I have a four-year-old son who doesn’t understand the concept of commercial television. Honestly, I don’t know if he understands the concept of television with programming. Chances are he’ll never experience it and will never need to know what it is.

Why can’t I watch my show now?

The only thing my son understands is that there are various screens in our house (TV, iPad, computer, mobile phone) and he wants to watch videos on them. The idea that something isn’t available right now and you have to wait until a certain time on a certain day to watch it has never been explained to him. I don’t think he’s ever watched live programming. For sports, I usually start recording and watching on slight time delay. When I fast forward he asks me what I’m doing. I explain I’m zipping through commercials, but he’s never seen them so he doesn’t know why I’m zipping through anything.

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The Internet is awash with productivity tips or “life hacks.” Most of the advice I’ve seen focuses on making significant changes in your daily patterns. Search and you’ll see endless “tips” about getting enough rest, setting up a routine, meditating, reserving 20 percent of your day for creative thinking, and my personal favorite – don’t answer you phone or check your email before 1pm.

All of that advice sounds fantastic if I had endless hours and willpower. Not check my email until 1pm? Every morning I pee and then check my email. My wife would like it if I would get out of bed first.

Improving productivity can be about improving yourself as a person or strengthening your willpower. Or it can be about deploying time-shaving tactics that don’t require you to change as a person. Why not focus on those little actions that eat up the seconds, minutes, or hours of your time?

Most of us unfortunately suffer from the “death by 1,000 paper cuts” phenomenon. We do multiple actions in any one day, and if you isolate any one of them, the time wasted is no big deal, but in aggregate they’re a main drain on productivity.

Here’s some very doable advice that I heed myself. I promise none of the tips require you to set aside one hour every day to meditate.

1: Turn off alerts

This is the simplest move you can take right now that will dramatically improve your productivity. Mobile apps are desperate for constant use. In an effort to remind you they’re still installed on your phone, most apps turn on alerts by default the moment they’re installed. App manufacturers don’t give a rat’s ass about your productivity. They just want constant use, which makes them relevant and increases their value to potential buyers. Unless the alert is a real-time personal notification, such as a text or instant message, turn it off.

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On TWiT’s Tech News 2Night: Is T-Mobile’s Music Freedom a Blow to Net Neutrality?

June 20, 2014
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T-Mobile and all their gimmicks to try to lure new customers. Is it just desperation by the number four mobile carrier?

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How to Make Bad Content Work for You

June 19, 2014
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You don’t become a brilliant writer, video producer, photographer, or podcaster only by pooping out daisies. On the path to creating great content, you start by producing a lot of really bad content.

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Truly Horrible Social Media Campaign Techniques

June 12, 2014
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Extremely high paid social media agencies and digital teams are paid lots of money to come up with these self-centered and truly offensive ideas.

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How Do We Train the Next Generation of Multimedia Journalists?

May 29, 2014
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Is it possible to teach a technology that will be outdated by next year? Legendary broadcaster Richard Hart, co-founder of the multimedia department at Academy of Art University, discusses how they’re wrestling with the challenge.

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Time-Saving Tools & Techniques for REALTORS®

April 30, 2014
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Ways for REALTORS® to efficiently increase Their recognition without decreasing service

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Tech News 2Night: In the Supreme Court Aereo Fights for Its Life

April 22, 2014
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My appearance on TWiT’s Tech News 2Night talking about broadcast TV-over-Internet service Aereo as it fights for survival in front of the supreme court.

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Trademark Do’s and Don’ts

April 16, 2014
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You bought your domain name. Maybe you also went so far as to register your trademark. Think you’ve got your legal branding issues all sewn up? Probably not.

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Law Firms Can and Must Conquer Their Generational Differences

April 8, 2014
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The oldest people in your law office are great assets, but don’t always turn to them as being the only asset you’ll need when marketing your law firm.

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