Mark Shead's articles

Mark Shead
Mark Shead

Sleep More–Do More

Tired woman

Being productive shouldn't be about just spending more time working. Productivity involves accomplishing more for each minute of work. Let's say you can do 100 units of work in 8 hours, so to get more done you work for 16 hours and accomplish 160 units of work. Have you become more productive? Not really. Imagine that you were being paid $100 per hour. So for 8 hours, you were paid $800 for 100 units of work or $8 per unit. At 16 hours, you were paid $1600 for 160 units of work or $10 per unit. Someone paying you on the outside would quickly notice that your productivity lessened because it cost them more money per unit of work accomplished. However, since most of us don't pay ourselves an … [Read more...]

Future Work

hands of businessman with glasses on laptop keyboard

I lived in Michigan for the first half of the 2000s and saw a lot of people who had lost their jobs in the auto industry. What was sad is that the layoffs weren't much of a surprise to people looking in from the outside, but they were often very surprising for the people who lost their jobs. The thing is, those people were probably in a better position to understand what was happening than anyone else. It is very easy to overlook what today tells you about tomorrow when you are right in the middle of things. This post is an attempt to look at how work is likely to change in the future. Regardless of how accurate my predictions prove to be, the real value from this post is probably going … [Read more...]

5 Ways My Phone Makes Me More Productive

Smart Phone - Stock Image

1. Banking and Bills My bank recently added the ability to deposit checks by taking a picture of them in their Android application. This saves me time, makes sure that my checks don't get lost in the mail and simplifies the deposit process. 2. Reading I'm still a big fan of physical books, but having a few books on my phone means that I can do something useful when I have an unexpected delay waiting for someone. I also use it to read to my kids at night because I can turn off the room light and still read the screen. With the light off they go to sleep faster. Recently we read Around The World In 80 Days and Black Beauty. We are currently reading Journey To The Center Of The Earth. … [Read more...]

Managing Expectations and Perceptions

go the extra mile

In my last post, I talked about two experiments that showed how the expectations of teachers can make kids get better grades and how the expectations of scientists can make rats do better on mazes. My point was that if you aren't paying attention to how people perceive you, chances are you will fall short of your full potential. In this post, I want to look at three things you can do to manage how others perceive you and how you can influence their expectations. 1. Under promise / Over deliver CEO Craig needs two projects done by two of his direct reports. He asks Tom when he can expect Project T to be finished. Tom says he will have it done by Friday of next week. He asks Vick for the … [Read more...]

Two Important Experiments


Let me start this post by telling you about two experiments. The first experiment involved rats. Scientists were given two sets of rats. One set had been "genetically modified" to increase their intelligence. The scientists were asked to test the rats to determine how much smarter the "super rats" actually were. In the second experiment, elementary school teachers were given two lists of their students. One list had all the students that were "gifted." The other list had the name of all the students that were just average. In both of these experiments, the thing that was being tested was not rats nor the children, but the perception of the scientists/teachers. In both cases, the … [Read more...]

Interview: Productive Mental Zone

Reminder Note to Get More Done!

Regardless of what you call it, everyone knows what it is like to work in the "zone." It is the place in which everything comes together easily. You are focused, and sometimes it is easy to spend several hours without realizing the time is passing. Being in the "zone" is what you experience when you see that it is 3pm, you've been working since 9am and didn't even realize you missed lunch. So how do you create that mental zone? We asked a number of highly productive people: What method do you use to keep yourself in your most productive mental zone? One of the interesting things that stood out from everyone's answers was that "the zone" means different things to different people. I … [Read more...]

Interview: Increasing Productivity

People in a Meeting and Single Word Productivity

I asked a number of productive people the question: How do you use planning to increase your productivity? One thing that stuck out to me after reading all the answers is that planning is really the act of making decisions together, in a batch, ahead of time. Instead of making a bunch of little decisions as to what you are going to do throughout the day, you make decisions at least about the important things all at once when you are viewing your day, week, etc. as a whole. This lets you decide what you want to accomplish while looking at the 50,000 foot level instead of having your perspective influenced by the small stresses of your daily work. At least that is what I took away … [Read more...]

Interview: Avoiding Distractions

2014 brasil Work Cup

For this post I sent out a questionnaire to a number of people asking about their single best tip for avoiding distractions. Most everything suggested falls into two categories: Controlling your mind Controlling your environment Obviously, controlling your environment is just another way of controlling your mind. What I liked best about reading all these suggestions is the number of different ways people have for creating a distraction-free work experience. Read on. I'm sure you'll find a number of tips that will help you be more productive. Make it difficult to be distracted. Turn off notification sounds and indicators on email, social media, etc. If your corporate culture … [Read more...]

Bill Payment Features

Write some checks to make payments for household expenses

Most people are familiar with the basic idea behind bill payment systems, but if you've never used one, you may not be familiar with the ways it can save you time. Even if you've used the bill payment system from your bank for years, you might not be familiar with all the features that are available from other institutions. The goal of this post is to look at some features and capabilities of bill payment systems and how these things can help make you more productive. For people that aren't familiar with bill payment systems, here is how they work. When you need to pay someone, you log in to your bank or bill payment system website, tell it who you want to pay, and send the payment. If … [Read more...]

Paperless Document Formats

Highway Signpost "Paperless Office"

Moving from paper-based documents to paperless documents can offer a number of benefits. In addition to saving physical space, paperless documents are easier to search and to share. Paperless documents also don't have the same type of physical limitations of paper and enable workflow solutions that simply aren't possible with physical copies. For example, multiple people can view a paperless document simultaneously, while a single paper copy can only be viewed by a handful of people at the same time and everyone must be in the same room together. There are all kinds of different ways to create and manage paperless documents. It can be as simple as scanning in a sheet of paper and putting … [Read more...]

The Art of Pinging


In this article we are going to talk about networking. Specifically, we want to look at how to "ping" people. I believe the term "ping" comes from the excellent book Never Eat Alone. A ping is defined as a small action that keeps the relationship with someone in your network alive. First let's talk about the benefits of pinging your network of contacts, then we'll look at how to actually do it. Benefits of Pinging Our brains organize information in a very efficient way. Imagine that our memories are a bunch of envelopes in a pile. The size of the envelope corresponds to the emotion associated with that memory. So you can easily retrieve the memory of your first kiss no matter how long … [Read more...]

Tips for Video Conferencing

Smartphone_world connection_001

As video conferencing becomes more and more common, I thought it might be useful to talk about how to best configure your computer for doing video chats. Audio Is King The most important part of a video conference is not the is the audio. This may seem unintuitive, but there have been some experiments done where people were asked to rate the quality of short videos. The videos that had good audio were consistently rated better than the ones with poor audio--regardless of the quality of the visuals. We are programmed to skip over blips and problems with video, but audio issues stand out. Make sure you have a good headset microphone and that your connection is fast enough … [Read more...]

Productive Apps for Managing Money

Banking and Savings

5 to 10 years ago, managing your finances meant buying Quicken or Microsoft Money and dedicating a great deal of time to entering in all of your expenses. If you ran a small business, you probably looked at purchasing Quickbooks to track everything. While those are all great products, there are a number of free options that do a great job of integrating with your banks to reduce the amount of time you have to spend manually entering things. I know I'd much rather spend my time looking at my finances instead of putting all my effort into just entering in data. These four web applications are all designed to save you time and increase your productivity when it comes to financial … [Read more...]

Productive Smart Phone


Chances are you have a smart phone, but does it actually make you more productive? In other words, do you have more free time and less stress because you have a smart phone than you'd have with a standard "dumb" phone? If not, you should probably rethink how you use it. Just because you can use a smart phone for something doesn't mean it is productive. In fact, smart phones will give you the capability of doing things that are extremely unproductive. If you aren't careful, you can end up worse off. So what are smart phones good for? Handheld mobile devices are great for filling in small gaps of time. If you have a 3 minute wait at the post office, you probably aren't going to drag your … [Read more...]

Gifts for Highly Productive People

Blue elegant gift box

Are you having a difficult time coming up with a gift for that highly productive person on your list? Here are some suggestions: Extra Power Adapters Taking your power adapter out of the bag, crawling around under the desk to plug it in, then reversing the process at the end of the day just isn't fun or efficient. You can eliminate those problems from someone's life by getting them an extra laptop power adapter so they can leave one at their desk and one at home or in their computer bag. Related gift ideas include an extra wall adapter or car adapter for cell phones, an extra iPad charger, etc. More Computer Memory My mom has an older laptop and at one point, it was becoming so … [Read more...]

Fujitsu ScanSnap iX100 Review


When I was offered a Fujitsu ScanSnap iX100 to review I was skeptical. I'm pretty happy with my Evernote Edition ScanSnap and didn't really see the need for another scanner in my workflow. I have a pocket on my Broadmore computer bag that I use to hold any papers I accumulate on the road. If I needed something scanned before I got back to my desk, I'd just use my phone's camera to put it in Evernote. I didn't really see why I'd need or want to use another scanner that could only scan one side of a paper at and required feeding in a single sheet at a time. When I opened the package the first thing I noticed was how small it was. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but the pictures I had … [Read more...]

Integration vs. Features

Incomplete puzzle with missing piece on human hand

There are hundreds and thousands of devices, apps and systems that promise to make you more productive. If you spend all your time looking for the perfect set of tools, you'll never get anything done. In this article, I want to look at one useful way to quickly evaluate tools to help avoid ones that promise to make you more efficient, but don't in actual practice. I used to work as the network administrator for two hospitals and a bunch of clinics. When I started, there were very few actual computers in use. All of the medical systems were accessed with dumb terminals and pretty much everything was done from text screens using the keyboard and arrow keys to navigate. Even when … [Read more...]

Productivity and Self-Employment


I think it is interesting that many of the people most focused on productivity work for someone else. Why? Because even if you are well paid, you are always going to make less than the value you create. For one thing, salary ranges are very rarely tied to pure performance. If you work with 10 people who all do the same thing, it wouldn't be surprising if the top performer is 10 times more productive than the worst. However, it would be very surprising if the top performer were paid 10 times the salary of the lowest. The other reason that wide variance in performance doesn't translate into wide variance in pay is because jobs are designed in order to make a position replaceable. That … [Read more...]

Tips for Productive Reading

Young student in a library

Most people will agree that it is good to read, but not all reading is equal. Some people get a tremendous amount out of their reading and others get very little. Here are some tips for making your time spent reading as productive as possible. 1. Take notes. Even if you never refer to your notes again, the process of taking notes helps you sort out what you feel is important and will help you remember it. You'll have to choose between pixels or paper for your notes. Using something like Evernote or DevonTHINK will make it easy to find your notes later by subject or search. On the other hand, many people feel they recall information better when they had to write it by hand the "old … [Read more...]

Powerful Routines

Extreme close-up of male fingers holding fuel cap

I used to drive an old white Jeep Cherokee and I kept forgetting to put the gas cap back on and close the gas door. (Fortunately, I always remembered to take the nozzle out of the truck and put it back on the pump.) I'd drive away from the gas station with the gas door hanging open and wouldn't notice until I parked and headed into my office. Finally I made a very simple change to my gas getting routine. Instead of putting the gas cap on the little slot on the gas door, I started putting it on the pump where the gas nozzle rests. When I finished and put the nozzle back on the gas pump, I'd have to pick up the cap. Once it was in my hand, it was hard to forget to replace it and shut the gas … [Read more...]

Single Biggest Productivity Tip

drawing checkbox

My biggest productivity tip is very simple. It isn't a fancy application for your computer. It isn't a complicated process. It is very basic and very easy. Here it is: At the beginning of the day, take out a blank piece of paper and place it in the center of your desk. At the top write the three most important things you want to accomplish for the day. These are the three tasks that are important enough that their completion will allow you to declare the day a success--regardless of what else gets done. That is it. It is simple and easy to do, but if you follow that advice you'll find your productivity will skyrocket. Your day is like a jar that you are trying to fill with three large … [Read more...]

Interruption Prevention Strategies


If you work in an office, you probably deal with interruptions. Now, not all interruptions are bad--the whole point of working in an office with other people is so that interactions can occur. However, it is possible to get into a situation where your entire day is spent dealing with interruptions. If you need to cut down on the interruptions in your life, consider some of these methods. 1. No seating If you have your own office, you might consider getting rid of the extra chairs. People are less likely to come in and stay for a long period of time if you don't have a place to sit. You can keep a fold-up chair in a closet or behind your desk for situations where it is needed. 2. … [Read more...]

Simple Time Savings Investments


Poor organization is one of the biggest productivity killers. When you can't find a tool you need or have to sort through a pile of outdated papers to find the one you are looking for, it slows you down and eats up valuable minutes that could be spent on something more important. In this post, we are going to look at some simple things you can do to help make your life more productive by organizing specific areas. Most of these are things where 15 minutes of focused effort will go a long way toward saving you hours in the future. 1. Clean out your closet You've probably heard the saying, "You can't see the forest for all of the trees." A similar, but less popular quotation is "You … [Read more...]

Going Back to College


Summer is ending and students are headed back to school. But what if you are past college age, replete with family responsibilities, holding down a full time job, and still feel like some additional training would improve your career? Thanks to the Internet, there are all kinds of options for getting a degree while keeping your current job and still making it to your kid's baseball games. I recently completed an online master's degree in software engineering through Harvard's Extension School, and I can definitely say that in a world where you have to constantly retrain yourself with new skills, online education is the future. Most online degrees give you some flexibility regarding … [Read more...]

Getting the Most out of College

Multicultural College Students outside on campus

With students all headed back to school, it is a good time to look at some ways to get the most out of college. College is a fascinating place and most people won't fully appreciate all the opportunities they were given until years later. With that in mind, here are some tips for students wanting to get the most out of their college experience. 1. Networking A large part of the value of a college education is the people you meet, but to really take advantage of that you are going to have to intentionally network with people. Don't be the person who sees every person as a potential "networking" opportunity, but do be someone who is friendly and keeps in touch. Facebook and LinkedIn … [Read more...]

5 Efficient College Tips

Students group

There are two ways to approach college. The first is to be intentional and plan out your studies. The second is to just let college "happen" to you. Obviously a little planning can go a long ways toward giving you the best educational experience. In this post, we are going to look at five tips for making your college years more efficient. 1. Take intersession courses from a junior college. Over Christmas break of my junior year, my brother and I took American History from our hometown community college in seven days. These were eight hour days with two or three tests each day. The rest of our time was spent studying. It was very challenging, but those seven days of focus cleared … [Read more...]

Intuit Productivity Webinar


Yesterday I participated in a webinar sponsored by Intuit called "Get More Done. Today." with Craig Jarrow (blogs at Time Management Ninja) and Mike Williams (CEO at David Allen Company). Dan Schawbel moderated the event. I had a great time answering questions and learning some new tips and tricks from Craig and Mike. If you'd like to view the recording, click here or on the image below. … [Read more...]

Becoming Selective

Businessman pressing high tech type of modern buttons

Back in Mozart's day, music was a rare thing. If you had an opportunity to hear good music, it was a special treat and something you'd definitely want to take advantage of. Now days, music can be found everywhere. People listen to it while working, while driving, while exercising. Music can put you to sleep at night and wake you up in the morning. With access to music everywhere, the hard part is deciding what you are not going to listen to because there are just so many options. It wasn't that long ago that books were a rare treasure. They were difficult and expensive to produce. Even after the invention of the printing press, there was limited choice on what was available to read. … [Read more...]

vLetter Handwriting Font


Several years ago, I wrote about vLetter's handwriting font. I got an email from them a few months ago asking if I'd like to try out an updated version of the font. The big difference is that in the past you had to write your text and then convert it to your handwriting, now it will let you write with your handwriting font directly and it is smart enough to figure out which version of each letter to use to make it connect correctly with the letters that come before and after it. If you have an existing font from vLetter, they can upgrade it to the new smart font. Otherwise you'll need to download the form and write all the words as shown below. This provides vLetter with the information … [Read more...]

Home Office Update

Mark Shead's Home Office

Several years ago I did a post on my home office setup. Since my home office is constantly evolving it seemed like a good time to do an update. One thing that has changed from a few years ago is that where I used to spend short periods of time video conferencing, I now spend pretty much 8 to 9 hours a day on video conference with clients. Previously, I had two glass top desks setup in an L shape with a single 30 inch monitor. I've moved these desks on either side of the room behind where I sit and have gone to double Bivi desk with three large monitors. This gives me a reasonable amount of work area and I can roll back to one of the two glass desks if I need to spread out some … [Read more...]

Discrimination Against the Unemployed


A reader named Susan left an interesting comment on Never Hire an MBA. She doesn't like the article, but what I found interesting was this part of her comment: Are you familiar with discrimination laws, well although there is not currently a discrimination law that would protect individuals from potential employers from discriminating against individuals who are unemployed, I am proud to say that I am one of thousands who have signed a petition against little minded people who discriminate against the unemployed. I hadn't heard of this before, but after a little research I found that some employers are including requirements in their job postings that basically say, "we only consider job … [Read more...]

Getting More Done


If you want to accomplish more than those around you, you have two options: Spend more time working. Do more in less time. There aren't any other options.  To get more done, you'll have to do one or both of these things, so lets look at them in more detail. Spend more time working This is how most people try to get more done. They work 10 and 12 hour days, work weekends, etc. While this can definitely help you accomplish more, it doesn't scale very well. If you allow 8 hours per day for sleep and eating, you can't go beyond 16 hours of work per day. If you were able to convert all of your extra time into productive work, you'll only be twice as productive as the average … [Read more...]

Reader Question – Smarter People


What makes some people smarter than others? How smart someone is can be measured in many different ways. The most common standard way of measuring intelligence is an IQ test. If you have an IQ of 100 then you are a completely average person. If you IQ is above 100 you are above average. A raw IQ score measures on type of intelligence. However there are many people with modest IQs who have amassed an extremely large amount of knowledge. This pool of knowledge makes them extremely intelligent. Often they will outperform someone with a higher IQ simply because they know so much. In theory, there is very little you can do to improve your raw IQ. However you can very easily expand your … [Read more...]

8 Habit List Usage Ideas


We've had some great response to the Habit List post. Here are several usage ideas for the Habit List: Negative Items - If there is something you are trying not to do, you can add it to the list as negative item.  For example, "Didn't watch TV" could be one of the items on the list. Different Lists for Different Places - Part of the idea of the Habit List is to let you focus on your tasks with habit type items out of the way.  If your habit list gets long, you might want to use different lists separated by where you will use them.  For example, you might have one list for exercise, another list for work, and a third for your home stuff. Teaching Your Kids - The Habit List also … [Read more...]

12 Tips for an Organized Desk


Here are twelve quick desk organization tips. These are things that have worked well for me and help me maintain an organized desk (most of the time). Most of them are probably applicable to others as well. If you have any desk organization tip suggestions of items to add please add them to the comments. (Update: If you  are interested in seeing my desk, checkout this post for photos.) Get rid of pens and pencils you don't need. - I have one type of pen I like to use, but every month or so my pencil holder gets filled up with other random writing instruments. If you aren't going to use it, don't feel bad about throwing it out. It is just clutter.  The less clutter you have, the closer … [Read more...]

8 Video Conferencing Tips


For the past several months I've been working on a project that involves being on a video conference call pretty much 8 hours per day with people all across the US. This has been an interesting experience and I wanted to share some of my tips for making video conferencing work effectively. 1. Good lighting Typical webcams look 100 times better when they have enough light. Adding a few light bulbs can make a huge difference in improving the way you look on the screen. I purchased some large CFL daylight balanced bulbs. They keep me from looking pink or blue and make the quality of my images much better than what it looks like without the lighting. If you can get sunlight from a … [Read more...]

Creative Business – Tie Society


Some time back I wrote an article called You Are Self-Employed. The premise was that being an employee doesn't really offer any job security and if it doesn't offer job security, you may want to consider starting your own business. I also mentioned that it is probably easier to start a business today than it ever has been. The comments were where things got interesting though. It turns out a lot of people think of starting a business as something that requires huge amounts of capital. But not every company requires millions of dollars to start--particularly if you are willing to be creative. This past week I got a call from a company that is doing just that--being very creative. They … [Read more...]

Paradox of Powerful Tools


I once worked with an organization that was using two different word processors. They had an old mainframe system with an integrated office suite that been in use for years. The mainframe was accessible from dumb terminals as well as from the newly added PCs. As they added PC's, more and more employees began switching to Microsoft Word. Word was a much more powerful system than the mainframe word processor. The mainframe only offered basic formatting (bold, italics, and underline), a single mono-spaced font, and a few other features like tabs and the ability to center a line of text. It seemed obvious that individuals using Word would be much more productive than those who used the … [Read more...]

How to Make an Insanely Simple Paperless Filing System


This is a guest post by Arjun Muralidharan, author of The Productive Student, a new blog about productivity for college students and all productivity buffs. Mark's paperless project has always been a favorite of mine to follow. He uses DevonThink to manage incoming documents from his Fujitsu ScanSnap. It's a good system, but for me, it lacks two things: It doesn't handle all my files, such as Word documents, Keynote presentations and other file types well. Third-party software independence. In accordance with GTD, I like to have a comprehensive system that's cross-platform and can live independently from software such as DevonThink. While a system with DevonThink will work … [Read more...]

Email is Permanent


Matthew Tanin, a fund manager at Bear Stearns, has learned an important lesson about email: It is, for all practical purposes, permanent. It is easy to think of email as a conversation. You say something and get a reply back and both parties hit delete and it is gone. However, in reality, much of the email you send is stored permanently somewhere--especially when you are dealing with corporate mail servers. If you send a message out, it will go into your sent items and will usually be backed up on your local mail server. Even if you delete the email from your sent items, it is likely to be merely "flagged" for deletion and still backed up. When it gets to the other end, it is probably … [Read more...]

How to Memorize Verbatim Text

Memories in Your Brain

If you are visiting from StumbleUpon and like this article and tool, please consider giving it a thumbs up. Thanks! Memorizing does not have to be as hard as most people make it. The problem is that most people only know how to memorize by reading the same thing over and over again. You have to learn to memorize. In this post we are going to look at how the brain remembers and then show how to use that knowledge to come up with a method for memorizing verbatim text.  Any tip or trick that will improve your memory even slightly is well worth the effort. In this article we are going to focus on a technique that will let you easily: Memorize a speech Memorize the Bible Memorize … [Read more...]

Living Within Your Means


When we purchased our first house we put down a large down payment. Our realtor was surprised to find out we didn't have any other debt. Getting the loan was no problem as we bought quite a bit less house than what the banks said we could afford. This all seemed normal for us--we try to live within our means if not a little below it. Several years later the realtor stopped by to say hi. He said, "You and your wife were really an inspiration to me. We've started paying off our debt and trying to get our living expenses under control." Evidently his normal customers weren't people who lived beneath their means. When you spend less than you make, you are buying flexibility and freedom. … [Read more...]

Reader Question – How to Wake Up


What is the best way to wake up if you haven't slept? If you feel drained because you haven't had enough rest, the best thing you can do is go ahead and get some sleep. This is a little like asking "How can I stop from feeling thirsty when I haven't had anything to drink?" Your body is trying to tell you something and you should listen to it. There are somethings you can to to help stay awake, but you can only trick your body so long. Here are a few things might help if you are having trouble focusing because you are tired: Take a short walk - The exercise will help wake you up. Lower the temperature - If you feel overly warm your body may start trying to go to sleep. Work standing … [Read more...]

You Are Self Employed


I was recently talking with a friend who said he'd be scared to try to start his own business because it seemed so insecure. I asked, "How is that any different than what you do working for someone else?" After a moment's pause, he admitted that it really wasn't. When it comes down to it, you work for yourself, regardless of who is the owner of the company that cuts your check. It is your responsibility to market yourself, develop your skills, identify trends and position yourself to profit. Abdicating these responsibilities doesn't somehow put you into an "employee" category where you have more job security. Most successful people see their jobs like this. They are in a business … [Read more...]

Intelligence Follows the Wheel

I ran across some interesting research the other day that I wanted to take a few moments to share here. For years scientists have known that giving mice "enriched" environments makes the mice smarter. They would put in colorful toys, tunnels, exercise wheels, etc. and mice who lived in the "enriched" environments performed better on tests than the mice in the non-enriched cages. Finally some scientists started trying to figure out exactly what it was in the enriched environment's was making the mice smart. It turned out it wasn't the colorful balls or toys. it all came down to the exercise wheel. Even though the mice loved the toys the thing that made them smart was running on the wheel. … [Read more...]

Father’s Day iPad Giveaway


I've been writing some posts for Manilla and they asked me if I'd be interested in working with them on an iPad contest giveaway for Father's day. The long legal rules are here, but here is how it works in a nutshell. Once a day from now until the day after Father's Day I'm going to tweet a question from @Productivity501 tagged with #manilladad. Tweet back an answer (also tagged with #manilladad, so we can track the answers) and you will be entered in the contest. It doesn't get much simpler than that. Manilla is going to handle contacting the winner, etc. If you want all the legal details, check them out here. Hope to see  your answers on Twitter! … [Read more...]

Capsul8 – Preview for Productivity501 Readers

Screen shot 2012-01-15 at 11.58.32 PM

When you get a newspaper, you can cut out an article and come back and read the same thing later. It doesn't change after you read it. The web isn't like that. The article you read today, may not be around tomorrow or the version that is here tomorrow may be very different from what you have today. Capsul8 is a startup that solves this problem by giving you a simple way to take a snapshot of a web page and collect these snapshots into a "capsule" where each web page is a different "chapter" that you can easily navigate through and share. Some of the capsules listed on the Capsul8 home page include: A collection of web pages paying tribute to Steve Jobs. Articles about the … [Read more...]

Effort vs. Ability


Scientists did an experiment with a bunch of children where they gave them several tests that got increasingly more difficult.  After the first two tests, they told the children that they had done very well. Group A was praised them for being smart and talented. Group B was praised for their hard work. Next they gave them a very difficult test--so difficult that many children didn't get a single question right. They then told both groups that they hadn't done as well on this test and asked them if they knew why. The students from group A said that it must be because they weren't smart enough. Group B said that it must be because they didn't try hard enough. That in  itself is … [Read more...]

Christmas Gift Ideas


Christmas is coming soon so I thought I'd do a few posts with gift ideas based on things I've used this year and found to be exceptionally useful and or fun. Here is the first post and I'll try to do a few more as I think of ideas and have time to write about them. If you have suggestions, please add them in the comments. You might be able to suggest the perfect gift that another reader hadn't though of. Fingerless Gloves Fingerless Gloves ~ $3.50  My office is in the walk-out basement of our home. It is typically 60 to 65 degrees in the winter, but when there is a strong wind on the walk out portion of the house, it can get a lot colder. This isn't to big of deal because I can … [Read more...]