Okay, so you feel like absolute crapola for some reason. You have a deadline and need to work. What are your personal best practices? [more inside]
When I want to do work that involves writing, I find that I am most productive during the hours of around 11 PM to 6 AM, because it takes me all evening to wind down from the day and get into a mindset where I can focus on creative/writing work. My circadian rhythm will then be messed up for the next three days or so. This is incompatible with my class and work schedule as a medical student. [more inside]
I'm a full-time public librarian, and I'm always in public - no off-desk time. I really like the customer service aspects of the job, but find it hard to complete other tasks in a timely manner. What productivity tools or other strategies can I use, given that the interruptions are inevitable (and even desirable in some cases)? [more inside]
I want to take control of my time, writing output, attention and procrastination, bedtime, exercise, and diet. What tools should I use to track what I eat, how I spend my time, what I spend money on, when I exercise, when I go to sleep and wake up, and how many words I write per day. [more inside]
I regularly flake on email responses-- both personal and professional. (I have all the comorbidities you'd expect: ADHD, perfectionism, perpetual writer's block, mild social anxiety, introversion, disorganization, procrastination/avoidant tendencies.) I'm starting a new job and need this particular behavior to stop forthwith. Short of completely overhauling my whole effed-up executive function, is there an ironclad system I can implement to ensure that every single one of those emails gets answered punctually? [more inside]
Help me implement GTD in a manageable fashion. I get lost in details, and need help keeping track of the pieces. I have access to web apps and a shiny new ipad air. Snowflakes inside. Tell me what has worked for you, and please offer practical advice. [more inside]
What software are you happy using, so much so that you are willing to part with your hard earned money? [more inside]
[A fairly mundane issue, so apologies if something similar has been answered, but I didn't see anything.] I function normally at work, and get things done just fine, but on my down time I fail completely to meet even marginally acceptable levels of time management. [more inside]
So a book I wrote is about to be published, and for my own sanity I think I need to stop looking at the ranking/reviews on my Amazon page. Until I grow some more self-control, I need help. Is there a plugin (or other method) I can use to block all Amazon pages relating to my book? [more inside]
Help me find a blog/article on using Outlook as the email organization/productivity system! My google searches are failing. [more inside]
What checklists and frameworks do you use in your professional life? [more inside]
At the beginning of Cirillo's paper on using and implementing the Pomdoro technique, there is a metaphysical justification about how we perceive time that is optimal. It seems opposed to the Pomodoro technique. Has anyone justified it? [more inside]
After struggling with Evernote, I finally found my notetaking, task-tracking, save-everything soulmate in Springpad. But now it's going out of business! Please help me find a feature-rich alternative? [more inside]
I'd like an iOS or mac (OSX) app that will pop up on my phone or computer screen between certain hours of the day, at defined intervals to ask me what I've been doing since it last asked. I'd like the list of options to be totally flexible and I'd like it to not go away until I tell it what I've been doing.
Discipline seems to be a fundamental trait: if you have it, you can have the self-control (and delayed gratification) to improve your health, work, and other parts of your life that seem to rely on having discipline. So how does one go about developing and improving discipline?
Can any caregivers here offer tips on managing bandwidth (time and emotions)? Looking specifically for practical tricks/hacks to quickly switch mood states when time allocated to productive work is interrupted by big and small worries. [more inside]
How did you kick procrastination and become productive? What was your process? I've been in denial of my low productivity for years and I want to fix it. [more inside]
Personal progress: What personal development changes have you made that have had a big impact on your life? [more inside]
I am working for myself on a software project based on an idea of mine. I have no clear estimates of how long things would take, because most steps are new concepts, and I don't know how to do them off the bat. I have been trying out Scrum, but it seems the same item gets recycled week after week because it is not done yet. I have the problem of getting easily distracted, so this apparent lack of progress based on these metrics is making me lose confidence and procrastinate. I need a better way to organize myself and maintain productivity. I use Trello for managing the project and it's great, but it does not help with productivity, time estimates, WHEN to do things and how long to allocate.
Oh hai. I have a serious case of the ADHDs, and with that comes a very poor sense of time. Apps, timers, and calendar reminders help, but I think a physical reminder would be much more effective. Do you know of a bracelet I can buy that will vibrate at regular time intervals? Preferably one that doesn't look like it belonged to a middle school boy in the 1980s? (I'm pretty sure the FitBit doesn't offer this feature, and Jawbone only vibrates if you've been sedentary for a certain period of time. I do love the look of it, though.) Thanks!!
Some years ago, I read about a study on workplace productivity, set up to test the effect of a new office layout (or perhaps some other physical feature of work environment). They changed to the new layout, and productivity jumped up. Over the following months, however, productivity tailed off to the original levels. So they changed the layout back to the original one. Again, productivity spiked suddenly and gradually declined back to the baseline. It was concluded that, whatever the relative merits of different office arrangements, the very act of making a change causes a temporary productivity increase. Does anyone know where I can find this study? [more inside]
I'm an HR manager in a company and am looking to buy a PERSONAL tablet to use in meetings for taking notes, keeping to-do lists and storing/viewing notes. I'd love to be able to handwrite into the notes, but that's not a deal-breaker as long as the tablet is functional. I have some flexibility on price, but would really like to stay under $400. Bonus points for internet functionality without wifi. [more inside]
Help me turn my iPad into a work productivity tool. [more inside]
I've taken on a lot of work recently and I feel like I am at capacity, yet it seems like other more successful people manage to do so much more, and with greater efficiency. How do these people manage to use their time so well? [more inside]
Like most women, I experience some mood variations throughout my cycle. Right before my period actually starts, I feel a burst of energy which makes me feel more creative and productive. [more inside]
Need advice from desktop productivity nerds, radio nerds, MP3 playlist nerds, and general problem solving nerds. I volunteer at a community FM radio station. Everything we play is a stream from a Winamp playlist (look inside for the reasons for this). We need a piece of software (or a creative solution) that can be automated to jump to a place in a playlist and then schedule itself from there. Very complex details inside. [more inside]
I have come to realize after attempting to plan my own wedding, and now landing two nonprofit jobs that involve some degree of event planning, that I hate it, and I am really bad at it. Since these are the jobs I have, how can I improve? [more inside]
I have trouble getting work done if I'm not in the right mood, which is a rarity. I've become an extreme avoider of anything that will make me mad or frustrated or remind me of things that make me mad and frustrated. The problem is that I’m the number two in a small, overly-ambitious company that may just be the most frustrating one in existence. So I have what many would call an impossible workload and also a massive amount of frustration. The latter unfortunately usually cancels out the former for me and leads to much more of both. Oh, and I can’t easily quit, because it’s a family business and my boss/dad’s life’s work. Simply put, I need to do a complete 180. I need to go from being an emotionally-scarred avoider to a guy that can do what needs to be done even when he feels like screaming until his lungs explode. Paper thin skin to tank armor. I’ve taken too long to realize that if I don’t solve this now, it may ruin the company and my life. I’ll take whatever you can give me: advice, coping techniques, books or articles I should read, websites and online communities I should visit, specific counseling suggestions (not just “get counseling”), whatever. I just can’t take it anymore. [more inside]
I recently started reading all my email on my smartphone. I still want to download every message in Thunderbird on my Mac (to archive it), but I don't want to manually mark everything as read after downloading it. Is there a way to either disable the "unread" flag, or auto-mark all new messages as read when they are received? [more inside]
Following on from the recent question on scientific personal development books, are there any scientific writings on productivity systems? I am aware of systems like GTD, and find parts of these useful, but they also seem to be "this worked for me" rather than based on significant empirical research.
It's the goal writing season, and I recently came across an article that explained a specific technique for writing down one's goals. [more inside]
I have a number of goals, not quite new year's resolutions exactly, but the new year is getting me going on implementing them. They include reading more, running more, staying on top of current events, continuing to study French, listening to more new-to-me music, things like that. None of these are measurable or "SMART" goals, and that's the way I want it--I want this stuff to become a habit, not a chore. How can I automate these goals so that they are more likely to just happen? [more inside]
I'm trying to recall a business/self-help book. The main idea was that setting goals and pacing yourself is counterproductive, and that accomplishment happens by immersing one's self in a big idea. Steve Jobs, etc. I believe the cover was an illustration of a businessman opening a shirt to reveal a superhero costume. There may have been a critique of Tony Schwartz' energy management model inside. It was probably written in the last ten years. Can anyone name the book?
During my studies I've dragged myself into some sort of downward spiral: falling behind multiple times but still managing to pick myself up, only to find myself struggling even more. I've now arrived at a point where I feel completely broken and depressed. I need to find a way to start off again without feeling overwhelmed by everything else that still needs to, or can be done. I seems the only way to regain control is if I could be as carefree as I was as a freshman. [more inside]
I need some advice on getting things done. I have several large personal projects I've been trying to work on for a long time, but I am having trouble making even the smallest dent in each. [more inside]
I'm looking for suggestions for games that fit well for short breaks in between getting stuff done. See inside for more info on the kind of properties that I think would be good. [more inside]
I just got a 3' x 4' (91 cm x 121 cm) whiteboard installed in my office. And I can't think of a single way to use it. Any ideas? [more inside]
My depression seems to have come roaring back all at once this weekend. I know how to take care of myself in the long-term scale, but I have an important and difficult life event in two days, and a lot of work to do in the interim. [more inside]
I bought a new macbook and it came with a £70 ($110) gift card for use in iTunes, iBookstore, and Mac App store. I have a Macbook air, iPad 3 and iPhone 4, and I'm definitely not making full use of any of them, especially the iPad. I know I can sell it but I'd rather see if there's anything I could use it for first. What should I use the gift card for? [more inside]
What's the system for learning and following the rules that's described by the numbers one, two, and three in what I think is an Asian language? [more inside]
I recently bought a Nexus 7 (I love it!) as a companion to academic work. I've primarily been using Google apps for communication and collaboration over Drive and Gmail, in addition to traditional tablet tasks like web browsing and social media. However I'm less than impressed with the bundled PDF reader, and would really like suggestions (first) about good .pdf reading software that allows for rich annotations in documents. Secondly, I'm interest in any productivity apps for Android tablets that others have used for academic / writing / office style work. [more inside]
As part of an effort to better track my time and increase self-accountability while I'm working from home on easily procrastinatible projects, I'd like to record what I'm doing online and provide an running commentary. For example, I'd like the video to capture that I'm typing this question on mefi, and my voiceover explaining what I'm doing and how (if?) it contributes to what I'm trying to accomplish. I need something more than apps that track how much time on which websites. The apps and methods I've tried or seen are aimed at distribution of the final product for videos, on-line training, etc. They require a lot of processing power and produce large files. I'm looking for something that's lightweight and saves (by default, not by compression later) as a small file. Resolution is not an issue; the lower the better. The easier to install and use the better. [more inside]
I have the desire to be a musician, and I have some pretty nice resources, but I can't stick to anything! Help? [more inside]
How do you force yourself to work hard when you just don't care? I'm looking for practical tips/tricks, cognitive/behavioral strategies, and MacGyver-ish life kludges for pervasive procrastination. [more inside]
I work for a 25-person agency with horrifically outdated software practices. Help us join the 21st century of project and time tracking! [more inside]
Is there a way to implement selective Pomodoro-timed site-blocking in Safari? [more inside]
I've kind of started to implement htid's excellent advice regarding breaking depression-based habits, but I don't have a good way to keep track of my goals. So, what's a good way for me to keep track of how many times I've done multiple different tasks? Paper and pencil doesn't really work for me. Something I can do on my iPhone would be best. [more inside]
My company bought me a (cheap) whiteboard, probably from Staples, for my office. It is 36 x 24 inches. I cannot get it to stay clean. I have tried several markers and the "best" so far is the Expo dry erase. I also have a spray bottle of Expo white board cleaner. The trouble is I cannot get the board to get really clean. A history of everything I've ever written on the board is still there, faintly. What products have you used that seem to work successfully? Any tips? Thanks!
I'm a second-year masters student in a professional degree program (MPH). I have been assigned to a carrell (img) and would like to make the most of it. It feels kind of gross so I'd like to give it a good cleaning, but after that, how can I make it a great study/work spot away from home? [more inside]
On most days at work, I have three hour long meetings with a coworker. The vast majority of the time is spent watching her document every single change she makes to the system, and watching her compose emails. Both these tasks and the actual 'work'- changes to a system- could easily be done by one person. In fact, they are done by one person- the rest of us (around 3 or 4 people) just sit and watch. Sometimes she lets someone else use the keyboard, but she tells them exactly what to do. [more inside]