How to Be Productive at Work – Use Productivity Owl

owlIf you are anything like me, you have a big problem with self-control. You have this habit of reading anything and everything that catches your eyeballs. If you read anything interesting, you waste a lot of time thinking about it, smiling to yourself, and sharing it on social networking sites. You love social networking sites and hardly notice the hours fly past your ears as you read status after status, open link after link, like comment after comment, and respond to anything that makes you smile or think. At the end of the day, it strikes you that you haven’t done much work.

If you are anything like me, you need the Productivity Owl. Perhaps you don’t have a boss who breathes fire down your neck and explodes whenever you request a deadline extension. The stern Productivity Owl is better than a fire-breathing boss. He sees to it that you do your work. In fact, he was watching me all day today, forcing me to keep my paws off Facebook. As a result, I actually managed to write a few articles today.

So let me get to the point and introduce you to the Productivity Owl.

The Productivity Owl is a Chrome extension that literally forces you to be productive at work.



Once you download the Productivity Owl, he will follow you around. If you visit any page, you will see him at the bottom right hand of the page, perched on a branch and watching you. He won’t allow you to stay on a page for more than a predetermined number of seconds. Once your time is up, the owl will fly off the branch and close the page. This teaches you to get the information you need REALLY FAST and then just get back to work.

So how do you use the Productivity Owl?

Schedule Free Time – You can easily schedule free time so that you can read Facebook statuses and browse the web to your heart’s content when you are really free and not during work hours.

Block Websites – Simply block websites where you waste your time. The owl won’t allow you to visit the site.

For example, I blocked Facebook and this is what I get if I visit Facebook during working hours.


And the owl doesn’t make any exceptions either. If you hit on the Make an Exception option, this is what you will get.


Save for Later – As I previously said, the owl will allow you to view a website only for the predetermined number of seconds. At the end of that time, the owl will simply fly off his branch and close the tab. Now this may annoy you intensely, especially if you haven’t got the information you need. In this case, you can simply save the page and return to it later. You will find the Save the Page option at the bottom of the page, near the owl.

Earn Respect – It is very difficult to earn the owl’s respect. The owl is “skeptical of your commitment to being productive.” So you must do the following:

  • Set your plans and stick to them.
  • Avoid changing your free time schedule again and again. And don’t give yourself too much free time.
  • Don’t uninstall or disable Productivity Owl.

Believe me you will love that owl even if you feel that the owl doesn’t love you back!!


Busting 5 Common Reading Myths

child-and-bookWe nurse our own ideas, theories, concepts, beliefs, and opinions about reading, even those of us who do not really care for books. Many of these thought patterns about reading are quite widespread, but not necessarily true. In fact, some of them are so absurd that they can only be labeled “myths.”

Busting five such myths is going to be my good deed for today.

So here goes …

Myth #1: Reading Stories is a Waste of Time.

The next time you see someone curled up in bed with a book of stories, don’t curl your lips. The reader of stories is NOT wasting her time.

If you do not believe me, check out the following benefits of reading stories.

  • Stories serve as teaching tools, an easy and entertaining way to put across important information, ideas, and concepts.
  • Reading stories improves the reader’s vocabulary, reading skills, writing skills, and communication skills.
  • Reading stories makes you empathetic and improves your Intelligence Quotient (IQ) as well as Emotional Quotient (EQ)
  • Stories satisfy our need for entertainment.

Myth #2: People who Read are Lazy.

Have you ever heard the words, “Hey lazybones, chuck that book aside and get some real work done”?

Well, reading is not a physical activity, but it is definitely a mental activity. When you read a book, your brain is hard at work processing all that information, comprehending it, and storing away bits and pieces for future reference.

Lazy people just cannot read.

Myth #3: Reading Comes Naturally.

If reading comes naturally to everybody, why do so many adults have reading difficulties? How is it that students are unable to read even after passing their Class X?

Reading doesn’t come naturally. It has to be learned.

If you tell yourself that your child will naturally start reading with time without you having to do anything about it, you are fooling yourself.

And if you are an adult with pathetic reading skills, it is not too late to improve your reading skills.

Myth #4: You Must Read Every Word.

Those who believe this myth declare, “If you have not read a book word by word, you haven’t really read it.”

I believed this myth and spent several years of my life in guilt. So far, I have never read a single book word by word. I have happily skipped words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs, and sometimes entire chapters. I am sure glad to know that it is perfectly OK to do that.

Writers will put mountains of words on your plate. Reading and digesting them all is humanly impossible.

Myth #5: Speed Reading Destroys Comprehension.

Reading speed has absolutely nothing to do with comprehension. You do not have to read slowly to comprehend the text. You only have to read with focus.

Comprehension is all about extracting the key information from a book, the most important ideas and concepts, and retaining it in your memory.

You just do not have to feel guilty about speed reading the mountain of books you would like to read. I have done it and still do it. What’s more, I will continue doing it.