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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
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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.

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                    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

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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)
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                      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.

                      More on Building Habits

                      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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                      Reference

                      [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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