Welcome to TextMechanic.com!
A suite of simple, single task, browser based, text manipulation tools. [more inside]
VC for the people
- "It's just that people who have options are much more likely to actually find success than people who don't." [more inside]
What did Mozart do all day
? A poster breaks down the daily habits and self-reported routines of hundreds of composers, painters, writers, scientists, etc to illustrate how people find the time to construct their work.
Many people who say they can multitask show a cognitive deterioration when trying to perform more than one task at once. But according to Psychology Today, there are a small group of people who can actually multitask flawlessly.
Personal productivity has been discussed a lot on MetaFilter. Getting to Done
? I never got anything done. 43 Folders? That's so ten years ago
Instead, why don't you Gamify Your Life
"Though multitasking millennials seem to be more open to distraction as a workplace norm, the wholehearted embrace of open offices may be ingraining a cycle of underperformance in their generation." The Open Office Trap
How The Economic Machine Works by Ray Dalio
 actually makes a case against austerity
 and for redistribution, but also for money printing
(and, arguably, for bailouts), while stressing the need to keep making productivity-improving public
investments. However, it could be equally entitled: How The Industrial Age Political-Economy Doesn't Work Anymore
, viz. Surviving Progress (2011)
... [more inside]
Scott Hanselman talks about productivity.
On information overload; prioritising and how we can be more effective. (Video)
In his meticulous diaries, written from 1846 to 1882, the Harvard librarian John Langdon Sibley complains often about the withering summer heat: “The heat wilts & enervates me & makes me sick,” he wrote in 1852. Sibley lived before the age of air-conditioning, but recent research suggests that his observation is still accurate: summer really does tend to be a time of reduced productivity. Our brains do, figuratively, wilt. [more inside]
Economists and the theory of politics
- "why unions were often well worth any deadweight cost" [more inside]
A year ago, programmer Mark O'Connor decided to swap his MacBook for an iPad and a Linode VPS
(Virtual Private Server) development environment. Today, he discusses the success of his experiment
Trade-offs between inequality, productivity, and employment
- "The poor do not employ one another, because the necessities they require are produced and sold so cheaply by the rich. The rich are glad to sell to the poor, as long as the poor can come up with property or debt claims or other forms of insurance to offer as payment..." [more inside]
Steam to sell productivity software [main link
]. Gabe's dislike of the Windows 8 app store [BBC
] may be explained. It's particularly interesting given that Steam is about to launch on Linux [Valve
] [previously on Mefi
]; it's one app store across all three platforms. [more inside]
In Praise of Leisure
- "Imagine a world in which most people worked only 15 hours a week. They would be paid as much as, or even more than, they now are, because the fruits of their labor would be distributed more evenly across society. Leisure would occupy far more of their waking hours than work. It was exactly this prospect that John Maynard Keynes conjured up in a little essay published in 1930 called 'Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren
.' Its thesis was simple. As technological progress made possible an increase in the output of goods per hour worked, people would have to work less and less to satisfy their needs, until in the end they would have to work hardly at all... He thought this condition might be reached in about 100 years — that is, by 2030." (via
) [more inside]
I used to be a lifehacking addict [...] But sometime over the last couple years (around the time I turned 30, not coincidentally), it has begun to dawn on me: Maybe all the time I spend looking for better ways to do things is keeping me from, well, doing things.
Confessions of a recovering lifehacker
Since its last*
appearance in the blue, yWriter
has been updated to version 5. Designed specifically for novels
, this freeware "contains no adverts, unwanted web toolbars, desktop search programs or other cruft".
Sciweavers' free online productivity tools include an international virtual keyboard
, image format conversion
, and just about every
manner of PDF manipulation
Webster's defines speedup as "an employer's demand for accelerated output without increased pay," and it used to be a household word.
Working best at coffee shops
. Destination: Laptopistan
. Why work doesn't happen
The OpenOffice.org Project has unveiled a major restructuring that separates itself from Oracle and that takes responsibility for OpenOffice away from a single company. ... Driving home the changes, OpenOffice.org project is now The Document Foundation while the OpenOffice.org suite has been given the temporary name of LibreOffice.
Can't You See I'm Busy? Let’s face it; we all want to relax every now and then, but still want to appear professional or busy! That’s why all [these] games ... are designed in a way that nobody can see that you’re gaming. In fact, your boss and colleagues will think that you’re working harder than ever before.
-- if this helps shorten even one meeting by one minute, it'll have been worth it.
Not all of us need, or want, $10,000 worth of Adobe and Microsoft software to be creative. So, here's some alternatives, each available on every major platform:
, for all your drawing and photo-editing needs. (Windows
, for vector graphics creation.
, for incredibly powerful document creation.
, if you want to make your own fonts.
, the old standby for word processing, spreadsheets, and all those other office needs. [more inside]
When you write, will you pick Gentle, Normal, or Kamakaze mode?
- “Write or Die is a web application that encourages writing by punishing the tendency to avoid writing. Start typing in the box. As long as you keep typing, you're fine, but once you stop typing, you have a grace period of a certain number of seconds and then there are consequences.
"Multitasking messes with the brain in several ways.
At the most basic level, the mental balancing acts that it requires—the constant switching and pivoting—energize regions of the brain that specialize in visual processing and physical coordination and simultaneously appear to shortchange some of the higher areas related to memory and learning. We concentrate on the act of concentration at the expense of whatever it is that we’re supposed to be concentrating on." [more inside]
"Wasting time gets a bad rap",
says Lisa Belkin in today's NYTimes, who argues that time often considered "unproductive" or "wasted" in today's workaholic culture is actually time well spent- "Over the years I have come to see that the hours away from the writing are the time when the real work gets done." Readers seem to agree
Gina Trapani's Invisibility Cloak
is a GreaseMonkey script for Firefox that blocks time-wasting websites while you're working. Conveniently, MetaFilter is included by default. Previously: Temptation Blocker.
is based on the long standing idea of piles as a desktop use metaphor
, this seems to bring it to life at last. Will this sort out your desktop?
Miles Davis? Kanye West? The Beatles? Oh... you mean Muzak
? Ike played it in the West Wing
, NASA used it to soothe astronauts' anxiety. But it's not just your daddy's elevator music
The Portable Freeware Collection
tracks free Windows software that can be launched from a USB flash drive with no installation. It advises on how to prepare and launch the software (usually as simple as saving and double clicking an exe file), and if/where settings are written to the computer. I'm particularly keen to get to grips with the Pimmy
email, newsgroup and RSS client; the KM@
web browser (portable versions of Firefox and Opera are also available
); and organizational joygasm NeoMem
Temptation Blocker So, have a major deadline looming or ripe opportunity closing and just don’t have time to waste playing Half Life 2 or checking Bloglines one last time? Well then, add Half Life 2 and Firefox to the list of programs you want to block in Temptation Blocker, set the timer for how long you want to block them and then hit the “Get Work Done!” button.
How Powerful Is Productivity?
TCS interviews Former Carter Staffer (and Democrat) William Lewis, who makes some interesting remarks about worker productivity: There were many disparaging comments made in the US and maybe even stronger abroad, (and especially in Japan) about how the US labor force was getting what it deserved because it was lazy, uneducated and maybe even dumb. And of course, the Japanese then showed -- the really capable, competent Japanese manufacturing companies -- showed that was wrong by coming here, building their own factories, managing American labor and taking a lot of other local inputs and coming within five percent of reproducing their home country productivity.
The scientific productivity of nations
(pdf). An article by the UK's chief scientific advisor, published this week in Nature, quantitating the scientific output of different countries, normalized to per capita GDP, area of study, number of researchers, higher education research spending, and more. A commentary
, from a UK perspective.
Could This Be The Renaissance Of The Three-Martini Lunch?
Do business and alcohol mix? Do business and pleasure? Must we be all be utterly sober when we do deals? Or work? Is a little lubrication slowly replacing mineral water and political correctness? Surely it's not only writers who gain from the odd whisky and soda or gin and tonic? Have you
ever done any worthwhile work while under the influence? Please feel free to choose your drug of choice. Tobacco, amphetamines and benzodiazepines included. [Via eGullet's recent thread, started by Beans.
Web of Distraction.
Does the web cause you to lose time, having a hard time stopping browsing, and starting working? I know for me, the sheer inertia of browsing, it's hard to start working.
from researchers at the University of Alberta concludes that unhappy workers perform their tasks at the same rate as happy workers, but with about half as many errors (more inside).
"They appear to have been skilled workers capable of stupendous productivity under harsh circumstances. When they failed, it was not from lack of inventiveness, but because of poor leadership, bad luck or the inherent instability of all-male commercial ventures."
It sounds like the writer is describing the typical failed dot-com. Actually, he's writing about 17th Century commercial colonization of North America. The similarities are quite amusing. Read on...