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ProdPod: Episode 118 — Pondering Minimalism vis-à-vis Personal Productivity

How does minimalism affect your personal productivity? And, is there such a thing as a minimalist approach to productivity? I believe ardently that our physical and digital worlds are a manifestation of our mental-emotional world, so I sought out some answers about these thorny questions. After about 30 hours of research and uncounted hours of pondering, here are my thoughts on these two questions. Read more.


ProdPod: Episode 117 — Getting More Resilient (Resilience and Productivity)

In the last episode, I defined resilience, or emotional elasticity, as I like to call it. Here, I’d like to detail tactics for bending back into shape faster for more productive output. Read more.


ProdPod: Episode 115 — Thinking INSIDE the Box! (Part 2)

In the last episode we learned that the scientific research that told everyone to think outside the box to overcome challenges and to be creative in life and work, was summarily misguided. We can be primed that a box exists, and we’ll still see a box as a limitation, unless we are guided to work within it.


ProdPod: Episode 114 — Thinking INSIDE the Box! (Part 1)

So often I hear the cliché that you need to be an “out of the box” thinker. Creativity and problem-solving (which I feel frequently are synonymous in many circumstances) are, after all, great tools in any productive person’s toolbelt. But, is thinking outside the box really possible? (Hint: no.) And, if not, how can we effectively use thinking inside the box?


ProdPod: Episode 113 — Limiting Resources for Greater Productivity

Intuitively, we know that focus is a fundamental of greater productivity. Broadly and less instinctively, focus manifests heightened productivity by training and straining any resource, including but not limited to attention, time, money, and other resources. In Episode 98, I spoke about using time-based challenges for sprinting toward such productivity. Now, I’d like to discuss some ideas about limiting one resource–the stuff we own–as a means to greater productivity.


ProdPod: Episode 108 — Overcoming Overwhelm

Overwhelm is a pernicious productivity detractor that affects us all in varying degrees. In my definition, overwhelm is a buildup of stimuli that creates anxiety which, in turn, blocks action or clear decision-making. Learn more here.


ProdPod: Episode 99 — Be the Superhero of Your Own Life

In comics, television, film, and now Netflix, there are superheroes who come to save the day when villains attack or bad circumstances befall the vulnerable, the voiceless, and the innocent. Superheroes give us hope, and they empower us with moral fortitude to do the right thing even when the going gets tough. Over the years, I have noticed a trend among some highly productive people that has me understanding a bit more about why they get things done, even in the face of great adversity....


ProdPod: Episode 98 — The Power of Short-Term Challenges

Have you ever entered a competition, or a race, of some kind? Whether it’s a science fair, marathon, triathlon, March Madness, or almost any kind of contest, you know the feeling of competing. You have a period of time that focuses a large portion of your time, attention, and resources in achieving something. These short-term challenges have a way of motivating you to action thanks to your competitive nature, accountability to others, and the potential rewards (including gratification in...


ProdPod: Episode 95–Effective Meeting Series: More Productivity Meetings With Robert’s Rules, Part II

While Robert’s Rules of Order may seem outdated, outmoded, prescriptive, and even restrictive, you’d be surprised what a little bit of parliamentary procedure can do to make meetings much more highly productive. In this episode, I continue my discussion on Robert’s Rules of Order and how this can be incorporated into your meetings. In the last episode I gave some productivity principles for effective meetings. Continuing on the Robert’s Rules of Order theme, I want to cover some steps you...


ProdPod: Episode 94–Effective Meeting Series: More Productivity Meetings With Robert’s Rules, Part I

While Robert’s Rules of Order may seem outdated, outmoded, prescriptive, and even restrictive, you’d be surprised what a little bit of parliamentary procedure can do to make meetings much more highly productive. The episode is the first part, giving some context with important productivity principles for using parliamentary procedure in meetings. When Brig. Gen. Henry Martyn Robert proposed the use of parliamentary procedure for common meetings back in 1876, he likely didn’t foresee the...


ProdPod: Episode 93–Gamification and Your Productivity

A gamified life. For the productivity and technology geek that I am, it sounds like a pretty cool existence. I’d get to live the superhero lifestyle (minus the superpower-enabling lab experiment gone wrong) I should’ve been living all along. But can I live a truly gamified life? Over the past several years, that is something I have sought to find out, and here’s what I’ve learned.


ProdPod: Episode 92–Rewarding Yourself for Productive Habit Development and Reaching Goals

One of the most unproductive outcomes of the last century’s shift from the Industrial Age to knowledge work in the Digital Age has been the loss of seeing the fruits of our labor firsthand. In the Industrial Age, Americans made things and saw them come to life. There’s an inherent satisfaction in creating products that come off an assembly line. Contrast that to our daily lives in the Knowledge Worker Age, and you may start to notice this missing element in your life. And, I think an...


ProdPod: Episode 91 — What Do You Own?

Have you ever been in a situation where you lost all your worldly possessions in one day? I have. It’s a life-changing event, even for someone not too attached to material things, to find out it’s all been burned away, water-damaged or otherwise destroyed in a catastrophic event. Other than the insurance covering my personal property providing little emotional relief for lost baby pictures and irreplaceable artwork, I had one piece of solace–my home inventory. Before or if calamity...


ProdPod: Episode 90 — Biology, Self-Actualization and Your Productivity

When the idea of self-actualization developed in the mid-20th century, far before the field of positive psychology was fostered by Dr. Martin Seligman, there was a desire to study and cure illness, mental and physical. Dr. Abraham Maslow tried something different; he studied the role model, the talented and the ingenious. By doing so, he hoped to unlock how we all could do more, better. He developed the hierarchy of needs (which most know by the pyramid with our biological needs at its...


ProdPod: Episode 89 — Multi-Sensory Productivity

Humans have five common senses. (We actually have several more senses not commonly discussed.) Your sense of touch is mostly dedicated to your largest organ, your skin, comprising 22 square feet (or, 2 square meters), which holds millions of touch receptors of various sensitivity to map your physical surroundings. Your five fingers on each hand alone contain 3,000 touch receptors of the highest sensitivity on each finger tip. Then, there’s your sense of sight, which is the reigning...


ProdPod: Episode 88 — Defining Happiness

As I’ve written about before, “happiness” is a terrible word to me. It’s my version of a four-letter word in regard to positive psychology and personal productivity. And yet, we continue to keep using it; I’m guilty of it as well from time to time. While it seems like a universal term, it’s actually a rather confusing word. If the purpose of communication is to convey information clearly to another, why circumvent the process with vagaries? Dr. Daniel Kahneman,


ProdPod: Episode 87 — Two-Minute Book Summary: The First 20 Hours

Learning, in the way that humans can, is one of the fundamental ways that set us apart from all other species on Earth. Skills acquisition is one of those kinds of learning that we do really well, and many of us want to do more of, better and faster. I’m one of those people, and when I picked up The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything…Fast by Josh Kaufman, I was skeptical. However, he outlines successfully a 10-step process for rapid skill acquisition and I think he’s onto something...


ProdPod: Episode 86 — The Kaizen Way: What Are the Elements of Kaizen? with Sally Reinholdt (Part 2 of 2)

Welcome to Episode 86 of ProdPod, the podcast of productivity lessons in two minutes or less. I’m Ray Sidney-Smith and I have Professional Organizer Sally Reinholdt here for Part 2 of our discussion of One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way by psychologist [ ], by Dr. Robert Maurer. We’ll be covering the elements of Kaizen. Sally, take it away. Read full transcript.


ProdPod: Episode 85 — The Kaizen Way: What is the Kaizen Way? with Sally Reinholdt (Part 1 of 2)

Welcome to Episode 85 of ProdPod, the podcast of productivity lessons in two minutes or less. I’m Ray Sidney-Smith and I have Professional Organizer Sally Reinholdt back on ProdPod to tell us about One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way by psychologist [ ], by Dr. Robert Maurer. So, Sally, what is The Kaizen Way? Read full transcript.


ProdPod: Episode 84 — Two-Minute Book Summary: The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor

I first became aware of Shawn Achor as the funny, charismatic presenter of the popular TEDxBloomington Talk, “The Happiness Advantage: Linking Positive Brains to Performance.” And, subsequently, I came to know his eponymous book, The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work. His book’s premise is, I quote, Conventional wisdom holds that if we work hard we will be more successful, and if we are more successful, then we’ll be...