Weekly Round-Up: The Best Productivity Tool You’re Not Using

We’re welcoming lots of new readers to My168Hours this week. Between being featured in Motherlode at NYTimes.com, Wired’s GeekDad column, Working Moms Against Guilt, some rising BNET traffic in general, and in Yahoo (more on that below) we’ve actually had our best month since I was on the Today Show in June.

If you are new here, welcome! I’m the author of a book called 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think, which Portfolio published in May, 2010. 168 Hours is the number of hours in a week (24 x 7). The book is about how Americans use their time now and in the past, and how we can all use it better. Drawing on data from the American Time Use Survey and other sources, I make the case that we are not nearly as starved for time as we usually imagine. That’s a liberating realization, because if we have time, we can choose how to spend it. I’m also writing a book on money, which is tentatively called Plenty. That will be available in early 2012. I post 4-5 times a week here, and I hope you’ll come back often. If you want a lower-key way of keeping in touch, please consider signing up for my monthly email newsletter, Just a Minute. Send an email to [email protected]. That newsletter always contains one original essay, a short book review, plus links to a few posts or articles.

Earlier in the week, BNET featured “The Best Productivity Tool You’re Not Using” as the lead story in their email of the day, This generated quite a bit of traffic and discussion. The tool? Strategic thinking time, of course! Spending just 5 out of 40 working hours (or heck, even 2) thinking about the future is the difference between treading water and zooming ahead.

On Thursday, I posted “4 Ways To Spark Your Creativity.” This was originally called “What Kevin Bacon and Ang Lee Can Teach Us About Creativity” but I’m still figuring out what people are most likely to click on! For this post, I interviewed Julie Burstein, who is the author of Spark: How Creativity Works, and the executive producer of public radio’s Studio 360, hosted by Kurt Andersen. For years, Studio 360 has interviewed our most creative types about how they do their work, and the lessons — persistence, openness to new things, maintaining an amateur spirit — are interesting for all of us, no matter what work we do.

Then, also on Thursday, Yahoo Finance picked up my BNET post from last week on “Why Most Self Help Books Stink (And a Few That Don’t).” For that essay I interviewed Christine Whelan, author of Generation WTF: From ‘What the #%$&’ to a Wise, Tenacious, and Fearless You about the good and bad of self-help. I guess this was a thought-provoking topic, because we’re now up to over 1100 comments on the Yahoo page. Some of them are a wee bit off-topic (which is as delicately as I can put it) but still. Whoa. This launched Christine’s book up to the top 1000 on Amazon, which I think is pretty cool.


2 thoughts on “Weekly Round-Up: The Best Productivity Tool You’re Not Using

  1. Even as a stay-at-home mom, I take some time each week to plan out and see what I want to accomplish during the week. I check the family calendar to see what is already on it, then use the 1/2 hour or so I block out to decide how I want to spend the extra time I have. (which books to read or what craft project to do next) I don’t know if this technically counts as strategic thinking time, but it does help me spend my time in the best way possible.

    1. @Denise R – that’s a good system. Taking control of the time we do have is the first step toward feeling like we have more of it… because we’re in control of it…

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