Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Art of the Good Life #5 : Productivity and counter-productivity

As I have just started working again for a prolonged period of time, it has become worth my time to start thinking productivity. The book I have chosen to read this week is entitled The Productivity Project by Chris Bailey. I will list out three outstanding life hacks here.

a) Drink water first thing in the morning

This simple hack is something worth trying out immediately. Drinking plain water can boost your metabolism by 24%.

b) Maintenance Day

Another useful hack is to institute a Maintenance day to do all your personal stuff in one batch. Designate a single day to perform routine personal tasks like clipping your nails, doing your hair and other acts of personal maintenance. This frees up the rest of your time to do more important projects.

c) Learn to day dream and focus your attention on a single task

Imagination pays its own dividends and you should devote some specific time just to daydream. This can be a great use of travel time. If you are not being deliberately distracted, avoid multitasking. Perform one task in short bursts of 25 minutes while taking a short break between each burst of concentrated effort.

The book contains a lot more hacks that are simple and elegant.

Coincidentally, The Art of the Good life has a very different chapter called counter-productivity which should have filled a much needed complementary chapter in The Productivity Project. There is this prevailing idea that technology will increase our productivity but we should be mindful that in reality, a lot of technology is counter productive. A car will allow you to match speeds above that of a public bus, but driving to work requires attention and you will end up wasting a lot of time looking for parking space. You will find in practice that folks with vehicles are not the most punctual folks to have around. Similarly, email just makes mailing so cheap that you end up sifting through tons of FYI emails in your workplace.

This makes simple productivity hacks more significant and meaningful.

Technology is not always the answer.

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