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5 Productivity Tools For 2017

5 Productivity Tools For 2017

If New Year’s resolutions are not on your mind then they probably should be. With the new year set to start in less than two weeks, most people are likely starting to ponder on how they are going to do better in 2016. Sure, New Year’s resolutions typically only last a few weeks, but that is because they typically only take a single day to plan. Start planning now and make resolutions that you can keep, then figure out exactly how you are going to get yourself to accomplish those resolutions.

Luckily, every year that goes by comes with a slew of new and exciting apps and tools that help people become more productive. If you are looking for a few tools to make your 2017 a success, try these.

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1. Evernote

Evernote is nearly an all-inclusive productivity app. It is supposed to help people organize everything they are doing into one neat place. We are talking about files, notepads, and other types of information. The best part of Evernote is that it is on the cloud so that everyone that needs to can have access to the right content.

Think of Evernote as a digital version of that old planner that your mom used to carry around. Just as useful, twice as organized, hundreds of times more convenient.

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2. Toggl

Toggl is a way to keep track of your time. Sure, it might take a few extra seconds to keep track of everything you do, but studies show that people are significantly more productive when they know where their time is going. It is just a fact of life that when something is measured, it improves. The Toggl app works across pretty much every device as well, making it easy for everyone on a work team to succeed.

3. Hound

Another interesting name in productivity apps, Hound is essentially a much-improved version of Siri. You can ask Hound anything you want and it can forecast weather, find coffee shops, and quite a bit more. You don’t need to do keyword prompts or use any special phrases either.

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The way to know that Hound must be good is that it is succeeding in the Apple store. This means that people with access to Siri are still choosing to use Hound as an alternative. This is a good sign that Hound beats Siri.

One of our favorite features was the ability to narrow in search results. For example, you can not only tell Hound to find you a hotel, but you can tell it exactly what type of hotel you want it to find and how much you are willing to spend.

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4. Zapier

Zapier has been around for a little longer but is essentially a great way to automate processes in life and in the workplace. There are more processes available to automate than could possibly be said in one article. Suffice to say, nearly everyone in the world has at least a few processes that Zapier could make more efficient. Even if it just saves twenty seconds on a task that you do ten times a day, the savings in a month or year is astounding.

5. Google Drive

One would hope that everyone has heard of Google Drive, perhaps even used it at this point. However, one cannot write about tools for productivity without including Google Drive. Google Drive is the ultimate organizer for all files. This includes pictures, videos, Word files, Excel files, PDFs and more. It operates like a simple filing cabinet, except digitized.

A few of the best parts about Google Drive are the cost (it is free) and the cloud. You are able to access everything you have managed to digitize in seconds from any device that can access the internet. It is also great to know that Google is incredibly secure and has backups of everything in multiple locations.

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Stephanie Caudle

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Last Updated on August 16, 2018

10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Enjoy Taking Risks

10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Enjoy Taking Risks

The ability to take risks by stepping outside your comfort zone is the primary way by which we grow. But we are often afraid to take that first step.

In truth, comfort zones are not really about comfort, they are about fear. Break the chains of fear to get outside. Once you do, you will learn to enjoy the process of taking risks and growing in the process.

Here are 10 ways to help you step out of your comfort zone and get closer to success:

1. Become aware of what’s outside of your comfort zone

What are the things that you believe are worth doing but are afraid of doing yourself because of the potential for disappointment or failure?

Draw a circle and write those things down outside the circle. This process will not only allow you to clearly identify your discomforts, but your comforts. Write identified comforts inside the circle.

2. Become clear about what you are aiming to overcome

Take the list of discomforts and go deeper. Remember, the primary emotion you are trying to overcome is fear.

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How does this fear apply uniquely to each situation? Be very specific.

Are you afraid of walking up to people and introducing yourself in social situations? Why? Is it because you are insecure about the sound of your voice? Are you insecure about your looks?

Or, are you afraid of being ignored?

3. Get comfortable with discomfort

One way to get outside of your comfort zone is to literally expand it. Make it a goal to avoid running away from discomfort.

Let’s stay with the theme of meeting people in social settings. If you start feeling a little panicked when talking to someone you’ve just met, try to stay with it a little longer than you normally would before retreating to comfort. If you stay long enough and practice often enough, it will start to become less uncomfortable.

4. See failure as a teacher

Many of us are so afraid of failure that we would rather do nothing than take a shot at our dreams.

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Begin to treat failure as a teacher. What did you learn from the experience? How can you take that lesson to your next adventure to increase your chance of success?

Many highly successful people failed plenty of times before they succeeded. Here’re some examples:

10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On

5. Take baby steps

Don’t try to jump outside your comfort zone, you will likely become overwhelmed and jump right back in.

Take small steps toward the fear you are trying to overcome. If you want to do public speaking, start by taking every opportunity to speak to small groups of people. You can even practice with family and friends.

Take a look at this article on how you can start taking baby steps:

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The Number One Secret to Life Success: Baby Steps

6. Hang out with risk takers

There is no substitute for this step. If you want to become better at something, you must start hanging out with the people who are doing what you want to do and start emulating them. (Here’re 8 Reasons Why Risk Takers Are More Likely To Be Successful).

Almost inevitably, their influence will start have an effect on your behavior.

7. Be honest with yourself when you are trying to make excuses

Don’t say “Oh, I just don’t have the time for this right now.” Instead, be honest and say “I am afraid to do this.”

Don’t make excuses, just be honest. You will be in a better place to confront what is truly bothering you and increase your chance of moving forward.

8. Identify how stepping out will benefit you

What will the ability to engage in public speaking do for your personal and professional growth? Keep these potential benefits in mind as motivations to push through fear.

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9. Don’t take yourself too seriously

Learn to laugh at yourself when you make mistakes. Risk taking will inevitably involve failure and setbacks that will sometimes make you look foolish to others. Be happy to roll with the punches when others poke fun.

If you aren’t convinced yet, check out these 6 Reasons Not to Take Life So Seriously.

10. Focus on the fun

Enjoy the process of stepping outside your safe boundaries. Enjoy the fun of discovering things about yourself that you may not have been aware of previously.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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