Make the most of your downtime

With half the planet on summer vacation, now’s the perfect time to add a few new productivity tools to your arsenal. For this edition of Summer Fridays, we’re dishing up the best articles on crushing (or tossing) your to-do list, learning new skills, and—perhaps most importantly—knowing when to relax.

How to Actually Get Work Done During the Summer
Stephanie Vozza, Fast Company
Six productivity experts provide a plan to beat the summer slump.

11 Unproductive Habits You Want To Quit
Darius Foroux
The reason I study productivity is because I’m an unproductive person. I truly am. If it wasn’t for my productivity system, I wouldn’t get anything done. I wouldn’t even write this article. 

Why Is the Human Brain So Efficient?
Liqun Luo, Nautilus
How massive parallelism lifts the brain’s performance above that of AI.

Four Secrets of People Who Finish Their Workweeks on Thursday
Kat Boogaard, Fast Company
Polishing off the bulk of your work before Friday all comes down to your work habits from Monday to Thursday.

A Little-Known Hack to Learn a New Skill in a Fraction of the Time
David Finkel, Inc.
It’s called ‘deliberate practice’ and it’s a proven way for your staff to master a new skill in a fraction of the time. Here are the five core elements that make it work.

The Lost Art of Concentration: Being Distracted in a Digital World
Harriet Griffey, The Guardian
We check our phones every 12 minutes, often just after waking up. Always-on behavior is harmful to long-term mental health, and we need to learn to hit the pause button.

Taming the Epic To-Do List
Allison Rimm, Harvard Business Review
To-do lists are a must-have for many but can get in the way if used improperly.

You Are Doing Something Important When You Aren’t Doing Anything
Bonnie Tsui, The New York Times
We need to rest, to read, to reconnect. It is the invisible labor that makes creative life possible.

What’s the Point of Self-Improvement Anyway?
Mark Manson
Self-improvement efforts imply they are a means to an end, but what if that end undoes all the work it’s taken to get there?

What Happens to Your Body on No Sleep
Wes Judd, Outside
Don’t get too ambitious this weekend. Just one bad night can trigger a cascade of unpleasant side effects.

Find your focus
Your brain needs a calm, relaxing place to take in content, and that’s exactly what you’ll find with Pocket Premium. Read these stories (and any others you find) in a clean, ad-free space, away from the distractions of the internet.