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Tech Productivity

Issue #228  (Team Health Checks) 06/26/23

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One of the articles in the "Articles & Resources" section below is by author Oliver Burkeman in which he encourages being productive by thinking about doing one task at a time. It's not so much an article against multi-tasking, but it's more about forcing yourself to recognize priority.

I can definitely relate to the concept myself. I write three newsletters per week now, and if I didn't focus on 'one task' (i.e. one newsletter) at a time, I would never be able to do this. But it's not too difficult because I know which one I'm supposed to work on next.

I work on Web Tools Weekly every Wednesday. Everything else is low priority on Wednesday. Occasionally I have to do a little bit of prep work ahead of time for it (for ads or possibly a paid review) but in general it gets done almost exclusively on Wednesday.
Task Tracker
Approaching tasks one at a time

The two smaller newsletters are much easier. They're much shorter newsletters, taking up maybe 2-3 hours of work each. But the same rule applies: On Sunday evening or Monday morning (depending on my schedule) I prioritize the current newsletter you're reading. On Tuesday evening, or possibly Wednesday morning, I prioritize the one on VS Code.

In all three cases, it's just me working on one thing until I get it done. Because I have responsibility towards advertisers and the expected day it goes out, it makes it easy to do. Of course, each newsletter itself consists of dozens of little tasks that all make up the 'one task' — but the same principle applies, I simply do each task one at a time until they're all done (and hence the 'one task' is done).

If you find yourself having trouble getting stuff done, try to force yourself into this mentality. Figure out what's important and just get it done without switching tasks. It might work for you too.

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


Tools & Apps

TodoBot — An AI-powered to-do list app that helps you break complex tasks into smaller, more manageable steps, and includes a built-in virtual coach.

Witch — A Mac app that improves on the built-in app switcher to allow you to switch between windows and tabs inside each app and window, giving you finger-grained control over app switching, among other features.

Currl — A free text-based social bookmarking website to collect links. You can view recent and popular saves and add tags to your bookmarks.

Create the “Atomic Habits” You Need for Success — 6000+ ambitious professionals trust Sunsama with their daily routines. With features such as Daily planning, Weekly objectives, and focus mode – the free trial is a no-brainer to test out.    sponsor  

OpenResume — A free, open-source, and powerful resume builder and designer, with a focus on privacy. Upload an existing PDF or start from scratch. — A platform for listening to music that’s scientifically proven to affect your brain and optimize your performance, for increased focus and productivity.

DocGPT — A GPT-based research tool that combines pro PDF editor features with generative AI, to allow you to automate any document-related task.


Articles & Resources

Deep-brain Stimulation During Sleep Strengthens Memory — The research, published Nature Neuroscience, could offer new clues for how deep-brain stimulation during sleep could help patients with memory disorders like Alzheimer’s disease.

Mobile App Security: A Layered Approach — Devs are being called to reevaluate their mobile app sec architecture, educate themselves on security best practices, and implement them throughout their dev lifecycle. Access our report to discover a layered approach to mobile app security    sponsor  

List One Task, Do It, Cross It Out — The simplest approach possible towards any productivity system: Just do one thing. Along with some caveats, this is good advice but harder to implement when it's not as clear what's considered 'urgent'.

Speed Matters: Why Working Quickly is More Important Than it Seems — Based on the idea that "systems which eat items quickly are fed more items. Slow systems starve."

Getting More From Your Team Health Checks — The Spotify team first wrote about 'team health checks' in 2014. This updated post, after what they estimate to be 5,000-plus health checks since then, may help your team get results from similar checks.

Be a Thermostat, Not a Thermometer — An effective figure of speech to explain how we might respond to specific 'vibes' we're getting at our workplace, so we can do more than just 'measure', or observe, what might be wrong.

Leadership Tip 21: How to Know if People are Working Hard — Part of an ongoing series for team leaders, with some possibly helpful info that you might benefit from even if you're not a team leader.


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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