Below are links to several resources regarding productivity. All articles included are from professionals in their fields. They include interviews and peer-reviewed articles from scholarly journals. Topics range from "decision fatigue" to "creating a productive environment" to "multitasking," and all are related under the umbrella of productivity.
- Decision Fatigue - Extraneous Factors in Judicial Decisions - This study by Shai Danziger, Jonathan Levav, and Liora Avnaim-Pesso, looks at prisoner parole boards and determines whether the time of day and the amount of food intake plays a role in the parole boards' decisions. The study found that as the day wore on, as the judges made more and more decisions, they became fatigued and were less likely to parole people in the afternoon than in the morning. This has implications for our daily decisions. In addition, this article in the New York Times, called Do You Suffer From Decision Fatigue, gives a detailed look at decision fatigue and the daily processes that go into making decisions.
- The Paradox of Choice - Barry Schwartz - In this TED Video, which is a condensation of his book by the same name, Schwartz talks about the complexities of choice. According to Schwartz, who is a psychologist at Swarthmore College, an over-saturation of choice has made us less free and has resulted in a type of paralysis. Too many choices, according to Schwartz, makes one unproductive.
- Why We Procrastinate - In this short podcast, Dr. Joseph Ferrari, a psychologist at DePaul University, discusses his finding that everyone procrastinates, but that 20 percent of Americans are chronic procrastinators-people who tend to delay to the point where their jobs, relationship, and health are at risk. Here's an interview further explaining his findings, published by the American Psychological Association.
- Multitasking - This article in the New York Times, entitled, Slow Down, Brave Multitasker, gives a good overview of the argument that multitasking throttles your brain's ability to process things adequately. Instead of learning to multitask, the article argues, people should learn to manage their technology. Corroborating this argument, a research paper, called A Unified attentional bottleneck in the human brain, published by several Psychologists associated with Vanderbilt University, discusses how multitasking can actually cause the brain to freeze up in important situations. For a broader discussion on multitasking among today's youth, see The Kaiser Family Foundation's report,Media Multitasking Among American Youth: Prevalence, Predictions, and Pairings.
- How to Stay Focused on Important Things - Peter Bregman, Harvard Business Review This article explains that our ability to stay focused on important things relies mostly upon the structure of our environment. Instead of relying purely on discipline, which fails on a week-to-week basis, Bregman argues that we must change our environments to prioritize those things which are most important to us. For example, instead of dieting to lose weight by limiting caloric intake, you should remove everything unhealthy from your cabinets, replacing those items with healthy foods. This restructuring of your environment will keep you productive and give you results in the long run.
- Sleep and Productivity - This article published by Vanderbilt University Medical Center, called Good Night's Sleep Crucial to Health, Productivity, discusses the importance of sleep and productivity, citing interesting statistics like the average person in 1910 got 9 hours of sleep compared with the average person in 2002, who got a mere 6.9 hours. It goes into detail about potential health risks, such as heart disease and diabetes, and also discusses studies in which physicians were more prone to errors when they had not gotten adequate rest. In this related article, called Managing Work Schedules: An Alertness and Safety Perspective, published by Mark R. Rosekind in Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine, evidence is presented showing that people working the night shift are more prone to make mistakes. Rosekind argues that society should place more pressure on organizing work schedules.