All posts in Productivity


Polyphasic Sleep: When Productivity Becomes Madness

polyphasic sleep

It sounds like a miracle pill or silver bullet. Polyphasic sleep. How to rest for two hours a day with no ill effects.

Imagine everything you could get done with that free time! No more rushing for work deadlines, wishing you could read that book that’s been haunting your bag for a year, or trying to find time to just relax.

Unfortunately, as with most miracle solutions, polyphasic sleep has major associated health risks and little in the way of proven benefits. Most of its good press is down to urban myths and overestimating the positives.

We don’t sleep just for the hell of it – humans need solid rest to process the information gained in waking hours and properly order memories. Unfortunately, the idea of periodically napping throughout the day to replace regular sleep is consistently brought up in productivity discussions.

gustav graves dream machine

An hour on the dream machine keeps me sane.” – Gustav Graves, a literal James Bond villain, talking about his sleep schedule and glowing light mask… thing

The idea is nothing if not persistent, however, and so below we’ll dive into the theory behind polyphasic sleep, the alternative sleeping schedules you can try, and what the best way to get more out of your day is.

Let’s get started.

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What is Task Management? 3 Proven Methods Explained

What is Task Management

The most productive people on Earth aren’t superheroes. They have the same amount of hours in their day as you do, and often find ways to work far fewer hours, too. How do they do it?

When I was struggling to stay on top of my new responsibilities, I was asking the same question. Over time, I discovered task management techniques, to-do list apps and how to stay off Twitter to focus on work that matters.

I’m writing this task management guide because I want to share with you what I’ve learned since being thrown from office grunt work to the hectic life of a startup employee.

Over the next few chapters, I’ll be writing a huge guide to task management that will help you write your to-do list, stay on top of your workload and get more done.

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Weekly Review Checklist: An Insanely Productive Week in 14 Steps

Weekly Review

It’s easy to wake up, check the tasks marked for today and get stuck in with your most urgent and important duty. What’s harder is taking a big picture look at your task list. Who can be bothered with that? Surely that’s an hour you’ll never get back?

Nope!

You’ve got a bunch of tasks marked for later, or pending someone else’s actions. So, when’s ‘someday’? What’s waiting the next action?

You can be so focused on putting out fires and setting priorities that you leave half of your tasks sitting somewhere out of sight, which is the sort of behavior that stops you from hitting your goals and finally getting round to the work that matters.

With a little help from GTD, and inspiration from a number of task management systems, I’ve put together a quick, actionable guide on carrying out a weekly review on your productivity. Do this every week, and you’re sure to stay on top of your game.

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The Checklist Manifesto Review

The Checklist Manifesto Review Header

A book about disasters, human error and a simple tool that could well be the answer

Surely we don’t need any more bureaucracy, do we? Writer and surgeon Atul Gawande says yes, in fact we do. Box-checking and form-filling are often seen as the direct opposites of efficiency, but how many skyscrapers just tumble down out of the blue? Not very many, and The Checklist Manifesto explains why. It all comes down to recognizing that checklists are a powerful weapon in the fight against human error. In a series of anecdotes/case studies spanning from Gawande’s familiar operating theater to the secretive world of venture capitalism, the author makes rock-solid arguments in quick succession about why we all need more checklists in our lives. But not just any old checklists

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17 Best Gmail Extensions that Make Email Super Easy

Gmail Extensions

In today’s email-centric work environment, you have to make sure you’re on top of your game.

But that’s easier said than done. You likely use email to manage customer relationships, talk to your team, network and manage your to-do list. Keeping up with everything makes it all-too-easy to drown in an ocean of emails.

Luckily, tons of Gmail plugins exist that make your life way easier. Some of these Gmail extensions add handy new features and capabilities to your email account, while others make a huge difference in email optimization.

You can now send higher-quality, better-informed emails, faster than ever—so that communication with clients and peers doesn’t have to take up half your day.

Here are 17 game-changing Gmail extensions, compiled and researched by us over here at Process Street.

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How to Make a To-Do List to Power up Your Productivity

Make a To-do List

In the last chapter, I showed you how to get tasks out of your head and into your notebook.

In this post I’m going to answer some questions you might be having about what to do next, and show you how to make a to-do list even when you’re short on time.

  • Where do I put my tasks?
  • How do I break them down?
  • How do I word them?
  • What resources do I need to keep alongside them?

Read on to find out the answers.

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Task Planning: Getting Tasks Out of Your Head & Into Your Notebook

task planning

Are you ever at a loss when it comes to planning your tasks? A good chunk of the time, I feel exactly like that.

That’s ok. Task management exists because planning and executing projects is hard.

Last night, I sat down with my wife and we wrote down everything we’ll need to do when we move house. It was two A4 sheets of paper before we even started breaking it down into subtasks. Two A4 sheets of paper.

The amount of items a human can hold in working memory is around 7, so when it comes to projects, of course you’re lost if you’re not planning them properly.

Don’t worry. There’s a simple way to do it, and once you’ve got that down, you’ve learnt it forever. And the start of it, just like I sat down to do last night, is writing everything down.

Here’s how to brain dump your tasks and make sense of them.

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Evernote vs OneNote: The Best App for Note-Taking, Researching and Organizing?

Evernote vs OneNote

After I accidentally threw my Macbook out of a moving car and couldn’t afford another one, I’d suffered with a Windows machine for 2 years before getting a Mac again.

I made a solemn oath never to use Windows software again, but last week, I did something that really shocked me.

I enjoyed using a Microsoft product. I enjoyed using it even when there was a viable non-Microsoft alternative.

Then why, I ask myself, am I submitting myself to a Microsoft product when I don’t have to ever see Microsoft again?

Two reasons:

  1. I have made a terrible mess of my Evernote.
  2. OneNote is actually quite good.

In this post, I’m going to share my experiences with Evernote and OneNote, compare them, and give you an idea of how I get value out of them as a writer and note-hoarder spending all my waking hours on a laptop.

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7 SharePoint Alternatives that Actually Get the Job Done

Sharepoint Alternatives

Microsoft SharePoint is a bit like a Swiss army knife. It has a ton of different functions, some of which are useful, and some that aren’t. If you’re using SharePoint or one of several SharePoint alternatives and you’re not careful, you might wind up with a tool that’s so bloated with features it doesn’t really succeed at any of them.

As SharePoint consultant Jason Masterman says, “Customers are [implementing SharePoint] because they own it. It’s not that they’re doing research and choosing [SharePoint]. They’re doing it because they own it.” In a 2013 survey, only 6% of respondents reported completing a successful SharePoint project. In 2015, that number was up—but just to a mere 11%.

We think more than 11% of users deserve to be happy with their workflow tool. So we looked at 7 SharePoint alternatives and examined how they stack up in terms of price, capability, and user-friendliness. Here’s what we found.

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How to Prioritize Tasks and Do Only The Work That Matters

How to Prioritize Tasks

You’ve got a ton of work to do right now.

Your to-do list is an unstructured mess of action items, and you’ve only got a faint idea how to prioritize tasks.

Luckily, there are a few (almost automatic) ways to quickly get your to-do list prioritized without much effort. In fact, you can apply one of these methods within 5 minutes and know exactly what to do next. There have been a number of methods over the years, and all have their own quirks and considerations.

Which is right for you?

In previous chapters of my task management guide, I’ve taken you all the way through from writing, organizing and planning your to-do list. Go and check out those if you haven’t already.

Now, let’s look at at 4 different ways to prioritize your tasks.

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