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Tech Productivity

Issue #155  (Which Works Better: Habits or Projects?) 01/31/22

I recently came across the Wikipedia page for a well-known book called Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, by Marshall McLuhan, originally published in 1964. I'm guessing most people who have studied journalism or something related to new media have come across this book, if not read it.

Based on the Wikipedia summary, McLuhan has some controversial views. But I like this thought-provoking concept:

McLuhan pointed to the light bulb as an example. A light bulb does not have content in the way that a newspaper has articles or a television has programs, yet it is a medium that has a social effect; that is, a light bulb enables people to create spaces during nighttime that would otherwise be enveloped by darkness. He describes the light bulb as a medium without any content. McLuhan states that "a light bulb creates an environment by its mere presence."

Understanding Media

I think that same concept can be applied to a lot of different things we do. Maybe it's more important to have a means for doing something, rather than focusing so much on what that thing is doing. Eventually, the medium (or the platform) will right itself, even if the content it contains at first is somewhat broken and ineffective.

A simple example: You know it's important to prioritize your tasks to ensure you get things done according to importance. That's why you have a to-do list (the medium). But maybe the actual items on that list (the content) aren't as prioritized as they should be. But that's ok – because eventually, you'll learn to refine those priorities. Thus, the very existence of the list is what matters in the long term.

Now on to this week's hand-picked productivity links!

Tools & Apps

zcal - Free online meeting scheduling platform that helps you build stronger relationships by putting people first.

jrnl - An open-source note-taking tool for the command line that stores your journals in plain text, with sync via Dropbox.

DriveStats - Visualize and analyze your Google Drive storage, while your data is 100% private, encrypted, and secure.

Poppins - Slack plugin that centralizes your tasks within Slack by converting Slack messages into action items.

Briskine - Browser extension that lets you create email templates and insert them with shortcuts.

AutomateMyApp - Automate your repetitive tasks, such as filling out worksheets, sending mails, collecting payments, and more.

Free Talk with a Data Expert - Data is important to your business, but learning about the right tools and best practices is more difficult. Our data experts are here to help.   sponsored  

Articles & Resources

An Evidence-Based Approach to Goal Setting and Behavior Change - Successful goal attainment and behavior change are possible, but leaning exclusively on willpower and determination isn’t likely to get the job done.

7 Ways We Love to Procrastinate—and How to Avoid It - A brief but candid look at procrastination, something many of us may suffer from.

I Used the '2 Question' Rule to Cut 10 Hours of Meetings Every Week. My Productivity Has Doubled - Meetings glut our schedules, but you can easily cut the ones that are driven by false urgency or information sharing.

Make Learning a Part of Your Daily Routine - If you're in a role that requires a lot of 'keeping up to date' this is a good reminder not to let your skills get stale.

17 Ways To Learn New Skills Faster and Enjoy the Process - The article isn't as long as it sounds and many of these are really good suggestions.

Which Works Better: Habits or Projects? - Kind of a strange way to frame these two concepts, but it makes sense once you see where the author is coming from.

Beginner JavaScript - 88 HD videos. A fun, exercise-heavy approach to learning modern JavaScript from scratch. For absolute beginners to intermediate devs who want to nail their JS fundamentals.   sponsored  


Have a suggestion for a productivity-related tool, article, or other resource? Send me a direct message via X (@LouisLazaris) and I’ll consider including it in a future issue.

Stay productive!


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