No matter how productive we are, for many of us it’s still never enough. Who doesn’t want to get more done, with less stress and a greater feeling of accomplishment? There’s a reason that books like Getting Things Done and sites like Lifehacker are so popular: we all want to learn ways to improve by finding the right system or discovering the right set of tips and tricks that work for us. Ideally, we want to get there with as little time spent on the learning process itself as possible.
“Productivity Tips for the Busy Tech Professional” by Richard Seroter is a course on the previously-mentioned PluralSight, but it’s a little different from most of the other courses on that site where the focus is usually on a specific technology. Here, Seroter instead provides a casual and entertaining look at the ways in which people – particularly tech people – often develop habits or outlooks that don’t really foster productivity. In less than an hour (I’m going to doubt that the run time of 59 minutes was simply a lucky coincidence), Seroter takes us through 17 tips on how to act better and smarter in our daily life:
Throughout the course, Seroter presents the tips clearly, cleanly, and efficiently while sprinkling the discussion with humor, personal anecdotes. He also has a flair for juxtaposition & synergy between what he’s saying and what he’s showing you on the screen – and no, this isn’t at all a death-by-slides presentation. For each tip, he starts with an idea he disagrees with (he calls them myths, though that’s not really accurate for a lot of them), explains what he believes is a better idea or perspective instead, and then provides a couple of examples of what he’s talking about.
Are the insights here earth-shattering, or fundamentally new? No, not really. What is distinctive is simply the execution: a lot (most?) of productivity/self-help material tends to be very dry and hard to read or listen to. That’s not the case here: Seroter relays the core of each idea quickly, wraps it with interesting commentary, and then moves on to the next tip. Yes, you may have heard a lot of these same ideas in other forums, but I doubt you’ve had them presented as densely, as effectively, and as entertainingly as they are here.
At less than an hour, it’s also perfect to watch on lunch or on your commute – in fact, I’ll probably be re-listening to it on the way to work later this week. If you’re a PluralSight customer, give it a shot – I really think you’ll like it.