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The 12 Days of Giveaways: Day 8 – AgileBits

The 12 Days of Giveaways: Day 8 – AgileBits

    Well, we have reached the last week of our 12 Days of Giveaways. It’s been an exciting 7 days of some of the best productivity apps, services, and products that help you get things done, and today we are going to offer you one of the the best apps to keep your passwords and information secure from AgileBits.

    But, before we do that we want to announce the winners of the David Allen Company’s three GTD Notetaker Wallets. Here are the three winning comments. The first is from Carl T. Holscher:

    “The iPhone can be great for many things but I’ve never liked it for quick note taking. I love the feel of paper and the smooth ink as it glides across the page.

    My wallet is 10 years old and falling apart and this will fill both voids, proper note-taking on the go and a lovely wallet I can be proud to own (and my wife will stop making fun of!)”

    The next is quick and to the point from our friend Ammon:

    “The addition of a ubiquitous capture tool would mean that 2012 will finally be the year I stop procrastinating and start “Getting Things Done”!”

    And then this comment from our Facebook fan, Tim Stueve:

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    “I’ve been using my smartphone to capture things, but it would be more convenient to use the wallet/notepad, which I’ve been eying for some time. Goodbye battery failure/uncertainty, hello old reliable pen/paper!”

    Hopefully your new notetaker wallets will help all of you capture things anywhere you are in 2012. Congratulations!

    Today’s giveaway

      Try to guess that password!

      AgileBits, the creator of the much loved password manager, 1Password and Knox, a leading solution for securing data, is today’s partner for the 12 Days of Giveaways. I have been using 1Password ever since I got my first Mac and like many of the other tools that we have given away, 1Password is an app that I can’t live without.

      Most web users have more than one online account, whether it be for email, banking, social networks, forums, etc. But, the reality is that most people keep the same password for all their logons. This is a bad idea (hopefully as a savvy Lifehack.org reader we don’t need to tell you why!), but keeping a bunch of unique, secure passwords can be sort of a pain, especially when you have many online accounts.

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      Enter 1Password. 1Password is a secure password manager that allows you to create and store unique passwords that are protected by one master password. 1Password also integrates with your browser to allow for one click sign-on to any website that requires authentication. Another cool feature is that you can store credit card and bank account information securely. Also, if you have 1Password for your iOS device you can securely sync your password file with Dropbox.

      Today, AgileBits is offering 100% off a single order up to $50 from their online store for one lucky Lifehack.org reader. That means you can pick yourself up a copy of 1Password (for Mac or Windows), or you can even pick up Knox if you are so inclined.

      How to Enter

      In order to enter to the giveaway, you need to leave a comment below or on our Facebook fan page that answers the following:

      “What are the first 3 online accounts you would secure with 1Password and why?”

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      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 AgileBits and of Stepcase (including current independent contractors of both) are not eligible for this contest. The winning entry will be judged by the Stepcase Lifehack editing team and the winner 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 on the website). For those entering the 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 winners will be announced the same day on Lifehack.org, and will be notified beforehand.

      Good luck!

      More by this author

      CM Smith

      A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

      How to Beat Procrastination: 29 Simple Tweaks to Make 5 Project Management Tools to Get Your Team on Track To Automate or not to Automate Your Personal Productivity System Design Is Important: How To Fail At Blogging 7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively 6 Unexpected Ways Journaling Every Day Will Make Your Life Better

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      Last Updated on April 19, 2021

      The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

      The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

      Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

      The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

      Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

      In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

      When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

      Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

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      1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

      When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

      As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

      That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

      The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

      What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

      Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

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      There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

      So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

      2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

      When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

      No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

      3. Move Your Body

      A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

      It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

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      So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

      4. Connect With Another Person

      Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

      One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

      Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

      5. Use Your Imagination

      When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

      That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

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      And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

      Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

      Final Thoughts

      Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

      Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

      More on the Importance of Taking a Break

      Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

      Reference

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