Posts Tagged ‘Productivity’

To be productive you need long periods of uninterrupted concentration

August 10, 2019

My full-time writing schedule means that I have to be pretty much a hermit. The only way to gain enough efficiency to complete The Art of Computer Programming is to operate in batch mode, concentrating intensively and uninterruptedly on one subject at a time, rather than swapping a number of topics in and out of my head.

  • Donald Knuth, computer scientist

To do real good physics, you do need absolute solid lengths of time … it needs a lot of concentration.

  • Richard Feynman, physicist

Within a semester dedicated to research, he alternates between periods where his door is open to students and colleagues, and periods where he isolates himself to focus completely and without distraction on a single research task. During these periods, which can last up to three or four days, he’ll often put an out-of-office auto-responder on his email so correspondents will know not to expect a response soon. To Grant, it’s important to enforce strict isolation until he completes the task at hand.

  • Adam Grant, youngest professor to be awarded tenure at the Wharton School of Business

Writing novels is hard, and requires vast, unbroken slabs of time. Four quiet hours is a resource that I can put to good use. Two slabs of time, each two hours long, might add up to the same four hours, but are not nearly as productive as an unbroken four. If I know that I am going to be interrupted, I can’t concentrate, and if I suspect that I might be interrupted, I can’t do anything at all. Likewise, several consecutive days with four-hour time-slabs in them give me a stretch of time in which I can write a decent book chapter, but the same number of hours spread out across a few weeks, with interruptions in between them, are nearly useless.

  • Neal Stephenson, writer

Offices that are kept too cold result in 33% lower productivity

August 28, 2016

An interesting segment on NPR about offices that are kept uncomfortably cool. The old theory was that keeping offices cool would make people work faster. However, research shows that people working on a computer are up to 1/3 less productive than if the temperature is set to a comfortable temperature (76 degrees, or higher).

We find that when people are in an environment
that they find to be too cold, typically a temperature
like 68 to 70, they do up to a third less work on their
computers than if they’re in an environment that is
more comfortable.