7 websites that make you happier and more productive at work

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I’m going to let you in on a secret. A lot of people are trying to distract you at work.

A. Lot. Of. People.

OK, so it’s not exactly the world’s biggest secret. But it is a really unique and modern problem.

Office workers in the 1970s didn’t have people kicking in their door to show them a cat video (though it would be awesome if that actually happened. I’d watch that on YouTube). Farmers in the 1800s didn’t have carnival barkers showing up in their field, promising mind blowing facts (number 6 will SHOCK you!) if they would just put down their shovels and stop working for a while.

Such distractions would have seemed insane at the time. None of them would have believed this would be the environment their children and grandchild would face at the workplace.

Sadly, here we are. Distracting our days away. It makes sense that the workplace is where we’re most vulnerable. Work is where we’re most likely to feel stressed, overwhelmed and not in control. New research shows that viral content generates more activity on social media when it triggers emotions people feel in control of, like inspiration, rather than emotions people feel overwhelmed by, like fear.

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The Scientifically-Backed Best Ways to Spend a 15-Minute Break

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We have all worked with the marathoner office worker. The one with eyes glued to a spreadsheet all day, or frantically taking calls for hours on end.

Or maybe that’s you. Maybe you measure hard work in raw hours logged. Maybe you put in 12 solid hours and eat at your desk. Maybe you care so much about work you haven’t taken a lunch break in months.

Maybe you’re terrible at your job. Ever think about that?

Or at least you could be hurting your productivity. There’s a growing amount of research suggesting that work punctuated by short breaks leads to better focus and better productivity.

Also, working for uninterrupted hours on end — especially if done sitting down —can be terrible for your health.

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The Ultimate Guide to Awesome Meetings

meetings-ebookGenerally, meetings are pretty terrible. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

We teamed up with Do to create this free eBook on how to make meetings better.

It’s a book that started with a question: Why are meetings so bad?

The problem is there are 11 million meetings every day in the U.S. and over half of those are unproductive. Oddly, even though it has become a fundamental part of our work day, most of us haven’t been taught or trained on how to run an awesome meeting.

So we created this comprehensive guide to end all of that—to arm everyone with the knowledge they need to run an awesome meeting.

Take control of meetings and download your free guide now.

Here’s a look at what you’ll be learning

  • How to ruthlessly kill inessential meetings
  • How to cancel those that shouldn’t happen
  • How to end on time
  • How one company got seven extra hours of productivity every week
Fill out my online form.

Over the past few years, we’ve become obsessed with improving meetings, and we’ve talked with hundreds of managers on how they run them and what works and what doesn’t. This eBook contains everything we’ve learned on how to improve your meetings and change the culture of meetings at your company.

Get your free eBook now

How to Go Beyond Trust Falls to Strengthen Your Team’s Camaraderie

Here’s an excerpt from our fresh-of-the-presses eBook, What You Don’t Know About Management: How to Take Back Your Work Day. If you like what you read, download the 50+ page eBook for free!

buffer team trust

For the amount of our lives that we spend working, you’d think it would be more common to spend time tending to our coworker relationships. Yet, the default is to treat the social aspects of work as a given instead of managing them in any significant way.

Team-building goes way beyond trust falls. Successful people recognize the importance of establishing and cultivating meaningful connections.

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Stop Telling Yourself These 3 Productivity Lies

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One of the trickiest things about trying to be more productive is how much we deceive ourselves along the way. It’s like trying to eat healthier and then convincing yourself after one walk up the stairs that you totally deserve a donut.

Productivity lies can be sly, wolves in sheeps’ clothing, making you feel better in the moment, even as you’re actually falling behind and letting priorities slip.

It’s better to work smarter than work harder — and part of working smarter is to be more truthful about why you’re choosing to do, or not do, something and whether you’re actually spending your time wisely.

Outsmart your lazier, sneakier self. Here’s how to face the truth when you catch yourself claiming these three common productivity lies.

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Why You Will Gain Freedom with a Set Creativity Schedule

Create an oasis of quiet by creating boundaries of space and time.

Ira Glass not only hosts the popular public radio show, This American Life, but also writes, edits, performs, produces, and manages. There’s plenty of work to keep him busy, which is why he confessed to Lifehacker that his worst habit is that he procrastinates … by working.

He explains:

Ira GlassIn addition to being an editor and writer on my radio show, I’m also the boss, and deal with budgets, personnel stuff, revenue and spending questions, and business decisions… [W]hen I should be writing something for this week’s show, I’ll procrastinate by looking over some contract or making some business phone call or doing something else that actually isn’t as important as writing.

When you’re wearing lots of hats, the temptation to procrastinate by working is high, and it’s usually creative priorities and projects that wind up getting the short end of the stick. The double whammy is that not only do you feel guilty and demotivated for not getting to priorities, you also feel worse and burned out from working so much anyway.

In order to reliably get to your creative priorities, the solution is to carve out a deliberate creativity schedule. Without it, the work you put off will be creative work as other tasks seem easier to get through and justifiable, to boot, as part of your job.

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Stop Spreading Busyness Like the Flu

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Busyness has become such a sign of our times that there’s a trend in architecture of drawing blurry people on the move for office project designs. Apparently it’s a visual that clients can identify with “on an emotional level.”

While you might recognize yourself in that blurry state of being, consider how limiting busyness can be as a state of mind. Since you start coming across as irritable, impatient, and anxious, you start to close yourself off from others. It’s hard to connect with someone who’s a physical or mental blur that can’t sit still for a minute and feels like there’s no time.

One of the toughest part of falling into the busy trap is that you become preoccupied with your own busyness, and you might not realize that you’re spreading your busyness affliction to everyone around you.

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3 Surprising Science-Backed Ways to Find More Time Today

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Somehow, time is your enemy, while more time is also a luxury.

Things weren’t much different a few centuries ago in 1682, when William Penn wrote: “Time is what we want most, but what, alas! we use worst.

Understanding our strange relationship with time simply helps us manage it better. When you feel like you have time, the world opens up. You’re motivated to act and explore on the one hand, and savor and breathe, on the other.

Contrast that when you feel like you don’t have enough time. It’s stressful and taxing and you start making decisions based on that anxious feeling of lack. It might mean reaching for the quick, unhealthy snack rather than your usual walk and putting those non-urgent (but important) activities that nourish and enrich you, like exercise, personal projects, and relationships, on hold.

Since how you think about time affects the reality of how you spend it, the ability to influence that perception can be incredibly powerful. Here are three surprising methods, backed by research, that will help expand your sense of time and motivate better decisions about how you use it.

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Stop Life from Passing You By: the Weird Science of How to Slow Down Time

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One unnerving aspect of getting older is how life seems to start speeding up. Feeling that whoosh as time rushes past you can be disheartening as you wonder where the days, or months, or even years go.

Yet we’re not doomed to march to time’s relentless beat. Your sense of time is weird and pliable — stretching, compressing, coming to a standstill. And you can mold it, to some extent, to move to your own beat. You can slow down time.

When you encounter the familiar, time seems to constrict and when you acquire new knowledge, it expands. Neuroscientist David Eagleman explains:

Time is this rubbery thing…. It stretches out when you really turn your brain resources on, and when you say, “Oh, I got this, everything is as expected,” it shrinks up.

That relationship between time’s elasticity and whether your brain is processing new information gets at why time seems to turn up the tempo as we age. As the world starts to become more familiar, we learn less and sometimes even seek information and experiences that fit within what we already know. There’s less adventure, play, exploration, creativity, and wonder to invite and engage with newness.

The way you spend your time influences how you perceive it. So the choices you make about what to do now impacts how you’ll manage your time later. Here are two ways to make your days richer and more memorable so that your sense of time expands and life doesn’t pass you by.

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Do What Is Important

Whenever I realize I’ve been running ragged, I know I’ve fallen into a rut of reactive rather than proactive work. Instead of going about my day steered by plans and intentions, the unstable “whatever comes up” gets to dictate my day.

This schedule of working deadline to deadline, fighting fires and flying by the seat of your pants racks up time debt. You’re borrowing from other areas of your life like spending time with your family or on your wellbeing.

Humans tend to be bad at understanding how we’ll feel in the future. In our mind’s Pollyannaish eye, the future is a world of order and excellence in which you exercise everyday, you don’t bring work home with you, you finally learn Spanish, you catch up with that friend you haven’t spoken to in forever. In reality, something always comes up, there is always something to do.

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