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With These 7 Tools, Your Life Would Be Much Easier And Happier

With These 7 Tools, Your Life Would Be Much Easier And Happier

We live in a high-speed world. Everything is automated and automatic. We have access to information on everything imaginable in the palm of our hand — literally. And while the access to information and availability of advanced technology is intended to make our lives easier and more convenient, it often does the opposite. There is a gadget, widget or app for everything you could ever conceive of, creating quite a paradox in our lives. It provides simplicity and convenience to our existence while simultaneously overcomplicating it.

If you are anything like me, you may need some help sorting through all of the technological mayhem and whittling down your list of go-to apps to what will be useful to you and will actually simplify your life.

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7 Apps that will not only simplify your life but keep you focused and motivated

1. Waterlogged

Waterlogged[1] is an app designed to assist you in being more intentional about your health. It is a health and fitness Apple app (compatible with iPhone, iPad, Fitbit and Apple Health) that reminds users to drink water throughout the day and helps monitor and track daily water consumption. It is a free app and has upgrades available for purchase. Customer reviews on this particular app are great. Users report that is extremely user-friendly, convenient, practical and it actual performs as advertised.

2. Mindbloom

Mindbloom[2] is a company whose vision and mission revolve around the concept of establishing life balance. They have created and have offered an Apple App that is useful for goal setting, reduction of stress, coping with anxiety and maintaining overall mental health. Whether you are looking to focus on specific areas of life, or simply want to ensure you maintain your current lifestyle and state of mental health, their ultimate goal is to help you by providing a creative and interactive way to become and remain inspired. The App is customizable and offers a myriad of games, goal setting features, organizational tools and resources that you can use to manage how you use this app.

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3. Forest

Forest[3] is an app that is designed to help you focus on a task for a preset amount of time. This app is available on both Apple and android operating systems as well as Windows, Firefox and Chrome extension, making it accessible from virtually anywhere. The app is a game in which you plant and grow trees by remaining on tasks for a specific amount of time determined by you. The game is masterfully designed to keep you from checking email, texting or mindlessly surfing the web while you are supposed to be working or studying. Once you’ve set the timer, and planted your tree you are not allowed to leave the app until time expires. If you do, your tree dies and your forest suffers.

4. Panda Focus

Panda Focus[4] is an organizational app designed to help trim the time you spend mindlessly surfing the web by allowing you to organize all of the informational websites you need in one place. It allows you to open multiple sites in one tab. The site also allows you to create your daily “to do” list. The list is then displayed every time you open a new tab, as a gentle reminder that you’ve got work to do.

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5. Noizio

This Apple app[5] plays calming and soothing background noise inspired by nature through your Mac device. The app is designed to help you relax and increase your productivity by improving your ability to concentrate. The sounds range from waves gently washing over the beach to rain gently running down an umbrella or even fire crackling in a warm and cozy fireplace. It’s a great way to relieve your stress and get your work done simultaneously.

6. Hemingway Editor

Hemingway Editor[6] was described by the New Yorker as being, “...like a good editor, attuned to the places where vanity seems to be getting the better of things.” This is a downloadable paid app that works anywhere and is compatible with any device. It is designed to help you write with power, clarity and simplicity. It has been compared to having your own professional editor right at your fingertips.

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7. Grammarly

Grammarly[7] is a free grammar and spell check editing app and Chrome plug-in that flags mistakes as you write. When you use it as a Chrome plug-in, your spelling and grammar will be vetted on Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Tumblr, and nearly everywhere else you write on the web.

Together, these seven practical apps can greatly simplify your life and provide you the clarity, focus and tools to be productive, healthy and successful.

Reference

[1] iTunes Preview: Waterlogged
[2] Mindbloom: Mindbloom
[3] Forestapp: Forest
[4] Panda: Panda Focus
[5] Nozio: Noizio
[6] Hemingwayapp: Hemingway Editor
[7] Grammarly: Grammarly

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Denise Hill

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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