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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 April 19, 2021

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

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1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

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There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

3. Move Your Body

A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

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So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

4. Connect With Another Person

Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

5. Use Your Imagination

When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

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And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

Final Thoughts

Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

More on the Importance of Taking a Break

Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

Reference

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