The Secret to a More Productive Workday Might Be Working Less

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iStock

Being extra productive doesn’t always mean keeping your nose to the grindstone. In fact, the key to productivity could be doing just the opposite. As Clive Thompson points out at Wired, plenty of history’s most successful figures accomplished a whole lot in just a few hours, then took the rest of the day off.

While some research has found that the key to being productive is staying busy, there are plenty of examples from history that argue otherwise. Gertrude Stein often only wrote for half an hour per day. Charles Darwin would work just three or four hours in the morning, then leave most of the rest of the day to correspondence, walks, naps, and other leisure activities. Max Planck, who originated quantum physics, wrote and lectured during his mornings, but left the rest of the day for leisure and recreation—like hiking and mountain climbing. One study of scientists in the 1950s found that the most productive people surveyed spent only 10 to 20 hours a week in their offices, Thompson reports. These people were able to create world-changing work while maintaining a schedule that would shock the average office worker.

In all likelihood, these brilliant thinkers weren't productive in spite of their relaxed schedules, but because of them. Scientists have found that having a little downtime is vital to keeping your mind sharp, especially when that downtime comes in the form of taking a walk outside, which is known to boost creativity and improve mental health. People tend to be more creative when they have time to let their mind wander, according to research.

Even taking a brief break to work on another task has been shown to increase creativity. That’s why you often get your best flashes of inspiration in the shower, when you have the bandwidth to daydream. So when Charles Darwin put away his work to take a long stroll and a nap, he was just giving his mind the space it needed to chew on the ideas he was working on that morning.

If you’re not your own boss, you probably can’t say you’re going to quit working at noon and spend the rest of your day going for walks and taking long naps, but it’s helpful to understand that being your most productive self isn’t necessarily about intense time management that keeps your eyes glued to your computer screen all day. A little slacking off—especially if it’s something that lets your mind wander, like taking a stroll around the block—might actually be good for your output.

[h/t Wired]

Scotland Could Become the First Country to Provide Universal Period Products to Citizens

emapoket, iStock via Getty Images
emapoket, iStock via Getty Images

Fears over where to find—and how to afford—sanitary products before their next menstrual cycle may no longer be an issue for people in Scotland. Earlier today, as the BBC reports, Members of Scottish Parliament passed the first part of a bill that would make items like pads and tampons free to the public.

The Period Products Bill was first put forth in 2017 to address period poverty, which affects people who are unable to afford essential menstrual hygiene products. Pads, tampons, and some reusable menstrual items are currently available to students in primary schools and universities in the country. The Scottish government has also expanded the program to include additional public places and sports clubs, but this new bill goes even further. If passed, Scotland would become the first country to provide free period products to citizens on a universal scale.

Ministers in the Scottish Parliament were initially concerned about the bill's £24 million ($31 million) annual price tag, but earlier this month, members of all parties in the government came out in support of the legislation. Though the bill passed through the first stage of parliament today, February 25, the BBC wrote that "The government is expected to put forward a raft of amendments to address their 'significant' concerns about the legislation," including the aforementioned cost.

Period poverty is an issue that's felt around the world. In America, many lawmakers are fighting to end the "tampon tax": a sales tax that's added to sanitary products and waived from other hygiene products deemed essential in many states, like dandruff shampoo.

[h/t BBC]

10 Simple Tricks for Charging Your Smartphone Faster

Makidotvn, iStock via Getty Images
Makidotvn, iStock via Getty Images

Smartphones always seem to reach low power at the least convenient moments possible. If you've ever urged your device to charge faster in the minutes before a phone interview or when you're about to board a plane, you can relate. While the easiest way to avoid this scenario is to plug in your device before the battery dips into the danger zone, if you've already reached this point, there are simple ways to speed up the charging process.

Some hacks for charging a phone faster involve steps you can take in anticipation of the next time you're surviving on minimum energy. Certain gadgets, like special chargers and battery packs, will power-up your device more efficiently than others. For moments when your phone is dying and all you have is your regular charging cable, adjusting your phone's settings to minimize the power it consumes also works in a pinch.

You can find some specific ways to charge your phone quickly below: 

  1. Plug it into a wall outlet instead of a USB port.
  1. Use a portable battery pack.
  1. Buy a special "fast" phone charger.
  1. Switch to low power mode.
  1. Switch to airplane mode.
  1. Let your phone drain completely on its own once a month to the extend the battery life.
  1. Close any background apps.
  1. Stop automatic app updates.
  1. Don't check your phone while it's charging
  1. Keep your phone out of the heat.

For more tricks for making your phone usage more efficient, check out these tips for typing faster.

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