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Essential Productivity Resources: Best Books, Podcasts & Blogs for This Summer

Looking to become more productive this summer? Check out our list of essential productivity resources including articles, books and podcasts.

By Productivity Lab and Sarah Altemus

A person reading on the beach.

‘Tis the season for summer vacations and staycations and an opportunity to expand your reading (and listening) lists to include expert commentary on the world of work. Whether you have 5 minutes or 5 hours, hopefully, you find something here that challenges the way you think about individual, team and organizational workplace dynamics. 

Check out our packing list with brief descriptions and read times of a few of our favorite productivity resources:

Airplane Articles

  • 9 Trends That Will Shape Work in 2023 and Beyond, Harvard Business Review (13 minutes)
    • “Last year was another tumultuous year in the workplace, with continued high employee turnover rates, evolving return-to-office policies, inflation, and more. In 2023, amid a looming economic downturn, organizations continue to face significant challenges — and how they respond could determine whether they are an employer of choice.”
  • Data Literacy for Leaders MIT Sloan (8 minutes)
    • “Data scientists might be in demand, but data literacy starts with leaders. Leaders need to trust and understand data well enough to make good decisions, and they must also drive literacy efforts throughout the organization and create a culture of trust in data.”
  • People Don’t Know What to Talk About at Work (5 minutes)
    • “Google search data reveals many of us are still struggling with post-pandemic social awkwardness. This massive list of icebreakers can help!”

Beach Books

  • The Experience Mindset: Changing the Way You Think About Growth, Tiffani Bova (8 hours)
    • “In the war for customer acquisition, businesses invest millions of dollars to improve customer experience. They deliver packages faster, churn out new products, and endlessly revamp their UI, often putting greater strain on employees for diminishing returns. The most successful companies adopt an Experience Mindset that strengthens both employee experience (EX) and customer experience (CX) at the same time.”
  • People Skills for Analytical Thinkers: Boost Your Communication and Advance Your Career - and Life, Gilbert Eijkelenboom (5 hours)
    • “Through his keen interest in data and psychology, Gilbert Eijkelenboom is a key player in helping data professionals acquire and use communication skills. While the author recognizes that analytical skills are incredibly valuable, Eijkelenboom talks about the importance of presentation skills in data. The book can help HR professionals leverage data through good people skills and communication skills.”

Poolside Podcasts

  • The Efficiency Trap, Deep Questions with Cal Newport (1 hour)
    • “Productivity YouTube is filled with breathless videos about optimizing systems and squeezing every ounce of speed out of your common habits. But does all of this efficiency really end up improving the quality of the most important things you produce? In this episode Cal takes a deeper look at the different ways that productivity systems and tools can help your professional life, separating the boring but effective from the exciting but over-hyped.”
  • The Hybrid Workplace Evolution, Allwork.Space (35 minutes)
    • “Peter Miscovich is the Global Head of Future of Work at JLL and has been in the business of orchestrating hybrid workplace pilots since 1995. After the pandemic accelerated the need for hybrid work, Peter's expertise has been invaluable in helping organizations redesign workspaces to ensure employee engagement. Discover how the hybrid workplace evolution is transforming the way we work and the opportunities it brings!”

We hope you enjoy these recommendations to supplement your road trips, flights and layovers - or, as a brain break during your workday. At ActivTrak, we’re in the business of enabling organizations to create more supportive, fulfilling and engaging environments, all while achieving business success. Because when the workplace works, so do people.

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