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How Your iPod Can Make You More Productive

How Your iPod Can Make You More Productive
How Your iPod Can Make You More Productive

    The iPod is an incredible organizing device! It takes many shelves worth of CDs and condenses them into one tiny gadget, thereby reducing clutter. The iPod (and iTunes) also took away the classic dilemma highlighted in the movie High Fidelity: Should you organize your music collection alphabetically by artist? Or by genre first? Now you can organize it any way you want with a couple of clicks.

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    Looking at the iPod from an organizer’s point of view, there are some great ways it can help you be more productive too. Here are a few:

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    • Drown out distractions. If you need shelter from the cacophony of the cubicle farm, many already know that headphones are a great way to escape. But even if you work alone as a telecommuter or solopreneur, your iPod can keep you from hearing the dog, the sirens outside, or even the neighbor’s television, allowing more concentration on your work.
    • Time yourself. A little-known feature of the iPod is the “Sleep Timer,” located in the menu under Extras>Clock>Sleep Timer. This feature sets the iPod to turn itself off after 15, 30, 60, 90, or 120 minutes of play time. Obviously, going to sleep with your iPod on is one way to utilize this, but I like using this feature to create breaks and ending times for my projects.
    • Pace and focus yourself. Among the fantastic organizing capacities of iTunes is the ability to create Playlists… the modern day mix tape. Create and save a mix of music in exactly the order you want, from a variety of different artists if you like, and make it music that energizes you and allows your brain to focus best. For some people this is classical music, and for others this may be heavy metal. I like making up memorable names for my playlists—I have a techno mix that is for intense writing times on deadline, and I call it “TechnoFocus.”
    • Hands-free reading. I do the majority of my “reading” with audiobooks, listening in the car, while exercising, or while doing mundane chores around the house. Before the iPod, this was cumbersome as a typical book can take as much as 7 CDs. I often am so caught up in listening to the book that I am surprised how much I have accomplished—wow, who cleaned out the refrigerator? Oh, it was me…

    The most common question we get about iPods from our clients is, “Should I still keep my CDs now that they are on my hard drive?” It’s relatively easy to sell used CDs, so we think not, but you definitely need to have an excellent backup system to safeguard your collection should your hard drive fail. Some people do have a hard time parting with their beloved liner notes and the physicality of holding their favorite album, and if you do want to keep them, a great space-saving method is to use CD wallets instead of jewel cases.

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    Here’s a little bonus tip: I love using the Belkin “TuneTie” accessory to take up the extra cord of your headphones. It makes the excess cord much easier to deal with in a handbag or backpack. Go forth and be productive with your new iPod ideas!

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    Last Updated on July 23, 2019

    5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

    5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

    In the journey of growth, there are times when we grow and excel. We are endlessly driven and hyped up, motivated to get our goals.

    Then there are times when we stagnate. We feel uninspired and unmotivated. We keep procrastinating on our plans. More often than not, we get out of a rut, only to get back into another one.

    How do you know if you are stagnating? Here are some tell-tale signs:

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    • If you have been experiencing chronic procrastination on your goals
    • If you don’t ever feel like doing anything
    • If you keep turning to sleep, eating, games, mindless activities and entertainment for comfort
    • If you know you should be doing something, but yet you keep avoiding it
    • If you have not achieved anything new or significant now relative to 1 month, 2 months or 3 months ago
    • If you have a deep sense of feeling that you are living under your potential

    When we face stagnation in life, it’s a sign of deeper issues. Stagnation, just like procrastination, is a symptom of a problem. It’s easy to beat ourselves over it, but this approach is not going to help. Here, I will share 5 steps to help you move out of this stagnation. They won’t magically transform your life in 1 night (such changes are never permanent because the foundations are not built), but they will help you get the momentum going and help you get back on track.

    1. Realize You’re Not Alone

    Everyone stagnates at some point or another. You are not alone in this and more importantly, it’s normal. In fact, it’s amazing how many of my clients actually face the same predicament, even though all of them come from different walks of life, are of different ages, and have never crossed paths. Realizing you are not alone in this will make it much easier to deal with this period. By trying to “fight it”, you’re only fighting yourself. Accept this situation, acknowledge it, and tell yourself it’s okay. That way, you can then focus on the constructive steps that will really help you.

    2. Find What Inspires You

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    Stagnation comes because there isn’t anything that excites you enough to take action. If you don’t have a habit of setting goals, and instead just leave yourself to daily mundanes, it’s not surprising you are experiencing stagnation. What do you want to do if there are no limitations? If you can have whatever you want, what will it be? The answers to these questions will provide the fuel that will drive you forward.

    On the other hand, even if you are an experienced goal setter, there are times when the goals you set in the past lose their appeal now. It’s normal and it happens to me too. Sometimes we lose touch with our goals, since we are in a different emotional state compared to when we first set them. Sometimes our priorities change and we no longer want to work on those goals anymore. However, we don’t consciously realize this, and what happens is we procrastinate on our goals until it compounds into a serious problem. If that’s the case for you, it’s time to relook into your goals. There’s no point in pursuing goals that no longer inspire you. Trash away your old goals (or just put them aside) and ask yourself what you really want now. Then go for them.

    3. Give Yourself a Break

    When’s the last time you took a real break for yourself? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Never? Perhaps it’s time to take a time-out. Prolonged working can cause someone to become disillusioned as they lose sight of who they are and what they want.

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    Go take some extended leave from work. A few days at bare minimum; a few weeks or months will be great. Some of my ex-colleagues have quit their jobs and took months out to do some self-reflection. Of course, some of us might not have that luxury, so we can stick to a few weeks of leave. Go on a trip elsewhere and get away from your work and your life. Use this chance to get a renewed perspective of life. Think about your life purpose, what you want and what you want to create for your life in the future. These are big questions that require deep thinking over them. It’s not about finding the answers at one go, but about taking the first step to finding the answers.

    4. Shake up Your Routines

    Being in the same environment, doing the same things over and over again and meeting the same people can make us stagnant. This is especially if the people you spend the most time with are stagnant themselves.

    Change things around. Start with simple things, like taking a different route to work and eating something different for breakfast. Have your lunch with different colleagues, colleagues you never talked much with. Work in a different cubicle if your work has free and easy seating. Do something different than your usual for weekday evenings and weekends. Cultivate different habits, like exercising every day, listening to a new series of podcasts every morning to work, reading a book, etc (here’s 6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick). The different contexts will give you different stimulus, which will trigger off different thoughts and actions in you.

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    When I’m in a state of stagnancy, I’ll get a sense of what’s making me stagnate. Sometimes it’s the environment I’m in, sometimes it’s the people I’ve been hanging out with, sometimes it’s my lifestyle. Most of the times it’s a combination of all these. Changing them up helps to stir myself out of the stagnant mode.

    5. Start with a Small Step

    Stagnation also comes from being frozen in fear. Maybe you do want this certain goal, but you aren’t taking action. Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work needed? Are you afraid you will make mistakes? Is the perfectionist in you taking over and paralyzing you?

    Let go of the belief that it has to be perfect. Such a belief is a bane, not a boon. It’s precisely from being open to mistakes and errors that you move forward. Break down what’s before you into very very small steps, then take those small steps, a little step at a time. I had a client who had been stagnating for a long period because he was afraid of failing. He didn’t want to make another move where he would make a mistake. However, not wanting to make a mistake has led him to do absolutely nothing for 2-3 years. On the other hand, by doing just something, you would already be making progress, whether it’s a mistake or not. Even if you make a supposed “mistake”,  you get feedback to do things differently in the next step. That’s something you would never have known if you never made a move.

    More to Help You Stay Motivated

    Here are some resources that will help you break out of your current phase:

    Featured photo credit: Anubhav Saxena via unsplash.com

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