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The Best Productivity Podcasts of 2011

The Best Productivity Podcasts of 2011
    Photo credit: cybass (CC BY-NC 2.0)

    Remember self-help tapes? You used to throw them into your car or Walkman when you were going on a lengthy trip so that you could “grow on the go” and hope to return home all the better for it. Or you’d put them on rather than read at night so you could improve various aspects of your life.

    Well, podcasts that discuss various aspects of productivity very well could be the evolution of those self-help tapes. To a point.

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    To be more accurate, they can also serve as a successor to radio programs that discussed these topics. They can also be a source of news in the world of productivity and work philosophy. Actually, podcasts have a wide variety of applications for today’s audience.

    So with this year soon coming to a close, I thought I’d be a little proactive and get you listening to the best productivity podcasts of 2011 — before you really have to start thinking about how you’re going to make next year even better than this one.

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    Back to Work

    Hosted by Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin on the 5by5 network, Back to Work brought Mann back into the podcasting spotlight. At its core, it focuses on Mann’s new message of doing work (as opposed to just looking at ways to do the work) and it is both informative and entertaining. I’d expect nothing less from these two gentlemen, and they deliver wekk in and week out.

    Enough: The Minimal Mac Podcast

    While this 70Decibels program (featuring Patrick Rhone and Myke Hurley) may look on the surface that it is all about the Mac, that isn’t always the case. Yes, Rhone and Hurley do love their Apple gear (as do I), but episodes of Enough have often gone beyond that scope. Occasionally they welcome guests on the show, with trusted Internet folk like Brett Kelly, Shawn Blanc and Dave Caolo stepping into the mix. All of this adds up to a fresh and inviting look at productivity, minimalism and organization on a regular basis. And they’re shorter than most podcasts, too. A bonus for those who want to get their podcast fix in and go.

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    Get-It-Done Guy’s Quick and Dirty Tips to Work Less and Do More

    Another short weekly podcast, Stever Robbins offers short tidbits of valuable info that you can easily apply to your everyday lives. This podcast makes what is often a dry topic more lively and accessible than most websites or podcasts do. If you want to start your day with a great tip to get you moving forward, this one is certainly worth subscribing to.

    The David Allen Company Podcast

    The official GTD podcast. This regularly updated podcast features David Allen speaking on topics of interest to those following the world of productivity – or for those who just want to get better at getting things done. The David Allen Company Podcast offers a varied approach to the podcasting realm, delivering interviews and seminar-styled presentations as part of the menu. Worth checking out – especially if you need to brush up on your GTD best practices.

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    ZENandTECH

    One of the newest entries in the podcasting landscape, ZENandTECH is a real treat to listen to. Again, episodes aren’t terribly long, and the two hosts (Georgia and Rene Ritchie) have a great chemistry. This isn’t a traditional productivity-type podcast; it falls more in line with what Enough is doing, but with a balanced approach to technology and mindfulness.

    There are many other productivity-style podcasts out there on the web to listen to, but the aforementioned ones offer the most informing, educating and entertaining programming that I’ve heard on a consistent basis.

    Do you have a podcast that you listen to that helps you be more productive? Let us know about it in the comments.

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    Mike Vardy

    A productivity specialist who shows you how to define your day, funnel your focus, and make every moment matter.

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    Last Updated on August 4, 2020

    The Gentle Art of Saying No For a Less Stressful Life

    The Gentle Art of Saying No For a Less Stressful Life

    No!

    It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

    But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

    What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

    But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here’s how to master the Gentle Art of Saying No:

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    1. Value Your Time

    Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”

    2. Know Your Priorities

    Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time?

    For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.

    3. Practice Saying No

    Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.

    4. Don’t Apologize

    A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.

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    5. Stop Being Nice

    Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets.

    Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.

    6. Say No to Your Boss

    Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no,” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning.

    But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.

    7. Pre-Empting

    It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting,

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    “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”

    8. Get Back to You

    Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them:

    “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.”

    At least you gave it some consideration.

    9. Maybe Later

    If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say,

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    “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].”

    Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.

    10. It’s Not You, It’s Me

    This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often, the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time.

    Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

    More Tips for a Less Stressful Life

    Featured photo credit: Kyle Glenn via unsplash.com

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