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Use These 12 Free Resources to Get More Organized in 2017

Use These 12 Free Resources to Get More Organized in 2017

2017 has already started but you are not really too late to reflect about what has worked for you and what is not really cutting it. And, after much soul searching, if you have arrived at the conclusion that you need to be more organized in 2017 once and for all, then take my words you are not the only one. But the million dollar question is: how?

When it comes to making life more organized, there is no one-size-fits-all so you have to find out what works best for you.

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” – Stephen Covey, Famous American Author

Here is a list of 15 free productivity resources that can get you more organized in the coming year.

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1. Google Drive

For those who swear by Google, Google Drive, which includes Google Spreadsheet and Google Docs, will make your life easy by sharing and editing a range of files. You can even share notes from within a document. It’s absolutely awesome to use. Give it a try!

2. IFTTT

IFTTT stands for ‘If This Then That.’ For those who are hooked on to social media, this cool resource allows various services and apps to connect and work together. You can create your IFTTT recipe to automatically upload your Instagram photos into your Google Drive account. The awesomeness of this resource is that it can be utilized in endless combinations! 

3. Rescue time

You can install Rescue Time on your computer to track down which websites and programs you use the most. For those who want to track their time, it is one of the coolest tools that not only shows which program or website you are spending most of your time at but also shows in which hours you are least productive.

It will also show you the best and worst days of the week. If you buy the resource and become a premium user, you will have the ability to block out distracting sites. Use this tool to stay productive and organized in the New Year!

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4. Toggl

Toogl is a time tracking resource that is extremely easy to use. You just need to click on the Toogl button and the timer will begin. You can easily track the time you take to complete various tasks. It also gives you a weekly report on your performance. 

5. StayFocused

StayFocused is an extended and free version of Chrome that blocks distracting sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc while you are working. This tool can be customized – you can choose websites you want to block and the time for which you want it to remain blocked.

6. Chrome to Mobile

This unique extension of Chrome allows you to directly move the web pages and other things that you are surfing, to your phone. It helps you to stay organized and keep browsing the internet easily when on the move. 

7. LastPass

It is an innovative resource that comes in handy for those who struggle to remember their passwords. For those who have a hard time handling too many accounts, this amazing resource remembers all your passwords, so you will not have to panic about remembering passwords anymore!

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This tool can be used across several devices. It stores and audits passwords in your vault so that you can create more secure passwords. It is a secure tool to use. It uses multifactor authentication for your master password. By using this resource, you can definitely stay more organized in 2017! 

8. Pocket

Have you ever come across an amazing content or video but you don’t have the time to check it out at that instant? For those who love blogs, Pocket is an easy-to-use resource that helps you save videos, images, songs, contents, etc to check out later. When you have some free time, you can open it on your mobile or computer and check them easily. This way you can keep your list and life organized!

10. Podkicker

If you are one of those podcast addicts, this is a must-use resource that will help you organize your subscriptions. It has an easy to use interface and above all its free! But you can also update to Podkicker Pro to get rid of unwanted ads. 

10. ELance

Sometimes it can be really challenging to concentrate on jobs but imagine if you could make use of a resource that will do the job for you? If you want someone else to write your blogging content, Elance is the place to visit! You can sign up with the site for free. You have to pay them 10% of what you earn per project. You can try this resource once in a while when you want to hang out with friends or watch a movie without having to lose a client!

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11. Hemingway

Do you have anyone to proofread your blog content after you are done with it? No? Don’t worry, here’s a cool resource that will check the grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, punctuation and sentence fragmentation of your content and highlight the errors so that you can rectify them. Give it a try and stay more organized and focused! 

12. SaneBox

For those who need to keep their email organized, SaneBox has qualities like Sherlock! Yes, it can analyze your past and current mail activity to figure out which mail matters to you and which doesn’t. This resource helps in moving the less significant emails to SaneLater folder which you can retrieve when you have spare time. Unlike some other tools that completely banishe the unimportant emails, here they stay hidden. A perfect resource to stay organized!

Remember that merely signing up for these 15 free resources will not solve all your organization and productivity issues in an instant. Try picking one these resources and stay true to using it every day! If these apps are not of much help then check out the 5 minutes hacks to solve all your woes.

Featured photo credit: http://getrefe.tumblr.com/ via 68.media.tumblr.com

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Anuradha Sarkar

Digital Marketing Manager

Use These 12 Free Resources to Get More Organized in 2017

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Last Updated on March 21, 2019

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

Most gurus talk about habits in a way that doesn’t help you:

You need to push yourself more. You can’t be lazy. You need to wake up at 5 am. You need more motivation. You can never fail…blah blah “insert more gibberish here.”

But let me share with you the unconventional truths I found out:

To build and change habits, you don’t need motivation or wake up at 5 am. Heck, you can fail multiple times, be lazy, have no motivation and still pull it off with ease.

It’s quite simple and easy to do, especially with the following list I’m going to show to you. But remember, Jim Rohn used to say,

“What is simple and easy to do is also simple and easy not to do.”

The important things to remember when changing your habits are both simple and easy, just don’t think that they don’t make any difference because they do.

In fact, they are the only things that make a difference.

Let’s see what those small things are, shall we?

1. Start Small

The biggest mistake I see people doing with habits is by going big. You don’t go big…ever. You start small with your habits.

Want to grow a book reading habit? Don’t start reading a book a day. Start with 10 pages a day.

Want to become a writer? Don’t start writing 10,000 words a day. Start with 300 words.

Want to lose weight? Don’t stop eating ice cream. Eat one less ball of it.

Whatever it is, you need to start small. Starting big always leads to failure. It has to, because it’s not sustainable.

Start small. How small? The amount needs to be in your comfort zone. So if you think that reading 20 pages of a book is a bit too much, start with 10 or 5.

It needs to appear easy and be easy to do.

Do less today to do more in a year.

2. Stay Small

There is a notion of Kaizen which means continuous improvement. They use this notion in habits where they tell you to start with reading 1 page of a book a day and then gradually increase the amount you do over time.

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But the problem with this approach is the end line — where the “improvement” stops.

If I go from reading 1 page of a book a day and gradually reach 75 and 100, when do I stop? When I reach 1 book a day? That is just absurd.

When you start a habit, stay at it in the intensity you have decided. Don’t push yourself for more.

I started reading 20 pages of a book a day. It’s been more than 2 years now and I’ve read 101 books in that period. There is no way I will increase the number in the future.

Why?

Because reading 40 to 50 books a year is enough.

The same thing applies to every other habit out there.

Pick a (small) number and stay at it.

3. Bad Days Are 100 Percent Occurrence

No matter how great you are, you will have bad days where you won’t do your habit. Period.

There is no way of going around this. So it’s better to prepare yourself for when that happens instead of thinking that it won’t ever happen.

What I do when I miss a day of my habit(s) is that I try to bounce back the next day while trying to do habits for both of those days.

Example for that is if I read 20 pages of a book a day and I miss a day, the next day I will have to read 40 pages of a book. If I miss writing 500 words, the next day I need to write 1000.

This is a really important point we will discuss later on rewards and punishments.

This is how I prepare for the bad days when I skip my habit(s) and it’s a model you should take as well.

4. Those Who Track It, Hack It

When you track an activity, you can objectively tell what you did in the past days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t track, you will for sure forget everything you did.

There are many different ways you can track your activities today, from Habitica to a simple Excel sheet that I use, to even a Whatsapp Tracker.

Peter Drucker said,

“What you track is what you do.”

So track it to do it — it really helps.

But tracking is accompanied by one more easy activity — measuring.

5. Measure Once, Do Twice

Peter Drucker also said,

“What you measure is what you improve.”

So alongside my tracker, I have numbers with which I measure doses of daily activities:

For reading, it’s 20 pages.
For writing, it’s 500 words.
For the gym, it’s 1 (I went) or 0 (didn’t go).
For budgeting, it’s writing down the incomes and expenses.

Tracking and measuring go hand in hand, they take less than 20 seconds a day but they create so much momentum that it’s unbelievable.

6. All Days Make a Difference

Will one day in the gym make you fit? It won’t.

Will two? They won’t.

Will three? They won’t.

Which means that a single gym session won’t make you fit. But after 100 gym sessions, you will look and feel fit.

What happened? Which one made you fit?

The answer to this (Sorites paradox)[1] is that no single gym session made you fit, they all did.

No single day makes a difference, but when combined, they all do. So trust the process and keep on going (small).

7. They Are Never Fully Automated

Gurus tell you that habits become automatic. And yes, some of them do, like showering a certain way of brushing your teeth.

But some habits don’t become automatic, they become a lifestyle.

What I mean by that is that you won’t automatically “wake up” in the gym and wonder how you got there.

It will just become a part of your lifestyle.

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The difference is that you do the first one automatically, without conscious thought, while the other is a part of how you live your life.

It’s not automatic, but it’s a decision you don’t ponder on or think about — you simply do it.

It will become easy at a certain point, but they will never become fully automated.

8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Marshall Goldsmith has a great book with the same title to it. The phrase means that sometimes, you will need to ditch certain habits to make room for other ones which will bring you to the next step.

Don’t be afraid to evolve your habits when you sense that they don’t bring you where you want to go.

When I started reading, it was about reading business and tactic books. But two years into it, I switched to philosophy books which don’t teach me anything “applicable,” but instead teach me how to think.

The most important ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The strongest tree is the willow tree – not because it has the strongest root or biggest trunk, but because it is flexible enough to endure and sustain anything.

Be like a willow, adapting to the new ways of doing things.

9. Set a Goal and Then Forget It

The most successful of us know what they want to achieve, but they don’t focus on it.

Sounds paradoxical? You’re right, it does. But here is the logic behind it.

You need to have a goal of doing something – “I want to become a healthy individual” – and then, you need to reverse engineer how to get there with your habits- “I will go to the gym four times a week.”

But once you have your goal, you need to “forget” about it and only focus on the process. Because you are working on the process of becoming healthy and it’s always in the making. You will only be as healthy as you take care of your body.

So you have a goal which isn’t static but keeps on moving.

If you went to the gym 150 times year and you hit your goal, what would you do then? You would stop going to the gym.

This is why goal-oriented people experience yo-yo effect[2] and why process-oriented people don’t.

The difference between process-oriented and goal-oriented people is that the first focus on daily actions while others only focus on the reward at the finish line.

Set a goal but then forget about it and reap massive awards.

10. Punish Yourself

Last two sections are pure Pavlovian – you need to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. You are the only person who decides what is good and what is bad for you, but when you do, you need to rigorously follow that.

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I’ve told you in point #3 about bad days and how after one occurs, I do double the work on the next day. That is one of my forms of punishments.

It’s the need to tell your brain that certain behaviors are unacceptable and that they lead to bad outcomes. That’s what punishments are for.

You want to tell your brain that there are real consequences to missing your daily habits.[3]

No favorite food to eat or favorite show to watch or going to the cinema for a new Marvel movie- none, zero, zilch.

The brain will remember these bad feelings and will try to avoid the behaviors that led to them as much as possible.

But don’t forget the other side of the same coin.

11. Reward Yourself

When you follow and execute on your plan, reward yourself. It’s how the brain knows that you did something good.

Whenever I finish one of my habits for the day, I open my tracker (who am I kidding, I always keep it open on my desktop) and fill it with a number. As soon as I finish reading 20 pages of a book a day (or a bit more), I open the tracker and write the number down.

The cell becomes green and gives me an instant boost of endorphin – a great success for the day. Then, it becomes all about not breaking the chain and having as many green fields as possible.

After 100 days, I crunch some numbers and see how I did.

If I have less than 10 cheat days, I reward myself with a great meal in a restaurant. You can create your own rewards and they can be daily, weekly, monthly or any arbitrary time table that you create.

Primoz Bozic, a productivity coach, has gold, silver, and bronze medals as his reward system.[4]

If you’re having problems creating a system which works for you, contact me via email and we can discuss specifics.

In the End, It Matters

What you do matters not only to you but to the people around you.

When you increase the quality of your life, you indirectly increase the quality of life of people around you. And sometimes, that is all the “motivation” we need to start.

And that’s the best quote for the end of this article:

“Motivation gets you started, but habits keep you going.”

Keep going.

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More Resources to Help You Build Habits

Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites paradox
[2] Muscle Zone: What causes yo-yo effect and how to avoid it?
[3] Growth Habits: 5 Missteps That Cause You To Quit Building A Habit
[4] Primoz Bozic: The Lean Review: How to Plan Your 2019 in 20 Minutes

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