India overtakes US as top Nigeria oil buyer; Death of the suburban shopping mall; Busyness need not equal productivity

1 India overtakes US as top Nigeria oil buyer (BBC) India has taken over from the US as the largest importer of Nigerian oil, the West African state’s national oil company has said. The US has “drastically reduced” its demand for Nigeria’s crude oil in recent months, the Nigerian National Oil Corporation said. US is currently buying about 250,000 barrels a day.

India now buys considerably more – about 30% of the country’s 2.5 million barrels of production. US demand for imported oil has fallen sharply because of increasing domestic shale gas and oil production – so much so that the International Energy Agency and oil giant BP both forecast that the country will be largely energy independent by 2035.

2 Death of the suburban shopping mall (David Uberti in The Guardian) Dying shopping malls are speckled across the US, often in middle-class suburbs wrestling with socioeconomic shifts. Some have already succumbed. Estimates on the share that might close or be repurposed in coming decades range from 15 to 50%.

Americans are returning downtown; online shopping is taking a 6% bite out of brick-and-mortar sales; and to many iPhone-clutching, city-dwelling and frequently jobless young people, the culture that spawned satire like Mallrats seems increasingly dated, even cartoonish. Shopping culture follows housing culture. Sprawling malls were therefore a natural product of the postwar era, as Americans with cars and fat wallets sprawled to the suburbs.

Currently, the US contains around 1,500 of the expansive “malls” of suburban consumer lore. For mid-century Americans, these gleaming marketplaces provided an almost utopian alternative to the urban commercial district, an artificial downtown with less crime and fewer vermin. Various estimates project dozens to hundreds of struggling US shopping centres will close in the next 20 years.

3 Busyness need not equal productivity (Kim Thompson in San Francisco Chronicle) Productivity is what sets your career in motion. However, people often confuse being busy with being productive. In the marketplace, no matter how busy you are, the truth is that you will be judged on your effectiveness.

The two-fold problem with being busy is that it can be a state of mind as well as having an increased workload. Knowing the difference between being busy and being productive can transform your career growth. What are the habits of highly productive people?

They know how to prioritize their day. Start out your day each morning with a focus on you by eating a healthy breakfast, exercise or meditate on what you want to accomplish today. They know when to multitask. Multitasking can be helpful if you use it wisely; however, in the race toward being efficient, it can be overused. Giving yourself a few minutes to clear your head before entering a meeting and eliminating distractions helps you stay focused.


They know where they are spending their time. Productive people are aware of time and know when they are most effective. They take a lunch break. When you stay busy long enough without a mental break, there is a tendency to lose focus and lack the energy needed to be efficient. They ask good questions to help clarify goals. Knowing the exact time frame, expectations and objections helps you plan more efficiently, minimizing guess work.

They constantly practice being productive. Being productive requires good habits, which take time and practice. They focus on quality versus quantity. In “More Time for You,” authors Rosemary Tator and Alesia Latson view the source of productivity as a quality issue. “Productivity isn’t the quantity of things that you complete; it’s completing the things that deliver the most quality for you, such as setting aside time for family with no distractions.”


About joesnewspicks

This blog captures interesting news items from around the world for those strained by information overload and yet need to stay updated on global events of significance. The news items displayed are not in order of merit. (The blog takes a weekly off — normally on Sundays — and does not appear when I am on vacation or busy.) I am a journalist for nearly three decades.
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