17
votes
5answers
1k views

Paper vs. digital: both have advantages, but which adv. is more important?

I started wondering recently if paper really could be the way to go. That is, in my everyday, non-GTD-obsessive personal issue tracking and task management. Here's why I'm considering this: A task ...
17
votes
7answers
802 views

How to beat the “Too Long Didn't Read” syndrome?

A large portion of my work deals with reading research papers and textbooks which run for hundreds of pages. However, with all the pomodoros going on, its frustrating to be reading redundant or ...
17
votes
7answers
669 views

How to stop myself getting caught in the unimportant details of a task

I find it so easy to get bored with what I should be focusing on and I start going into all the finer details and processes around actually doing the task. Before long something that should be a quick ...
17
votes
6answers
645 views

How to setup linux as a pure working environment

I am a freelance programmer and I suffer from procrastination - a lot. When I manage to dive into work I really enjoy it, but then after a while something crosses my mind, and I have strong urge to ...
16
votes
15answers
2k views

How can I speed up my coding?

I am currently studying Informatics and Computer Science. Cause I know there are quite a lot of programmers here on SE, I would like to ask for advice on speeding up my coding. First, a brief ...
16
votes
10answers
1k views

Is there a proven method for managing emails?

I find I often have an overflowing email inbox. Are there any methods or systems to help efficiently and effectively filter through, sort, and reply to emails?
16
votes
8answers
827 views

Be able to focus and read books when your partner watches TV

I like reading books a lot. Usually have only time for that at night, after work, but at that time my wife likes TV a lot and specially zapping; continuously jumping from one channel to another. I ...
16
votes
11answers
1k views

How to stop being controlled by others opinions?

I'm 21 years old. And I dream to be a computer programmer, I really do. The problem is (I am going to get a bit technical here) that when i decide to learn a certain programming language that i see my ...
16
votes
11answers
1k views

How can I learn about complex subjects?

I am very interested in certain subjects which are quite complex (and not very mainstream), but I find it hard to learn about them since there seems not be a lot of introductory content about such ...
16
votes
4answers
863 views

Which is more productive: doing lots of work in parallel or one by one?

I always feel hesitant about this particular problem of mine. Sometimes several ideas come to me, and I feel, I should start doing all of that once. But then I have a problem, I get lost in Where I ...
16
votes
7answers
315 views

Staying concentrated during small pauses

My workflow includes some steps that make me wait for 0.5 to 2 minutes to complete: long remote git operations, creating / rebooting an instance in the cloud, etc. It's safe to assume that these ...
16
votes
8answers
712 views

What features should I look for when choosing task-management software?

There are a seemingly-endless variety of tools available for keeping track of tasks. From feature-clogged behemoths that will do everything (tracking time and generating Gantt charts) to the venerable ...
16
votes
10answers
10k views

Best headphones/earplugs to drown out loud nearby conversations [closed]

I'm a programmer in an environment where people talk loudly. Nearby passionate conversations can be distracting when i need to concentrate. I'm sure I'm not alone. What headphones/earplugs would ...
16
votes
8answers
517 views

When I'm going back to an old complex project, how can I restore my focus and motivation?

I've had a few weeks break from a large and difficult project that I've been working on for two years. The project could be a few weeks from shipping, if I can manage to focus on it. I've noticed a ...
16
votes
5answers
8k views

Self-hosted Evernote alternative?

I'd like to have an app running on my own server that stores and syncs notes, with a great interface. Any suggestions?
16
votes
10answers
1k views

How to organize and analyze structured data without building entire database applications?

UPDATE: 2012-06-01 Added Non-Ideal Solution #2.5. The Puzzle I'm Looking to Solve As an organization and analysis nerd with professional database experience, I frequently encounter situations in my ...
15
votes
9answers
2k views

How to plan my weekend so I do more useful work?

My whole weekend goes in playing computer games and watching movies. However, I would like to plan my weekend for better productivity so that I can for example work on hobby projects and improve their ...
15
votes
8answers
460 views

How to control the urge of refreshing the forum pages to see if someone has replied?

That wastes time. Huge time. I also tried setting up mail notifications so that I don't have to keep on refreshing tabs, but in this case I get dragged to keep a parallel eye on the Gmail as if my ...
15
votes
14answers
39k views

How to study long hours without being burnt out or getting bored?

I can't continuously study more than 2.5 hours. After that, I become exhausted. If I continue to study after that time limit, I read something but the materials seem to be not entering my head. I just ...
15
votes
9answers
852 views

How do I get my motivation going?

Often, tasks are delayed till a reasonable time before the deadline. Just because you feel like you can do it later; so, you are basically procrastinating by surfing the web, chatting with people, ...
15
votes
10answers
834 views

How to prevent oneself from feeling overwhelmed?

Sometimes, there are a lot of things that you are expected to do and you just don't know where to begin. You feel like you are being overwhelmed with a lot of tasks and deadlines. How should one ...
15
votes
2answers
691 views

What should I do when my inboxes are filling faster than I can empty them?

I use the word "inbox" in the generic GTD sense, i.e. anywhere that "stuff" can accumulate, awaiting processing. At work, I receive a lot of emails. I also go to a lot of meetings at which I pick up ...
15
votes
6answers
692 views

How to overcome the constant feeling of not being good enough?

I constantly and obsessively question myself during many kinds of activities. When I play Tetris, I cannot stop thinking that world class Tetris players have way faster motor and cognitive abilities, ...
15
votes
5answers
530 views

How do I apply 'CRM' in personal life?

I see the sales guys at work using CRM techniques where they have a massive database which reminds them when to call people, make notes about when and where they are going on holiday, etc. So, now I'm ...
15
votes
5answers
470 views

Loud conversations in workplace

I work in a small room with 9 people, and the area is completely open (think school classroom). People are frequently having loud conversations and I am unable to concentrate when writing code (I am ...
15
votes
2answers
680 views

How to profit from quitting gaming? (aka how to overcome the quitter's anxiety?)

It always seemed to me that gaming itself was counterproductive, and I've always struggled to spend less time on it, but really never managed to. That is, until now. The only way I found to keep the ...
15
votes
5answers
1k views

Scanning documents, going paperless: what to keep, what not to keep

I have years of clutter that I keep around for that mythical "just-in-case" scenario that never happens. Even when I physically put the papers out of sight, I can FEEL them through the closet door, ...
15
votes
6answers
578 views

Cannot start actual task

My problem is that whenever I try to learn a new programming language such as Java, I start and give it up after 2-3 days. If I think about starting to practice programming I feel it's a very boring ...
15
votes
6answers
474 views

How do you get yourself to do “assigned tasks”?

Aaron Swartz (co-author of the RSS specification, founder of reddit.com, Demand Progress, and generally a very cool guy) wrote an (you may want to not click on the link yet) article on productivity ...
15
votes
8answers
2k views

What could I do to convince myself to finish my projects?

Here: you can read : "Often, tasks are delayed till a reasonable time before the deadline. Just because you feel like you can do it later; [blabla] ..." This is not the real problem I've been facing ...
15
votes
6answers
811 views

how to keep focus in long term?

My problem: I can't keep focus on a few selected areas. Part of the problem is that I want to learn too many things simultaneously. But another, more serious problem is that I can't keep the same ...
15
votes
4answers
964 views

Dealing with Existential Crisis

I was reading a comic on PhDComics and although it is funny, sadly, it is also true. Grad students I know (including me) usually fall into one of these existential crisis at least once a semester. And ...
14
votes
29answers
1k views

What are famous quotes about productivity?

What is your favorite productivity quote? This is community wiki, so please one quote per answer.
14
votes
15answers
976 views

How to balance work life and personal life.?

How you guys balance your work life and personal life. Being a developer, I'm finding it very difficult to find out how to balance it. If I concentrate on work, I lose many things in my personal life ...
14
votes
6answers
1k views

Methods for Goal Setting

There are a lot of methodologies for doing more and doing things faster. The problem is that you end up doing the wrong things faster. At the other end of the scale you set many important goals, but ...
14
votes
8answers
682 views

Relaxing at work

What is a good way to get instant relaxation at work? At home, I can just sleep or play video games. At work, that looks like slacking off, even though I can't concentrate productively while stressed ...
14
votes
13answers
1k views

Version control for homework?

Background: I'm a high school student. I've noticed lately that I'm not particularly fond of my current scheme for keeping my files up to date (ferrying around a USB stick, naming files 'essay-1.doc', ...
14
votes
17answers
1k views

What genre of music helps in increasing productivity? [closed]

I'm convinced some quiet background music can increase productivity and I'm willing to try. I'd rather listen to music on head phones than street noise. I believe that the music should : Be ...
14
votes
8answers
815 views

Struggling in coding [closed]

I have a problem that whenever I struggle with a programming problem, for example in computer vision or game programming, I try to look for an existing demo or some code that does that job. I always ...
14
votes
10answers
7k views

Is it possible to learn foreign languages effectively by watching tv series? [closed]

Some people say that watching TV series can be very helpful in learning foreign languages. However, I am skeptical about it as I think that this kind of activity is just too passive. My biggest ...
14
votes
5answers
875 views

Is there a positive correlation between coming to work early and productivity?

I work as a software engineer. In this line of work, we typically have a flexible schedule, and as long as we get stuff done we can come to work late and leave early. In my experience it seems that ...
14
votes
10answers
931 views

Can reading electronic displays be made more comfortable?

We all have to handle large amounts of information on a daily basis, but some of us find it hard to focus on the information displayed on electronic devices. It's easy to read through tens of pages in ...
14
votes
4answers
676 views

What is “Getting Things Done” (GTD)? [closed]

Rookie question that a lot of people who are using this site may want to know the answer for (including me). I have read a couple of things referring to GTD but nothing definitive. It'd be good to see ...
14
votes
5answers
902 views

Mind keeps wandering during conversations

I have trouble remembering instant things in mind. It really feels weird when I am talking about something and then I ask the person talking to me as, "Excuse me! Where were we?." I have been told by ...
14
votes
7answers
2k views

What can I use to efficiently track progress on my tasks/goals?

I've been looking forever for a way to manage my tasks and goals efficiently. Most of them were too specific for project managers and had far more options than necessary to manage simpler tasks. None ...
14
votes
4answers
549 views

How do other parents find the time?

I've been a father for several years and I find that my most productive personal hours outside of typical work day are between the hours of 9:30-11pm. Everything before that is consumed by work, ...
14
votes
2answers
610 views

How do I prevent being overwhelmed by my GTD inbox?

The first thing I learned about GTD was to get things "out of my head" into an inbox. This results in an overly long Inbox list which tasks that I still need to rewrite into (multiple) "do-able" ...
14
votes
4answers
6k views

How to set up a GTD workflow in gmail

I want to set up a GTD workflow based around my gmail account. Although I have some other possible sources of tasks and projects coming "in", most things I need to do come "in" through my gmail ...
14
votes
5answers
1k views

Being an introvert, how do I move forward and not feel dejected with my progress?

I am a student who is introverted and I believe in making my own success. I set goals, plan my time well and work towards the goal. However, of late, I feel that I am moving towards my goals at a ...
14
votes
6answers
3k views

How to concentrate (read a book or work) when other people are talking instead of listening to their conversation?

I find it very difficult to concentrate on a task, if people are talking in the "neighborhood", e.g. reading a book in the tram or train or in a doctor's waiting room where other people are ...

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