One unnerving aspect of getting older is that life seems to speed up. Feeling that whoosh as time rushes past can be disheartening and may leave you wondering how to slow down time.
This post was originally published in 2014. It has been revamped with additional research and advice for managers in 2019.
What, by a long shot, is the most important motivator for employees at work? Is it money, pressure, or praise?
Typically, managers believe the idea that pressure makes diamonds. The thinking is that if you want exceptional performance, you align employee objectives with end-of-year bonuses for hitting certain milestones and then employees will turn up their work ethic to reach them.
Long-held conventional wisdom on management dies hard. That’s because it’s based on gut instinct and superstition — and managerial understanding of motivation is no different. A massive 95% of managers are wrong about what the most powerful motivator is for employees at work.
Not only that, they’re thinking about employee motivation fundamentally wrong.
Productivity apps continue to pop up right, left, and center. If you’re trying to stay up-to-date, it can quickly begin to feel like you’re wasting time looking for the perfect software rather than actually working efficiently. At I Done This, we continue to improve our done lists and integrations to eliminate the need for meetings — but we realize that there are many more ways that you and your team can get more done in less time.
To spare you hours of Internet sifting, we’ve updated our collection of the 35 best productivity software tools for the New Year.
Jeff Bezos is prolific. In 21 letters to his investors over the years, he has delivered dozens of nuggets of wisdom ranging from prioritizing long-term outcomes over short-term results to embedding R&D in every single department.
He also has a unique take on company communication.
Bezos believes that no matter how large your company gets, individual teams shouldn’t be larger than what two pizzas can feed.
Think of it this way: at a large party, it’s hard to connect with people. You’re overwhelmed by the number of guests you could possibly meet and converse with. You end up with more — yet more shallow — interactions. If the host is trying to project a message to the crowd, he or she might have trouble shouting over the din. In contrast, at a small party, you might talk to the people sitting next to you for hours. You can develop more meaningful relationships and maybe come away with new ideas and inspiration.
Although Bezos first declared the “two-pizza” rule in Amazon’s early days, it continues to resonate in 2018. As the pace of venture capital accelerates, and more and more companies enter hypergrowth, figuring out how and when to design teams for effective communication becomes critical.
Not convinced? Here’s the hard evidence behind why the two-pizza team rule holds true.
A habit is something you do automatically, without thinking. You know your personal habits—whether you do the dishes right away, or if you throw your clothes on the floor—but you aren’t always the same person at home and at work.
We put together this Productivity Quiz to help you identify what your work habits are. At the end of the quiz, you’ll see your Productivity Personality, which gives you personalized tips on how to be more productive by capitalizing on your good habits and eliminating your bad ones.
Whether you schedule every minute or go with the flow, you’ll leave with actionable feedback on how to make the most of your workday.
Who are your productivity heroes? If Michael Jordan isn’t up there, he should be.
Most people know Michael Jordan for his phenomenal scoring ability, superhuman dunks, or his starring role in Space Jam. Over a 20-year span, he scored more than 32,000 points, won six NBA titles and was named the league’s most valuable player five times. But to his teammates and coaches, he was notorious for his diligent work ethic.
Jordan’s longtime coach Phil Jackson once wrote that Michael “takes nothing about his game for granted.” He spent so much time preparing for competition that when it was game-time, he didn’t have to think about what to do next. He relied on instinct and muscle memory to dominate his opponents.
Professional athletes have to squeeze as much as they can out of their prime years, making them perfect productivity case studies. Here’s what some of our most famous athletes have to say about getting stuff done.
Bullet Journaling is the new trend piquing the interest of stationary lovers, productivity seekers, and the wanna-be-organized. Faced with an often overwhelming selection of digital tools in their workplaces, people are turning back to the traditional to-do list: a list of tasks on a piece of paper.
The fascination is in its simplicity. Visit the original Bullet Journal website and you’ll find instructions for how to use a system of dots, arrows, and crosses to organize to-do items.
People are now used to downloading apps for work and learning to use them, synching them with a collection of other tools. To see a tool that simply tells you to “go buy a notebook” is such a blast from the past, it’s grabbing people’s attention.
It’s like the rise of vintage clothing and traditional teaching methods. In the quest for perfect productivity, people are tempted by the idea of a simpler time. Could going back to pen and paper really make us more productive than ever?
Instead of worrying about what’s left to do and busying yourself with more and more tasks, spend your time wisely on what’s important, with the motivation and insight gained from your done list. Download our Busy Person’s Guide to the Done List eBook now and start your done list today.
Something as simple as asking your team how their day’s going can deliver a huge lift to productivity in the workplace. Sound too good to be true? Science backs it up.
This is something psychologist Elton Mayo, pioneer of organizational theory, discovered by studying American factory workers in the ’30s.
The experiment was initially set up to see which factory conditions make workers most productive. The researchers began by brightening the factory light, which increased productivity. But once they dimmed the light, productivity rose again. They soon realized that it didn’t matter what the change was—productivity would rise when any change would be made to the work environment. Employees felt like the managers cared about them and their work environments, so they worked harder.
This is a guest post from James Sowers.
The MBA programs at Harvard and Yale are widely known as some of the most competitive in the country, if not the world. Acceptance rates have hovered between 10-15% since the 1970’s. Those who complete their program can expect to receive salary offers starting at $100,000 or more with generous signing bonuses to help them make the transition from academia to the workforce. But, despite having a pool of the country’s best and brightest young business minds, a small selection of these graduates have made anywhere from two to ten times as much money as all of their classmates combined! What’s the difference? According to a series of studies done from 1950 – 1980, having “clear, written goals for the future and plans to achieve them.” At least that’s what the internet would have you believe.
As it turns out, despite being cited in hundreds of books, those studies never actually happened. They have since been refuted by social scientists, investigative journalists, and representatives of the universities involved. Turns out, the whole thing is just one long-lived urban myth. However, that doesn’t negate the fact that regular goal setting is still one of the most effective ways to level up your productivity.
Dr. Gail Matthews, a researcher at Dominican University, received over 149 responses to her study that attempted to arrive at a result similar to the previously mentioned ivy league interviews. Participants were divided into five groups, ranging from those who simply thought about their goals to those who not only wrote them down, but also shared them with others and engaged in weekly progress reports. After four weeks, participants were asked to rate their progress. Here are some of the results:
- Those who wrote down their goals and were responsible for submitting progress reports to someone else where the most accomplished.
- Every group that wrote down their goals (Groups 2-5) significantly outperformed those who simply thought about their goals (Group 1).
- When writing down your goals, there was no statistical advantage to sharing your goals with someone else.
In the end, there was enough scientific evidence to support that writing down goals, committing to those goals over time, and having some method of holding yourself accountable all lead to improved performance and greater achievement. So, we can agree that writing down goals is a good way to be more productive, by why?
Planning on getting arrested anytime soon? Better hope the judge has had a sandwich.
Researchers in 2011 studied more than 1,100 decisions from eight Israeli judges serving on a parole board. Their findings were surprising: the biggest factor determining how lenient a judge would rule was how long it had been since the judge had a snack or lunch break.
“Basically, right after a short break, judges came in with more positive attitudes and made more lenient decisions. As they burned up their reserves of energy, they began to make more and more decisions that maintained the status quo,” wrote Jeff Sutherland, CEO of Scrum, Inc. and author of “Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time.“
The problem: decision fatigue. The mental work of making all those high-stakes decisions, one after another, wore down the judges.