From The Tips Box: Productivity Partitions, Frozen Bread, Office Naps

Readers offer their best tips for eliminating distractions just by restarting your computer, getting frozen bread at the grocery store ahead of time, and taking naps in areas with bright lights.

About the Tips Box: Every day we receive boatloads of great reader tips in our inbox, but for various reasons — maybe they're a bit too niche, maybe we couldn't find a good way to present it, or maybe we just couldn't fit it in — the tip didn't make the front page. From the Tips Box is where we round up some of our favourites for your buffet-style consumption. Got a tip of your own to share? Email it to tips at

Keep Distractions at a Minimum with a Work Partition

Photo by foskarulla.

Zviki tells us how he keeps his productivity high when he's prone to distraction:

Last week, I had to do some testing and development on Windows. I usually work on Mac OS X with a virtualized Windows. This time, I decided to boot into Windows (using Bootcamp) for the sake of performance.

The task took about 2 days. During this time I discovered that my productivity greatly increased. Why? Very simple: I have a very minimal windows setup. I don't have any decent browser installed other than the very basic Internet Explorer (not even 8). Needless to say, it has the default bookmarks. I don't have an email client. I don't have a twitter client. No server monitoring tools. No Growl notifications. Not even my todo list (I use OmniFocus which is Mac & iPhone based).

I was still connected, since I do have my iPhone with all of the above, but it's a more constrained experience. It takes too long to write emails or forum posts. I can still check my emails or read some twits, but the main work area is clear of distractions.

So, there you have it: if you want to "disconnect" and work distraction free, you can start by preparing a second boot for your machine which has minimal set of tools installed and no connectivity. Switching boots (shutting down and restarting) usually takes time, so you probably won't do that just for casual procrastination.

Ask for Frozen Bread to Prepare Meals Ahead of Time

Photo by Will Luo.

Thomas shares a grocery shopping tip that keeps you ahead of the game:

Although they're generally not stocked in the freezers, most grocery store bakeries are happy to sell you 'par-baked' loaves of most of the breads they stock. There usually isn't a discount over their baked goods, but at $US1.99 it's not terribly expensive to keep your freezer stocked with baguettes.

I haven't seen too many others do this, and I always get odd looks from other patrons when I ask the bakery staff if they have a few rolls, baguettes, or loaves in the freezer. It's an easy way to buy rolls for Thursday's dinner when you're making a big Sunday shopping trip and still end up with wonderfully fresh (and hot!) bread.

Use Sunglasses to Take Naps in Bright Light

mitondsolves lets us know of a good way to take successful naps outside the home:

Need a nap but it is too bright in the office? Get an old pair of sunglasses and put black tape behind the lenses. Works well on an aeroplane instead of those odd looking eyeshades.

Hang Hair Dryers on Pants Hangers for Holiday Clothes Drying

Tony shows us a neat way to dry off clothes quickly while on holidays:

My wife and I were visiting Naples Florida to photograph our friends wedding. After enjoying their beautiful wedding, we stayed for another day to relax at the beach. The next morning, as we started packing, we noticed our swimwear was still damp. Rather then stuff the wet clothes into a plastic bag, I rigged up this dryer system using a clothes hanger and hair dryer. I let it sit while we packed, turning the clothes every several minutes. When we were done packing, the clothes were dry!


Be the first to comment on this story!

Trending Stories Right Now