How to Clear Your Desk and Your Mind with 43 Folders

You can easily add a time machine to your personal productivity system.

Three-dimensional chess is a Star Trek staple. The board appears in several episodes, and you can buy your own replica courtesy of the Franklin Mint.

One of the novels takes the game a step further into the future with four-dimensional chess. Not only can you move your pieces in three-dimensional space, you can “rest” a piece, removing it from the board for a fixed number of turns, after which it returns to the board on its new square. This lets you set aside a piece that you don’t need now, and bring it back at just the right moment.

You can set up a similar system to reduce clutter, stop losing things, and increase your productivity. Take any piece of paper; set it aside for days, weeks, or months; and relax, confident that it will reappear on the exact day you need it. It’s like a time machine for your trusted system.

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We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom. The world henceforth will be run by synthesizers, people able to put together the right information at the right time, think critically about it, and make important choices wisely.

E. O. Wilson

5 Reasons You’ll Win Faster if You Slow Down

The race goes not to the swift, but to those who keep on running.

There is a popular notion that if you can just work a little bit harder, a little bit longer, and a little bit faster, you can achieve anything. You can solve any problem. You can get anything done. Slow is the problem. Fast is the answer.

It’s a shortsighted approach to productivity. Yes, you can usually work a little bit harder, a little bit longer, or a little bit faster and get a little more done. The key there is the little bit. You quickly hit the point of diminishing returns, and you’ll get a lot less done if you push yourself too much.

Instead, take a lesson from Aesop’s tortoise: slow and steady wins the race.

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Tell Your Calendar Where You Need to Be

6 Ways your Calendar can Help you Chart your Course through Time and Space

Your calendar is one of the key components of your trusted system. It’s how you track the plan you have for how you’re going to spend your day.

Most people block off their time with a few words, just enough to remind them what they’re going to do. Look at your calendar. It’s probably full of things like “Gym”, “Budgeting with Nicole”, “Errands”, and “Call Mom”.

That worked brilliantly for paper planners, where all you needed was a title and an arrow to indicate how long the event takes. With the rise of digital calendars, there’s on other thing you should enter. A few seconds when creating the event can save you minutes—or even hours—down the road.

Tell your calendar where you need to be.

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The Tortoise and the Hare

The Productive Life is a Marathon, not a Sprint

Here’s Aesop’s classic fable, reframed as a day at a startup in SOMA. It’s a timeless example of how you can go faster if you slow down. Enjoy!

When the Hare and the Tortoise showed up to work, the Hawk was waiting for them.

“I got an email from the Bear,” explained the Hawk. “He needs us to add some new framework calls he can use in the next version of his app. He is on a tight schedule, so he needs us to turn this around today.”

The Hawk forwarded them the email with the details of the request, and the Hare and the Tortoise were off to the races.

Photo courtesy of © Adobe Stock / chalabala