Monthly Archives: March 2007

Seven Questions That Will Change Your Life

Self-reflection is the name of the game. When you look back at your week, are you happy with what you’ve done? Was it productive or wasteful?

Alex Shalman asks himself seven questions each week to keep him on track. Whether or not you think all seven are necessary, looking back at your actions objectively will work in your favor. Try them out now:

  • 1. What will I try to improve on next week?
  • 2. What was I most proud of this week?
  • 3. What was my biggest accomplishment this week?
  • 4. What have I done to get closer to my life goals this week?
  • 5. What was hard for me this week, and why?
  • 6. What was my biggest waste of time this week?
  • 7. What did I do this week that made me ashamed?

If this becomes a regular thing, it could well change your life. If you’re a practicing GTDer, fit some of these questions in your weekly review.
Seven Questions That Will Change Your Life – [AlexShalman]


How To Get The Perfect Nap

Here’s how to get a good nap:

  • 1 The first consideration is psychological: Recognize that you’re not being lazy; napping will make you more productive and more alert after you wake up.
  • 2 Try to nap in the morning or just after lunch; human circadian rhythms make late afternoons a more likely time to fall into deep (slow-wave) sleep, which will leave you groggy.
  • 3 Avoid consuming large quantities of caffeine as well as foods that are heavy in fat and sugar, which meddle with a person’s ability to fall asleep.
  • 4 Instead, in the hour or two before your nap time, eat foods high in calcium and protein, which promote sleep.
  • 5 Find a clean, quiet place where passersby and phones won’t disturb you.
  • 6 Try to darken your nap zone, or wear an eyeshade. Darkness stimulates melatonin, the sleep- inducing hormone.
  • 7 Remember that body temperature drops when you fall asleep. Raise the room temperature or use a blanket.
  • 8 Once you are relaxed and in position to fall asleep, set your alarm for the desired duration (see below).

How Long Is A Good Nap?

THE NANO-NAP: 10 to 20 seconds Sleep studies haven’t yet concluded whether there are benefits to these brief intervals, like when you nod off on someone’s shoulder on the train.

THE MICRO-NAP: two to five minutes Shown to be surprisingly effective at shedding sleepiness.

THE MINI-NAP: five to 20 minutes Increases alertness, stamina, motor learning, and motor performance.

THE ORIGINAL POWER NAP: 20 minutes Includes the benefits of the micro and the mini, but additionally improves muscle memory and clears the brain of useless built-up information, which helps with long-term memory (remembering facts, events, and names).

THE LAZY MAN’S NAP: 50 to 90 minutes Includes slow-wave plus REM sleep; good for improving perceptual processing; also when the system is flooded with human growth hormone, great for repairing bones and muscles.

Snooze, You Win – [MensJournal]

Happiness is the Best Productivity Tool

Not to discourage the use of any productivity system around, Positive Sharing would like to stress the importance of being happy in what you’re doing, and how beneficial it is to your work.

  • 1: Happy people work better with others
  • 2: Happy people are more creative
  • 3: Happy people fix problems instead of complaining about them
  • 4: Happy people have more energy
  • 5: Happy people are more optimistic
  • 6: Happy people are way more motivated
  • 7: Happy people get sick less often
  • 8: Happy people learn faster
  • 9: Happy people worry less about making mistakes – and consequently make fewer mistakes
  • 10: Happy people make better decisions

I’m a firm believer in a positive attitude improving almost every situation in life. However, being happy at work can be difficult. It really has to be sincere for it to do any good. So, I guess, the real key is finding work you can be happy doing. Then productivity could come naturally?

Top 10 reasons why happiness at work is the ultimate productivity booster – [PositiveSharing]

The two reasons people say no to your idea

Seth’s Blog: The two reasons people say no to your idea

“It’s been done before”
“It’s never been done before”

Even though neither one is truthful, accurate or useful, you need to be prepared for both.

Stephen Covey on work/life balance

In the pages of Forbes, Stephen Covey has weighed in on the work/lie balance debate. He has a slightly different perspective, summarized as a concern that people rarely have very clear objectives about what they want, so finding a balance with other things becomes almost impossible. But he doesn’t confine his strictures to individuals. Here’s what he has to say about organizations:

. . . there is another profoundly pervasive cause for work-life imbalance. It is to be found in the painful and surprisingly ineffective way most organizations work. In no way is this pain more clearly or practically manifest than their inability to focus and execute on their highest priorities.

I think he’s right on that one. Covey adds:

Despite all our gains in technology, product innovation and world markets, most people are not thriving in the organizations they work for. They are neither fulfilled nor excited. They are frustrated. They are not clear about where the organization is headed or what its highest priorities are. They are bogged down and distracted. Most of all, they don’t feel they can change much. Can you imagine the personal and organizational cost of failing to fully engage the passion, talent and intelligence of the workforce? Can you imagine the waste of time, energy and resources?

I very much agree. [link]

What empty calories and productivity have in common –

The Scott H. Young weblog has a very interesting post that draws several parallels between unhealthy eating and your productivity.

Sweet, greasy and delicious, empty calories are filler food that keep you feeling full while offering little nutritional value. In the short term, these empty calories are great. They let you feel good and are easy to swallow. But their glory is short lived when they leave you with disease and obesity.

Empty calories aren’t just in our food, they are in our lives. Empty calories are all those tasks that make you feel productive even though you aren’t contributing any value. Empty calories are those hours in front of the television to let you feel entertained, even though you are watching reruns. Empty calories are in the running shoes you buy instead of jogging and the investment books you read instead of saving. Empty calories give you the feeling, but not the nutrition.

The article is really interesting and well worth the read. Please share with us…what are your “empty productivity calories” (what tasks make you feel productive without actually improving your productivity)?

Empty Calories – [Scott H. Young]