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10 Websites and Apps to Recharge Yourself at Work in 5 Minutes

10 Websites and Apps to Recharge Yourself at Work in 5 Minutes

Taking regular and meaningful breaks from your work is important to staying alert and not burning out. However, a common excuse for not taking a break is that there’s simply no time in a busy schedule to take a truly refreshing breather. This causes you more stress and the cycle continues, making you less focused and less productive but feeling like you just can’t allow yourself a break.

The solution is to find simple and easy to access resources to give yourself quick but effective sessions to de-stress, whether at the office or wherever you do your work.

These are some of the best websites and mobile apps for doing just that, all of them free or very affordable. So, no more excuses. Start giving yourself healthy breaks to recharge and stop hitting a wall with your daily grind.

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    Calm.com (website)

    The name of this website says it all. Upon landing on its homepage, you’ll be asked to choose a length of time, whether you want music, and if you’d prefer a soothing voice-over to guide you on your journey to relaxation. Whether you have two minutes or 10, this site will help you find inner peace in no time.

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      Rainy Mood (website, iPhone, Android)

      There’s something uniquely soothing about the sound of rain. As someone from a rainy city who is currently in southern California most of the year, I really enjoy having the ability to hear the pure sound of rain falling no matter where I am. If you also feel comforted by rain, bookmark this site and use it to have a little moment of rainy zen at work when you need one.

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        Sound Drown (website)

        For the most variety in experience customization, Soundrown definitely wins. This site has many sounds to choose from and, perhaps best of all, the ability to overlap them. So if you want to listen to birds chirping by a fountain, you can. If, for whatever reason, the sound of a train running through a crackling fire is your cup of tea, you can do that too. I especially like that you can change the volume of individual sounds, so that if the bird chirping is too prominent against that trickling fountain, you can soften it without turning down the entire soundscape’s volume. I have this one bookmarked as well. It’s a nice escape from your routine if you find some background noise relaxing.

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          Do Nothing For 2 Minutes

          This is the relaxation site for the non-stop fidgeters out there. Do Nothing for 2 Minutes gives you a serene background, a simple screen, and the serene sound of ocean waves along with text stating the same instructions as the site’s name. If you move your cursor before the 2 minute countdown is up, you “fail” and must start over again. This will force you to actually sit calmly and relax instead of drifting over to your email, or that one online shopping site you can’t stop looking at. I admittedly found it a bit challenging at first, but the challenge only creates more incentive to actually make the most out of those 2 minutes and truly relax.

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            Silk

            Silk is “interactive generative art,” which means you get to make pretty glowy art with squiggles. Your mouse is your digital paintbrush and you have several settings to customize the color of your strokes (you can see in this screenshot I took that I have green and blue mixed together). Oh, and every line or blob you make is mirrored, and you have a few options for patterns from the simple two-fold all the way up to six symmetrical folds. It’s incredibly relaxing to move your cursor around and watch as brightly-colored waves and ribbons spill out into pretty patterns. It doesn’t require a lot of set up, so you can fit in a zen “drawing” break when you need to.

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              Breathing Zone (iPhone and Android app), $3.99

              This app costs a couple of bucks, but that’s because its techniques are backed by research. Breathing Zone uses a “clinically proven therapeutic breathing exercise” shown to decrease heart rate and blood pressure. It’s so legit that it has been featured on several news outlets and, at least according to the site, even has legit doctors recommending it to patients. If you work in an environment that’s high-stress or you’ve got the co-worker from hell in the next cubicle, this app is probably worth the money.

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                Earthlapse (iPhone/iPad app), Free for limited time, reg. $0.99

                Space is something else I find very peaceful, and, if you do too, Earthlapse is an amazing app to relieve stress. The app plays relaxing new age music while real time-lapse photography taken by NASA over the Earth rolls across your screen. The screenshot above is just one view; there are unobstructed views as well, and you have the choice of whether you want a clock and other info on the screen or nothing. When you’re having an especially nasty day at work, just look down on the Earth from miles above and revel in the insignificance of your troubles, if only for a moment.

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                  Daily Yoga (iPhone/iPad and Android app), Free

                  Doing exercise and stretching is proven to help reduce stress by increasing endorphins, so a bit of light yoga is an excellent break from work and stress-reliever. If, like myself, you don’t know any yoga poses except Downward Facing Dog, Daily Yoga has instructions on how to do the poses, including proper breathing and video demonstrations. No need to attempt to twist yourself into a pretzel; just take a break from work to do some simple poses that will calm and recharge you. Easy peasy.

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                    Fluid Monkey (iPhone/iPad and Android app), Free

                    Similar to Silk, Fluid Monkey involves making colorful, interactive images with your finger (rather than a mouse). You touch the screen to generate little particles of varying colors that swim around a simple and tranquil background, which you can then move around and play with. What I like about this app in particular is the level of customization to make the perfect soothing simulation for you. You get to customize color, thickness of the “fluid” that the particles move in, and particle friction. It’s sort of like having a very customizable lava lamp, or an incredibly abstract fish tank–two things you probably aren’t allowed to have on your physical work desk.

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                      Dead Trigger 2 (available on iPhone, Android, and Facebook), Free

                      Like to relax less conventional ways? Me too. Due to my roommates having a TV with three game consoles set up, one of the ways I used to relax after stressful days at class last year was playing Left 4 Dead 2. There’s just something magical about unwinding by mowing down hoards of zombies with a virtual semi-automatic. The “2” similarity here is just a coincidence–the first Dead Trigger is still available and also awesome, but it makes more sense to list the most recent version first. Take out that stress and frustration with a jolly round of zombie killin’.

                      Featured photo credit: my new job at the call center/Domenico via flic.kr

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                      Last Updated on September 17, 2018

                      How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

                      How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

                      Today we are expected to work in highly disruptive environments. We sit down at our desks, turn on our computer and immediately we are hit with hundreds of emails all vying for our attention.

                      Our phones are beeping and pinging with new alerts to messages, likes and comments and our colleagues are complaining about the latest company initiative is designed to get us to do more work and spend less time at home.

                      All these distractions result in us multitasking where our attention is switching between one crisis and the next.

                      Multitasking is a problem. But how to stop multitasking?

                      How bad really is multitasking?

                      It dilutes your focus and attention so even the easiest of tasks become much harder and take longer to complete.

                      Studies have shown that while you think you are multitasking, you are in fact task switching, which means your attention is switching between two or more pieces of work and that depletes the energy resources you have to do your work.

                      This is why, even though you may have done little to no physical activity, you arrive home at the end of the day feeling exhausted and not in the mood to do anything.

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                      We know it is not a good way to get quality work done, but the demands for out attention persist and rather than reduce, are likely to increase as the years go by.

                      So what to do about it?

                      Ways to stop multitasking and increase productivity

                      Now, forget about how to multitask!

                      Here are a few strategies on how to stop multitasking so you can get better quality and more work done in the time you have each working day:

                      1. Get enough rest

                      When you are tired, your brain has less strength to resist even the tiniest attention seeker. This is why when you find your mind wandering, it is a sign your brain is tired and time to take a break.

                      This does not just mean taking breaks throughout the day, it also means making sure you get enough sleep every day.

                      When you are well rested and take short regular breaks throughout the day your brain is fully refuelled and ready to focus in on the work that is important.

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                      2. Plan your day

                      When you don’t have a plan for the day, the day will create a plan for you. When you allow outside influences to take control of your day, it is very hard not to be dragged off in all directions.

                      When you have a plan for the day, when you arrive at work your brain knows exactly what it is you want to accomplish and will subconsciously have prepared itself for a sustained period of focused work.

                      Your resistance to distractions and other work will be high and you will focus much better on the work that needs doing.

                      3. Remove everything from your desk and screen except for the work you are doing

                      I learned this one a long time ago. In my previous work, I worked in a law office and I had case files to deal with. If I had more than one case file on my desk at any one time, I would find my eyes wandering over the other case files on my desk when I had something difficult to do.

                      I was looking for something easier. This meant often I was working on three or four cases at one time and that always led to mistakes and slower completion.

                      Now when I am working on something, I am in full-screen mode where all I can see is the work I am working on right now.

                      4. When at your desk, do work

                      We are creatures of habit. If we do our online shopping and news reading at our desks as well as our work, we will always have the temptation to be doing stuff that we should not be doing at that moment.

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                      Do your online shopping from another place—your home or from your phone when you are having a break—and only do your work when at your desk. This conditions your brain to focus in on your work and not other distractions.

                      5. Learn to say no

                      Whenever you hear the phrase “learn to say no,” it does not mean going about being rude to everyone. What it does mean is delay saying yes.

                      Most problems occur when we say “yes” immediately. We then have to spend an inordinate amount of energy thinking of ways to get ourselves out of the commitment we made.

                      By saying “let me think about it” or “can I let you know later” gives you time to evaluate the offer and allows you to get back to what you were doing quicker.

                      6. Turn off notifications on your computer

                      For most of us, we still use computers to do our work. When you have email alert pop-ups and other notifications turned on, they will distract you no matter how strong you feel.

                      Turn them off and schedule email reviewing for times between doing your focused work. Doing this will give you a lot of time back because you will be able to remain focused on the work in front of you.

                      7. Find a quiet place to do your most important work

                      Most workplaces have meeting rooms that are vacant. If you do have important work to get done, ask if you can use one of those rooms and do your work there.

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                      You can close the door, put on your headphones and just focus on what is important. This is a great way to remove all the other, non-important, tasks demanding your attention and just focus on one piece of work.

                      The bottom line

                      Focusing on one piece of work at a time can be hard but the benefits to the amount of work you get done are worth it. You will make fewer mistakes, you will get more done and will feel a lot less tired at the end of the day.

                      Make a list of the four or five things you want to get done the next day before you finish your work for the day and when you start the day, begin at the top of the list with the first item.

                      Don’t start anything else until you have finished the first one and then move on to the second one. This one trick will help you to become way more productive.

                      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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