From Productivity Habits To Oprah’s Work Secrets: October’s Top Leadership Stories

This month’s top leadership stories may lead you to emulate Oprah, change up your sleep habits, and finally clean your desk.

This month, we learned how Oprah stays focused, what productivity experts do to keep their desks clean, and how getting the right amount of sleep really does impact your performance at work.


Here are the stories you loved in Leadership for the month of October.

1. 15 Habits That Will Totally Transform Your Productivity

Some tried-and-true methods for staying productive can’t be beat, like getting enough sleep. But some others might take you a little more out of your comfort zone. For instance, have you considered playing musical chairs or regularly turning your smartphone all the way off?

2. How Much Does Lack Of Sleep Really Affect Your Work?

Scientists believe the ideal amount of sleep you need to operate at your best is 7.7 hours. Too much or too little, the research says, and you’ll spend the next day in a fog. So we put that theory to a (thoroughly unscientific) test this month, using three variously well-rested Fast Company staffers—then filmed the results.


3. Eight Habits Of People Who Always Have Great Ideas

Great ideas aren’t the sole preserve of creative geniuses. According to the latest research, creativity combines a battery of other skills and habits, none of which depend on being unusually intelligent. It’s just a matter of knowing how to harness them.

4. The Key To Oprah Winfrey’s Success: Radical Focus

“That whole thing about multitasking? That’s a joke for me,” Oprah tells Fast Company. “When I try to do that, I don’t do anything well.” This month we learned how Winfrey runs a vast and growing media empire without losing her focus or her cool.

5. Secrets From 11 Of The Most Productive People, From Oprah to Aziz Ansari

No matter who you are, time is likely one of your scarcest resources. In October we learned how execs at Google and Airbnb, a top designer, and an A-list comedian make the most of their busy days.


6. A Former Google Recruiter Reveals The Biggest Resume Mistakes

Scott Bacon reviewed some 3 million resumes during his stint as a Google recruiter. In that time, he learned a thing or two about what works and what doesn’t. Two of Bacon’s pointers: Highlight six to 10 skills and proficiencies, and scrap that “objective” statement at the top.

7. 15 Apps That Make Freelancer Life Easier

One of the biggest challenges freelancers face is freedom itself. How do you keep all your work in order when you don’t have a boss and colleagues around to keep you accountable? From scheduling to personal finance, these apps can help you get organized and stay that way.

8. The Six Lists You Need To Make Every Day Productive

A well-thought-out list is a thing of beauty. But according to one expert list maker, most people “aren’t sure how to create lists that actually help . . . The key is making the right lists and being strategic in how they’re used.”


9. Who Is More Productive: Multitaskers Or Monotaskers?

Experts tend to agree that multitasking isn’t the most productive way to get things done, yet many of us do it anyway–so how bad can it really be? We asked four Fast Company staff members to take part in an unscientific experiment in order to find out.

10. Six Productivity Experts Show Us What’s On Their Desks (And What Should Be On Yours)

Keeping a clean workspace is a never-ending battle for many, yet some of the leading productivity experts insist it’s essential. So this month we visited six of them at their own desks to find out which tools they keep at arm’s reach, which ones they tuck away, and how come.