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12 Productivity Blogs Smart People Read

12 Productivity Blogs Smart People Read

Smart is smart. That’s obvious. But how exactly do you become smart? And how do you turn yourself into a productivity ninja? Generally, smart people are productive. Question – how do you become smart and productive? There are many ways, but one of the best is education. Teach yourself techniques and strategies to become bright and productive. Well, if you want to be cleverer than what you are now, you need to start by not spending too much. One of the best ways to do this is to read websites. Numerous sites offer free content to reach your goals of turning yourself into someone wiser and more intelligent. Numerous sites offer free content to reach your goals of turning yourself into someone wiser and more intelligent.

In this post, we’ll cover 12 smart productivity blogs you should be reading. I love these blogs. I have invested time reading them, and I don’t have any regrets. They’ve helped me learn more about personal finance, productivity, setting goals, forming good habits, GTD, time management, and other invaluable subjects.

Steve Pavlina

Steve_Pavlina_10

    Steve Pavlina’s blog is recommended by many personal development freaks like me. If there’s what we call a well-rounded personality, his is a well-rounded blog. He writes about productivity, relationships, money, career, health, personal development, habits, and spirituality. What strikes me the most about Steve’s style is he writes about the lessons and tips based from his own experiences, and to me, that is powerful.

    Lifehack.org

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    Lifehack_10

      One of the biggest productivity blogs and one of the smartest. Lifehack covers Lifestyle, communication, money, productivity, tech, and work. Those are the major topics, but it has more under each of those topics. One of the dominant characteristics of the site’s posts is their being shareable-centric. Writer contributors love the fact that the audience share what they think is valuable and doable. Personally I’ve benefited from Lifehack’s ability to capture the fancy of its readers and its capability to motivate them to share content. I have to point out, though, that if the audience doesn’t find the content excellent, they won’t share it online. Like you need telling!

      Lifehacker

      Lifehacker-30

        The owners summarize Lifehacker like this: Tips, tricks, and downloads for getting things done. I’m pretty sure you got the point! It’s where you can find any kind of tips, and tricks, and downloads that can help you do whatever you want to do. The website’s team categorized topics this way: Downloads (or more specifically, Windows Downloads, Mac Downloads, iOS Downloads, and Android Downloads), Windows, OS X, Linux, Android, iOS, and Windows Phone, How To, DIY, and more.

        Dumb Little Man

        DLM

          In the words of the owner, Jay White, “the site is about productivity, exceeding goals, automation, and, well, finding a simpler way for everything.” Categories include happiness, success, money, how to, life hacks, health. You will surely enjoy reading more about the site. Start with the Dumb little Man’s about page. And just one look at the homepage, you’ll see that DLM has a well-balanced group of niches. For me, because I’m a tech-challenged blogger, I find the how-tos covering technology helpful. Go, check, if you haven’t yet. You’ll not waste your time.

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          Get Rich Slowly

          Get Rich Slowly

            If you want to learn how to manage your personal finances well your site is Get Rich Slowly. The site is named a best blog by Time magazine and most inspiring money blog by Money magazine. It’s devoted to sensible personal finance. Topics covered are Bank Reviews, The Basics, Money Hacks, Investing, Being Frugal, Enterpreneurship, Savings, Budgeting, Cars, Retirement, and Debt. There are more, but you’ll have to jump over to the site to appreciate it better.

            Zen habits

            ZenHabits_10

              If you are looking for a blog that can teach you to develop simple habits to change your life for the better, I recommend Leo Babauta’s famous blog, Zen Habits. Time Magazine voted it as one of the Best Blogs of 2010. That’s a good reason for you to check his blog. What I like about this blog is that it uses a simple way to explain ways to acquire habits that can result to you becoming a more productive person and generally a better individual.

              Wise Bread Personal Finance Forum

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              Wise Bread

                The about page of a site sort of sets the initial mood of the reader during the first visit. Checking Wise Bread’s about page you’ll read this: Wise Bread is a community of bloggers here to help you live large on a small budget. Despite what you may have heard, you don’t have to sacrifice your financial independence to enjoy life. Upon reading this short introduction, I was convinced and encouraged to patronize the blog. The site got me on “Living large on a small budget.” Who wouldn’t desire that? Topics covered are Credit cards, Personal finance, Frugal living, Career, Life hacks, Best deals, (and believe or not, they even feature other Personal Finance blogs).

                LifeDev

                LiveDev_10

                  The first time I visited this wonderful blog, I was caught unaware I was being drawn in closer and closer to check everything about it,immediately. Not only because it’s part of my research, but because it has something I can’t ignore: honesty. What’s more, it’s sincere in helping people in the business of creating and finishing projects no matter how big or small they are.

                  Productivity501

                  Productivity501

                    Productivity501 is a blog focused on serving tips and tricks to help you increase your personal productivity. Since it genuinely wants to do that, originality is it’s priority, so it’s generally slower than other sites with postings; it concentrates on original content only. The blog does its best to come up with one original post every week. However, the blog’s focus is on featuring something that will surely benefit the audience. One thing that distinguishes it from other productivity websites is that it has its own Youtube Channel featuring tips and tricks. The blog also frequently include tech tips on their featured posts. This way, tech challenged guys like me can have a field day every time they visit Productivity501.

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                    The Daily Saint

                    TheDailySaint

                      Focused on helping professionals to organize and improve time management so they can get more things done and create a greater impact. It’s also set to help them experience more satisfaction, and to transform their organization for the better. This blog separates itself from the rest by catering to organizations too, instead of limiting itself to helping only individuals. An added feature is the topic, leadership. Many productivity blogs cover leadership but The Daily Saint incorporates it into its main fiber.

                      Ian’s Messy Desk

                      IansMessyDesk

                        Looking for a blog that’s focused on time management and personal development has never been easier. Just click the name of the blog above and you’ll get in, pronto. Once inside, you’ll know you’ll never have a messy desk again. Well, that is if you follow the tips offered there. Right on its About Page, you’re assured you’ll not only get self-help tips but also be a beneficiary of teaching, coaching, sharing, and mentoring. So, if you feel you’re stuck somewhere you’re not comfortable in, or you need a little push to left you up where you’re at, feel free to navigate to IMD. It’s a smart move. Take it from your friend, Anthony (me).

                        Open Loops

                        OpenLoops

                          Among the sites here, this one has a different angle. It’s from an educator’s viewpoint. Bert Webb, the owner, has spent about 19 years of his life in academia enabling him to come up with wise advice regarding time management, productivity, and self development. Drop by the site and you’ll see such topics as developing writing skills, effective communication, powerful presentations, improving resumes, and so much more. It’s quite different from the rest of the productivity blogs because subjects are discussed with the wisdom of a teacher. I and my friends who are productivity experts highly recommend these blogs.

                          Featured photo credit: VIKTOR HANACEK via picjumbo.com

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                          Anthony Dejolde

                          TV/Radio personality who educates his audience on entrepreneurship, productivity, and leadership.

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                          Last Updated on July 17, 2019

                          The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

                          The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

                          What happens in our heads when we set goals?

                          Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

                          Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

                          According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

                          Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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                          Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

                          Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

                          The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

                          Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

                          So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

                          Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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                          One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

                          Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

                          Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

                          The Neurology of Ownership

                          Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

                          In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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                          But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

                          This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

                          Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

                          The Upshot for Goal-Setters

                          So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

                          On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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                          It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

                          On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

                          But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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                          Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

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