What we've been reading: Tech detox, productivity and sci-fi

What we've been reading
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As the self assessment deadline draws nearer, anyone who has spent their mornings, afternoons and evenings churning out tax returns would probably be thankful for some light reading to distract them from the daily grind.

Luck is at hand. For those under the busy season cosh, the AccountingWEB editorial team has picked three articles that might just encourage you over the tax return finish line.

Our content assistant Valme reports on productivity, something that is surely important at this time of year.

I’ve picked an article that tackles one of the working day’s biggest distractions: the dreaded smart phone.

And our business editor Francois does what many practitioners wish they could do at this time of year – he visits the world of fantasy and science fiction.

Now it’s your turn. Comment below with what you’ve been reading. We’d love to know!

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Valme - Productivity is dangerous

Sometimes I read or watch something that makes me rethink the whole concept of what we regard as normal in society. For instance, I recently watched BBC’s TV series Human Universe and by the end of the last episode I was so caught up in the narration that for a few hours I saw science as the only worthwhile activity in the world.

Of course, we don’t all need to be NASA or ESA scientists to work for the common good, but it is important to put our activities into perspective and think about why we do what we do.

Vincent Bevins starts its reflection on productivity with a statement that sets the provocative tone of his article: “My personal rule is that if you aren’t quite certain that a certain action will be good for you and the world, you shouldn’t do it. Do nothing, which is likely to be pleasant and unlikely to hurt anyone.”

Of course, for most people, working is necessary for survival, but a process of re-examination can be quite positive. Altruism, charity and political activism are all ideas mentioned by Bevins “If you don’t like any of those ideas, however, or can’t find anything, you can just do nothing for now. It’s fine.”

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Francois - The best science fiction, fantasy, and horror novels of 2017

Reading year end ranking lists is one of my big pleasures. Normally, I’m quite on it, scooping these lists up as they come out. But this year, for some reason, I’ve been a little slow.

It is already 2018, after all. So maybe 2017’s book are passé​. But 2017 was a great year for books, and I know that I missed out on pretty much this entire list.

I became a sci-fi nerd without realising it. Up until two years ago, I dipped into the genre here-and-there. But, by now, I’d say my literary diet is at least 65% sci-fi. Not that I’m mad about it, I’m lucky that my proclivity coincides with a somewhat golden age. It’s been fun.

So if you, like me, are just looking to maintain a healthy book pipeline, this article is for you. And if you’re just looking to get into the genre, then this is a good place to start.

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Richard – How to quit your tech: A beginner’s guide to divorcing your phone

I have a confession: I am a smart phone junkie. But I suspect I am no more addicted than anyone else.

My smartphone weakness is social media and email apps. But my relationship with my phone is not just confined to these two foibles I would often flick from app to app, website to website, in one pointless loop. Checking my phone first thing in the morning became as routine as brushing my teeth or running for the bus. It itched in my pocket.

I had somehow convinced myself that if I didn’t cradle my phone and pay it as much attention as my loved ones, I was somehow missing out on something.  

Rather than let this habit dig any deeper I wiped the pesky social media and email apps from my phone. It was time for a tech detox.

Look what you are missing out on, Facebook teased in emails. Nope. I quickly deleted the email (and that email app!). Did you see what so-in-so said on Twitter? Shrug.

Instead of scrolling the bottomless Facebook and Twitter newsfeeds on my daily commute I picked up a book. Turning over the final page of another book I am struck by how much time I squandered on my phone.

And you know what: I haven’t missed anything. If anything my concentration level has increased and my phone battery actually lasts all day.

This Guardian article tasks six people from an Instagram addict to an app-obsessed personal trainer to do just the same.

About Richard Hattersley

Richard Hattersley

Richard is AccountingWEB's Practice Editor. If you have any comments or suggestions for us get in touch.


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