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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 September 28, 2020

                How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Personal Goals

                How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Personal Goals

                There’s no denying that goals are necessary. After all, they give life meaning and purpose. However, goals don’t simply achieve themselves—you need to write an action plan to help you reach your goals.

                With an action plan, you’ll have a clear idea of how to get where you want to go, what it will take to get there, and how you’ll find the motivation to keep driving forward. Without creating a plan, things have a way of not working out as you waver and get distracted.

                With that in mind, here’s how you can set goals and action plans that will help you achieve any personal goal you’ve set.

                1. Determine Your “Why”

                Here’s a quick experiment for you to try right now: Reflect on the goals you’ve set before. Now, think about the goals you reached and those you didn’t. Hopefully, you’ll notice a common theme here.

                The goals you were successful in achieving had a purpose. Those goals you failed to accomplish did not. In other words, you knew why you put these goals in place, which motivated you to follow through.

                Simon Sinek, author of Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Finding Purpose for You and Your Team, explains:

                “Once you understand your WHY, you’ll be able to clearly articulate what makes you feel fulfilled and to better understand what drives your behavior when you’re at your natural best. When you can do that, you’ll have a point of reference for everything you do going forward.”

                That, in turn, enables better decision-making and clearer choices.

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                I’ll share with you a recent example of this in my life. Earlier this year, I decided to make my health a bigger priority, specifically losing weight. I set this goal because it gave me more energy at work, improved my sleep, and helped me be a better father—I really didn’t care for all that wheezing every time I played with my kids.

                Those factors all gave me a long-term purpose, not a superficial short-term goal like wanting to look good for an event.

                Before you start creating an action plan, think about why you’re setting a new goal. Doing so will guide you forward on this journey and give you a North Star to point to when things get hard (and they inevitably will).

                2. Write Down Your Goal

                If you really want to know how to create an action plan for goals, it’s time to get your goals out of your head and onto a piece of paper. While you can also do this electronically through an app, research has found that you’re 42% more likely to achieve your goal if it’s written down[1].

                This is especially true for business owners. If they don’t schedule their time, it’ll be scheduled for them.[2]

                When you physically write down a goal, you’re accessing the left side of the brain, which is the literal, logical side. As a result, this communicates to your brain that this is something you seriously want to do.

                3. Set a SMART Goal

                A SMART goal pulls on a popular system in business management[3]. That’s because it ensures the goal you’ve set is both realistic and achievable. It can also be used as a reference to guide you through your action plan.

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                Use SMART goals to create a goal action plan.

                   

                  By establishing a SMART goal, you can begin to brainstorm the steps, tasks, and tools you’ll need to make your actions effective.

                  • Specific: You need to have specific ideas about what you want to accomplish. To get started, answer the “W” questions: who, what, where, when, and why.
                  • Measurable: To make sure you’re meeting the goal, establish tangible metrics to measure your progress. Identify how you’ll collect the data.
                  • Attainable: Think about the tools or skills needed to reach your goal. If you don’t possess them, figure out how you can attain them.
                  • Relevant: Why does the goal matter to you? Does it align with other goals? These types of questions can help you determine the goal’s true objective — and whether it’s worth pursuing.
                  • Time-bound: Whether it’s a daily, weekly, or monthly target, deadlines can motivate us to take action sooner than later.

                  Learn more about setting a SMRT goal here: How to Set SMART Goal to Make Lasting Changes in Life

                  4. Take One Step at a Time

                  Have you ever taken a road trip? You most likely had to use a map to navigate from Point A to Point B. The same idea can be applied to an action plan.

                  Like a map, your action plan needs to include step-by-step instructions on how you’ll reach your goal. In other words, these are mini goals that help you get where you need to go.

                  For example, if you wanted to lose weight, you’d consider smaller factors like calories consumed and burned, minutes exercised, number of steps walked, and quality of sleep. Each plays a role in weight loss.

                  This may seem like a lot of work upfront, but it makes your action plan seem less overwhelming and more manageable. Most importantly, it helps you determine the specific actions you need to take at each stage.

                  5. Order Your Tasks by Priority

                  With your action steps figured out, you’ll next want to review your list and place your tasks in the order that makes the most sense. This way, you’re kicking things off with the most important step to make the biggest impact, which will ultimately save time.

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                  For example, if you have a sedentary job and want to lose weight, the first step should be becoming even a little more active. From there, you can add more time to your workout plan.

                  The next step could be changing your diet, like having a salad before dinner to avoid overeating, or replacing soda with sparkling water.

                  Learn these tips to prioritize better: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

                  6. Schedule Your Tasks

                  Setting a deadline for your goal is a must; it prevents you from delaying the start of your action plan. The key, however, is to be realistic. It’s highly unlikely, for example, that you’ll lose 20 pounds within two weeks. It’s even less likely that you’ll keep it off.

                  What’s more, you should also assign tasks a start and end date for each action step you’ve created, as well as a timeline for when you’ll complete specific tasks. Adding them to your schedule ensures that you stay focused on these tasks when they need to happen, not letting anything else distract you.

                  For example, if you schedule gym time, you won’t plan anything else during that time frame.

                  Beware the temptation to double-book yourself—some activities truly can be combined, like a run while talking to a friend, but some can’t. Don’t trick yourself into thinking you can both write and catch up on Netflix simultaneously.

                  While you can use a paper calendar or planner, an online calendar may be a better option. You can use it to set deadlines or reminders for when each step needs to be taken, and it can be shared with other people who need to be in the know (like your running buddy or your mentor).

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                  7. Stay on Track With Healthy Habits

                  Without healthy habits, it’s going to be even more challenging to reach your goal. You could hit the gym five days a week, but if you’re grabbing burgers for lunch every day, you’re undoing all your hard work.

                  Let’s say your goal is more career-oriented, like becoming a better public speaker. If you practice your speeches at Toastmasters meetings but avoid situations where you’ll need to be unrehearsed—like networking gatherings or community meetings—you’re not helping yourself.

                  You have to think about what will help transform you into the person you want to be, not just what’s easiest or most comfortable.

                  8. Check off Items as You Go

                  You may think you’ve spent a lot of time creating lists. Not only do they help make your goals a reality, but lists also keep your action plan organized, create urgency, and help track your progress. Because lists provide structure, they reduce anxiety.

                  There’s something else special about lists of tasks completed. When you cross off a task in your action plan, your brain releases dopamine[4]. This reward makes you feel good, and you’ll want to repeat this feeling.

                  If you crossed out on your calendar the days you went to the gym, you’d want to keep experiencing the satisfaction of each bold “X.” That means more motivation to go the gym consistently.

                  9. Review and Reset as Necessary

                  Achieving any personal goal is a process. Although it would be great if you could reach a goal overnight, it takes time. Along the way, you may experience setbacks. Instead of getting frustrated and giving up, schedule frequent reviews—daily, weekly, or monthly—to see how you’re progressing.

                  If you aren’t where you’d hoped to be, you may need to alter your action plan. Rework it so you’re able to reach the goal you’ve set.

                  The Bottom Line

                  When you want to learn how to set goals and action plans—whether you want to lose weight, learn a new skill, or make more money—you need to create a realistic plan to get you there. It will guide you in establishing realistic steps and time frames to achieve your goal. Best of all, it will keep you on track when you stumble, and we all do.

                  More on Goal Action Plans

                  Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

                  Reference

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