3 Hidden Productivity Killers You Can Beat With I Done This 2.0

Your startup is on the rise. You’ve added four great developers, six customers have signed on, and you’ve reached a revenue milestone of $2.4 million ARR. But just as things are getting peachy, you notice the company isn’t shipping as much code as before.

What makes productivity problems so hard to deal with is that they’re hard to detect. They’re often so entrenched in culture and old systems that they seem invisible. At $2.4 million ARR, you are now far removed from the day-to-day routine of team members, making it difficult to spot inefficiencies on the ground.

productivity boos
We built I Done This 2.0 to help teams bring lurking productivity killers to light. We want to help our customers spot the most common production killers out there. I Done This empowers you to find out what’s going wrong with productivity and address the problem at its source. Here’s how your startup can track down invisible productivity killers and solve them with I Done This 2.0.

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An App Addict’s Guide to Beating the Task Management Blues

This week’s post is a guest article by Ben Brandall, a writer for Process Street.

Last weekend I found myself in a cafe, alone and without a laptop for around 2 hours. With just my phone, I wanted to do something worthwhile so I decided to organize my tasks properly — something I hadn’t done in a while.

I realized pretty quickly that my task management system made no sense at all.

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How to Handle 3 Types of Workplace Conflict

Hollywood would have you believe that workplace conflict is awesome. Movies depict the best offices as filled with macho dudes in suits screaming at each other, throwing around insults, and somehow also getting fantastic results.

That’s entertaining, but let’s look at the facts: a 2010 study revealed that the average U.S. employee spends 2.8 hours a week dealing with disputes at work, resulting in losses of $359 Billion across the American economy. In reality, conflict pulls people away from their jobs and kills productivity.

With that in mind, your instinct might be to ruthlessly stamp it out wherever you see it. But that’s not always the best course of action. You need to recognize that not every workplace conflict is the same. It’s like criminal justice—a first degree crime is sentenced differently than a second degree crime. The context, causes, and intentions should influence how you deal with conflict in the workplace.

Here’s a rundown of three of the most common types of office workplace conflict, what they mean for your company, and how to solve them.

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How To Work With A Motormouth

You walk into your office on a Monday morning and are instantly overwhelmed with the amount of work you have that week.

Just as you’ve figured out how to cram all your meetings and projects into your schedule, you look up from your desk and are instantly full of dread. Your chatty coworker is headed right toward you and has chosen you as his next victim. Well, there goes the better part of the morning.

chatty coworker

Of course, having a great social relationship can boost company culture. Once in a while, some water cooler talk can be a nice break from your hard work, but some people take this way too far. Some will come by your desk every few hours, and even remote workers might incessantly ping you on Slack. According to a survey conducted by talent mobility company Lee Hecht Harrison, talkative coworkers are the #1 disruption at work.

Here are the different kinds of chatty coworkers, and how to keep them from disrupting your day.

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Why Your Goals Aren’t Making You More Productive

Google didn’t become one of the most valuable brands in the world by accident. It’s been rated the #1 place to work by Fortune for seven of the last 10 years, and called “employee heaven” by leadership advocate Will Marré.

The secret to their employee engagement is a little trick they picked up from Intel: the OKR system. OKR stands for objective and key results. The premise of OKR goals is that every employee, from entry-level to CEO, is working towards a single objective that aligns with the general mission of the company. Each objective has key results which serve as measuring sticks for the success of that objective.

17631OKR

Now used by tons of tech companies, the OKR system has become hugely popular in the tech community. But misuse of OKR goals can not only prove ineffective—it can prove fatal to your organization. Here are four disastrous goal-setting mistakes that startups make.

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The Father of Personal Productivity Joins the I Done This Team

I Done This is pleased to announce our newest addition to the team: Ben Franklin, or, as we call him, Benji. He will be assuming the role of in-house personal productivity expert and is super excited to be sharing his insights.

Benji
I have been invited to join I Done This as the in-house personal productivity expert for a pretty obvious reason: I’m really great at getting things done.

My main accomplishments have been in the fields of technology and innovation, although when I dabbled in politics I did help draft the US Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, earning me that “founding father” title. I also have 9 honorary degrees and have held 16 public offices. In case you’ve never seen one, my face has also been put on the hundred dollar bill.

What can I say— personal productivity just comes easy to me. But it wasn’t always that way. I’ve spent years developing the best method for personal productivity. And I’m about to let you in on my secret.

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How To Dress When You Work From Home

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Work remote, and this conversation comes up all the time.

“You don’t even wear pants to work! Lucky!”

Some version of that.

Workers without an office are the pantsless winners in the occupational lottery, sleeping until 10 before enjoying a few hours of gleeful twirling in an office chair while wearing boxer shorts. At least that’s what the rest of the world seems to think.

In reality, remote work is a lot harder than that. In many ways it’s harder than working in the traditional office setting. It takes discipline, practice and the right kind of person to pull it off.

But unfortunately, many of us have succumbed to the stereotype. OK, maybe we’re wearing pants. But probably not the kind of pants you’d prefer to be seen in outside the house.

When you work in an office, you’re concerned about being presentable for the people around you. Even if the dress code is silicon valley casual, it’s nice if your t-shirt and hoodie aren’t stained. Or worse, smelly. It’s being polite to the people around you. Or as iconic designer Tom Ford put it: “Dressing well is a form of good manners.”

Working remote makes it easy to ignore this.

Dressing well isn’t just for other people. It makes you feel better. It helps your self esteem. It gives you confidence. It helps you feel — and thus, act — like the best version of yourself. Even if you work from home, the best version of yourself isn’t wearing dirty gym shorts and a smelly oversized sweatshirt.

The legendary writer Gay Talese works each day from a home office underneath his New York townhouse. Before going to work alone in his basement all day, Talese puts on a jacket and tie. Talese channels his Italian heritage and the phrase “La bella figura,” the beautiful figure, a reminder to put care into how one looks and composes themselves.

So maybe you’re not an 83-year-old magazine writer. Maybe you’re a 33-year-old designer. La bella figura can be a part of your life, too. You just have to find your own version of it.

It probably doesn’t include a jacket and tie. And that’s OK.

Here’s my rule of thumb on all this. I call it the waiting room rule. If there suddenly were an emergency and you had to spend the next 12 hours in a hospital waiting room (morbid, but stay with me), would you be embarrassed about what you’re wearing? If so, don’t wear it to your remote job.

You gotta find what works for you. Here’s a guide to get you started*

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13 Business Cliches That Are Making You Terrible At Your Job

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At some point — long, long ago — someone would say “bull in a china shop” and you would actually picture the scene. Here’s this bull, all big and mad and energetic. But he’s in a dainty little shop filled with dedicate plates and teacups. You can picture it, you might even chuckle a little. And you would definitely remember that conversation.

But hear that same phrase today? You’d get the point, but the message doesn’t stick nearly as well. There’s no imagery to make the point extra clear. You register the phrase and what it means, but the benefits of the metaphor are washed out. You might as well be saying nothing. You basically are.

This is what a cliche is. And they’re insanely common in business. And they’re making you terrible at your job. Terrible? Yes. Talking in empty cliches makes you — and the things you say — forgettable.

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9 Tips for Landing a Remote Job

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This article on landing a remote job is a guest post from Tim Metz. Tim is the co-founder of Saent, a hardware and software device that blocks digital distractions and helps you be more productive. Saent is crowdfunding its initial production run on Indiegogo now. Before Saent, Tim worked in mobile gaming and electronic music, amongst other things. Tim lives and works from Beijing (China) and starts each day writing, usually about productivity on the Saent blog. You can follow him on Twitter & LinkedIn

 

When I lost my job at a mobile gaming company in August of last year, I soul-searched hard to figure out what I really wanted to do. I realized my ideal position would involve my passion and knowledge of productivity. I set my sights on landing a job Evernote, which is one of the few companies truly trying to build a great brand and community around productivity. To my amazement, they also had a vacancy at that time that I thought would perfectly suit me: Marketing Producer. I sent off a cover letter and CV.

And that was it. I never heard back from them.

Tim Metz

Tim Metz

At first I was puzzled, and a bit crushed. Then I started reviewing myself more critically. I’d done a lot of things wrong: I didn’t really highlight my passion for productivity, I didn’t talk about what I could do for Evernote, and I didn’t even showcase my relevant productivity experience. In retrospect, everything sounded a bit generic.

Fast forward 12 months and I’ve launched my own company to manufacture a productivity device and hired a globally distributed team operating under Teal organizational principles. Most recently, I’ve been going through the over 400 applications we received for our remote librarian position, and unfortunately, many applicants made a lot of the same mistakes I did. Though the Evernote job wasn’t a remote role, many of the concept translate — and at times are amplified by the nature of remote work.

So, based on my own failed attempt to land a job at Evernote and the experience hiring a remote team at Saent, here are nine tips about how to apply for a remote job.

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Why Your Brain is Negativity Bias and How to Fix It

negativity bias

Pretend you’re a caveman.

You’re in your cave preparing for a hunt, but something outside seems dangerous, violent sounds you don’t understand.

You have two choices: Skip the hunt, spend the night hungry but live another day. Or risk death and go outside.

Hold onto that thought. We’ll be getting back to that.

Now imagine you’re driving to work. While getting off the highway, someone cuts you off. You slam on your brakes.

You know the feeling that’s coming. That tense anger rises up. Your fingers clench the steering wheel.

It’s enough to set you on a path to feel horrible all day. You might be less productive at work, distracted during meetings. You might try to counterbalance the feeling with a quick shot of endorphins from junk food, mindless web surfing or time-wasting YouTube videos. This only compounds the problem. This is like taking short-term unhappiness and investing it in a long-term, high-yield unhappiness investment plan, ensuring belly flab and career stagnation for years to come.

So why does this one minor thing, getting cut off, have such a powerful effect on us? Why does one negative experience ruin an otherwise great day?

The answer has to do with our friend, Mr. Caveman. Research shows that our brains evolved to react much more strongly to negative experiences than positive ones. It kept us safe from danger. But in modern days, where physical danger is minimal, it often just gets in the way.

It’s called the negativity bias.

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