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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 March 23, 2021

    Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

    Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

    One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

    The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

    You need more than time management. You need energy management

    1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

    How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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    I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

    I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

    2. Determine your “peak hours”

    Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

    Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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    My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

    In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

    Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

    3. Block those high-energy hours

    Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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    Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

    If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

    That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

    There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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    Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

    Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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