The RescueTime Blog’s best of 2017

At RescueTime, we’re on a mission to help you do more meaningful work. But to do this, we need to understand all the many, many things that currently are getting in your way.

This year, we dove deep into the distractions, cognitive eccentricities, and cultural and environmental factors that affect our ability to do the things that matter the most to us. We looked at what causes procrastination, stress, and burnout syndrome. Explored better ways to manage time, build good work habits, and craft a meaningful career.

We attacked numerous digital distractions, the myth of multitasking, and our obsession with our phones. And found ways to disconnect from work, take more meaningful breaks, and create the best evening routine for sleep.

So, with the new year upon us, we’ve looked back over the almost 100 posts published in 2017 and picked out the ones that made the biggest impact.

Science and research: Our best posts explaining what gets in the way of meaningful work

To build a more meaningful life, we need to understand why we act the way we do. Which is often a lot stranger than we imagined. These posts dive deep into some of the biggest topics around productivity and meaning and are a great place to start if you want to understand the underlying factors that influence the way you act:

A guide to burnout: What it is and how to overcome it

We all feel a little stressed throughout the day. But what happens when that stress becomes more than just a simple irritation? In this post, we examine just exactly what burnout is, what causes it, and a few simple exercises to help you overcome its deadly grip.

Procrastination: What causes it and how to overcome it

Why put off today what you can put off tomorrow? We’ve all faced moments of choosing to not do what we know we need to do. If you’ve ever wondered what the root cause of procrastination is, this post will help you.

What makes us happy at work?

Happy? At work? Surely, you must be joking? Not at all. While some of us dread hitting the office, others can’t wait. So what’s the difference? This post dives into the latest research behind what makes us connect with—and feel good about—the work we do.

Why we’re addicted to notifications

Why is so hard to turn off—and keep off—notifications? Why can’t we stop picking up our phones and checking social media, even when we know there’s nothing new to see? This post explains why we’re so attached to our phones and how we can finally disconnect.

7 cognitive biases that ruin your decision making process

Think you’re in control of your decisions? Think again. There are unseen forces that undermine our ability to make choices that are rational, intelligent, and ultimately in our best interests. This post uncovers 7 of the strongest biases we all have and how you can recognize them.

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Advice and strategies: Our best tips for doing more of your best work

Knowing why you do something is only half the battle. You still need an arsenal of tips, tricks, advice, and mental models to know how to actually change your behavior. These posts cover some of the best words of wisdom we’ve picked up from authors, experts, and leaders on how to do more of your best work every single day.

How to take more effective notes

Notes aren’t just for students. Whether you’re in a meeting, attending a conference, or interviewing a client, knowing how to take effective notes is a powerful skill. This post runs through exactly what you should (and shouldn’t) be doing.

A guide to writing weekly, monthly, and annual reviews

Self-awareness is such a huge part of positive behavior change. And there are few better ways to gain that awareness than writing regular reviews. In this popular post, we cover the best ways to take stock of your own life, including templates and examples.

The ultimate guide to productivity in the workplace

It’s safe to say we’re all pretty obsessed with getting more done with less. This post curates 18 of the top productivity tactics out there, from how to tell what work drives results to fighting distractions and taming your inbox.

How to block distracting websites: 7 ways RescueTime’s FocusTime can help you reshape bad habits

Ever started a work day full of motivation only to end up down a YouTube rabbit hole hours later? Yeah, me neither… Sometimes, we need a little help staying away from distractions, which is why we wrote this post covering all the ways you can block sites and set focused work time in RescueTime.

5-minute productivity hacks to beat procrastination, boost energy, and regain focus

Yes, I know. It’s hard not to cringe a little whenever you see the words “productivity” and “hacks” in the same sentence. And while these aren’t “quick fix” hacks, they’re simple actions you can take in 5 minutes or less that will put you on the path to being more productive.

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Thanks for an incredible year! Here’s to 12 more months of doing meaningful work.

Are there any topics you want us to tackle in 2018? Let us know in the comments.

Photo by Kristopher Roller

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Jory MacKay

Jory MacKay is a writer, content marketer, and editor of the RescueTime blog.