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7 Apps To Help You Gain Extra Hours Every Day

7 Apps To Help You Gain Extra Hours Every Day

Are you running out of hours? Fighting endless fires at the office and at home? Fear of sleeping because you will wake up to another battlefield? In our highly push notification, multi-tasking world, none of us ever will have enough time.

Work is brought home and very soon the signs of burnt-out are everywhere. Paradoxically, the more technologically advanced we are, the more we are obliged to do. Look at what Blackberry did to a generation of users.

But it doesn’t have to be way. There are apps that actually help you to manage your time better and, collectively, shaving hours off your work weeks and providing you the margins you need in life.

Here are seven such apps:

1. Outlook Mobile

Acquired by Microsoft, Outlook Mobile (formerly known as Accompli) helps you save time by dividing your inbox into two groups – Focused and Others. Based on their proprietary algorithm, your emails are automatically sorted when they arrived. The ones that are responding to your emails or from someone in your contact list would appear under Focused.

Your newsletter, advertisements emails would be stored under Others. This way you won’t be wasting unnecessary time going through a dozen newsletter just to reach that email from your boss.

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Outlook Mobile

    2. Headspace

    How do you usually start your day? Catching up on your emails? Running through the timeline feeds you missed because you were sleeping? Your beginning will often dictate your end. Start in rush mode and you will end more or less there as well.

    Instead, give your mind a “warm-up’ by going through a relaxing meditation exercise. This is made easy with Headspace. They call themselves the gym membership for the mind. It carry courses on guided meditation, delivered via an app or online.

    Their starter sessions only take 10 minutes.

    Headspce

      3. Wunderlist

      With so many things to do, remembering all of them is itself a feat. And if you missed any out, the repercussion could be painful.

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      Wunderlist helps you to track all your different tasks into your customized to-do list. You could have multiple lists and even share them with others. Recurring reminders could also be set up.

      Having an effective to-do lists would help you plan your day better and ensure your day is productive and not simply busy.

      Wunderlist

        4. SunRise

        Want to go beyond to-do lists? Calendar down every single thing you are supposed to do. This include breaks, time to think and reflect, exercise, and, of course, work.

        Jeff Weiner (the CEO of LinkedIN) is famous for scheduling nothing into his calendar. During those periods, he would just think deep and big about the long term strategy of the business.

        Sunrise helps you to manage multiple calendar within a single screen. It integrates well with EventBrite, Facebook and many other websites to pull those events into your centralized calendar.

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        Sunrise

          5. OverDrive

          Many of the productivity hacks I learned are through books, but I seldom buy them any more as they are a huge space sucker. Still, books are the best way for us to upgrade our own operating system – our brain.

          OverDrive connects with your local library and allows you to borrow eBooks or AudioBooks. It comes with a bookmark function so you could pause anytime you want and continue whenever you feel like it.

          With your library in your pocket, there is no excuse not to gain more wisdom one commute at a time.

          Overdrive

            6. SanSan

            It’s 2016 but name cards aren’t going away anytime soon, but managing them is a pain and so time-consuming. You need to sort them out in alphabetical order, it might fade and crumble and you could never finish entering all of them into your CRM.

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            SanSan takes that pain away and using almost perfect OCR technology to automatically digitize your business cards.

            You could even share those data with your colleagues, saving everyone precious time in managing conflicting data and data entry efforts.

            SanSan

              7. Voicebase

              I once knew someone who could type 90wpm. She is so fast that it became her only job at the office despite her more well-rounded job title. Not all of us can or want to become an expert typist. But every report and email still requires input. It doesn’t have to be via the keyboard though.

              Voicebase is an expert in speech recognition and speech analytics. Their phone app allows you to record and upload your speech to their server, to be transcribed automatically into text. It could even pick out keywords to make your search so much more intuitive.

              Voicebase

                Featured photo credit: Sozialhelden e.V. via flickr.com

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                Adrian Tan

                Ops Director at Ingeus Singapore

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                Last Updated on February 18, 2019

                How to Motivate Employees and Boost Team Productivity

                How to Motivate Employees and Boost Team Productivity

                These days, in a world with cognitive, AI, and extraordinary advances, we have failed at the most basic stimulus: motivation. Why do I say so? Just take a look at these statistics:

                58 percent of managers said they didn’t receive any management training as per a CareerBuilder.com survey. Only 12% of employees leave their jobs because of more money. Research indicates that around 80% of employees leave their jobs due to “lack of appreciation”. Due to fear of failing, more than half of American workers don’t take their paid vacations. 53% of Americans are unhappy at work (not engaged). And 1 in 3 are working in a field they don’t like.[1]

                Archaic people management and HR structures are the root cause.

                “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

                So how to motivate employees and boost team productivity?

                Here are 3 key things that you can do to motivate your employees and boost team productivity:

                1. Run Your Team/Group/Company like a Lean Startup

                The Lean Startup phenomena by Eric Ries has been socialized across millions all over the globe. In a nutshell, it is a methodology for developing businesses and products, which aims to shorten product development cycles and rapidly discover if a proposed business model is viable; this is achieved by adopting a combination of business-hypothesis-driven experimentation, iterative product releases, and validated learning.[2]

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                Encourage Your Employees

                When you empower your employees (or family members) to do what they deem to be best for a particular roadblock, idea, or improvement, you create magic. You create genuine trust. You enable innovation. The result is happy, inspired employees who feel they have a say in the grand cosmic stage at work.

                Note that increasing the competency level of employees and coaching and mentoring them along the way is key. You yourself, need to do the same. Nourish your brain – and get a mentor that will keep you at the edge of your game.

                Offer Rewards

                Motivation is also intrinsic. The startups I have worked at offered instant rewards — not just fat checks or equity increments, but Oscar-style nominations.

                The non-monetary rewards were actually more coveted, and grandiose: lunch with the CEO, tickets to an Obama fund-raiser, horse-back riding with a world-class equestrian.

                Compare this to a dodgy, corporate, white-cubicle dinosaur that had a “yearly performance review” where both parties dread the conversation. In a world of instant WhatsApp messages, having a conversation about performance, likes and dislikes cannot just happen annually in 60 minutes. Employees need to be rooted in the belief that their manager genuinely cares about them.

                Give Autonomy

                Another key attribute is autonomy. Most employees start brushing their resumes and cruising LinkedIn when their hands are tied in their current positions: approval forms, long meetings, escalations, and more meetings. In the world of agile and scrum masters, deliberating for the sake of deliberating is poison. You will choke the very employees that giddily accepted the job initially to “change the world”.

                Within a reasonable realm of assessment and deep-dives, trust your employees to do the heavy lifting. Give them access to the knowledge, people and resources that help them directly make the choices that will shape the future of your team, and your company.

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                Eliminate yourself as the bottleneck – and interject yourself as a benevolent, servant leader that is the symbol of high-performing organizations.

                2. Apply the 90/90/1 Rule

                I recently saw a video by Deepak Sharma (a leadership adviser) about productivity and this principle stuck with me. Here’s what it’s about:

                Devote the First 90 Minutes of Your Day to Important Project

                For the next 90 days, devote the first 90 minutes of your day to your most important project—nothing else. Do this for yourself and your employees.

                We usually get sucked into the most wasteful, operational activities in the morning which robs our focus, and steers us into an unwanted rabbit hole. So mute your notifications, avoid the temptation to check your exploding inbox, and scroll your Instagram feed later. Instead, focus on that ONE thing that will provide real value to you, your team, or your business/company/home.

                Apply this rule to yourself – and your team. Your team will thank you. Note: If you’re feeling really stretched for time, you can always hack the rule by testing out a “45/45/1” version.

                A To Do Scheduling System

                Another version of this is to use the Kanban concept, developed by Taiichi Ohno, an industrial engineer at Toyota. Kanban is a scheduling system employing boards and cards.

                The most basic version is a canvas with “To-do”, “Doing”, and “Done” boards (or columns). Each activity or task is a “card” that moves from one column to the other. I use Trello (a Kanban-inspired app) that is a key system for my personal and professional life. It allows me to understand my workload, their priority, and due dates.

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                I use importance and effort metrics (scores) for each task to understand what is truly necessary in my life to work on. It negates the FIFO (first-in, first out) paradox that has plagued millions of people. Instead, it allows me to take stock of what is on my plate, and then bite on what truly will move the needle for me, my team, my life, and my company.

                With a limited appetite (at least for some), would you eat the veggies, fries, mashed potatoes and leave the sizzling steak? No, you wouldn’t (unless you are a vegan and ended up in the wrong restaurant).

                Approach your work with a weighted vengeance – and encourage your team to do the same.

                3. Align Passion and Skills to Purpose

                The heart of human excellence often begins to beat when you discover a pursuit that absorbs you, frees you, challenges you, and gives you a sense of meaning, joy and passion.

                “The most fortunate people on earth are those who have found a calling that’s bigger than they are—that moves them and fills their lives with constant passion, aliveness, and growth.” — Richard Leider

                An ace team-member once told me that while she enjoys working for the company we both used to work at, she really hated anything to do with technology. She was more of a “people” person, and did not want to sit behind a desk sifting through lines of code.

                What struck me was that she was in that role for more than a decade and had just spoken up. The good thing is she spoke up. She expressed her desire and interests. And it allowed her to get into a role of her liking within 30 days.

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                Ask If They like What They’re Doing

                If you, or a team member is frustrated, demotivated, or not performing at their best – one of the questions you should ask is whether they like what they are doing. Then genuinely try to help them get to the role they should be in (whether in the same team/company or not).

                There’s a reason why 53% of Americans (and perhaps more or same across the globe) are unhappy at work. A butcher cannot be an ace salad maker. Pursue your passion – and help pave the way for your team. Unlock your potential and theirs. You will command and lead a supercharged team.

                “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

                The Bottom Line

                Sometimes, passion has to be ignited. It is dormant, clouded by busy-ness, buried by wrong career choices, and plagued by non-supportive eco-systems. Some will climb out of it, but we as society — and in the case of business teams — incumbent upon the manager/CEO/leader to foster, grow, and nurture the employee.

                Teach her the ropes. Show her the path. Advise him as you would yourself. Let them lead, and make mistakes. Do not fear them, rather make them the leader you would want to become.

                For your not-so-great team members, understand that it is not personal, it is just not a good fit. Help them move on to the pastures they would be fit to graze on. Hence, hire slow (and fire fast).

                Your team is a reflection of you. Boosting their confidence and helping them achieve the impossible is motivation. Focus on that, and you will have a productive team that you and your company will be proud of.

                More Resources About Team Management

                Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

                Reference

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