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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

          More by this author

          Brian Lee

          Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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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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