises. For many people, morning is a high-energy time and having your to-do list already in hand means you don’t waste any super-charged minutes figuring out what to do next.

2. Qualify the contents.

Everything that goes on your daily to-do list should fit two criteria: It should be something important that you need to do–versus that which doesn’t really need to be done or which can be delegated to someone else–and something that needs to be done on that day. Too often, we stuff our lists with items that we don’t need to do or which don’t need to be done today. That crowds out the more important items and might result in working longer hours unnecessarily. If you breeze through your important and urgent tasks for the day, you can move on to the next day’s tasks or other items that are not important or urgent, but which you want to do.

“When people don’t take control, they go through their days passively. They go to meetings, they answer email, and when they get to the end of the day, what they’ve done is responded to other people’s priorities and not their own,” he says.

3. Assign time estimates.

Whether it’s five minutes or two hours, include an estimate of how long it will take to complete, recommends Omar Kilani, cofounder of popular to-do list app Remember The Milk. That way, you see how the tasks’ completion times accumulate and “you can make realistic decisions about how much you can really fit into your day,” he says.

4. Use sections.

Pozen divides his list into two columns. On the left-hand side, he make a chronological list of the things that need to be done, such as meetings, conference calls, and appointments. On the right-hand side he lists what he hopes to get done during those events, like coming up with a plan or discussing a particular issue. Underneath his chronological list he include items that have to be done that day, but aren’t assigned to a particular time, in order of priority. That way, when he has a few minutes of down-time, he can check his list and see which tasks he can tackle to make the best use of that time.

5. Re-evaluate items you’ve put off.

Kilani’s app allows users to postpone tasks, but also keeps track of the days postponed. If you’re repeatedly bumping an important task to the next day, you need to look at why. Either it’s not that important or urgent and shouldn’t be on your list or there’s a problem you need to solve to allow you to complete it. Either way, it’s a signal that something is wrong.

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minion call to actionThanks and please follow via Email, comment, tweet, re-post, or like via Facebook pages (Jeff Halloran, WYROC, and/or Linking Charities)

 GUEST BLOGS WELCOME!

 

     Jeff

      Advance always, retreat never!