Weekly productivity roundup, the end of summer edition

Happy September, folks! Here’s our weekly roundup of productivity articles that you may have missed (hopefully because you were out enjoying one of the last few weeks of summer).

The Most Valuable Lesson I Learned from Playing the Violin

Practice makes perfect, right? Yes, but it helps if you know the correct way to practice. Noa Kageyama reflects on more than two decades of violin practice and draws some important distinctions between mindless, rote practice and deliberate practice. Among many solid tips, he advocates for creating personal feedback loops to monitor improvement. We’ve been thinking about feedback loops a bit ourselves lately.

Work Less to Get More Done

On a related note, productivity hacker Scott Young thinks people tend to overestimate their ability to get stuff done in a single day, and that’s a big problem. He talks about how to set proper expectations for yourself and presents a framework for taking baby-steps to get more productive over time.

Having Trouble Finishing Your Labor Of Love?

Being more productive in your day job is great and all, but what about the personal projects that you want to get done for yourself? Here’s some tips about how to get your head in the right spot to kick ass on your own endeavors. I have an idea I’ve been sitting on for a while, and this post just might get me started on actually putting it in motion.

9 Gmail Plugins to Revive Your Productivity

Dealing with the monster that is your inbox is an ever-present issue. It’s a necessary evil that can eat up a huge chunk of your day if you’re not careful. Here’s a list of email-related plugins from Mashable to help you tame the beast. (or, see the next article for another alternative)

Email stress test: Experiment unplugs workers for 5 days

Perhaps instead of trying to hack your email client to be more productive, you should just ditch email entirely. Not terribly realistic, but this study found that people actually got more work done without it, and were less stressed out as well. Maybe we can’t completely walk away from email, but perhaps it makes sense to think about nudging it off into a corner so it doesn’t impact your entire day so much? I recently did an experiment with this, and the results were great.

Why Remote Workers Are More (Yes, More) Engaged

Being part of an engaged and effective team doesn’t require being in the same room anymore. Remote workers can be just as engaged as on-site teams. Here are several reasons why.

[INFOGRAPHIC] You waste a lot of time at work

Here’s a fun, but depressing, infographic from Atlassian highlighting some of the various time-sinks in an average office environment. How well does this describe your average day?

Top 20 TED Talks That Can Improve Your Life

Finally, here’s a big list of videos of smart people talking about productivity.

Here’s to a happy and productive start of the new month!