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10 Most Zen-Friendly Websites to Keep You Calm and Productive at Work

10 Most Zen-Friendly Websites to Keep You Calm and Productive at Work

Do you feel like you can no longer cope with the stress of meeting your deadlines? Does the lack of concentration stop you from focusing on your goals? Are you stuck or stressed out? Then put your headphones on. Try using some of the most Zen-friendly websites on offer that really work wonders for keeping your cool in the workplace.

There are so many more sites like this out there, but — for the purposes of this article — I have included 10 of them that I use myself.

1. Do Nothing For 2 Minutes

Yes, that’s exactly what you should do for the next two minutes. Nothing. Just sit comfortably, watch the screen and listen to the sound of waves. Will you be able to sit still without touching the mouse or keyboard? See for yourself. I know I failed the first time I tried it.

donothingfor2min

    2. Calm

    Calm.com also challenges you to sit still and quiet your mind. Apart from that, you can benefit from a selection of guided meditations that can last from two minutes to 20, depending on how long you’d like to take a break from your hectic surroundings.

    You can choose from the many calming atmospheres that are available — gentle waves, fields, waterfalls. And what’s even better about it is that you can take Calm with you. The iPhone app can be downloaded for free, and there are three options for paid subscriptions if you want to go for Pro Access. Who wouldn’t feel calmer meditating with a view like the one below?

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    calm2

      3. SimplyNoise

      SimplyNoise uses white, pink and brown noise. You just need to pick a color, slide the knob to the level that’s comfortable for you and enjoy the sound. I’d recommend white and pink noise while you’re at work to keep you alert, focused and productive. White noise uses sound across all frequencies and blocks distractions, making it great for studying and writing. Pink noise uses a mix of high and low frequencies, which is great for reducing your stress while keeping you energized.

      simplynoise2

        4. SimplyRain

        SimplyRain belongs to the SimplyNoise website and it simply plays the rain sounds for you. You slide the blue orb to adjust the rain intensity and adjust the volume by sliding the metal knob. Change the storm ambiance by toggling the thunder orb. Based on different algorithms, SimplyRain generates a randomized procedural storm each time you tune in. Both SimplyNoise and SimplyRain apps are also available on iTunes for $0.99 each.

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        simplyrain

          5. Rainy Mood

          This one’s my favorite and the one I use most often when I write. On top of the rain, thunder and bird sounds, there’s no audio limit and it plays a YouTube video every day that fits perfectly with the sound of rain. I learned about it when I read how online marketing expert and Overit’s VP of Strategy Lisa Barone writes.

          rainymood

            6. Coffitivity

            You can’t afford spending every morning at Starbucks? No probs. Bring the coffee shop vibe into your own home, on your own desktop, to get your much needed creativity boost. Coffitivity has a neat and beautiful interface and blends calm and commotion in such a way that makes your creative juices flow. They also link to a super comprehensive study about “Exploring the Effects of Ambient Noise on Creative Cognition.”

            coffitivity

              7. naturesoundsfor.me

              With naturesoundsfor.me you can mix four different sounds, but you have a wide range to choose from: tribal drums, animals, fireworks, heart beat, you name it. The one I created to my own liking is a combo of beach sounds, seagulls, pink noise and kids laughter.

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              It’s so soothing, yet lively, to listen to the sounds of the ocean’s waves gently crashing on the shore while children giggle in the background. Start creating yours! You can also save it on your computer so you can play it when you’re offline too.

              naturesoundsforme

                8. Focus@Will

                Focus@Will is fantastic! It uses phase-sequenced instrumental music that increases your attention span up to 400 percent when reading, writing, or studying. Apart from that, it extends the standard 20- to 30-minute productivity cycle to approximately 100 minutes.

                The music stream (Alpha Chill works for me) engages your background attention to such an extent that it doesn’t interfere with your conscious focal attention on the task you work on. As for the costs, you can choose from three different account types: Guest, Personal and Pro.

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                focusatwill

                  9. Get Work Done Music

                  Get Work Done Music simply plays upbeat, instrumental tunes from Soundcloud. It’s pretty straightforward to use with very few controls — just the play/pause button, Fast and Faster, and “gimme the next one cap’n” to switch to the next song.

                  getworkdonemusic

                    10. Teamviz

                    Last, but not least, Teamviz is the icing on the cake among the tools that help you stay on schedule as you prioritize your tasks and approach them one by one. There’s no music, but this is probably one of the best productivity tools out there.

                    Formerly known as PomodoroApp, this free downloadable app, which is basically a timer, allows you to break your working routine in 30-minute chunks. You work for 25 minutes then take a 5-minute break. What you choose to do during that break is important. Stay away from email and social media. I for one meditate. That’s when Calm.com or donothingfor2minutes.com, for instance, come in handy.

                    teamviz2

                      As I worked on this post I used Coffitivity and Focus@Will simultaneously. The music volume was set just above the ambient noise level of Coffitivity.

                      Try to have as much variation as possible and notice what puts you best in the zone. Measure the effects and share what worked for you with your friends — and in the comments below.

                      More by this author

                      Anca Dumitru

                      Freelance Writer & Content Strategist

                      10 Ways To Create and Promote Your Website Effectively 4 Simple Steps To Make Your Internet Life Secure 13 Things To Do During Weekends To Improve Your Life 10 Most Zen-Friendly Websites to Keep You Calm and Productive at Work 18 Must-Have Travel Apps For Traveling Abroad

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                      Last Updated on September 24, 2020

                      17 Ways Learn New Skills Faster and Enjoy the Process

                      17 Ways Learn New Skills Faster and Enjoy the Process

                      In the movie The Matrix, everyone was intrigued with the ability that Neo and his friends possessed to learn new skills in a matter of seconds. With the incredible rise in technology today, the rapid learning in the movie is becoming much more of a reality than you realize.

                      The current generation has access to more knowledge and information than any before it. Through the internet, we are able to access all sorts of knowledge to answer almost every conceivable question. To become smarter, it’s more about the ability to learn faster, rather than being a natural born genius.

                      Here are 17 ways to kickstart your Matrix-style learning experience in a short amount of time.

                      1. Deconstruct and Reverse Engineer

                      Break down the skill that you want to learn into little pieces and learn techniques to master an isolated portion. The small pieces will come together to make up the whole skill.

                      For example, when you’re learning to play the guitar, learn how to press down a chord pattern with your fingers first without even trying to strum the chord. Once you are able to change between a couple of chord patterns, then add the strumming.

                      2. Use the Pareto Principle

                      Use the Pareto Principle, which is also known as the 80 20 rule. Identify the 20% of the work that will give you 80% of the results. Find out more about the 80 20 rule here: What Is the 80 20 Rule (And How to Use It to Boost Productivity)

                      Take learning a new language for example. It does not take long to realize that some words pop up over and over again as you’re learning. You can do a quick search for “most commonly used French words,” for example, and begin to learn them first before adding on the rest.

                      3. Make Stakes

                      Establish some sort of punishment for not learning the skill that you are seeking. There are sites available that allow you to make a donation toward a charity you absolutely hate if you do not meet your goals. Or you can place a bet with a friend to light that fire under you.

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                      However, keep in mind that several studies have shown that rewards tend to be more motivating than punishment[1].

                      4. Record Yourself

                      Seeing yourself on video is a great way to learn from your mistakes and identify areas that you need to improve. This is very effective for any musicians, actors, speakers, performers, and dancers.

                      5. Join a Group

                      There are huge benefits to learning in a group. Not only are you able to learn from others but you’ll be encouraged to make progress together. Whether it’s a chess club, a mastermind group, or an online meet-up group, get connected with other like-minded individuals.

                      6. Time Travel

                      Visit the library. Although everything is moving more and more online, there are still such things called libraries.

                      Whether it’s a municipal library or your university library, you will be amazed at some of the books available there that are not accessible online. Specifically, look for the hidden treasures and wisdom contained in the really old books.

                      7. Be a Chameleon

                      When you want to learn new skills, imitate your biggest idol. Watch a video and learn from seeing someone else do it. Participate in mimicry and copy what you see.

                      Studies have shown that, apart from learning,[2]

                      “Mimicry is an effective tool not only to create ties and social relationships, but also for maintaining them.”

                      Visual learning is a great way to speed up the learning process. YouTube has thousands of videos on almost every topic available.

                      8. Focus

                      Follow one course until success! It’s easy to get distracted, to throw in the towel, or to become interested in the next great thing and ditch what you initially set out to do.

                      Ditch the whole idea of multitasking, as it has been shown to be detrimental and unproductive Simply focus on the one new skill at hand until you get it done.

                      9. Visualize

                      The mind has great difficulty distinguishing between what is real and what is imagined. That is why athletes practice mentally seeing their success before attempting the real thing[3].

                      Visualize yourself achieving your new skill and each step that you need to make to see results. This is an important skill to help when you’re learning the basics or breaking a bad habit.

                      Take a look at this article to learn how to do so: How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results

                      10. Find a Mentor

                      Success leaves clues. The best short cut to become an expert is to find an expert and not have to make the mistakes that they have made.

                      Finding out what NOT to do from the expert will fast-track your learning when you want to learn new skills. It is a huge win to have them personally walk you through what needs to be done. Reach out and send an email to them.

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                      If you need help learning how to find a mentor, check out this article.

                      11. Sleep on It

                      Practice your new skill within four hours of going to sleep.

                      Josh Kaufman, author of The Personal MBA, is a noted rapid learning expert. He says that any practice done within this time frame causes your brain to embed the learning more rapidly into its neural pathways. Your memory and motor-mechanics are ingrained at a quicker level.

                      12. Use the 20-Hour Rule

                      Along with that tip, Kaufman also suggests 20 as the magic number of hours to dedicate to learning the new skill.

                      His reasoning is that everyone will hit a wall early on in the rapid learning stage and that “pre-committing” to 20 hours is a sure-fire way to push through that wall and acquire your new skill.[4]

                      Check out his video to find out more:

                      13. Learn by Doing

                      It’s easy to get caught up in reading and gathering information on how to learn new skills and never actually get around to doing those skills. The best way to learn is to do.

                      Regardless of how unprepared you feel, make sure you are physically engaged continuously. Keep alternating between research and practice.

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                      14. Complete Short Sprints

                      Rather than to force yourself into enduring hours upon hours of dedication, work in short sprints of about 20-30 minutes, then get up and stretch or take a short walk. Your brain’s attention span works best with short breaks, so be sure to give it the little rest it needs.

                      One study found that, between two groups of students, the students who took two short breaks when studying actually performed better than those who didn’t take breaks[5].

                      15. Ditch the Distractions

                      Make sure the environment you are in is perfect for your rapid-learning progress. That means ditching any social media, and the temptation to check any email. As the saying goes, “Out of sight, out of mind.”

                      Before you sit down to learn new skills, make sure that potential distractions are far from sight.

                      16. Use Nootropics

                      Otherwise known as brain enhancers, these cognitive boosters are available in natural herbal forms and in supplements.

                      Many students will swear by the increased focus that nootropics will provide[6], particularly as they get set for some serious cramming. Natural herbal nootropics have been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic traditions to improve the mind and learning.

                      Find out more about brain supplements in this article.

                      17. Celebrate

                      For every single small win that you experience during the learning process, be sure to celebrate. Your brain will release endorphins and serotonin as you raise your hands in victory and pump your fits. Have a piece of chocolate and give yourself a pat on the back. This positive reinforcement will help you keep pushing forward as you learn new skills.

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                      The Bottom Line

                      Learning a new skill should be exciting and fun. Whether you use online courses, real world experience, YouTube videos, or free online resources, take time to learn in the long term. Keep picturing the joy of reaching the end goal and being a better version of yourself as continual motivation.

                      More Tips on How to Learn New Skills

                      Featured photo credit: Elijah M. Henderson via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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