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50+ Personal Productivity Blogs You’ve Never Heard of Before (and about a dozen you probably have)

50+ Personal Productivity Blogs You’ve Never Heard of Before (and about a dozen you probably have)

The personal productivity niche on the Web has grown by leaps and bounds since Lifehack launched only a few years ago. While a few sites dominate the rankings, there are lots and lots of lesser-known sites that are as good or even better than the “A-list” productivity blogs.

Most of them are solo operations — the GTD newbie documenting his or her quest for greater control over their life, the coach or consultant sharing his or her knowledge with the world, the writer adding to his or her published work with notes, errata, and new findings.

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Their voice is personal, intimate even — and deserves to be heard. So here I present a collection of productivity blogs that are less well-known, by writers I think you should get to know better.

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Of course, the big names are here too — after all, I owe some of them a tremendous debt for helping me get a grip on my own life. But they’re not the main show — consider them a kind of lagniappe, a little something extra to remind you of sites you might have forgotten about or to introduce the newcomer to the cornerstones in the field. They’re sprinkled in on equal footing with the rest of the list, shoulder-to-shoulder with the rising stars, the quiet heroes, and the thoughtful mystics of the productivity field.

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Enjoy!

  1. 43 Folders: Merlin Mann started a lot of us on this journey, so now he has to pay. In the meantime, though, he and his crew of happy Folderers keep on providing great tips on productivity and getting things done, especially for Mac users.
  2. All Things Workplace: Tips from Steve Roesler on becoming a more effective leader.
  3. Awake At The Wheel: Great stuff from serial entrepreneur, yoga expert, and writer Jonathan Fields on being happy and successful in all your endeavors.
  4. Change Your Thoughts: Steven Aitchison’s blog on health, finances, relationships, writing, and generally keeping a positive perspective on life.
  5. Conflict Zen: Formerly “I Can’t Say That”, Conflict Zen is all about dealing with and resolving interpersonal conflict. If you know people, you probably need to get a little conflict Zen.
  6. Cranking Widgets: Brett Kelly offers practical GTD-minded advice on life and productivity.
  7. The Daily Saint : I have it on good authority that Mike St. Pierre isn’t a saint at all. But who cares? He offers great tips on being more productive and managing time better, with an emphasis on creating meaning in your life.
  8. Lisa Gates now blogs at the group blog at 360 Alliance. I hadn’t realized she’d let the Design Your Writing Life archives go away.
  9. Diary of a Four-Hour-a-Weeker: Like the title says, this is the journal of an entrepreneur trying to implement the suggestions of Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Workweek.
  10. Did I Get Things Done?: Andrew Mason’s blog focuses around his efforts to implement and live by the principles in David Allen’s Getting Things Done.
  11. D*I*Y Planner: The blog is wacky and often deeply obscure, celebrating a sometimes unholy love between the writers and their pens and paper. But the main attraction is the DIY Planner templates — an incredible assortment of print-them-yourself forms for all your productivity and creativity needs.
  12. Dumb Little Man: DLM’s Jay White ain’t so dumb after all. Jay shares tips on productivity, personal development, and business life.
  13. Escape From Corporate America: Advice on working the corporate world to your advantage — even if that means leaving it — from career change expert Pamela Skillings.
  14. Even Happier: Counselor and former Italian pop sensation Marco shares his insights on living a happier life. [Not updated since February, but archives still online.]
  15. Flipping Heck!: Productivity notes with an emphasis on the workplace. Offers lots of tutorials on using various pieces of software as well as on dealing with common workplace tasks.
  16. Genuine Curiosity: Dwayne Melancon reviews books, software, and other tools that help keep us productive.
  17. Get Rich Slowly: GRS is devoted to personal finance, offering tips and advice on saving money, investing wisely, and getting a grip on your investing.
  18. Getting Things Done: Getting Things Done (the blog) is all about applying the principles of Getting Things Done (the book). Home of the Ultimate GTD Index, which pulls together feeds from GTD sites across the ‘Net.
  19. The Growing Life: Clay Collins takes on everything you thought you knew about productivity with his anti-hacks and the concept of lifestyle design.
  20. GTD Times: Officially sanctioned by David Allen, GTD Times focuses especially on business productivity.
  21. Lifehacker: Lifehacker offers a mix of daily news on the productivity beat as well as an assortment of handy little apps that help you get things done. It’s not Lifehack :-)
  22. The Life Hackery: Lots of clever tips on health and fitness, household organization, Internet apps, and plenty more.
  23. Life Learning Today: Learn about life and live to learn with Life Learning Today. Tips on  personal development and productivity, but also health, money, work , blogging, and more.
  24. Life Lessons of a Military Wife: The title says it all: this site offers life lessons from a military wife, with a focus on personal and home finances and family organization.
  25. Life Optimizer Life Optimizer: Donald Latumahina’s blog about making the most out of the resources you’re given to live with. Great stuff to keep your outlook strong.
  26. LifeReboot: Shaun Boyd’s blog on finding and pursuing your passion in work, learning, relationships, and life as a whole.
  27. Life Sutra: The 4-Hour Workweek Journal: Andrew Brick, a 30-something software professional, offers tips and tricks centered around the ideas in 4HWW.
  28. LifeTweak: Blogger Manu writes on general productivity topics. Distinguished by his amusing hand-drawn illustrations and earnestly helpful content.
  29. LivSimpl: Happiness through simplicity (and the elimination of silent e’s).
  30. A Long Long Road: Lawrence Cheok’s blog on personal growth, careers, and relationships.
  31. Matt’s Idea Blog: Matthew Cornell is a personal productivity consultant who shares his ideas on productivity, motivation, and personal growth.
  32. Newly Corporate: Group blog covering workplace and life “best practices” for young professionals.
  33. One Bag Nation: Ann at One Bag Nation documents the journey of a naturally disorganized person in her quest to gain a little order in her life.
  34. Open Loops: Good, solid GTD-oriented advice from a man with a beard (there’s no About page, is what I’m saying).
  35. Organize IT: Practical-minded advice on productivity, health, finance, personal growth, and GTD.
  36. Nick Pagan: Nick Pagan wants you to understand you better. To that end, he presents productivity and personal development information based on how the mind works. Meaty, deeply researched stuff.
  37. Steve Pavlina’s Personal Development Blog: Are you smart? Then you owe it to yourself to check out Steve Pavlina’s personal development tips for smart people. Steve writes eloquently about entrepreneurship, especially working online, and the tools and attitudes that make it work.
  38. Personal Development Ideas: You want personal development ideas, Personal Development Ideas has personal development ideas. Goal-setting, time-management, and personal growth top the bill here.
  39. Persistence Unlimited: From the man who gave MobilePC users “Achieve-IT!” comes a blog about coming up with and acting on your ideas. By turns inspirational and funny, PU knows how to get stuff done.
  40. John Place Online:John Place helps you maximize your potential for happiness with tips and advice, with a lot of strong material on relationships.
  41. Productivity501: Great blog from Mark Shead on productivity tools and techniques. As the name suggests, Mark is focused not just on getting started but on advanced thinking about productivity.
  42. Put Things Off: Nick Cernis enlists the aid of a fuzzy kitten and his lunchtime banana to transform productivity from a hobby into a way of life. Refreshingly contrarian — and a little silly. Focuses on freelancing, software, entrepreneurship, and general productivity.
  43. Right Attitudes » Ideas for Impact: Nagesh Belludi offers practical advice for developing the right attitudes in life — and transforming attitudes into behaviors that help you be more productive.
  44. Ririan Project: Ririan is a guy on a quest to remake his life, and he shares the process with us.
  45. David Seah: David Seah offers advice and a set of great templates (including “The Printable CEO” series) to empower you to reach new heights.
  46. Alex Shalman : Lifehack.org contributor and medical student Alex Shalman’s site offers thought-provoking essays on relationships, the examined life, and health, along with general productivity and personal development tips.
  47. SimpleProductivityBlog: Lots of great ideas here, including several multi-part series on various aspects of GTD and productivity.
  48. Slow Leadership: Focused largely on business leadership and the evils of “hamburger management”, Carmine Coyote’s ideas about leadership can be adapted to any life.
  49. Slower Living: Slow down! What’s the big rush, anyway? Find peace, happiness, and even greater productivity (in the things that matter to you most) with these tips on living life in the slow lane — or off the road entirely.
  50. SuccessMinders: Jacob Cazell’s tips on developing a success-oriented mindset.
  51. Success Soul: Shilpan Patel offers inspiration and advice drawn from the greatest minds, all with an eye towards what you and I can learn so we can make our own success.
  52. Technotheory.com: Technology and productivity talk from a DC-based efficiency trainer.
  53. Today is that Day: Aaron Potts’ goal is your empowerment, with posts on success, wealth, and happiness.
  54. Uncle Joe’s Leadership Blog: “Uncle” Joe Hungler shares his advice on cultivating and teaching leadership.
  55. What’s the Next Action?: Read What’s the Next Action for advice on project planning and getting things done. [Update: SIte is no longer updating. But great archives are still online.]
  56. Wise Bread: A personal finance site committed to helping readers live within their means with budgeting tips and advice on finding the best deals saving money on life’s necessities.
  57. Work N Play: Good advice from Ritu, especially on making the most out of the web for networking, freelancing, and doing business.
  58. Scott H Young:: University student Scott Young takes on general productivity topics as well as offering studying tips and advice on lifelong learning.
  59. Zen Habits: Leo Babauta writes incredibly well about productivity, health and wellness, and most of all about living the simple life.

Do you know any productivity blogs that the world should know about? Spill your secret in the comments!

[Update: At seb’s request in the comments, I was able to create an OPML file from the list of URLs in this post. I used NewsGator to autodetect the feed locations, which it did for only 62 of the 65 sites above. If you’d like to subscribe to almost all of the sites above in one go using almost any feedreader, save the file at this link and import it into your RSS reader.]

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Last Updated on September 17, 2020

5 Practical Ways to Get Over a Mental Block

5 Practical Ways to Get Over a Mental Block

There’s nothing quite like a state of “flow” when you’re working. The rare moments when your inspiration aligns with your motivation likely lead to some of your most creative work. Plus, it feels great to actually check a task or project off the list so you can move on to the next thing. Meanwhile, a mental block — its opposite — can cause work to feel laborious and uninspired. Forget creativity when you have a mental block — it makes it difficult even to start working on what you need to do.

A mental block can manifest in several ways. Perhaps your imposter syndrome is squelching your creative ideas, for instance, or you’re overwhelmed by the breadth of a project and its impending deadline. Maybe you’re just tired or stressed.

Either way, having a mental block feels like being trapped in your own head, and it can seriously dampen your ability to think outside the box. The problem is, you’re so locked into your own perspective that you don’t see more innovative approaches to your problems.[1]

Luckily, jumping over these mental hurdles is simpler than you think. You just need the right strategies to get your flow back.

Try these five practical ways to overcome a mental block.

1. Break Your Project Down

A few years ago, I was working on changing a company product that I believed would hugely benefit our customers. Sounds great, right?

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As inspired as I was to make people’s lives easier, though, the sheer magnitude of the task at hand felt overwhelming. Every morning, I cracked open my laptop to work and felt totally paralyzed. I loved the idea, yes, but actualizing it felt risky. What if it didn’t turn out the way I pictured in my mind? More importantly, where would I even begin?

A former colleague gave me great advice over coffee:

Change how you think. Start by breaking the big project down into small tasks.

When a major project overwhelms you, you only see the entire forest instead of the individual trees. And as you stare it down, you start to feel discouraged by your own lack of progress, thus slowing you down further.

Breaking down a massive task into smaller chunks makes the work feel more manageable. You’ll have multiple clear places to start and end with, which will lend a motivating sense of productivity and mastery to your process. Learn more about it here: The Motivation Flowchart: The Mental Process of Successful People

Think of it as accumulating small wins. When you realize you’re more capable than you have once thought, you’ll develop the momentum and confidence needed to get your big job done little by little.[2]

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2. Change Up Your Scenery

Of course, there’s a time and place for sitting down to get things done. But if you’re experiencing a mental block, switching up your surroundings can make a big difference in your output.

Have you ever noticed how your environment directly impacts your performance and mood?

Your brain associates your physical surroundings with certain feelings and activities. So, if you feel mentally stuck, your mind may need some new sensory stimuli.

During this time in your life, it may not be possible to set up shop at a cafe or move from your cubicle to a conference room, so you may need to think outside the box. If you’re working remotely in a home office, try going to your dining table or couch. If the weather cooperates, sit outside for a bit with your computer or take a walk around the block.

You can also simply rearrange your workspace. Not sure where to begin? Try decluttering. Some studies show that an organized desk enhances productivity.[3]

The point is to stimulate your brain with new sounds and sights. You may find a much-needed dose of inspiration when you work while breathing in the fresh air, listening to city sounds, or staying in the comfort of your own living space.

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3. Do an Unrelated Activity

When it comes to productivity, a bit of distraction isn’t always a bad thing. That’s especially true if your chosen distraction helps you get things done in the long run.

Have you realized how your most creative thoughts tend to bubble up when you’re, say, lying in bed or taking a shower? In their research of the “incubation period,” scientists have discovered that people’s best ideas seem to surface when they aren’t actively trying to solve a problem.[4]

In a 2010 study, participants needed to look for a roommate or new employee based on the profiles that the researchers gave. The people who had a brief “incubation period” — in this case, working on an anagram — consistently made better choices than those who spent more time weighing their options.

If you can’t seem to prime your brain for a project, try doing something completely unrelated to work, such as washing your dishes, working out, or calling a friend. Some experts say finding another low-stake project to work on can help jump-start the creative part of your brain and activate your flow.[5]

The key is to allow your unconscious mind to do its best work: eliciting the new knowledge your conscious mind may be ignoring or suppressing.[6]

4. Be Physical

Feeling antsy? When your mind won’t seem to settle into a state of flow, it may help to swap out your mental activity for a physical one and see how it impacts your perspective.

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While any physical activity is beneficial for your body — and getting up to move can serve as a helpful form of distraction — certain forms of exercise can more directly impact the mind. To be specific, relaxing, flow-based exercises like dance, yoga, or tai chi can create a gentle sense of momentum in your body, which can prime your brain for the same state.

Stress-reducing activities may also be necessary. Meditating or taking slow, deep breaths will also calm your nervous system if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Evidence shows that the logical, creative part of your brain essentially shuts off when you’re stressed.[7]

On the flip side, when your mind and body are relaxed, you can think more clearly, be more creative, and focus for longer periods — all of which will help you overcome a mental block.

5. Don’t Force It

It can be frustrating to fight against your own mind. If your mental block won’t go away after some effort, it may be time to take a break. Forcing creative thoughts only adds to your stress levels, which in turn inhibits your ability to think creatively. And if you sit and stare at a project for too long, you’ll not only waste valuable time but also begin to associate this specific work with frustration and produce work you’re not proud of.

“I know that forcing something is not going to create anything beyond mediocre, so I step aside and work on a different project until it hits me,” the artist Ben Skinner said about his creative process.[8]

If your work isn’t time-sensitive, then it may make sense to step away for a while to focus on something else, be it an administrative task that requires less creativity or a project that you feel motivated to work on.

When the time is right, you’ll find your way back to the original task with a fresh, creative perspective (hopefully).

More on Getting Rid of a Mental Block

Featured photo credit: Jonas Leupe via unsplash.com

Reference

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