Originally published on InsideHook.com
In lieu of actually having more time, the CEO of a popular men’s lifestyle publication once told us:
“We’ve got to learn to collapse time.”
Beyond being an immutable violation of long-established rules of space-time, what exactly does that mean?
It means efficiency. It means routine. It means waking up early, knowing your priorities and, in the words of former NBA all-star/facial hair legend Baron Davis, taking some time each day to “count your blessings.”
All things we learned while researching (time-effectively, of course) this:
The first ever InsideHook Productivity Guide.
Inside: a laundry list of resources to help you be a more productive employee, husband, father and man. The apps. The books. Words of wisdom from some of the most successful guys we know on what makes them tick with Swiss-watch-like economy.
Plus: some super handsome office-decor know-how.
Because looking good is feeling good. And feeling good is where productivity begins.
These are highly efficient times we’re living in. Everything is quantified, analyzed, and optimized. Some things, though, are tough to hack – like your brain. Fortunately, there are apps that do all the mental busy work for you.
Take an objective look at how you spend your day. RescueTime runs in the background on your computer and reports on how much time you spend on any given app or website, how long each project takes and whether you’ve met your goals. It’ll even send you a daily productivity scorecard and block distracting sites. It’s like a kindly digital bartender telling you when you’ve had enough Facebook for today.
Make productivity fun by turning your life into a role-playing game. Earn gold coins when you complete tasks, and lose health when you slack off. The mundane task of responding to emails becomes fantastical when you’re rewarded with a trusty steed to ride when you check it off your to-do list.
You have, roughly, 18 million passwords. Some of those passwords aren’t very strong; 1Password automatically generates unique, tough-to-crack passwords and saves them, so all your accounts stay secure without you having to think about it.
Share tasks with others, break up large projects into manageable sub-tasks, and receive notifications so nothing slips your mind. Best of all, it syncs across platforms, so you see the same list on your desktop at work and your iPad at home. Props for its simple design and novel “karma points,” which give you a pat on the back for accomplishing goals.
Never forget anyone again. This A.I. complies info on people you’re meeting and assembles a dossier of important info, like blog posts they’ve written, how their company is doing or even what they do for fun.
Salespeople who send a bajillion emails a day swear by this one. The straightforwardly-named Followupthen reminds you to send follow-up emails at a later date and sets inbox items aside until precisely when you need them. Your future self will thank you.
Fittr. Happyr. More Prdctv. This iOS app designs workouts based on your goals, fitness level and the equipment you have available. It’ll give you the know-how of a personal trainer when you’re nowhere near a gym. Plus, it gives you demos in GIF format, so you can check your form without rewinding. It removes any excuse you have for not working out.
Having too many tabs open at one time makes your computer feel like it’s walking through quicksand. OneTab saves you both by consolidating open tabs in Chrome and Firefox into a one-page list. It slashes memory usage to almost nothing, so you can keep clicking links until you have the entire Internet open in your browser.
Maybe you saw Benjamin Hardy’s viral post “8 Things Every Person Should Do Before 8 A.M.” Good stuff — though 8 seemed like a lot of activity at that time of the morning. So we asked a few of our favorite athletes, entrepreneurs and inventors for the one thing they get done before moving on with the business of the day — and here’s what they told us.
“I count my blessings.” — NBA All-Star Baron Davis
“By 8 a.m., I am almost always out of bed and in my Pendleton robe and slippers. The caffeine from my first cup of coffee is starting to kick in and I am wondering around the garden with the bucket of warm-up water from last night’s shower, deciding which plants are nearest death and therefore most entitled to a splash of this precious resource. During this routine, I am usually silently scolding myself for not being at my shop already, working on whatever piece I happen to be behind on at the moment.” —Dave Ball, furniture designer
“I always kiss my wife, and I kiss my kids.” —San Diego Chargers Wide Receiver and VIZIO brand ambassador Stevie Johnson
“The one thing I always have done by 8 a.m. is waking up to feed my son and spend some one-on-one time with him, before my wife gets up. He’s only 8 months old, so he doesn’t have much choice at the moment — but it’s something I hope to continue doing for the years to come.” —Richard Liu, founder, DSPTCH
“The three things I need before 8 a.m. are fuel, fitness, and family: Coffee and oatmeal, then a run or a ride work out the kinks, all while Liz and the kids challenge my wit and feed the soul.” —Will Pemble, founder, The CoasterDad Project and business consultant
“Mine is easy. By 8 a.m., I’ve just finished my morning ride. Cycling is a huge part of my life. I ride 25 miles over the Golden Gate Bridge, up Hawk Hill and back into the San Francisco. Rolling out around 6 a.m., the city is still foggy and quiet. It’s the perfect environment to collect my thoughts before the day. I think about what I want to accomplish in the next 24 hours and how I am going to do it. If I don’t take the time to create some intention for the day, I’m just responding to all the stuff that comes up without really getting much done.” —Dylan Nord, founder, OLIVERS
“By 8 a.m. I’ve checked my Bloomberg Business app for any news that will help me hold an intelligent conversation that day.”—Jeremy Roberts, apparel designer
It’s time to take a stand.
At your desk.
The standing desk may look odd in theory, but it works wonders in practice. Seriously. Several of us at InsideHook switched months ago, and the short-term benefits have been outstanding (spiked energy levels make up for slightly sore feet).
And long-term? It’ll extend your life, improve your posture and lengthen your telomeres.
Oh, and over the course of a year, it’s the exercise equivalent of running 10 marathons.
For the budget-conscious: StandStand
A surprisingly sturdy, easily portable desk stand made of Baltic birch plywood. And only $69.
To add to your existing desk: Varidesk Pro 36
A large area of support for those who need dual monitors. Height is easily adjustable. Comes with a free app that tells you when to sit or stand. And the “Plus” edition adds a keyboard/mouse tier.
To help you stand: Level
Don’t just stand still: it ain’t healthy. Use Level. Like a skateboard for your desk. This two-foot balance board constructed from recycled aluminum and three-ply bamboo allows you to make small, constant movements.
For the office: OfficeIQ
Is the overall health of your team more important than individual privacy? Your call. Humanscale’s full-office suite combines adjustable desks and tables along with software and a central monitor that keeps tabs on employee activity (of the sit/stand variety) and caloric expenditure.
For the futurist: NextDesk
Built from bamboo and recyclable aluminum, the minimalist but extremely sturdy NextDesk is a rather slick standing table that you can electronically adjust for height.
For the aesthete: Artifox Standing Desk
A beautiful, solid maple hardwood table with adjustable legs, hidden charging docks and a dry-erase writable surface. Can be configured to accommodate either left- or right-handed folks.
Nota bene: Want more desk help? Desk Hunt profiles the desks of successful entrepreneurs in all positions. You’ll probably want to pair your standing desk with an anti-fatigue mat. Low on cash? You can probably hack a standing desk with $20 and a run to IKEA. And there are apps that’ll remind you if and when to stand.
In the age of remote workers, freelancers and startups, the flexible workspace is king.
As Matt Davis — the developer of L.A. outfit IgnitedSpaces — puts it, “people want to architect their own schedule, collaborate with others and have a space for quiet, and they don’t want to do it at Starbucks. We do that for them.”
With the right balance of privacy, shared amenities (gourmet coffee, arcade games) and bells and whistles (screening rooms, editing bays), shared workspaces are the perfect refuge for those who work from home but don’t actually enjoy, well, working from home.
Below, find the perfect one for your needs:
AlleyNYC – New York City – Stand-up desks, bi-weekly happy hours and gourmet snacks for the intense species of nonstop workaholics otherwise known as New Yorkers. Packages come with deals on insurance and accountants, a yoga room and 24/7 access to your space.
HUB – First and Second Tier Markets – Is your business a social enterprise? Does it do good while turning a profit? HUB is your spot. They focus on sustainable businesses and offer networking mixers and bring in presenters to help further people’s do-gooding.
IgnitedSpaces – Los Angeles – IgnitedSpaces has two L.A. locations. The Hollywood location is doubling in size to include editing bays and a screening room. They’ll soon open one in the Fashion District in Downtown L.A., which will include an area for a pop-up showroom and a runway for fashion shows.
NeueHouse – Los Angeles, NYC, London – Not for the bootstrapper. You join NeueHouse for the same reason you join a country club; it’s an image thing. Expect A-list speakers and stylish digs.
Startup House – San Francisco – Located in the South of Market ‘hood, where Silicon Valley companies have been increasingly opening new offices. The focus here is founders. The benefit is you get to collaborate and bounce ideas off of people doing the same thing as you.
WeWork – First and Second Tier Markets – WeWork is probably the broadest of these remote offices, with spaces for freelancers, remote teams, founders and small companies. Bonus: They have game rooms.
Workshop – Chicago – Exposed brick walls, gourmet coffee and open spaces. Workshop is the office space you want when you’re with a big firm. Their conference room is mic’d for good sound—so if you’re a remote worker or a small firm, you’ll still sound like a big company.
Self-help books these are not.
What they are: five practical, nuts-and-bolts reflections on how to work hard, think fast and write well in the digital age, as told by some of said age’s most prominent movers, shakers, thinkers and doers.
The Hard Thing About Hard Things
Sound advice from lessons learned on the job by Ben Horowitz, cofounder of venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. He made all the mistakes so you don’t have to.
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
The go-to book on the subject of influence, aka how to make people say yes. Inside: six principles of persuasion, ranging from reciprocation to scarcity.
Manage Your Day-to-Day
A savior for any fast-paced, high-powered office space. Helpful, practical tips from a range of creatives on how to bring structure and balance to your everyday.
Zero to One: Notes on Startups, Or How To Build a Future
A honeypot of ideas and attitudes on how to make something from nothing, courtesy of PayPal cofounder and all-around brilliant thinker Peter Thiel.
The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century
For anyone who wants to write clearly and concisely. So, everyone. Think of Steven Pinker’s Sense of Style as the modern update of William Zinsser’s groundbreaking On Writing Well.
Your desk is your first impression. It’s your home-away-from-home. It is your home. It’s your retreat. It’s your muse. It’s your playground. It’s your prison.
It’s the first thing you see with coffee in hand. And, for many, the last thing you see before you tuck in for the night.
So make it your sanctuary. Make it sing. Make it count.
Here’s some inspiration.
Figure 1: The Line
1. Atko Tape Dispenser, $68 2. “Concrete” Accessories, from $19
3. Taccia LED Table Lamp, $2,995 4. Indoor Basketball Kit, $795
5. Dyson Humidifier, $500 6. Tab System by Sónia Soeiro, price varies
7. 11+ World Desk Clock $49 8. Formula One Chair, $600
9. Modernica Planter, $175
Figure 2: The Curve
1. Chikuno Charcoal Cube Air Purifier, $68 2. 14k Gold Slinky, $90
3. Oud Table Lamp, $3350 4. Leff Tube Clock, $189
5. Grovemade Desk Collection, from $29 6. Level M Desk, upon request
7. Tree Trunk Chair, $2,657 8. Stylograph Digital Pen, pre-order the future
9. Tom Dixon Desk Accessories, price varies
Is Slack creating a workplace revolution?
The communications and messaging tool has taken the office world by storm — InsideHook adopted it as our internal communications platform a little under a year ago, and now we can’t live without it.
For those out of the loop: Slack’s an interoffice messaging, document-sharing and organizational tool that streamlines communication for workers.
It’s also starting to integrate pretty well with other apps and services (Box and Google Calendar are two recent converts).
The following add-ons and hacks can further boost your office’s Slack game…or, in one or two cases, allow for a little collaborative fun (beyond emojis and GIFs).
Product Hunt The top daily hunts (100+ votes) from our favorite tech site direct messaged to your Slack.
Subcurrent Create near-instant polls within any Slack channel. With anonymized commenting, if desired.
Alex A resource to “catch insensitive, inconsiderate writing” that works both in Slack and outside of it. A good way to avoid gender-favoring or racial and religious insensitivity.
Nestor An A.I. bot for finding restaurants and booking Uber without ever leaving Slack.
Meekan Schedule meetings through this bot, which searches for common free times between Slack users.
Slackbox This one takes a bit of work (you’ll need IT help), but it allows Spotify playlist collaborations through Slack.
Many of these and more can be found on Slackbot List.