Productivity is not all about work

Keeping track of things that interest you matters too

The most common lie heard in the open plan office is, “Cool, I’ll check that out later.”

I’ve noticed that myself and people that I have worked with allow the daily grind and noise to get in the way of working on our own projects, our own learning….and ourselves. This is an alternative way to help you make time in your schedule to read, watch, listen to and browse things that are productive but not always work-related.

Take the challenge, follow to links in the article and list to schedule some “free time” in your calendar for next week. Let me know how it goes.

In this post:

- You are here!

- My thoughts on what might be of interest to for some productive procrastination

→Interesting Reads — links to recommended articles to read

→Productive Browsing — some cool websites to check out

→Watching Intently — links to trailers of great shows and docus

→Instead of Music — some great podcasts

- TL;DR — A quick list of all the above which can be added to your calendar

- Contribute

I’ve been thinking about what a good career trajectory in the tech/startup world looks like. Was tempted to say “non-traditional” but it’s steadily becoming a path frequently taken. This isn’t limited to an age bracket — this includes people in career transition. One of the drivers of career transition is a sense of self-improvement. However, smaller efforts and consistent self-improvement is an art in itself, which is why I’m glad Lionel pointed out how working in increments towards a big change is probably the most sensible way to go.

I think that the ability to change and the willingness to comes from the value set you hold close. In talking to people I went to school with and that have picked corporate careers — I find there is a stark contrast in value sets (not in a bad way). An example of this is the willingness to accept boy club culture.

On the flip side, when we’re the ones responsible for building up the team and the work environment, it’s even more daunting as you try to make decisions about people that will shape the future work environment. Sharon was faced with this exact challenge and for her, a good starting point was seeing how other people went about it. Might not be a perfect fit but it’s better than shooting in the dark. Ultimately, it’s this work-happiness balance that’s so elusive to many. I’m glad people like Thibault can find ways to incorporate lessons from one scenario or culture in their current one. But sometimes, it’s hard to find that happy balance and a bad work environment is beyond your ability to deal with it. Alex pointed me to how we can start dealing with hostile work environments with this in mind. To some degree we can blame values, startup v. corporate, culture — but what about when we clash on a personality level? Bao-Anh feels that being an introvert and being perceived as one (two different things) made her realize that people need to be more aware of how they choose to interact with people in their teams — there’s no static profile for a perfect team member.

On a different note, in the age of reality T.V., there is a personal and professional narrative we’re all seeking to build online. I for one am very happy that is manifesting itself in oral storytelling as well. Great podcasts have been popping up everywhere and I think there’s a real art to it. But with this mish-mash of values and culture that we start to expect from people everywhere, Marissa wonders what’s primed to be the next step in our global beige evolution. It makes you wonder what we should hold onto and what we should let go of.

If you’re looking for interesting sites to browse during the day, when Bao-Anh needs a break from looking at websites and interface design for producing god work she likes to get ideas and inspiration elsewhere. Serendipitous inspiration is what we’re all after is it not? It helps open your mind to find inspiration in the daily things. When I came across this app studio which emphasizes it’s strengths over smaller projects, I felt incredibly inspired and motivated. Each project is actionable and is different from the next. they’re all experiments — it’s like a rabbit-hole!

When I watch videos, I find myself compelled in a different way than when I read. Being able to create a connection with the facial gestures and intent of a subject is something that a great videographer / director knows how to do. In the same way, empathy is considered to be at the center of truly great leadership — even on a large scale. I’m glad Tammy reminded me of this.

When that’s coupled with boldness, it can lead to amazing discoveries about your potential in your industry and with your craft. This is why I’ve been an evangelist for Chef’s Table Season 2. We all love a good food documentary but I’m compelled by how these chefs are driven to overcome personal obstacles to greatness. I think it’s rooted in a certain mindset. A mindset you’ve either trained yourself to function within or that you’ve been brought up with.

Gregory references how we think about education and encouraging out-of-the-box thinking and creativity. This doesn’t have to be limited to the Arts — for example, Shanthini feels this way of thinking can be applied to essential services in the public sector. Again, being able to empathize, even if it’s not your direct experience or journey, is something which can lead to unexpectedly awesome insights. Being open to perspectives other than the ones we’re comfortable with is something which Gisele likes to point out is overlooked, especially in context of understanding movements like Black Lives Matter, when in fact it’s essential.

In a similar way, Karl’s Macgyverian attitude means that he’s always trying to take an alternative perspective to how we make business models. For him, it’s important to have a global view on how emerging countries identify problems and solutions whilst having constraints on resources. Working with him has helped me understand how important cultural nuances are in business. Understanding nuances can the key to better cross-cultural communication. For myself, I have unexpectedly experienced this through laughing at and relating to NSFW topics from the perspective of comediennes that are people of color. On a more serious note, for Noor, it’s been through being able have one of the most controversial human conflicts broken down in an unbiased way.

There’s always a lot going on, but there’s always time to spare for what’s important to you.

To Read

Grounded perspective on career progression

~ 5mins // Recommended by HibaREMIND ME TO READ THIS

What comes after nostalgia?

~5mins //Recommended by MarissaREMIND ME TO READ THIS

Concise goals and plan to create a professional podcast

~15 mins // Recommended by Hiba REMIND ME TO READ THIS

Comment on Reddit about hostile work cultures

~ 5mins //Recommended by Alexandra REMIND ME TO READ THIS

When you have to hire people and know nothing about hiring

~ 5mins //Recommended by SharonREMIND ME TO READ THIS

When you need to give yourself some perspective about work and happiness (Book)

//Recommended by ThibaultREMIND ME TO READ THIS

Trying out a new approach to getting things done — in increments (Book)

//Recommended by Lionel REMIND ME TO READ THIS

The Boy Club is a real thing and there are ways to get rid of it < 15mins

~15 mins // Recommended by Hiba → REMIND ME TO READ THIS

To Browse

Take a break from looking to much at websites design and UX, UI, interfaces and get ideas and inspiration elsewhere.

// Recommended by Bao-Anh REMIND ME TO CHECK IT OUT

Browsing through little projects from a startupfactory

//Recommended by Hiba REMIND ME TO CHECK IT OUT

To Watch

Truly great leadership — even at a large scale

~25 mins //Recommended by Tammy REMIND ME TO WATCH THIS

Inspirational people that convince people to interact with a subject matter (food) in non-conventional ways (Netflix)

>25 mins // Recommended by Hiba → REMIND ME TO WATCH THIS

An alternative opinion about monetizing essential services

>25 mins // Recommended by Shanthini REMIND ME TO WATCH THIS

A hilarious show which takes the perspective of a PoC and seeing how they relate to everyday life (HBO)

>25 mins //Recommended by Gisele REMIND ME TO WATCH THIS

A reminder about how creativity can be nurtured

<25 mins // Recommended by GregoryREMIND ME TO WATCH THIS

To Listen To

Global view on how emerging countries find problem solving solutions with limited capacities. It helps me understanding cultural nuances in business.

//Recommended by Karl REMIND ME TO LISTEN TO THIS

Diverse roster of comics touch on NSFW subjects but in a genius format. Lots of laughs around.

//Recommended by HibaREMIND ME TO LISTEN TO THIS

One of the most controversial human conflicts — it breaks it down into unbiased, well researched segments and is eye-opening.

//Recommended by NoorREMIND ME TO LISTEN TO THIS

Liked it?

There’s more where this came from! Your feedback, comments and thoughts are VERY appreciated. This is an experiment with how we manage our time and we all do it differently! If you like this post — hit RECOMMEND and if you have a Twitter account — feel free to leave comments on the post and to tweet the parts you liked (and didn’t).

Better yet…