Out of Office

Archive for the ‘Semi-Commuter’ Category

The Power of Habit – by Charles Duhigg

The Power Of HabitThis fascinating book combines three of my favourite elements: Practical ideas, backed by strong research, relayed by powerful stories.

Duhigg’s one big idea in the book is that our habits can be broken down into three factors: A cue that triggers the habit, a routine that we subconsciously follow, and a reward that motivates us. He contends that we can’t eliminate a bad habit, but we can change it by inserting a new routine between the cue and the reward. That’s a deceptively simple, but very powerful, idea.

Duhigg also describes the power of “keystone habits”, which can trigger many other habit changes. For example, for many people, getting fitter is a keystone habit, which leads to them adopting other unrelated positive habits as well.

If you’re looking for practical steps to change your habits, jump straight to the Appendix, which is a “how to” of the entire process.

I love that the book is backed by strong scientific research (the references take up a full third of the book). But Duhigg is a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, so his writing is compelling and entertaining rather than dry and academic.

Buy the book from Amazon.com.

Our Productivity Platform

Our Productivity PlatformThere are lots of productivity tools, and in this episode we share our personal favourites. Everybody is different, so you’ll have to discover what works best for you. But we hope that by seeing what we use, you’ll be able to adapt them for your own productivity needs.

Listen to the episode here:

Download the MP3 file here

Subscribe to the podcast

Buy the book here

Links and Resources

Time Management:

Consuming Information:

  • Kindle: Easy to download samples; available across all my devices (via the Kindle app)
  • Pocket (formerly Read It Later): Allows you to bookmark interesting content for reading later
  • Buffer: Automate/schedule the publication of your tweets, posts and status updates on various social media platforms


  • Dropbox: Perfect for sharing files across all devices
  • Evernote: Similar to Dropbox, but better for tag, sorting and searching; it can also handle “snippets” better (e.g. photos, infographics, hand­drawn notes)
  • Google Drive: Started life as Google Docs, a Cloud-­based productivity suite (word processor, spreadsheet, slide deck, etc.); now a Cloud-­based file storage system


  • GoToMeeting and Google Hangouts: Use these for audio/video conferencing. Includes screen sharing, one-click recording, and other useful collaboration features
  • Skype: Use SkypeOut to call anybody anywhere; easier and more convenient than a landline
  • LastPass: Password manager that has a really useful feature to share passwords securely with others
  • Google Calendar / Tasks / Contacts: Google’s Cloud-­based calendar, to do list and people list

Personal Effectiveness:

  • Noom Coach: A fitness app on my phone, mainly related to healthy eating
  • BeyondPod and Podcast Addict: Podcast apps with some productivity features, like speeding up playback
  • iMindmap and Mindjet: Mind mapping software for recording in a more visual way

Is Telework the future?

Is Telework the future? Infographic
Time Doctor – Track your time. Track your team’s time. Know EXACTLY what is REALLY going on.

Wasted Time at Work: An Enlightening Infographic

Wasted Time in the Workplace - Infographic

On The Road (Warrior) Again

Mitch Joel, author of the Twist Image blog, has a number of tips for working on the road. These are useful for employees and digital nomads alike. Here’s a summary:

  • Always have an extra charger for everything.
  • Keep your devices as fully charged at all times as possible.
  • Ditch the briefcase, and get a nice looking knapsack or backpack.
  • Take all of your cables, chargers, headphones, adapters, USB memory sticks, dongles and more and store them in one bag.
  • Save it to the cloud.
  • Block out the world with a good pair of in-ear headphones
  • Being your own extension cord.

The MoneyMaking Schemes of MOOCs

Please include attribution to OnlineSchools.org with this graphic.
How the MOOCs Will Make Money

Tangible links between productivity and office space

Although most of our discussion here is about working away from a traditional office, we’re also interested in making in-office workplaces more effective. That’s why I enjoyed reading about tangible links between productivity and workspaces.

Heidi Pollard, CEO of UQ Power, a consultancy company to the mining and resources industry, says:

“Environment is a critical factor in successfully building trust, collaboration and communication in a workplace”.

So if you can’t work Out of Office, at least make your in-office workplace the best that it can be :-)

The facts on flexible work arrangements (Infographic)

Mercer Insights produced this fascinating infographic about telecommuting and other flexible work arrangements (click the picture for a larger version):
The facts on flexible work arrangements
Infographic by Mercer Insights

When Working at Home Is Productive, and When It’s Not

Although in general we endorse an Out of Office work style, we also know it isn’t right in all circumstances. The Wharton Business School published an article “When Working at Home Is Productive, and When It’s Not”, which is worth reading for the pros and cons of telecommuting. It was written at the time of the Yahoo! telecommuting controversy in March, but it’s still relevant now.

Bidding Farewell to The Office: How Workstyles Are Changing (infographic)

Citrix has created a fascinating infographic about the changing nature of the workplace when it comes to work styles (click the picture for the full version):

Mobile Workstyles Infographic

Also read the accompanying article here.

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