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The 12 Days of Giveaways: Day 11 – Helvetindex Cards

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The 12 Days of Giveaways: Day 11 – Helvetindex Cards

    As we head into the final days of our 12 Days of Giveaways promo, we’ve got some cool analog tools to offer. Today we bring you the excellent design and craftsmanship of Helvetindex Cards, which will not only help 5 lucky Lifehack readers get things done — but will give them some quality looking material to do it with.

    But before we get to that, let’s take care of announcing the winner of yesterday’s 12 Days of Giveaways winner. We had a ton of responses to this one, which was an Evernote prize pack and a copy of the must-have companion book to Evernote, Brett Kelly’s Evernote Essentials.

    The question we asked was:

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    “How will you use Evernote in 2012 to stay more organized and become more productive?”

    And the winning comment was left by Anne Geissman Cartwright, who said:

    “My life is about to go topsyturvy–my husband and I are launching a complete remodel of our house. But the rest of my life will continue on: freelancing as a book editor; taking classes at the local college (I just finished up with some graphic design and Emergency Medical Technician training), working in Search & Rescue. I need to stay on top of my schedule, my finances, various sorts of information. The mere idea of having everything I need for my Search & Rescue and EMT work always available in one handy place makes me quiver with delight. But to have everything else at hand as well, and organized–oh, bliss! I’d love to make Evernote a regular, can’t-do-without-it part of my life.”

    Congratulations, Anne — I hope you get as much out of Evernote as I have. I’m an avid user; it’s a mainstay on all of my computing devices. I’m sure it will help you give your productivity a boost — and with all you’ve got on the go, it sounds like a boost will come in handy in 2012!

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    Now…on to today’s giveaway!

    About Helvetindex Cards

    No matter how you slice it, paper is still a big part of a lot people’s productivity systems. There’s no compatibility issues, no software upgrades needed and it’s both portable and disposable. I’ve been using index cards as part of a Hipster PDA capture tool for years, and the cards I used were as cheap as they came. Oddly enough — or perhaps not — I treated the tasks on the cards as poorly as I treated the cards. Silly, perhaps…but it’s how it went. So I stopped using them and went to a different method of paper capture. I started using higher quality goods and stock, and soon everything I captured on them had more quality attached to them as well. But there were still no index cards that matched the quality of my other paper products, so I kept my binder clips in a drawer, unused.

    Then Aaron Mahnke created Helvetindex Cards.

    These cards are made of high quality stock and are a pleasure to use. There are spaces at the top of the card to mark with dates, topics or whatever your system dictates. Helvetindex Cards don’t force you into a system, they let you bring them into yours. I’m still working through my pack of 100 cards and my binder clips now have something to hold on to again. My Hipster PDA is back where it belongs: with me at all times…along with the Helvetindex Cards that I use to make it.

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    How to Enter

    In order to enter to win one of the five bundles of Helvetindex Cards, you need to leave a comment below or on our Facebook fan page that answers the following:

    “When do you find yourself reaching for paper over digital tools — and why?”

    Leaving a comment on both our Facebook fan page and here at Lifehack.org will get you 2 entries, so but you need to give us two items that you like the most – no copying and pasting!

    The Fine Print

    Employees of Helvetindex Cards and of Stepcase (including current independent contractors of both) are not eligible for this contest. The prize can only be shipped to addresses within the continental United States and Canada, so keep that in mind when entering. The winning entry will be judged by the Stepcase Lifehack editing team and winners will be notified on the platform in which their winning entry was placed (either on the Lifehack.org Facebook wall or by email through our commenting system here the website). For those entering contest with a comment on our site, in order to be considered eligible, you MUST leave a contact email when leaving a comment (it’s the only way we’ll know how to contact you). Entries must be submitted by 10 am Eastern the following weekday and winners will be chosen by 12 pm Eastern time on the same day. The winner will be announced the same day on Lifehack.org, and will be notified beforehand.

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    Good luck!

    (Photo courtesy of Helvetindex Cards)

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    Mike Vardy

    A productivity specialist who shows you how to define your day, funnel your focus, and make every moment matter.

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    Published on September 21, 2021

    How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

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    How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

    The internet is flooded with articles about remote work and its benefits or drawbacks. But in reality, the remote work experience is so subjective that it’s impossible to draw general conclusions and issue one-size-fits-all advice about it. However, one thing that’s universal and rock-solid is data. Data-backed findings and research about remote work productivity give us a clear picture of how our workdays have changed and how work from home affects us—because data doesn’t lie.

    In this article, we’ll look at three decisive findings from a recent data study and two survey reports concerning remote work productivity and worker well-being.

    1. We Take Less Frequent Breaks

    Your home can be a peaceful or a distracting place depending on your living and family conditions. While some of us might find it hard to focus amidst the sounds of our everyday life, other people will tell you that the peace and quiet while working from home (WFH) is a major productivity booster. Then there are those who find it hard to take proper breaks at home and switch off at the end of the workday.

    But what does data say about remote work productivity? Do we work more or less in a remote setting?

    Let’s take a step back to pre-pandemic times (2014, to be exact) when a time tracking application called DeskTime discovered that 10% of most productive people work for 52 minutes and then take a break for 17 minutes.

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    Recently, the same time tracking app repeated that study to reveal working and breaking patterns during the pandemic. They found that remote work has caused an increase in time worked, with the most productive people now working for 112 minutes and breaking for 26 minutes.[1]

    Now, this may seem rather innocent at first—so what if we work for extended periods of time as long as we also take longer breaks? But let’s take a closer look at this proportion.

    While breaks have become only nine minutes longer, work sprints have more than doubled. That’s nearly two hours of work, meaning that the most hard-working people only take three to four breaks per 8-hour workday. This discovery makes us question if working from home (WFH) really is as good a thing for our well-being as we thought it was. In addition, in the WFH format, breaks are no longer a treat but rather a time to squeeze in a chore or help children with schoolwork.

    Online meetings are among the main reasons for less frequent breaks. Pre-pandemic meetings meant going to another room, stretching your legs, and giving your eyes a rest from the computer. In a remote setting, all meetings happen on screen, sometimes back-to-back, which could be one of the main factors explaining the longer work hours recorded.

    2. We Face a Higher Risk of Burnout

    At first, many were optimistic about remote work’s benefits in terms of work-life balance as we save time on commuting and have more time to spend with family—at least in theory. But for many people, this was quickly counterbalanced by a struggle to separate their work and personal lives. Buffer’s 2021 survey for the State of Remote Work report found that the biggest struggle of remote workers is not being able to unplug, with collaboration difficulties and loneliness sharing second place.[2]

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    Buffer’s respondents were also asked if they are working more or less since their shift to remote work, and 45 percent admitted to working more. Forty-two percent said they are working the same amount, while 13 percent responded that they are working less.

    Longer work hours and fewer quality breaks can dramatically affect our health, as long-term sitting and computer use can cause eye strain, mental fatigue, and other issues. These, in turn, can lead to more severe consequences, such as burnout and heart disease.

    Let’s have a closer look at the connection between burnout and remote work.

    McKinsey’s report about the Future of work states that 49% of people say they’re feeling some symptoms of burnout.[3] And that may be an understatement since employees experiencing burnout are less likely to respond to survey requests and may have even left the workforce.

    From the viewpoint of the employer, remote workers may seem like they are more productive and working longer hours. However, managers must be aware of the risks associated with increased employee anxiety. Otherwise, the productivity gains won’t be long-lasting. It’s no secret that prolonged anxiety can reduce job satisfaction, decrease work performance, and negatively affect interpersonal relationships with colleagues.[4]

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    3. Despite everything, We Love Remote Work

    An overwhelming majority—97 percent—of Buffer report’s survey respondents say they would like to continue working remotely to some extent. The two main benefits mentioned by the respondents are the ability to have a flexible schedule and the flexibility to work from anywhere.

    McKinsey’s report found that more than half of employees would like their workplace to adopt a more flexible hybrid virtual-working model, with some days of work on-premises and some days working remotely. To be more exact, more than half of employees report that they would like at least three work-from-home days a week once the pandemic is over.

    Companies will increasingly be forced to find ways to satisfy these workforce demands while implementing policies to minimize the risks associated with overworking and burnout. Smart companies will embrace this new trend and realize that adopting hybrid models can also be a win for them—for example, for accessing talent in different locations and at a lower cost.

    Remote Work: Blessing or Plight?

    Understandably, workers worldwide are tempted to keep the good work-life aspects that have come out of the pandemic—professional flexibility, fewer commutes, and extra time with family. But with the once strict boundaries between work and life fading, we must remain cautious. We try to squeeze in house chores during breaks. We do online meetings from the kitchen or the same couch we watch TV shows from, and many of us report difficulties switching off after work.

    So, how do we keep our private and professional lives from hopelessly blending together?

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    The answer is that we try to replicate the physical and virtual boundaries that come naturally in an office setting. This doesn’t only mean having a dedicated workspace but also tracking your work time and stopping when your working hours are finished. In addition, it means working breaks into your schedule because watercooler chats don’t just naturally happen at home.

    If necessary, we need to introduce new rituals that resemble a normal office day—for example, going for a walk around the block in the morning to simulate “arriving at work.” Remote work is here to stay. If we want to enjoy the advantages it offers, then we need to learn how to cope with the personal challenges that come with it.

    Learn how to stay productive while working remotely with these tips: How to Work From Home: 10 Tips to Stay Productive

    Featured photo credit: Jenny Ueberberg via unsplash.com

    Reference

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