Weekly Productivity Links, the “why didn’t I think of that!?” edition

We’ve all had those moments where we feel like we’ve tried it all in our quests to be more productive, motivated, happier, etc… Here are some ideas, tricks, and perspectives that you might not have thought of. They range from the head-smackingly simple to the head-smackingly (literally) ridiculous.

The Surfer’s Guide to Taking Risks

When facing new challenges, the thought of stepping outside of your comfort zone can be so overwhelming that the rewards just don’t seem worth it. Not to get too zen on you or anything, but perhaps it would help to think about it like surfing a wave? This article from 99u breaks down the whole process, from dipping your toe in the water, riding through the uncertainty and ultimately ending up “in the zone”. Life’s a wave. Ride it, Bro!

Gmail Timer – Schedule when to receive new mail

I have yet to set this up and test it out, but I love the idea of this Google Apps script. It re-routes any new items to your Gmail inbox to temporary holding area, then moves them back at times you specify. It’s basically like pressing a pause button on incoming email, allowing you step outside the fire hose of your inbox. It’s one of those simple solutions that once you hear about it, you wonder why it wasn’t built into Gmail to begin with.

The Best Productivity Tricks Used By Evil Dictators

As part of Lifehacker’s “evil week” series (where they take a tongue-in-cheek look at the ‘dark side of productivity’), here are some of the productivity tricks used by evil dictators throughout history. Not that we advocate “purging your threats to power” or anything, but there are some good things in this list to consider. (Also, some things to watch out for from others!)

99 Life hacks to make your life easier

I don’t even know where to start on this one, just look at it. It’s awesome. So many simple hacks for every day objects that you’ll kick yourself for not thinking of sooner. Take a look, and indulge your inner MacGyver.

How I Used a Webcam to Break My Bad Habits and Make Better Decisions

It’s often said that changing habits is so hard because of the disconnect between the present self and the future self. Try time-traveling to break the cycle. Okay, so you can’t do that. But, you can record yourself each day giving a short speech to your future self about what you’d like change about yourself.

Why I hired a girl on craigslist to slap me in the face and how it quadrupled my productivity

And finally, one of the most extreme productivity experiments I’ve ever seen. Maneesh Sethi was bothered by how unproductive he was being, so he put out a simple ad on Craigslist… for someone to hang out with him and slap him in the face whenever he was slacking off on work. It ended up having a huge impact, quadrupling his productivity.

Have any unconventional life hacks that have worked for you? We’d love to hear about them.

Have a great week!