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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.

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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 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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