Tag Archives: Producteevity

19 simple, low tech, #productivity boosters


Photo credit: hawkexpress

We asked, and you answered! Here’s a list of “best” non-computer/non-software tools that increase productivity.

  • highlighter
  • pens
  • set of 10 color Stabilo 0,4mm Fineliners (point 88)
  • set of 6 color markers
  • idea paint
  • magnetic whiteboard
  • moleskine white book
  • contact manager
  • daytimer (for those still not up with technology)
  • index cards
  • binder clips
  • coffee
  • train ride
  • quiet time
  • blocks of time
  • productivity method or system
  • networking
  • social media – ways to get your message out to more people

Thanks to Producteev fans, Joseph Vilalta, and Ashton C. Mouton, Jr. for their contributions.

You might also like: The Endlessly Versatile Binder Clip


Productivity & Purpose from @jenny_blake – Our congrats to the Class of 2011!

Productivity & Purpose from Life After College by @jenny_blake

Judi’s guest post on the Productive Life Concepts blog by Royale on June 8, 2011


Photo by Galo Delgado at The Photobooth Project

Life After College, a new book by Jenny Blake, has been full of productive inspiration for me. In fact, I had the pleasure of attending the book launch in New York City, where I got to meet Jenny. I was truly blown away by her charisma.

The major themes of Life After College are: seizing the day, as well as the counterpart to that, which is instilling balance. The race to success, especially wealth and prestige, are so ingrained in the American lifestyle that it’s sometimes hard to remember to pause and recharge for your longterm wellbeing.

However, Jenny’s book helps with that and offers practical advice, workbook-like exercises and even recommended reading. The format also includes quotes from both famous people and everyday people on twitter. Divided into several sections, Life After College delves into: an overview on life, work, finances, the home, organization, friends & family, relationships, health, fun, and my favorite: personal growth.

To paraphrase the chapter on personal growth, the takeaways include: embracing the moment, as well as choosing when not to work, and instead doing the things that make you happy.

Often underestimated, they’re actually fundamental to personal productivity.

According to Jenny, personal growth also entails treating yourself well — on a psychological level. She gives advice on friending your inner voice.

The most valuable lesson from Life After College is the inspirational aspect and somehow mustering the courage and audacity to dream. After reading, the work has prompted me to write my major life goals, a sort of bucket list, if you will. Though somewhere in my mental repository, I had procrastinated writing them down out of fear.

Change starts now.

In her book launch speech, Jenny told the story of how her book was turned down numerous times by the publisher, but she refused to give up on a project she believed in. Any book, whether about life after college, a different period of life or other self-help issue, that encourages grand actions and provides tools for achieving them, is a book you won’t want to miss. Consider it my summer reading recommendation for you, regardless if you’re a part of the recent grad demographic!

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You might also like the following post by Jenny Blake: 5 Tips for Managing Your Energy, Not Your Time

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Really Good Community Tips on Time Management, inc the Pomodoro Technique


We can’t let David Allen have all the fun! Below are some great tips from students who’ve mastered time management, one of whom has really gotten the hang of the popular Pomodoro technique. It’s centered on a daily routine with intervals of 25 minutes of uninterrupted work — a “pomodoro” — and 5 minutes on break. A kitchen timer, like the one pictured here, is a must have. Download a 30-page guide for free.

Jason Shore of William Jewell College:

  • I keep all my important tasks on Producteev, and star them with the appropriate level. When using the pomodoro technique, I’ll begin with taking on my tasks that have the highest importance and then work my way down. I’ll normally have tabs open for my pomodoro timer and my Producteev tasks.
  • After about a month, it will feel more natural. Make sure to stick with it, as you do more “pomodoros” (25 minutes of uninterrupted work), you’ll get better at it. You’ll become so focused that your mind doesn’t wander until you hear your timer ding. I use tomato timer while using the pomodoro technique on the web, and Pomodroido while using it on my phone.
  • Project out your tasks, so your unplanned/urgent list is rather small. Normally, I’ll have about 2-3 times as many scheduled to-do’s as unplanned or urgent tasks. A lot of the time, I try to knock out any urgent task ASAP, and they never make it to my to-do list.
  • Keep distractions to a minimum. In today’s world with numerous distractions (my weakness is Twitter), it’s hard to stay focused on the task at hand.
  • Also, if the default times (25 minutes of work, 5 minutes of break) seem too long or short for the task at hand, adjust them to better fit. Depending on my deadline, I’ll adjust the time. Normally, I’ll just increase it, or skip a break.

Jessica Danger Hansen of Oregon State:

  • Take a 5-7 minute break after 30 minutes of diligent work, actively imagine yourself on vacation or simply spending time doing something you love and the leisurely/fun activities you would be doing, and then resume working for another solid half an hour, repeat! Mini mental vacations like that reset your brain and allow you to concentrate better and be more productive when you are working.
  • Set an alarm on your cell phone/pda/computer to go off at the time you decide to resume working, that way you can totally zone out without having to worry about knowing when to get back to work.
  • Pulling long days with studying [or working] 7/8 hours at a time definitely requires little breaks like this to let your mind reset and be able to continue to function at maximum potential.

Whether using as a crutch when it’s hard to focus or going all out in a Pomodoro frenzy, it’s worth a look. Try the Pomodoro Technique with your daily digest and let us know what you think!

Photo Credit: Alex Hung

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5 Productive Ways to Use Color | Producteevity


Color theory and the idea that certain colors elicit psychological response was popularized by the research of Dr. Max Luscher.

Color choice — both in your surroundings and on your person — can greatly assist with improving your mood.

What colors are you drawn to and how do you use them? You can give your home and office a splash of the right color(s) to heighten productivity. Here are a few suggestions:

Paint a power wall
use loud colors effectively with limited, strategic placement

Decorate your desk with preferred colors
feeling settled and comfortable, particularly in a color-sense, can keep you motivated through out the workday

Put colors to work
organize your files by color to save time, use highlighter tones for designated purposes

Hang something in your color by your door
rejuvenate each time you enter and exit the room

Center yourself with color
pick a yoga mat in a preferred color, or select an area rug that gives you that extra sense of balance

How do you make color work the way you do? We’d love to hear!

Photo credit: AuraVisions


From Procrastination to Concentration: Advice from Our CTO & Community

“I add all the things people ask me to do during the day to a Producteev workspace. Then I keep 2 hours at the end of the day (or the next day) to do it” – Aric Lasry, CTO.
How do you effectively deal with procrastination? At first, our CTO’s answer sounded like the very essence of procrastination. I had to dig deep to understand it, and I’m glad I found an interesting method (image at bottom of post) to help make sense of his feedback.

There is a difference between tasks that are hard to finish and hard to get to. Hard to finish implies that a task is intense and feels like it’s draining your brain cells. Hard to get to, on the other hand, is often mis-categorized in the realm of procrastination.

There is yet another difference, perhaps so slight that it is hard to detect, between procrastination and time management. The latter can be misunderstood as the former. This is how I misunderstood what Aric said. His process for completing tasks actually resembles the Zone Quadrant, one of the four quadrants you should read about.

The concept of moving responsibilities from one quadrant to another can be tricky. So to get tasks in the desired, or “good quadrants” — those being high demand/management and The Zone/focus, the following environmental and behavior modifications can go a long way.

Though some, including author of said method, recommend things like saying “no” and delegating more to cope with an overwhelming to-do list, we recommend:

  • relaxation techniques
  • careful music selection
    • depending on urgency
  • disconnecting from devices

But don’t take it from us, check out these amazing responses from our community!


You’ll want to check out the full article The Four Quandrants to Help You Prepare to learn more.

Photo credit: College Grad Life

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6 Tricks for Good Sleep & Getting Things Done Like a Productivity Rockstar


Like it or not, a good night’s rest — like a solid break from work — increases productivity in the long run. In a new blog section nicknamed Producteevity, we recently wrote about 3 Ways to Boost Brainpower and you guessed it — sleep is one of them.

In our epic quest to share the latest about getting the most out of work while still having a life, we found an interesting resource and related question on Quora: What methods can I use to clear my mind to help me concetrate in the day and sleep at night?

Below is an answer summary we crafted, with some useful takeways.

  1. During the day, be mindful of the foods you eat, as well as your caffeine intake.
  2. Exercise, but not too late at night.
  3. Maintain a cozy sleeping environment, paying attention to light especially.
  4. Prepare for bed with warm things — a warm shower with shower head, a warm drink.
  5. Before going to bed, write down what’s on your mind. A journal may be helpful.
  6. Don’t remain restless in bed for prolonged periods of time. If having difficulty falling asleep, train your mind with a mantra, recall a positive memory, or simply breathe deeply.

We’d love to hear what you think! Feel free to comment on this post, or better yet add to the accumulating body of wisdom being amassed on Quora.

And don’t forget: Sleep well. Work better.

Photo credit: Chrisin Plymouth

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3 Ways to Boost Brain Power & Enhance Productivity


Fact: your brain is a super computer. As such, proper maintanance is required to ensure success and productivity. Like a computer needs electricity to function, your brain is energy-dependent. It relies on chemicals, primarily oxygen and sugar, to transmit information.

To reach complete potential and greater productivity, be mindful of the following factors:

  • Exercise
  • Sleep
  • Stress

Each stems from Brain Rules by John Medina.

Exercise boosts brain power.
You’ve probably heard that exercise is good for your heart. What you may not have known, is that exercise is good for your brain, too. Although the human brain comprises 2% of total body mass, on average it accounts for 20% of the body’s oxygen consumption. Exercise is one way of providing food for the brain.

Miss recess as a child? Take a ten minute exercise break to invigorate your workflow. Get things done at home as a freelancer? Spend a few minutes completing a household chore. You’ll return to your desk more energized and have one less item on your personal to-do list.

Sleep well, think well.
Medina explains,

“The bottom line is that sleep loss means mind loss. Sleep loss cripples thinking in just about every way you can measure thinking. Sleep loss hurts attention, executive function, immediate memory, working memory, mood, quantitative skills, logical reasoning ability, general math knowledge.

Eventually, sleep loss affects manual dexterity, including fine motor control and even gross motor movements…”

Aside from making non-morning people cranky, not getting enough sleep can hurt the quality of their work and the ability to do their job well. If nap time is no longer an option, going to bed that extra fifteen minutes early is a sacrifice worth making.

Stressed brains don’t learn the same way.
Many of us are already familiar with the concept of stress comprimising the immune system. High levels of stress lead to more doctors visits and missed work. In the brain, stress severely impacts the hippocampus. Essentially, the hippocampus is located in the center of the brain, and its key function with regards to productivity relates to memory – particularly in the storage and processsing of new information. In short, stress hinders performance by blocking ideas from being committed to memory.

As an individual, techniques like meditation and therapeutic massage are known to decrease stress. In addition, many find aromatherapy to be beneficial for combatting stress.

For an organization, on the other hand, Medina recommends that managers equip workplaces with the following anti-stressors:

  1. Greater freedom with employee responsibilities
  2. A certain level of variety in assigned tasks

Check out these awesome Chapter Summaries (PDF) to learn about all eight principles covered in Medina’s book. The more you know about how the brain works and what its needs are, the better equipped you’ll be to do amazing things with it.

Photo credit: Zachary Veach

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