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Feeling Hectic to Manage Across Different Email Accounts? Use “Alto” to Gather and Organise Them All At One Place

Feeling Hectic to Manage Across Different Email Accounts? Use “Alto” to Gather and Organise Them All At One Place

Many of us have more than one email account. If you have a desk job, you probably have to manage a work email as well as your personal email. Or maybe you’re in school, so you have an “.edu” email address as well as an older personal one. Perhaps you juggle several jobs, plus school, so you have three or more accounts.

Whatever the reason, it’s hard to stay on top of many email accounts at once, especially when we need to reference a particular email and can’t remember which address it was sent to! What’s more, it’s unfortunately easy for an important email or two to slip through the cracks.

Gather and Manage all your email accounts at one place

Enter Alto. Made by AOL, Alto works with any email provider, including Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, AOL Mail, Exchange, and more. With this highly-rated app, you can stay completely on top of all of your accounts, and make sure to respond to every important message: from friends, family, your boss, colleagues, and customers.

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    Connect all of your accounts to Alto, and the app will place all the emails you receive into a single inbox. As Alto’s general manager writes, “Alto lets you add all your different accounts, but aggregates all the important time-sensitive and location-sensitive stuff in a way that lets the user get to it easily.”

    All the upcoming events come at the top of your inbox

    Additional features make Alto even more useful than putting emails in a single place. One of the more helpful features is the Dashboard (see above). Alto will automatically generate cards and place them at the top of your inbox: recent charges, flight info, package tracking information, or upcoming meetings. What Dashboard does is automatically aggregate this information into a single location. This is a far cry from digging through emails in the airport, half an hour before your flight, with several open tabs.

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        Visualise your emails so you can read and search based on media attachments

        Alto also immediately filters and organizes your emails based on content, a feature called “Stacks.” So if you want to find emails with photo attachments, or all emails with file attachments, all of those are grouped together into individual stacks. You can even personalize stacks based on the categories most useful to you, such as “starred” or “unread” emails.

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          When composing emails within Alto, you can choose which email address you’d like to send it from. If you allow the app to access your contacts, you should have no trouble pulling up addresses of people who you frequently send messages to. A beautiful and intuitive interface makes Alto a pleasure to use. It’s easy to switch between the “All Accounts” inbox and your individual ones: using the mobile app, you can just swipe left and right between them.

          You can also access your calendars (Google, Outlook, etc.), weather, email archives, and more within the app for all-in-one easy access. Integration with Slack and Amazon Echo make it easy to seamlessly connect work and home life.

          Available on Google Play for Android, iTunes for iPhones or iPods, and for your web broswer, you can download Alto immediately for free. Try it out and see how streamlined you can make your life!

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          Featured photo credit: Rawpixel via unsplash.com

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          Brian Lee

          Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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          Last Updated on July 17, 2019

          The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

          The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

          What happens in our heads when we set goals?

          Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

          Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

          According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

          Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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          Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

          Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

          The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

          Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

          So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

          Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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          One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

          Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

          Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

          The Neurology of Ownership

          Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

          In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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          But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

          This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

          Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

          The Upshot for Goal-Setters

          So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

          On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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          It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

          On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

          But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

          More About Goals Setting

          Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

          Reference

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