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While we may always feel pressure to work hard, we should never feel guilty about striving to not just work smarter, but to work wiser. As champions of productivity and healthy work habits, my colleagues and I know there’s huge business value in accomplishing more with less. We love reading, listening to and learning about new viewpoints that elevate our wisdom on what it means to be a high-performance employee in today’s remote and hybrid work environments. Working wiser also means benefiting from methods that are backed by data and insights that continuously inform, predict and achieve positive outcomes.
So to help inspire you to work wiser in the new year, let’s take a look at some of the best content we came across in 2021 about productivity, wellness and workplace habits.
Finding flow and becoming effortless
“Burnout is not a badge of honor.” This quote from Greg McKeown’s Effortless: Make It Easier to Do What Matters Most is a wakeup call for thousands, if not millions, of workers in the digital age. In his book, McKeown makes a very compelling case for why rewarding, meaningful work shouldn’t feel like a burden. Effortless is filled with tips for designing systems to tackle challenging projects and training your brain to focus on critical tasks while ignoring everything else.
In this eye-opening podcast, McKeown and growth strategist Tanya Dalton discuss rethinking your to-do list, cultivating intrinsic motivation and dealing with small responsibilities that aren’t very exciting. If you ever find yourself asking the question, “How do I prioritize my work when everything feels like a priority?”, then you need to hear what this pair has to say about the importance of support systems and filling our days with activities that will ultimately bring us joy.
Related: How to Use Flow to Make You More Productive
Harnessing the power of attention
As a master of user psychology and product design, not to mention the former CEO of a social-advertising platform, Nir Eyal understands the power of attention. His book Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life paints a picture of human attention as a critical resource, beautiful gift and valuable commodity. Because many addictive consumer technologies have been engineered to give us instant gratification, Eyal argues that we must learn how to deal with discomfort and practice impulse control so we can spend more time on traction — small actions that move us closer to achieving what we really want in life.
Because technology is still a force for exponential growth and positive change, we must make the distinction between tools that make us more efficient, such as workforce analytics, and those that distract us from focusing and reaching our goals. When Eyal spoke to productivity podcaster Erik Fisher, the two talked about the impracticality of swearing off technology altogether. Listen here if you’re interested in taking on Eyal’s simple, research-backed model for learning to make good on the promises you make to yourself and others.
Related: 7 Proven Strategies for Overcoming Distractions