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19 Best Web Resources To Enhance Productivity

19 Best Web Resources To Enhance Productivity

These days, there’s no shortage of web resources to choose from. And although options are wonderful, they can also be the bane of our existence. Too many options have often been the primary cause for a total lack of productivity.

For example: let’s say you want to learn how to make a good martini. You google search: “how to make the perfect martini”. Boom. You get back enough how-to articles on martini-making to make your head spin. You click one of the results…. It’s not bad. But maybe there’s something better. You go back to your Google search results and click another one, opening another tab in your browser. This one’s okay. But not as good as the last. Then you go back and look for another article.

You repeat the same cycle again. And again.. and again. Until next thing you know — you’ve got so many open tabs on your browser window that you’ve forgotten what you were trying to do in the first place!

How’d you go from searching for the perfect martini recipe, to watching a Justin Bieber video on YouTube?

This, my friend, is the double-edge sword of the world wide web and the many resources that it offers us to make use of… and if we waste too much time using the wrong ones (i.e. Justin Bieber videos on YouTube), then we end up sabotaging our own productivity as a result.

So without further ado, I present to you the 19 best web resources to enhance productivity. Save the martinis for after you’re done reading this article.

1. Evernote

This is the juggernaut of web resources to help with productivity. Personally, it’s my primary way of staying on track with my daily projects and tasks. Super charge this resource by integrating it with the Getting Things Done productivity methodology and you’ll be setting yourself up for success for a very long time.

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2. Spreeder

Learning to speed read can be massively helpful when you’re trying to plow through piles of documents and books in search of a vital piece of information. Luckily, there’s an app for that, and it’s called Spreeder.

3. Wunderlist

Wunderlist is the bucket-list-building app you’ve always wished for. Fast. Intuitive. Shareable. Whether you’re creating a “someday/maybe” list or pounding away at a project filled with tasks you need to accomplish, you just can’t go wrong with Wunderlist.

4. Coffitivity

Researchers tell us that people work better when there’s white noise in the background. That’s where an app like Coffitivity comes in handy by generating the buzziness of a cafe’ in the background while you’re working.

5. Tomato Timer

Tomato Timer is based on the Pomodoro technique, which is an incredibly popular productivity method that requires you to incorporate specific periods of rest and renewal into your workday by breaking it up into 25-minute chunks of productive time. After the 25-minute chunk of time is up, you get a short break before repeating the same cycle over again.

The Tomato Timer will alert you when the 25 minutes is up so you can get up and take a quick moment to recharge your batteries before getting back to work again. The fact that you know you’ll be able to take a break when the timer goes off will help you beat procrastination once and for all.

6. GetFlashNotes

Too busy to read that pile of books on the bedside table? Start using GetFlashNotes book summaries and you’ll be done reading them, all in under 20 minutes flat. The fact that you can read the best self-help and business books in mere minutes makes this a productivity resource that you should never leave home without.

And since their summaries come formatted for every device, you’ll never have to.

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7. Do Nothing For 2 Minutes

If there’s one thing modern professionals don’t get enough of, it’s short periods of rest. You work hard. Bless yourself with 120 seconds of peace via this simple but powerful productivity resource. You’ll feel better for having done it.

8. Doodle

Never go back and forth about when to schedule a meeting, and forget about wasting time email-polling your friends about whether they can make it to your birthday party on this or that date.

Instead, use Doodle to identify a few potential windows of time that work best for you, and ask everyone else to fill in what works for them within those windows. Doodle makes scheduling things easy.

9. Feedly

Organize everything you love — from blogs, to news, to websites and more — all in one place that you can go back to whenever you want, via Feedly.

10. Podcasts

Listening to a podcast can be a vital productivity resource if you’re doing it with a purpose. Want to learn how to quit smoking or how to be more confident? Listen to a self-improvement podcast on iTunes.

Want the big ideas from that business book your co-worker told you about? Listen to a non-fiction literature podcast. Take advantage of podcasts. They’re free, fun, and can teach you tons of productivity hacks within a very short period of time.

11. FocusWriter

A simple tool that provides a clean on-screen writing environment for the essentialist. FocusWriter comes complete with other small but useful resources to enhance productivity, like timers, alarms, spell checking and goal-setting functionality.

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12. Hootsuite

Automate all of your social media, rather than dividing your attention, when you could be productively getting things done instead. Let’s say you’ve just written a great blog post and you really want to capitalize on the power of social media to spread that blog post as far as possible. Rather than sharing and tweeting about it on all of your social media platforms all at once, you can use Hootsuite to pre-populate exactly when – and how often – you want your blog post to be spread around on each of your individual social media accounts.

If the best time to self-promote on Facebook is on Tuesday mornings between 8 and 9 am, then set up your messaging with Hootsuite to ensure it goes out on that specific day. Rinse and repeat for your other platforms.

13. IFTTT

The acronym stands for “If this, then that”, and it’s an app that allows you to create little chains of productivity using simple “recipes”. The “recipes” act as Triggers and Actions to prompt you to stay productive.

For example, you can make a recipe that automatically turns every email you start in your Gmail into a reminder in your iOS Reminders app. Pretty cool, eh?

14. Lift

Get push notifications to remind you to stay on track with your health and fitness goals. Prompt yourself to “drink more water” at various times throughout the day. Remind yourself to stick with your gym habit every morning.

Use Lift as you constant companion to help you harness the power of habit when you need it most.

15. Productivity Owl

Productivity Owl is a Google Chrome extension that keeps you on track by letting you know when you’re not being as productive as you should be. The productivity owl literally gets in your face, too. Every time you’re browsing pages that you know you shouldn’t be, the little Productivity Owl swoops down from the corner of your screen to let you know that it’s time to stop checking Facebook so you can finish up that presentation that’s due tomorrow.

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16. SelfControl

What if you could block yourself from succumbing to the luring urge’s to constantly check your social media apps like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube? Well, now you can. SelfControl’s application lets you block your own access to distracting websites, your mail servers and pretty much anything else on the web.

Just preset a period of time to block for, add sites to your blacklist and click “Start.” Until that timer expires, you won’t be able to access those sites – even if you restart your computer or delete the application.

17. Audible

Every book you read is a deliberate investment in your personal development. But what if you’re not a big fan of reading or don’t have the time to? Don’t fret. You can listen to audiobooks instead.

With Audible, you can listen to books while you run, walk, or drive to work in the morning. Easy peasy.

18. Unroll.Me

See your favorite newsletter subscriptions “at-a-glance”, rather than in an endless stream of spam-like emails that never seem to end.

19. Sleepy Ti.me

Last but not least, we have the Sleepy Time app. Because there’s absolutely no productivity hack, trick, or tool that’ll ever replace your body’s need for sleep. Sleepy Time is a bedtime calculator that’s meant to help you maintain a steady snoozing schedule.

Clock in when you want to sleep, and let it calculate how many Z’s you need to catch for your body to perform at peak levels of productivity throughout the day.

Time to get productive

So there you have it – 19 of the best productivity web resources available today. But beware of awesome-app overload. These resources are only as powerful as you allow them to be.

So print this list out or save it somewhere you know you’ll come back to, so that you can try a couple at a time until you figure out your favorite from the bunch. Stay productive.

More by this author

Dean Bokhari

Author, Entrepreneur, Podcast & TV Host

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Last Updated on October 17, 2018

7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways to Improve Memory

7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways to Improve Memory

How is your memory? Is your cognitive function as strong as you’d like it to be?

If not, then you’re definitely going to be interested in the memory improvement tips I’ll be sharing with you in this article.

Despite what you might think – or have been told – improving your ability to recall information is certainly possible. You just need to know the right ways to do it. (Don’t worry, as you won’t need to make any significant lifestyle changes.)

So how to improve memory? Let’s dive straight into the first of seven easy ways to improve your memory significantly.

1. Meditate

We live in a world of non-stop, 24/7 information. It’s like a waterfall that’s endlessly pouring news, data, facts and figures into our conscious minds.

Unfortunately, our brains are not designed to absorb this tremendous amount of information. It’s no wonder then, that most people struggle to remember information and recall things.

Even if you believe you have a good memory and are comfortable with multi-tasking, you’ll also be aware that there’s only so much information your brain can process at one time. And research suggests that the more information and distractions, the harder it is for you to transfer information to your long-term memory.[1]

Fortunately, meditation can help you out.

Even if you just meditate for 10 minutes per day, you’ll boost your ability to focus, which in turn, will make it easier for you to remember important facts.

If you need help in shifting into a meditative state, I recommend trying an app like Headspace – which can assist you to achieve this in a convenient and structured way.

And don’t forget, meditation doesn’t just have to be closing your eyes and sitting in a lotus position. Some people prefer to simply take a short walk in nature. This clears and calms their mind, and still provides the all-important boost to their focus.

2. Get plenty of sleep

If you’re sleep deprived or have not been sleeping well, then I’m guessing you’re not remembering well either. This is because sleep and memory are intimately connected.

If you have a busy life and regularly find yourself not getting enough sleep, then this will negatively impact your cognitive abilities – including your memory.

How much sleep should you be getting?

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Well, according to the National Sleep Foundation, you need a minimum of seven to nine hours of sleep per night. If you get this amount of sleep regularly, then within just a few days, you’ll see a tangible improvement to your ability to remember and recall things.

Now, I’ll be honest with you, maintaining a proper sleep cycle is not always easy (especially when the latest Netflix series has just been released!). But if you care about improving your short-term and long-term ability to remember things, then it’s critical that you try to get at least the recommended amount of sleep every night.

Are there ways to hack the sleep cycle?

Yes, there are.

Try these three things:

  • Have a fixed bedtime (preferably before 10pm)
  • Don’t eat too late
  • Make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible

Sleeping is a precious activity. It regenerates your body, clears your mind, and helps with the storing and retrieval of information.

However, don’t sleep just yet, as I want to tell you about another great way to increase memory…

3. Challenge your brain

When was the last time you challenged your brain?

I don’t mean challenged in the sense of overeating or undersleeping. I’m referring to stretching your mental capabilities through things like crossword puzzles, Sudoku and memory games.

To expand your memory bank, and to make your recall razor-sharp, you need to continually challenge your brain.

Feedback from Lifehack readers such as yourself, has suggested that brain training apps are a super-effective way of doing this. Used regularly, these apps can enhance your focus, attention span, problem-thinking ability and memory.

There are hundreds of these apps available (most of them for free), but I recommend starting out with one of the big three:

  • Peak (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
  • Lumosity (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
  • Elevate (Android/iOS, free, 5 million+ downloads)

If you normally spend a chunk of your week playing computer games, then instead of shooting and killing your enemies, why not let some of them live – while you put your attention into boosting your brain power!

Challenging your brain will strengthen your neural pathways and enhance your mental abilities. But don’t just take my word for it, try one of the apps above and see the positive benefits for yourself.

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4. Take more breaks

When I think back to my days as a budding entrepreneur, I distinctively remember working all the hours under the sun – and many under the moon too!

At that time, I believed that breaks were for the weak, and to become wealthy and successful, I needed to shed blood, sweat and tears.

However, I was wrong.

Taking regular breaks is the best way to keep yourself productive, creative and alive to opportunities. It’s also the best way to learn new information.

Let me explain.

Typically, when studying lots of new information, most people will spend hours reading it – in an attempt to learn and remember the content as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, they’ve overlooked something.

Namely, extended study sessions are rarely a good thing, as your ability to retain information naturally declines after a certain period of time.

It’s similar to physical exercise. You wouldn’t attempt to train vigorously for four hours in a row. Instead, you’d take regular breaks to give your lungs, heart and muscles adequate time to recover. Failing to do this will result in muscle cramps and overexertion.

It’s the same with your brain. If you overload it with information, you’ll suffer from mental fatigue.

What’s the answer?

Make sure you take regular breaks when learning new information. I recommend at least a 10-minute break every hour. (You may also want to take a look at the Pomodoro Method.)

If you don’t want to be as regimented as that, then take breaks as soon as you find yourself losing the ability to focus on the new material. Your brain will thank you – and your learning aptitude will move up a level.

5. Learn a new skill

I love this quote, as it’s 100% true – but frequently overlooked:

“Learning never exhausts the mind.” – Leonardo da Vinci

From my experience of helping to develop the careers of dozens of Lifehack employees, I can definitively say that participating in meaningful and purposeful activities stimulates the mind. It also reduces stress and enhances health and well-being.

Let me give you an example of this:

Imagine you work for a global financial institution in one of their call centers. You take over 100 calls a day – many of them complaints. When you started the job a few months back, you were excited to be in full-time employment and working for a household name.

Unfortunately, your initial enthusiasm quickly turned into frustration.

The endless complaint calls began to take their toll on you. And the supervisors irritated you too, as they were far too interested in micro-managing you – rather than letting you work in your own way.

Now, in the story above, the ending could be that you put up with a job you didn’t like, and led a dull and frustrated working life for years and years. However, an alternative ending is this: you channeled your dissatisfaction in to learning a new skill (computer coding). It took you a year or two to get up to speed, but it allowed you to successfully upgrade your career – and the ongoing learning made the call centre job much more bearable.

Clearly, learning new skills gives you impetus, focus and something to aim for. Your brain loves to learn, and you should tap into this by always seeking our new information. And when learning becomes a habit, you’ll find your ability to remember and recall things effortlessly, becomes a habit too.

6. Start working out

If you’re not already working out regularly, then here’s another reason to do so:

Exercising for 20-30 minutes three times a week will improve your long-term memory.

Regular exercise increases blood flow in your body and supplies the brain with extra oxygen and nutrients. And a well-nourished brain is a well-functioning brain!

“But I just don’t have the time?,” I hear you say.

Not a problem.

A research has shown that a daily burst of 60 seconds of high-intensity exercise, offered many of the benefits of the longer exercise routines.[2] So, if you’re short on time – now you know what to do.

Interested in getting started?

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Here are five different ways that will help you work out:

  • Join a gym
  • Join a sports team
  • Buy a bike
  • Take up hiking
  • Dance to your favorite music

7. Eat healthier foods

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression: “You are what you eat.”

This applies to your brain too.

The food that you eat helps determine your brain’s capacity to store and recall information. A poor diet (think junk food + soda!) harms not just your physical health, but your mental health too.

Fortunately, there are several foods that are especially good for your brain and your memory. These include: blueberries, celery and dark chocolate. But anything high in antioxidants will have a positive effect on your brain and memory.

Conversely, highly-processed foods and those loaded with sugar will have a negative impact on your memory. This is due to them providing insufficient nutrients for your brain – leading you to easily suffer from mental fatigue.

Want to be mentally healthy? Then eat and drink an abundance of these for brain health:

  • Turmeric – helps new brain cells grown
  • Broccoli – protects the brain against damage
  • Nuts – improves memory
  • Green tea – enhances brain performance, memory and focus[3]
  • Fish oilfish oil supplements can increase your brain power

Here’re more brain food options that improve memory!

Final thoughts

I sincerely hope these seven memory boosting ways that I’ve covered in this article will be of help to you.

You don’t need to implement them all. I suggest just trying the ones that appeal to you.

But, if you’re serious about dramatically improving your memory, then make a start right now on adopting one or more of the ways I’ve suggested. I’m confident you won’t regret it.

Featured photo credit: Eric Ward via unsplash.com

Reference

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