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Productivity Tip #1

I lead a pretty busy life. Besides working full-time, I’m taking a very intensive university course in Japanese, I try to blog weekly, exercise, read lots of books, work on hobby programming projects, do the dishes, spend quality time with my wife each and every day, go hiking every month and occasionally have some semblance of a social life. It’s not much, and I won’t give up any of these things, at least until we get a dishwasher. I do, however, need to better utilize my time so that I can get more things done.

This post will hopefully kick off a series on what I learn as I try and be more productive, or, more precisely, more efficient. I don’t intend for it to be anything like those “self help” blogs, I actually kind of hate those. I want these posts to be about concrete, down-to-earth tips that I find useful. So, without further ado:

Tip #1 - Listen to Podcasts

Most people know this already. For a programmer, I’m pretty caveman like in my knowledge of the latest technological hype. I’m usually several years late when in comes to the latest thing. But although I’ve known about podcasts for months, I could never find the time to listen to them.

This where this tip gets productivity related. Podcasts are great for doing something useful in those “dead” moments we have each day. Most people listen to podcasts on their way to work. For me, however, it takes less than 5 minutes to drive to work each morning, so it’s not really an option. The solution is obvious, although it took me ages to find it out - I listen to podcasts in the gym.

I think exercising regularly is very important, but that will have to wait for its own blog post. Listening to podcasts while exercises has been really great for me, and I can finally catch up on all those StackOverflow podcasts.