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67

The only research I know about the subject, and still one of my favorite cognitive science research pieces was described in Peopleware (A great book). I don't have it now, so I can't find the bibliography, but I can reproduce the text (copy pasted from the top comment here, which is accurate if my memory serves me: "Do you listen to music while ...


41

The following statements are based on personal experience. I always have my headphone with me, but put it on only 40% of the time. It really depends on the person, so you might need to experiment it out yourself. First of all, it depends on the person. For myself, I will kind of ignore the music when I'm on serious working mode. During the unproductive ...


40

Putting a group of QWERTY typists against a group of Dvorak typists is not proper research. Dvorak research is usually biased, as to get a perfect measurement, you would have to compare a person typing QWERTY for X years against the same person typing Dvorak for Y years. And even then, the setting he will be in will most likely differ. You should base ...


24

Two notes I'd like to add to what's been said already: You might also consider smaller tweaks instead of changing your whole keyboard layout. Switching the CapsLock key (which is rarely used) to something more useful (like Control, which is in an awful position by default) can make a big difference. Same with the right Alt (I have it as an extra Shift, ...


23

This New York Times article, Virtues of a Second Screen claims: Survey after survey shows that whether you measure your productivity in facts researched, alien spaceships vaporized, or articles written, adding an extra monitor will give your output a considerable boost — 20 percent to 30 percent, according to a survey by Jon Peddie Research. The data ...


17

According to my experience with using music, and opinions of my colleagues, I think: If music is louder than some level (very personal thing), it greatly hurts productivity. In this case you can start to sing the lyrics or the melody instead of working. If music used is with some lyrics, which is not very well known by you, it hurts productivity. In ...


15

Generally, I find music (no lyrics) and songs that I'm pretty familiar with less distracting. I even use them sometimes as sort of "white noise" to help me focus more as they "shield" me from other noises around me in my work place. Yet, my best way when I really need to focus for long periods of time, is to refuge to white noise like "rainy mood". The ...


11

Mozart Effect 1 is neutral at best Even if music improves performance in some settings and on some tasks, there is evidence that the effect is not general in the sense that it does not apply in other tasks. Bridget and Cuevas (2000) found that, when compared to a no-music condition, listening to music by Bach or Mozart for 10 minutes produced no ...


9

There appears to be another side to the story as well. Lifehacker reports that the multiple monitor efficiency is a myth. They cited a 'technologist' from InfoVegan, named clay Johnson: My take: there's an optimal number of pixels you need to complete the tasks you need to complete. Worry about that number, not the number of monitors you have. That ...


9

Coincidentally, I recently wrote a blog article entitled "Music to Code By", which talks about the best (and hence worst) attributes for music to listen to when you're trying to concentrate. These attributes are (in summary): Unobtrusive Lyrics Consistency Uplifting theme So, to answer the question directly: The right music can help, but the wrong music ...


8

This really depends on the person, but in general, music does tend to have positive results on your mood and abilities. For this reason it will usually cause people to be more productive. What would hurt productivity is if music is coupled with a stressful environment, because then the mind would be overloaded. While I would lean to the side of saying that ...


8

Can reading electronic displays be made more comfortable? There are successful attempts that have been made by implementing electronic paper devices, which bring the experience as close to paper as it could be. If you have the money for it, consider buying one of those devices. If, on the other hand, you want to read more comfortable on a computer ...


8

My answer would depend based on your comfort-level with technology. If you're used to using the command line and you're running on OS X 10.6+, you have the option of using Fat Free CRM with Pow. If you're not really a command-line person, I would suggest something like Highrise by 37Signals. I love everything they do, and using Highrise means you can access ...


7

You can't force a horse to drink the water. Macros can be real timesavers, but some people would spend more time trying to get the macro to work than just doing it in their old efficient way. Just keep using your macros, and people may ask 'how do you do that so quickly?' at which point you can explain.


7

Devices with e-ink (or similar) displays are optimized for the reading experience. I have a Kobo, and love reading on that opposed to reading the same thing on the computer (or a glossy screen). Really, the Kobo screen looks almost just like paper, and is quite easy on the eyes. Plus it can display pretty much anything (as far as I've tried, anyway) if it is ...


7

I made two observations on this highly subjective topic (and I can only speak for myself): Rhythmic music tends to enhance my productivity, especially rock which is normally not my favourite kind of music. But I also like listening to wicket death jazz (highly dissonant and off-beat) and the complexity doesn't hurt me (as stated by @VMAtm). Melancholic ...


7

Currently I've got a fairly close to purely digital GTD setup, although this could do with some refinements and tweaks. To-Do: I use Things for my to-do list. It supports tags (which can be used to create contexts), an inbox, next actions, projects quick entry of items, and iPhone & iPad support. This currently uses a local network sync to keep devices ...


6

As of the term "ergonomic" it should be immediatly clear, that at least concerning mice and keyboards, the "improvement" is in the "health" (or the strain on it, e.g. RSI) of the user not on his or her productivity! As noted before, due to the sub-optimal keyboard layout these days, there's not much you can do. Especially considering that you might not ...


6

As a software engineer, I find two screens pretty much essential for my work. However if I am trying to focus on writing or some other single task, I tend to use my other screen for browsing the web and general procrastination, which isn't good! I have on occasion actually switched off my second screen to prevent this!


6

For me, it depends a lot on the task and my mood. With repetitive tasks, it's probably helpful - it makes me more likely to finish them instead of getting distracted with something else. With tasks demanding a lot of concentration (programming, mostly) it's either distracting, or neutral if I'm focused enough that I stop noticing it at all. Overall, if I ...


5

Readability Redux Extension I've been using this Chrome extension for the past few days. It did help optimizing the yawning/paragraph ratio, so I decided it's a good idea to share it with you too. Fast and reliable Readability Redux is a simple tool that makes reading on the Web more enjoyable by removing the cluter around what you're reading. It can ...


5

I've found that I get a LOT more done with two monitors; it saves a lot of time switching windows. Here's some info from a Microsoft research study that found a 9 to 50 percent increase in productivity by adding monitors: http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/news/features/vibe.aspx


5

There's an iPhone app called Groups which might be helpful. You also might want to check out BatchBlue.


5

I'm a huge proponent of improving efficiency and it pains me to see people doing things inefficiently, but as you stated, "people don't understand the concept until they see it". These are my five steps to helping people embrace more efficient methods. Step 1. Show them how you use it. If the new method is significantly faster, is something they do often ...


5

I work in IT and a lot of my job includes helping employees with their computers on a per-issue basis. More often than not these are problems with their workstations, but sometimes I get a call asking me how to do something in Microsoft Office or one of our other third-party software suites. When I help people with those kinds of calls I generally offer to ...


5

Depends on what you're doing. I find that it makes typing general papers (reports, memos)—"formal" documents much easier. It just feels better and there is less fatigue. Oddly enough, less formal documents (chat, for example), might feel a bit weirder; there may not be any improvement. For coding, it is sometimes slower, especially as many symbols are at the ...


4

I've recently taken to reading such things on my phone, instead of a computer. It's an Android phone with a fairly large screen, so reading information from websites is quite a comfortable experience. Similarly, there's a version of Adobe Reader for the phone which allows me to deal with PDFs. Anyway, it doesn't allow you to set a bookmark so that you can ...


4

I have the same problem; while I'm on the computer all day, I hate trying to actually read a book off of the screen. Reading an actual paperback, I can go for a few hours before my eyes get tired. Reading off of a Kindle, I can go indefinitely. I don't use my Kindle for technical material because I have the paperback size (actually, the first generation) ...


4

Etolos CRM for iPhone is a feature-rich customer relationship management (CRM) application that gives any business the ability to automate and manage customer follow-up. The tools available in Etelos are powerful, yet simple to use. And Etelos CRM takes advantage of the unique capabilities of iPhone and iPod touch. Features include the following: Email ...


4

As many of you say, it depends on the tasks you're doing, But what i think is crucial is how tidy you're with the space you have Try to do a little exercise, look around you and check how you're using the physical space on your table, is it filled up with stuff you are not using since... ages ago? then an upgrade of pixels in your screen or gettin another ...



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