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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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          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. [email protected]

                [email protected] 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 [email protected] 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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                      Published on January 16, 2019

                      How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

                      How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

                      We’re all busy, but sometimes we go through periods where the work piles up and it seems like it might never end.

                      You might have such a heavy workload that it feels too intimidating to even start.

                      You may have said yes to some or too many projects, and now you’re afraid you won’t be able to deliver.

                      That’s when you need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and start looking at what’s working and what’s not working.

                      Here’re 13 strategies you can use to get out from under your overwhelming workload:

                      1. Acknowledge You Can’t Do It All

                      Many of us have a tendency to think we can do more than we actually can. We take on more and more projects and responsibility and wear numerous hats.

                      We all have the opportunity to have and take on more work than we can reasonably expect to get done. Unfortunately, our workload is not static. Even now, while you are reading this article, I’m guessing that your inbox is filling up with fresh new tasks.

                      To make real, effective progress, you have to have both the courage and resourcefulness to say, “This is not working”. Acknowledge that you can’t do it all and look for better solutions.

                      At any given time in your life, there are likely many things that aren’t going according to plan. You have to be willing to be honest with yourself and those around you about what’s not working for you, both personally and professionally.

                      The more you exercise your ability to tell the truth about what’s working and what’s not working, the faster you’ll make progress.

                      2. Focus on Your Unique Strengths

                      Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a leader or working as part of a team, every individual has unique strengths they can bring to the table.

                      The challenge is that many people end up doing things that they’re simply not very good at.

                      In the pursuit of reaching your goals or delivering a project, people end up doing everything themselves or taking on things that don’t play to their unique strengths. This can result in frustration, overwhelm and overwork.

                      It can mean projects taking a lot longer to complete because of knowledge gaps, or simply not utilizing the unique strengths of other people you work with.

                      It is often not about how to complete this project more effectively but who can help deliver this project.

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                      So, what are your unique strengths that will ensure your workload is delivered more effectively? Here’re some questions to help you reflect:

                      • Are you a great strategist?
                      • Are you an effective planner?
                      • Is Project Management your strength?
                      • Is communication and bringing people together your strength?
                      • Are you the ideas person?
                      • Is Implementation your strength?

                      Think about how you can bring the biggest value to your work and the projects you undertake.

                      3. Use the Strengths of Your Team

                      One of the simplest ways to manage your workload effectively is to free up your time so you bring your highest level of energy, focus and strengths to each project.

                      Delegation or better teamwork is the solution.

                      Everyone has unique strengths. It’s essential to think teamwork rather than working in isolation to ensure projects can be completed effectively. Besides, every time you give away a task or project that doesn’t play to your unique strengths, you open up an opportunity to do something you’re more talented at. This will empower both yourself and those around you.

                      Rather than taking on all the responsibilities yourself, look at who you can work with to deliver the best results possible.

                      4. Take Time for Planning

                      “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”. – Abraham Lincoln

                      One hour of effective planning could save hours of time. Rather than just rushing in and getting started on projects, take the time to map everything in.

                      You can take the time to think about:

                      • What’s the purpose of the project?
                      • How Important is it?
                      • When does it need to be delivered by?
                      • What is the best result and worst result for this project?
                      • What are the KPIs?
                      • What does the project plan and key milestones look like?
                      • Who is working on this project?
                      • What is everyone’s responsibilities?
                      • What tolerances can I add in?
                      • What are the review stages?
                      • What are the challenges we may face and the solutions for these challenges?

                      Having absolute clarity on the project, the project deliverables and the result you want can save a lot of time. It also gets you clear on the priorities and timelines, so you can block out the required amount of time to focus and concentrate.

                      5. Focus on Priorities

                      Not everything is a priority, although it can often feel, in the moment, that it is.

                      Whatever you’re working on, there is always the Most Urgent, Important or Most Valuable projects or tasks.

                      One tool you can use to maximize your productivity and focus on your biggest priorities is to use the Eisenhower Matrix. This strategic tool for taking action on the things that matter most is simple. You separate your actions based on four possibilities:

                      1. Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).
                      2. Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).
                      3. Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).
                      4. Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will eliminate).

                      James Clear has a great description on how to use the Eisenhower Matrix: How to be More Productive By Using the Eisenhower Box

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                        The method I use with my coaching clients is to ask them to lay out their Top Five priorities for the day. Then to start with the most important priority first. At the end of the day, you review performance against these priorities.

                        If you didn’t get everything accomplished, start the next day with your number one priority.

                        If you are given additional task/projects during the day, then you will need to gauge their importance V the other priorities.

                        6. Take Time Out

                        To stay on top of a heavy workload, it’s important to take time out to rest and recuperate.

                        If your energy levels are high and your mind and body is refreshed and alert, you are in more of a peak state to handle a heavy workload.

                        Take time out of your day to go for a walk or get some exercise in. Leave early when possible and spend time with people who give you a lot of energy.

                        In the background, it’s essential to get a good night’s sleep and eat healthily to sharpen the mind.

                        Take a look at this article learn about The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

                        7. Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

                        Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be tough. The balance we all crave is very different from one another.

                        I’ve written before about 13 Work Life Balance Tips for a Happy and Productive Life. Working longer and harder doesn’t mean achieving more, especially if you have no time to spend with the people that matter most. The quality of who you are as a person, the relationships you have, the time you spend in work, deciding on what matters most is completely within your control.

                        Work-life balance is about finding peace within yourself to be fully present, wherever you are, whether that be in the office or at home, right now. It’s about choosing what matters most and creating your own balanced life.

                        If you feel there is not enough balance, then it may be time to make a change.

                        8. Stop Multitasking

                        Multi-tasking is a myth. Your brain simply can’t work effectively by doing more than one thing at a time—at least more than one thing that requires focused attention.

                        So get your list of priorities (see earlier point), do the most important thing first, then move to the next item and work down your list.

                        When you split your focus over a multitude of different areas, you can’t consistently deliver a high performance. You won’t be fully present on the one task or project at hand.

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                        If you allocate blocked time and create firm boundaries for specific activities and commitments, you won’t feel so overwhelmed or overworked with everything you have to do.

                        9. Work in Blocks of Time

                        To keep your energy up to produce your best results it’s essential to take regular breaks.

                        I use the 60-60-30 method myself and teach it to my coaching clients.

                        Work on a project for a sustained period of 50 minutes.

                        Then take a 10-minute break. This could be taking a walk, having a healthy snack or just having a conversation with someone.

                        Then continue to work on the project for a further 50 minutes.

                        Then take another 10-minute break.

                        Then take a complete 30-minute break to unplug from the work. This could be time for a proper lunch, a quick bit of exercise, reading or having a walk.

                        By simply taking some time out, your energy levels stay up, the quality of your work improves and you reduce the risk of becoming burned out.

                        10. Get Rid of Distractions

                        Make an estimation on how many times you are distracted during an average working day. Now take that number and multiply it by 25. According to Gloria Mark in her study on The Cost of Interrupted Work, it takes us an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to the original task after interruption.[1]

                        “Our research has shown that attention distraction can lead to higher stress, a bad mood and lower productivity.”

                        Distractions don’t just take up your time during the distraction, they can derail your mental progress and focus for almost 25 minutes. So, if you are distracted 5 times per day, you could be losing almost 2 hours every day of productive work and almost 10 hours every week.

                        If you have an important project to work on, find a space where you won’t be distracted, or try doing this.

                        11. Commit Focused Time to Smaller Tasks

                        You know sometimes, you need to simply tackle these tasks and take action on them. But there’s always something more pressing.

                        Small tasks can often get in the way of your most important projects. They sit there on your daily To Do list but are often forgotten about because of more important priorities or because they hold no interest for you. But they take up mental energy. They clutter your mind.

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                        Commit to spending a specific period of time completing all the small tasks you have on your To Do list. It will give you peace of mind and the space to focus more on your bigger priorities.

                        12. Take a Time Audit

                        Do you know exactly where your time is going each day? Are you spending too long on certain projects and tasks to the detriment of bigger opportunities?

                        Spend a bit of time to analyze where you are spending your time. This insight will amaze you and give you the clarity to start adjusting where you focus your time and on what projects.

                        You can start by taking a piece of paper and creating three columns:

                        Column A is Priority Work. Column B is Good Work. Column C is low value work or stuff.

                        Each day, write down the project or task and the time spent on each. Allocate that time to one of the columns.

                        At the end of the week, record the total time spent in each column.

                        If you are spending far too much time on certain types of work, look to change things so your focused time is in Column B and C.

                        13. Protect Your Confidence

                        It is essential to protect our confidence to ensure we don’t get overwhelmed, stressed and lose belief.

                        When you have confidence as a daily resource, you are in a better position to problem solve, learn quicker, respond to anything, adjust to anything, and achieve your biggest opportunities.

                        Confidence gives you the ability to transform fear into focused and relaxed thinking, communication, and action. This is key to put your mind into a productive state.

                        When confidence is high, you can clearly see the possibilities at hand and create strategies to take advantage of them, or to solve the challenges you face each day.

                        Final Words

                        A heavy workload can be tough to deal with and can cause stress, burnout and ongoing frustration.

                        The key is to tackle it head on, rather than let it go on and compound the long-term effects. Hopefully, you can take action on at least one of these tips.

                        If it gets too much, and negatively affects your physical and mental health, it may be time to talk to someone. Instead of dealing with it alone and staying unhappier, resentful and getting to a point where you simply can’t cope, you have to make a change for your own sanity.

                        Featured photo credit: Hannah Wei via unsplash.com

                        Reference

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