Tag Archives: productivity

Bountify – A New Way to Crowdsource

Recently I discovered Bountify, a new way to outsource small development tasks. It’s like Stack Overflow meets Guru.com. It’s useful because there are times when you want a complete solution to a small problem, and don’t have the skills or time to do it yourself. The model is similar to Fiverr, but you can pay up to $250 per task.

There are several things that are interesting about Bountify. It was created in Ruby on Rails by a single developer. This shows the leverage that Rails delivers to the programmer. What used to take several people months to do can now be done in 2 weeks by a single person.

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Four Tips To Stay Productive When You Work At Home

This guest post was provided by Katheryn Rivas, who regularly writes for online universities.  She welcomes your comments at katherynrivas87@gmail.com.

Working from home can be a great way to save money on commuting expenses, as well as overhead costs related to leasing an office space and paying monthly bills for utilities and so on. This sort of cost-reduction is especially important in this economy, given the trouble we’ve seen in the past few years and the looming rising gas prices due to unrest in the Middle East.

Image courtesy Heather Harvey

The one thing you have to make sure if you do plan to work from home is that you can remain just as productive and focused as though you were working in an regular office. Your home can provide a sanctuary for your work; however, it can also be a very distracting environment if you’re not careful.

Here are a few tips to keep up your productivity and stay focused when you work from home. If you can think of others, please feel free to add them in the comments section.

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Busy is the New Lazy

Pic courtesy of redjar @ Flickr Creative Commons

Pic courtesy of redjar @ Flickr Creative Commons

When you were young, did you ever dream of some day, one day–one blessed day–waking up and finding yourself a member of a cross-functional team?

Or, a sub-brand analyst?

Be honest. Most of us wanted to join a professional football team, or be rock stars and astronauts. I don’t recall anyone ever telling me that their dream was to manage cross-functional teams.

Somewhere along the way, we passed on our dreams to earn a paycheck. We became busy. And actually, those dreams were vivisected into discrete little occupational niches and awarded excruciatingly long, and utterly useless titles.

All in the name of being busy.

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Weekly Wisdom: Redistributing Wealth Wisdom

Not to get into any big political debates before a nice harmless list of links to smart thoughts and ideas, but let’s just say the jury’s out on the notion of wealth redistribution.

But one thing that’s certain: redistributing wisdom, especially personal finance wisdom is a good thing for society.

We now have the most effective way to distribute wisdom ever–the internet. In this week’s Weekly Wisdom, we pull together the best links we could find on personal finance and personal growth.

Enjoy, comrades!

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Why Does Your Home Office Scare Your Boss?

headsclouds @ Flickr

headsclouds @ Flickr

Do you think that little room in your house–the one where you set up your desk and computer–is especially scary?

Then why is your boss so freaked out by it?

Home offices are not a threat to productivity; they’re a threat to power. Certain people are turned on by an office full of fawning subordinates, even if they’re paying for the attention.

But don’t worry about working for these bosses much longer. They’ll be obsolete. Innovative companies with enlightened managers are out-performing and out-saving their dinosaur competition by creating more creative work options.

Here’s why:

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Working Whenever To Whenever: The New Office Hours



Society has decided–for whatever reason–to push papers five days a week, eight hours a day. Even those hours are mostly relegated to 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Some folks cut out at 6 p.m. because lunch is not part of the eight-hour work day.

After all, food isn’t necessary for productivity.

It wouldn’t be correct to say that there are no advantages to the 9-5 slog. Just like dogs nipping at the ankles of the sheep, bosses and managers can herd their workers into the right direction, or at least in the same direction, if there’s a common time and place.

But, the strictly-regimented time and place of office work is starting to fracture under the strain. Commerce is becoming global and information is quickly becoming ubiquitous. You don’t need to access a drawer full of files to complete a task. That info is available whenever and wherever you want.

Not only is it no longer necessary, it may be actually holding us back.

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Five Ways To Be More By Doing Less: Step 5–Gain Financial Freedom

No matter how many time management skills you master…

No matter how much technology you can leverage….

No matter how many relationships you form…

You can only be free when you achieve financial freedom.

For most of us, there’s a huge swath of time that is not your own. Most people spend a third of their time–about eight hours–accomplishing more for someone else. We call it a “job.” (I usually add an adjective in front of it.)

That eight hours doesn’t include the time spent preparing for work and certainly doesn’t include all the time we waste worried about work, either. People worry about getting a job. We worry about the lousy duties or lousy people at our job. Then we worry about losing our job. And then we worry about finding another job!

Of course, that’s not all of us. There are some people who enjoy their jobs and want to keep them. That’s a great position to be in.

But, whether you hate your job, or love your job, becoming financially secure can create more opportunities for you than being subservient to a paycheck. Financial freedom means you can be more while doing less.

There are some easy ways to attain this level of financial freedom.

  • Live within your means.
  • Promote multiple streams of income.
  • Pay off your debt.
  • Invest exponentially.

It’s the last principle that I’d like to discuss. One of the reasons we made it our mission to develop Automated Trading at Online Investing AI strategies was to give people financial freedom without usurping more of their time.

We want to leverage advanced technology to develop trading strategies that deliver great returns at predictable rates. What we hope this accomplishes is that Automated Trading will give regular people the opportunity to invest and trade like wealthy investors, who have technology, resources and relationships that the average trader doesn’t have.

But that’s just the ground-level goal, if we can create systems that deliver those types of dependable returns, without all the labor and time involved, we believe we are helping our clients become smarter and more independent.

This is the last post in a series that discusses how you can Be More by Doing Less. The posts are inspired by the Accomplishing More by Doing Less book by Marc Lesser.

I’d love to hear your comments about whether you thought this was useful.


Regulation Strangulation–The Risk of Conventional Wisdom

Productivity growth slows.The common sense conclusion drawn from the troubled economy is that there is a lack of regulation in the financial market and that this lapse has let traders and investors take unnecessary risks.

More regulations and stricter regulations are needed to right the market. And, if the regulations work for the financial market, why not apply this protective blanket over other industries.

Protected markets will stop the unpredictable swings of the market, so the rationale goes.

This common sense approach has its risks, as well, according to MARTIN NEIL BAILY and MATTHEW J. SLAUGHTER, this could lead to strangulating over-regulation, and a serious impediment to the exponential gains of the Singularity.

In their op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, the economists say that productivity has slowed to a fraction of the speedy pace of the late 90s and early 2000s. Here are their readings:

After averaging 2.7% productivity growth from 1995 through 2002, annual growth of productivity in the nonfarming business sector has slowed dramatically — to just 1.7% in 2005, 1.0% in 2006, and 1.4% in 2007.

In a soon-to-be released report, which will be available here, the authors state that the cure to this productivity slowdown is smart regulation, not more regulation.

Maintaining the productivity benefits of product market competition requires sound choices in areas including trade and investment, regulation and infrastructure.

But this doesn’t have the same ring as the alarm bells going off in the media today.

The key to economic growth rests in improved productivity, which means letting people innovate, invent, produce and trade in a free environment. A free environment doesn’t mean an unregulated market. Intelligent regulations and transparency will only add confidence to the market and, therefore, improve productivity.

Smart regulation and free, fair trade are probably not the directions most Americans, and citizens of the world, are ready to follow, but, in fact, it might be the wisest to stabilize the economy and prepare for continued growth. Exaggerated emotional reactions–both fear or greed–lead to bubbles and crashes.

In these times, we need unconventional wisdom.  Or maybe just some uncommon sense.


Dragon NaturallySpeaking Update

I’ve been using Dragon NaturallySpeaking (version 10 standard) for about two weeks now. I have to say it works really great. Much better than I imagined. I had read about how Ray Kurzweil uses similar software all the time, and even used it to write his books

Dragon NaturallySpeakingMaybe you are one of those people who has to experience it to believe it. I was one of those people. The good news is that it can replace about 95% of most people’s typing. For me, it works great for typing my blog posts for me, e-mail, and online chatting.

The only place it doesn’t work that great for me yet is when doing programming. So if you’re a programmer, and you’re using a voice software, please comment and let us know the best way to do it!

Here are some tips on using Dragon NaturallySpeaking:

  • You need a lot of memory! On Windows XP it uses about 500 MB. Memory is cheap, so this is no problem.
  • It also takes a little bit of getting used to. As with any program, it takes some trial and error to learn how to get it to work well.
  • Don’t worry, if it doesn’t work perfectly for you. In the next year or two it will improve dramatically!
  • If it is not sending the text to the program you are working with, try closing all other programs, or any programs or web pages which may be using the CPU (like Pandora)
  • For version 10, you need to have a computer CPU that has SSE-2, so it won’t work with old computers.

Another fascinating aspect of using the software, is that it allows you to have a very different experience from typing. When you talk or dictate, it uses a completely different part of your brain from when you were typing. You may find, that it is much easier to dictate your e-mails, blog posts, or even a book that it is to type it.


Happiness Is A Warm Meme

Happiness is A Warm Meme

Happiness, according to a recent study, can be spread.

The study, called Dynamic Spread of Happiness in a Large Social Network, is based on 20 years of research done by James H. Fowler and Nicholas A. Christakis. The professors concluded that:

Clusters of happy and unhappy people are visible in the network, and the relationship between people’s happiness extends up to three degrees of separation (for example, to the friends of one’s friends’ friends). People who are surrounded by many happy people and those who are central in the network are more likely to become happy in the future.

In other words, happiness is a meme and it can spread.

It’s viral.

It’s just as viral as that Youtube video of the light saber-wielding kid and as believable as those kidney-harvesting urban legends.

Think happy, prosperous thoughts. And your friends will, too.