Top 10 Productivity Hacks – #2

Quick intro: This is one in a series of Top Productivity Hacks – little tips and tricks that are designed to make you more productive. At the end of the series I’ll post them all together in an overview.

Productivity Hack #2: Work off-line as much as possible

You’re doing it right now — the biggest distraction ever invented. The Internet can keep you occupied — and unproductive — for hours on end.

To increase your productivity, disconnect your Internet connection. Have scheduled times when you’re going to check your email, and only let yourself check your blogs or surf the web when you’ve gotten a certain amount done. When you do go online, do it on a timer. When the timer goes off, unplug again until the next scheduled time.

You’ll be amazed at how much work you’ll get done.

This is one of the best productivity tips I’ve ever used. Period.

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Top 10 Productivity Hacks – #1

Quick intro: This is one in a series of Top Productivity Hacks – little tips and tricks that are designed to make you more productive. At the end of the series I’ll post them all together in an overview.

Top 10 Productivity Hacks – #1

Productivity Hack #1: Do something you’re passionate about.

This might not seem like the normal productivity tip, but give it a thought: if you really want to do something, you’ll work like hell to get it done. You’ll work extra hard, you’ll put in even more hours, and you’re less likely to procrastinate. It’s for work that you don’t really care about that you procrastinate.

For some people, this tip might not seem too practical, especially if you’re in a humdrum job that you don’t really feel like doing. It’s for you that this tip was written: if you hate your job, or are just doing it for the money, I highly recommend that you give this some thought. If you must force yourself to do work every day, you can only do this for so long before burning out. You’ll probably quit eventually anyway, so give it some consideration now.

What do you really want to be doing right now? (Don’t say sleeping!) What do you love doing? What is your dream job, and how can you get it? Give this some thought, not just right now but for the next few days. If you can identify that job, your next step is to plan how to get it.

My suggestions:

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Clear Out Your Inbox

I use Cloudmagic exclusively for email on my mobile devices, and it constitutes a major part of my job. I get a fair amount of email each hour, and I am pretty quick at responding.

However, one thing you’ll notice about my Cloudmagic inbox is that it is just about always empty.

It gives me a great feeling to have a clean inbox, a feeling of peace and calm and satisfaction. I highly recommend it to everyone. I wasn’t always like this — I had many emails in my inbox in the past. They would sit in there, sometimes unread, sometimes just waiting on an action, sometimes waiting to be filed, and others just waiting because I was procrastinating. I also had many folders for filing my email, so I could find them when I needed them. It would take me awhile to file sometimes, so I would put it off. Many people I know are the same way.

But GTD changed that (as well as 43 Folders and others), and for nearly a year now, I’ve been fairly consistent about having a clean inbox.

Here are my simple steps to achieving Email Zen:

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Observe, Orient, Decide And Act.

Things never go as smoothly as you want them to. In business, there are always unexpected shocks and changes. Flexibility is crucial in keeping your company afloat.

To tackle uncertainty, incorporate the OODA loop into your processes. OODA stands for observe, orient, decide and act. And it’s a loop, because even though there are four separate actions, the sequence itself is continuous. Once you finish the final step, you start all over again.

Here’s how the OODA loop breaks down.

  1. First, you observe. Look at what’s happening around you. How are customers using your product?
  2. Second, you orient. Analyze the information you’ve gathered and formulate ideas about how to improve.
  3. Third,you decide. Form a hypothesis about how to improve your product or service.
  4. Fourth, you act. Move quickly to implement your hypothesis.

This brings you back to the first step: you return to observing, this time around to see how customers are using your new, improved product.

Online video streaming company YouTube used this process early on. Did you know that at first, the company was actually a dating site that allowed users to rate each other’s photos and videos?

But when company leaders observed user behavior, they noticed that people were far more interested in uploading any video, not just dating-related clips. With this insight, the company oriented themselves, brainstorming ideas about how to improve.

Next, company executives decided to simply make YouTube open to all types of videos, with the thought that at the very least, the move would improve traffic numbers. Users quickly started posting all sorts of videos, from cats to lectures and more.

To further its reach, YouTube acted quickly to make embeddable code available for MySpace users, which was then the dominant online social network.

Yet YouTube quickly outgrew even MySpace and in 2006, the founders sold YouTube to Google for $1.65 billion.

The Short but Powerful Guide to Finding Your Passion

“The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play.” – Arnold Toynbee

Following your passion can be a tough thing. But figuring out what that passion is can be even more elusive.

I’m lucky — I’ve found my passion, and I’m living it. I can testify that it’s the most wonderful thing, to be able to make a living doing what you love.

And so, in this little guide, I’d like to help you get started figuring out what you’d love doing. This turns out to be one of the most common problems of many readers — including many who recently responded to me on Twitter.

This will be the thing that will get you motivated to get out of bed in the morning, to cry out, “I’m alive! I’m feeling this, baby!”. And to scare your family members or anyone who happens to be in yelling distance as you do this.

This guide won’t be comprehensive, and it won’t find your passion for you. But it will help you in your journey to find it.

Here’s how.

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The Five Things You Need to Know About Finding the Work You Love

“You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers … If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” – Steve Jobs in a Stanford commencement speech

The Five Things You Need to Know About Finding the Work You Love

One of the keys to happiness — as well as productivity and effectiveness at work — is finding work you love, that you’re passionate about. Work you want to do, instead of just have to do.

If you really want to do it, it barely seems like work at all.

I’ve finally found that work, in blogging here and with entrepreneurship in general. I don’t drag my feet to go to work anymore — now I can’t wait to get up early and start working.

And I’m just one of many who’ve done that — there are people all over the world pursuing their dreams, working with passion, losing themselves in their work. Are you one of them? Do you want to be?

The difficult thing for many people is finding what that work is in the first place. They don’t know where to start, and it seems a hopeless cause.

It’s not. You can find that work, but it’ll take some effort. Here’s what you need to know about finding the work you love:

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