Productivity from Paris

Productivity Tips from Paris’s Startup Paradise, Station F


Take an abandoned 1920s railway depot south of the Seine and fill it with offbeat artwork, 24-hour gourmet dining, and a thousand or so startups, and you’ll get something like Paris’s megalith co-working space, Station F. At 34,000 square meters (it’s as long as the Eiffel Tower laid flat), Station F is officially the biggest startup campus in the world – ie. the ideal place to score some entrepreneur-approved productivity tips. Today, we present an abridged guide to crushing your to-do list, courtesy of Station F-ers Sami Ben Hassine and Amine Laadhari, the founders of the Fabulous app.


1 – Break your tasklist into bite-sized chunks.

Grab a notebook and start a to-do list. Every day, write down all of the things you need to accomplish, big or small. Then isolate the 1-2 most important tasks on your list and dive in. Once you’ve finished those, repeat.


2 – Strictly define your distraction-free periods.

Build a meaningful and focused deep work habit by using a timer (think wind-up egg rather than iPhone) to create structured, distraction-free periods of work. Keep a small journal handy and note down any distractions that pop up during your initial deep work sessions so you can take steps to prevent them in the future. (Airplane mode, people.)


3 – Forget willpower: hack your environment. 

When it comes to better focus, Sami and Amine say willpower is only half the solution—and, according to their research, the less important half. They recommend you concentrate on tweaking your environment so that focusing feels natural and easy. That could mean changing where you sit, keeping your to-do list clearly visible, or locking away anything that buzzes in a nearby drawer. 

4 – Treat your productivity like a startup.

Key to the startup mindset is constant and honest re-evalution. Is what you’re doing working? If so, carry on. If not, kill that approach and move on to a new one. You can ask the same question of your personal working habits. For example, does responding to emails first thing wipe out your motivation for the rest of the day? Schedule your first inbox check-in for 11am instead of 9. Too groggy for creative work in the evening? Switch out your morning run for a writing session and go for your jog before dinner. This kind of continuous trial and error is by far the most efficient way to optimize your to-do.

No secret I love Paris!  Hard for me to think of concentrating on anything work-related while there…… 

xoxo, Rosanna
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