The Key to Avoiding Burnout

I have a theory that burnout is about resentment. And you beat it by knowing what it is you’re giving up that makes you resentful. I tell people: Find your rhythm. Your rhythm is what matters to you so much that when you miss it you’re resentful of your work… . So find your rhythm, understand what makes you resentful, and protect it. You can’t have everything you want, but you can have the things that really matter to you. And thinking that way empowers you to work really hard for a really long period of time.

Marissa Mayer explains that the key to avoiding burnout.

Work vs Sleep: Getting Stuff Done

Jason Fried, co-founder of 37signals and co-author of Rework, found that when people wanted to get stuff done, their answer was rarely the office but instead someplace where they wouldn’t encounter externally imposed distractions. What’s perhaps most insightful about Fried’s 2010 TEDxMidwest talk is his comparison of work to sleep when thinking about why stretches of uninterrupted time are … Read more

Positivity Drives Productivity

Watch Shawn Achor’s entertaining, thought-provoking TEDxBloomington talk on the power of positive psychology. (Source: https://www.youtube.com/) The author of The Happiness Advantage and CEO of Good Think Inc., a research and consulting firm, points out that the common understanding that happiness as the last thing to happen after success achieved by working hard has the order all wrong. … Read more

The Hottest Productivity Booster

Morning Cup of Tea

We want to know: what are your favorite productivity boosters? Drinking eight glasses of water? Listening to classical music? Turning off the internet? Chair yoga?

What little things help you get more done?

Our interview with Matthew Stibbe veered into tea-related territory, which wasn’t included in our profile. We wanted to share his take on why tea works for his productivity and his greatest tea-related tips: 

Coffee doesn’t work very well for me. I saw a lovely poster in New York. It said, “coffee lets you do stupid things faster,” and that’s exactly what it does for me. I redouble my efforts in the wrong direction.

Tea, on the other hand, is a more reflective drink for my biochemistry. It puts me into a much more grounded place. The act of making a cup of tea is a very good way of giving myself a break between tasks. When I occasionally get to try the Pomodoro Technique, a cup of tea is the perfect thing to do in the gap between two bursts of work.

Read more

Matthew Stibbe, Founder of Turbine & CEO of Articulate Marketing

Matthew Stibbe is the CEO of Articulate Marketing, a marketing copywriting agency, and founder of Turbine, an online application that helps businesses take care of administrative issues, to “take the paper out of paperwork.” In what he calls his spare time, he’s learning Dutch and blogging about flying and about writing and productivity. We talked about his faith in to-do lists, the shortcomings of productivity systems, and how we are all becoming robots.

Since you’re in charge of two companies that do different things, how do you divide and maximize your time?

I am a devotee, a worshipper in the temple of lists. I love to-do lists. I’ve had this same list running in various versions of Microsoft software back almost 20 years, and it’s a very strange thought to think that the items on the list have changed, change constantly, but the list is still here. I’ve still got it, and it’s still fundamentally the same electronic thing that I had when I was running my computer games company in the nineties. It’s an interesting philosophical point — one day we will all become lists, some computer memory somewhere.

Read more

Silicon Valley’s Productivity Secret

The wonder of Silicon Valley has been its rich history of producing incredibly capital efficient companies operating at massive scale.  No doubt part of that achievement lies in the capital efficiency of software engineering itself where technology gives incredible leverage to create and disrupt established industries.  Nevertheless, as a company scales, individual engineers need to work together in concert which results in the industry-agnostic problem of people management.

Unique from other industries, Silicon Valley’s natural inclination is not simply to find a solution to people management, it’s to create a scalable management model.  Of course, technology is the natural place to turn.

During Google’s growth stage, Larry Schwimmer, an early software engineer, stumbled upon a solution deceptively simple, but one that persists to this day at Google and has spread throughout the Valley.  In his system called Snippets, employees receive a weekly email asking them to write down what they did last week and what they plan to do in the upcoming week.  Replies get compiled in a public space and distributed automatically the following day by email.

Read more