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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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                          The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

                          The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

                          It’s a depressing adage we’ve all heard time and time again: An increase in technology does not necessarily translate to an increase in productivity.

                          Put another way by Robert Solow, a Nobel laureate in economics,

                          “You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”

                          In other words, just because our computers are getting faster, that doesn’t mean that that we will have an equivalent leap in productivity. In fact, the opposite may be true!

                          New York Times writer Matt Richel wrote in an article for the paper back in 2008 that stated, “Statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused.”

                          There’s a strange paradox when it comes to productivity. Rather than an exponential curve, our productivity will eventually reach a plateau, even with advances in technology.

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                          So what does that mean for our personal levels of productivity? And what does this mean for our economy as a whole? Here’s what you should know about the productivity paradox, its causes, and what possible solutions we may have to combat it.

                          What is the productivity paradox?

                          There is a discrepancy between the investment in IT growth and the national level of productivity and productive output. The term “productivity paradox” became popularized after being used in the title of a 1993 paper by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, a Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

                          In his paper, Brynjolfsson argued that while there doesn’t seem to be a direct, measurable correlation between improvements in IT and improvements in output, this might be more of a reflection on how productive output is measured and tracked.[1]

                          He wrote in his conclusion:

                          “Intangibles such as better responsiveness to customers and increased coordination with suppliers do not always increase the amount or even intrinsic quality of output, but they do help make sure it arrives at the right time, at the right place, with the right attributes for each customer.

                          Just as managers look beyond “productivity” for some of the benefits of IT, so must researchers be prepared to look beyond conventional productivity measurement techniques.”

                          How do we measure productivity anyway?

                          And this brings up a good point. How exactly is productivity measured?

                          In the case of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity gain is measured as the percentage change in gross domestic product per hour of labor.

                          But other publications such as US Today, argue that this is not the best way to track productivity, and instead use something called Total Factor Productivity (TFP). According to US Today, TFP “examines revenue per employee after subtracting productivity improvements that result from increases in capital assets, under the assumption that an investment in modern plants, equipment and technology automatically improves productivity.”[2]

                          In other words, this method weighs productivity changes by how much improvement there is since the last time productivity stats were gathered.

                          But if we can’t even agree on the best way to track productivity, then how can we know for certain if we’ve entered the productivity paradox?

                          Possible causes of the productivity paradox

                          Brynjolfsson argued that there are four probable causes for the paradox:

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                          • Mis-measurement – The gains are real but our current measures miss them.
                          • Redistribution – There are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain.
                          • Time lags – The gains take a long time to show up.
                          • Mismanagement – There are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.

                          There seems to be some evidence to support the mis-measurement theory as shown above. Another promising candidate is the time lag, which is supported by the work of Paul David, an economist at Oxford University.

                          According to an article in The Economist, his research has shown that productivity growth did not accelerate until 40 years after the introduction of electric power in the early 1880s.[3] This was partly because it took until 1920 for at least half of American industrial machinery to be powered by electricity.”

                          Therefore, he argues, we won’t see major leaps in productivity until both the US and major global powers have all reached at least a 50% penetration rate for computer use. The US only hit that mark a decade ago, and many other countries are far behind that level of growth.

                          The paradox and the recession

                          The productivity paradox has another effect on the recession economy. According to Neil Irwin,[4]

                          “Sky-high productivity has meant that business output has barely declined, making it less necessary to hire back laid-off workers…businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek.”

                          This means that more and more companies are trying to do less with more, and that means squeezing two or three people’s worth of work from a single employee in some cases.

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                          According to Irwin, “workers, frightened for their job security, squeezed more productivity out of every hour [in 2010].”

                          Looking forward

                          A recent article on Slate puts it all into perspective with one succinct observation:

                          “Perhaps the Internet is just not as revolutionary as we think it is. Sure, people might derive endless pleasure from it—its tendency to improve people’s quality of life is undeniable. And sure, it might have revolutionized how we find, buy, and sell goods and services. But that still does not necessarily mean it is as transformative of an economy as, say, railroads were.”

                          Still, Brynjolfsson argues that mismeasurement of productivity can really skew the results of people studying the paradox, perhaps more than any other factor.

                          “Because you and I stopped buying CDs, the music industry has shrunk, according to revenues and GDP. But we’re not listening to less music. There’s more music consumed than before.

                          On paper, the way GDP is calculated, the music industry is disappearing, but in reality it’s not disappearing. It is disappearing in revenue. It is not disappearing in terms of what you should care about, which is music.”

                          Perhaps the paradox isn’t a death sentence for our productivity after all. Only time (and perhaps improved measuring techniques) will tell.

                          Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

                          Reference

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