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Tech Productivity

Issue #251  (Your Brain on Emoji) 12/04/23

Always Scrambling to Tackle "Urgent" Work? 🚨 

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Way back in July of 2009 (that's almost 15 years ago now) a study was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), a well-respected, peer-reviewed scientific journal. The study was called Cognitive control in media multitaskers.

This is a very early study looking at the effects of multitasking on the human brain and productivity. There's certainly been more research on this subject in recent years but it's interesting to see how far back understanding of this problem goes.

The basic purpose of the study is explained where it says:
"A series of experiments addressed whether there are systematic differences in information processing styles between chronically heavy and light media multitaskers."

What did the study's findings show?
Results showed that heavy media multitaskers are more susceptible to interference from irrelevant environmental stimuli and from irrelevant representations in memory. This led to the surprising result that heavy media multitaskers performed worse on a test of task-switching ability, likely due to reduced ability to filter out interference from the irrelevant task set.

That's from the abstract at the top of the page, but if you want to delve more deeply into the methodology and results, there's quite a bit of info below.

So nothing too surprising, but it's certainly interesting to see this kind of thing examined back in 2009.

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


Tools & Apps

Document360 — AI-powered knowledge base for customers and teams to build, share, and manage a knowledge base, product documentation, manuals, SOPs, Wikis and more.

LazyNotes — An AI-based iOS app to record and summarize meetings, pitches, walk-throughs, interviews, and more, with the ability to customize using various prompt templates.

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NotionApps — Convert Notion databases into internal tools, client portals, custom apps, etc. Choose what data is shared with each user and customize the app with lists, login, menus, forms, and 25+ components.

The Mac Library — An app launcher for Mac that improves on the Mac Launchpad by allowing you to sort apps into categories, search apps, navigate with keyboard shortcuts, and more.

Forget — A simple to-do app, designed for "ADHD minds", that's always on your screen, allowing you to focus on one task at a time and track your progress daily.

AttachDoc — A modern file sharing service as an alternative to document attachments that includes secure file storage, access management, and real-time analytics.

Articles & Resources

Going Old-School: Why Top Achievers Shun Digital Tools for Productivity — Relevant quote: "You will be far more productive if you focus your efforts and time on doing the work rather than moving your work around. It’s the digital equivalent of shuffling papers on your desk."

A 30 Second Tactic For Overcoming Mental Resistance — A simple mental process to use when you feel resistance towards doing a task that you might find lengthy or overwhelming.

What Predicts Software Developers’ Productivity? — A summary of a study carried out by a team of Google developer productivity researchers that surveyed 622 developers across Google and two other companies in different industries.

Bytes: Your Favourite JavaScript Newsletter — I subscribe to a lot of newsletters, but this is definitely one I look forward to. Entertaining with lots of cool and useful coding tidbits and tools.    sponsor  

Your Brain on Emoji — This is a really deep dive into the history of emojis and how our brains interpret them when we used them to express ourselves, essentially making them a universal form of communication.

Two Words of Advice for Procrastinators — The author explains how the two words (regret and accomplishment) can help your productivity if you simply keep them in the back of your mind.

‘The Office is for Socializing’: How Work From Home Has Revolutionized Work — While there is now a bit of a backlash towards working from home, with many companies mandating in-person work, the work from home revolution may continue to grow, albeit more slowly than the last few years.


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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