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Productivity Roll-Up: To App or Not to App, Retraining Your Brain, and Reading More for Productivity’s Sake

Conspire focused heavily on the art of productivity in July, covering everything from alternative productivity tips to app-free efficiency, multi-tasking and retraining our easily-distractible brains. Check out our eight favorite pieces, below.

6 Alternative Productivity Tips for Business Rebels

You’ve heard it all, and probably tried it, too: the tips, tricks, approaches, and products aimed at boosting your productivity. You know that being productive means getting organized. Being prepared. Avoiding your phone. Drinking ginseng tea. It means using radial thinking and mind mapping, downloading the right apps, taking the first step, and understanding the why instead of just the what.

While these are all useful tips for some, maybe they’re not useful for you. And so, for all you productivity rebels out there, I’d like to throw a wrench into our common assumptions about what it means to get things done. Here are 6 alternative productivity tips to try when traditional tricks just aren’t cutting it.

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Multi-Tasking is Productivity’s Biggest Killer

No one in the professional world is a stranger to wishing for more time to complete a task, but with today’s technology, constant connection and consequent distraction, time is no longer our biggest problem. Instead, today we’re faced with a more self-imposed complication: multi-tasking.

Gloria Mark, a UC Irvine professor who studies digital distraction, says it can take some people up to 23 minutes to return to their task after being interrupted. It didn’t take me quite that long to get back into the swing of this article, but when I think of the number of times I fall down the rabbit hole of alerts per hour, it ends up being a lot of time lost.

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How Your Agile Business Strategy Affects Productivity

“These days, to say that you’re not agile is the equivalent of saying that you’re not potent.”

At least that’s how Ivar Jacobson famously put it during his presentation at the Rational Software Developer’s Conference a few years back. At the time, “agile” business hadn’t yet become the practice du jour that it is now, but the idea still resonates with companies focused on folding themselves into an agile structure. The difference? These days, to say you’re not agile is a lot like saying you don’t understand the value of productivity.

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Productivity Hack: Read More, Get More Done

Ask a busy knowledge worker if they’ve read any good books lately, and nine times out of ten, you’ll get a response like this: “Oh, I’d love to read more, but I just don’t have the time.”

A couple months ago, I would have said the same thing myself. But I finally decided that enough was enough, and dammit, I would make the time to read more. Over the past few weeks, I’ve journeyed from the steppes of Central Asia to the French-Italian Alps to the distant planet Tralfamadore. It’s been wonderful, even life-changing. And despite the (extremely well-spent) time I’ve devoted to it, my new-found erudition has paradoxically improved my productivity, rather than weakened it.

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Retrain the Brain: 3 Tips for Redirecting Office Distractions

Between today’s devices, apps and online tools, office workers are pretty set in terms of resources for getting a job done. Unfortunately, such digital support isn’t without its downers, including a hefty amount of data, numerous alerts, and other distractions that periodically steal the spotlight over the course of a work day.

Technology: first it giveth, and then it taketh away.

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10 App-Free Ways to Increase Productivity at Work

It might sound crazy, but there are a few ways you can increase business productivity besides using productivity apps or other high-tech tools. I know, I know — as someone who spends his days of toil finding new ways to get people to love Mindjet, it seems patently insane. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t head over to our shop to try a certain collaborative work management app, but there are plenty of tech-free ways to get more work done — and be happier doing it.

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5 Must-Have Productivity Apps for Mobile Workers

Productivity can be tough, but things tend to get even tougher when mobility gets thrown in the mix. Developers everywhere have responded to the challenge with a countless number of applications, but by mimicking the desktop experience most of them haven’t managed to fit in with our smaller screens. Thankfully, recent times have yielded a handful of truly mobile-friendly options for a some of the business world’s biggest time sucks.

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Four Reasons Your Work/Life Balance Isn’t Cut Out for Multi-Tasking

The modern worker — myself included — takes a lot of pride in their ability to accomplish an improbable number of things per week, per day, and even per hour. And I’m not just talking about completing work tasks at an impressive speed. We’ve made it our collective goal to create a race of super-cool, super-successful, super-innovative super-people, and it’s killing us. Here are four reasons your so-called work/life balance isn’t cut out for multi-tasking.

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