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How to actually get stuff done 🤓

Think differently about productivity

Welcome to Borderless. Every week, we handpick the best links on digital nomads, remote work and global mobility to help you navigate the quirks of living and working on the internet.

We all need to get stuff done. Whether it's at work, at home, or in our personal lives, productivity is essential for achieving our goals.

Yet these days, when we think about productivity, it’s often in a narrow sense. We’re only really interested in what we need to do to achieve everything on our own to-do lists. But what about the bigger picture? Productivity isn’t just about getting it done, it’s also a macro-economic indicator. It's one of the ways we measure how efficient we are at using our time and resources. 

It’s important to optimize at the individual level, but we also need to ask big questions like: How does productivity affect the world at large? How do we ensure that the benefits of growth are shared equitably? What are we even trying to optimize for?

This week, we bring you a special edition of Borderless that’s all about productivity. We have stories about the optimal level of optimization, how remote work can help create more global equity, and the people who plan their whole lives on Notion. The links below will help you get more done – in more ways than one.

Wherever you are in the world right now, have a joyful and productive week.

– Anna at SafetyWing

What if the real problem with your company’s productivity is your boss? Leaders obsess over their employee’s productivity, without actually knowing why. “Not only does nobody know how to measure productivity, we’re also not even sure it’s the most important way to predict success.”

Rani Molla for Vox

Note-taking apps like Roam, Obsidian and Mem promise to make us smarter. But do they actually work? Not really. “It is probably a mistake, in the end, to ask software to improve our thinking. Even if you can rescue your attention from the acid bath of the internet — this will not be enough.”

Casey Newton for The Platformer

Aristotle might not seem the obvious choice in self-help gurus. But in a new translation of one of his most important texts, Susan Sauvé Meyer shows how the ancient philosopher was all about living well. Spoiler alert: Aristotle's advice on happiness may not be what you want to hear.

Nikhil Krishnan for The New Yorker

When businesses can freely hire from anywhere, it benefits everyone: workers, businesses, and the global economy. Remote work isn’t just more productive for individuals, it could also help fix the global economy.

Elle Griffin for The Elysian

Shockingly, there’s such a thing as too much efficiency. In machine learning, there’s a phenomenon called “overfitting”. It occurs when a model learns the training data too well and can't generalize to new data. We overfit in the real world too, like when we optimize for test scores instead of learning.The good news is that once we learn how to spot overfitting, we can optimize against it. 

Dan Shipper for Every

Of all the planning apps, Notion is the one that's risen to cult following status. Its devoted fans love its flexibility and the sense of ownership it gives them. They proudly share their templates – for everything from weekly schedules to habit tracking – on social media, showing off their creations. “You don’t have to change your habits to how rigid software is. The software will change how your mind works.” 

Rhiannon Williams for MIT Technology Review

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