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The New Lifehacking #7 – Why You Should Be Open to New Stuff, But Wary About Using It

The New Lifehacking #7 – Why You Should Be Open to New Stuff, But Wary About Using It

This is the seventh and final article describing The New Lifehacking. In this series, I described the need for you, a Lifehacker, to focus on making fundamental changes to your habitual methods, rather than chasing the latest gadget or tip. The best way to accomplish this change is to gain an understanding of your current systematic methods, and to use this knowledge to set new targets.

However, using this approach by itself, as logical as it sounds, could close the door to future improvements.

If you only focus on your own methods and keep your head down, you could miss opportunities to improve. The fact is, inspiration to change often arises from the stories, examples and insights of other people, and in order to keep things fresh, you need to be open to these new, possibly contrarian, concepts.

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How Do You Look for New Ideas and Gadgets?

If you are a new Lifehacker, you search cautiously. There are new books, blog posts, lists and gadgets coming out all the time, and there’s no way to cover every possible improvement–you simply can’t keep up. You can trust, however, that there are others on the Internet who will curate these concepts for you and continuously share them until they start to resonate.

After an idea or shortcut gets mentioned a few times in an intelligent way by people that you respect, it’s probably time to pay attention and add the new resource to a list of items to research. This is one way to crowdsource the job of sifting through new ideas in a way that saves you a lot of time and effort.

How Do You Evaluate New Ideas and Gadgets?

While you need to be open to new suggestions for possible improvement, you need to adopt an entirely different process in order to evaluate them. A healthy dose of skepticism is required if you are to escape the trap of grabbing the latest-greatest-hottest “thingy,” only to see it fail. The fact is, a particular improvement may help one person and at the same time hinder others. You need to look at your current habits and practices, plus your own evaluation and ask yourself if the investment in time, energy and focus is worth the payoff at the end.

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For example, I had to make some cost/benefit decisions when I considered switching over from a Palm T PDA to a Blackberry a few years ago. I tried my best to make the change slowly, aware that some of my habits needed to change in order to accommodate the new device.

Here are a few that I had to alter:

New Habit #1.

Recharging the device became a nightly requirement, versus a bi-weekly option. This meant plugging in the device each night. Therefore, I always needed to be near a charger and a power source.

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New Habit #2.

I switched from carrying around a paper pad to capture new tasks, to typing them into my Blackberry with its small keyboard. This meant I had less to take with me from place to place, but it also meant that ideas took longer to record. Also, when I’m on a call and need to record an appointment or phone number, the process of switching over from one function to another is fraught with danger. I still drop the occasional call.

New Habit #3.

Replacing a feature phone with a smartphone means switching from an inexpensive, robust device to one that’s expensive and more fragile. This requires me to be more careful, learning how to protect against theft, physical and adverse physical elements. I had to learn to treat my phone as if it were a precious device that simply couldn’t be just left anywhere.

New Habit #4.

As a Palm user, I was never tempted to use the device while driving. Today’s smartphone user is afflicted with the temptation to break state laws and commonsense rules of thumb by attempting to multitask in moving vehicles. Fortunately, I never developed this particular habit but that’s only because I try hard to be vigilant against all forms of distractions, especially when I’m driving. It takes mental effort to be that vigilant; it’s an entirely new habit.

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How Do You Implement New Ideas and Gadgets?

Once the decision has been made to adopt a new improvement, it’s important to make the switch consciously, with a high degree of awareness. There are likely to be a few surprises that require extra attention, and some new habits that turn out to be harder to learn than you thought. For example, I had a hard time learning to plug in my smartphone each night.

The point is maintain as many old, productive habits as possible while implementing the handful of new ones that you believe will make a difference. Unfortunately, it’s devilishly easy to make things worse, and even *much* worse. People who jump from one technology to another can attest to this fact–witness those who fail to switch to large screen smartphones that don’t comfortably fit in a holster. The size of the device forces them to abandon a trusted old habit, in search of a new one. Some simply switch back to their old devices because the “improvement” makes things worse for them.

The New Lifehacking is all about executing intelligent, individual change management. This transformation might not happen at a pace that the author of a book or an inventor of a gadget might want, but at the end of the day we, the new lifehackers, answer only to ourselves, deciding whether or not an improvement makes the deep difference that we want.

More by this author

Francis Wade

Author, Management Consultant

How To Manage A Post-College Productivity Dip Why You Need to Understand and Accept Your Productive Type A Tendencies The New Lifehacking #7 – Why You Should Be Open to New Stuff, But Wary About Using It The New LifeHacking #6 – Staying Away from Harmful Gadgets The New Lifehacking #5 – Tricking Yourself into Making the Changes You Need

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Last Updated on July 23, 2019

10 Best Productivity Tools to Get You More Time in 2019

10 Best Productivity Tools to Get You More Time in 2019

Productivity is about maximizing your time and tasks within a reasonable time frame. Depending on who you ask, the priorities vary and are different.

In today’s fast-paced and busy world, we are increasingly depending on tools to boost our productivity . Sometimes we juggle with so many tasks and responsibilities that it becomes difficult to stay on task. So, thankfully, there are apps and services that can help you by sticking to your goals.

Productivity tools are tailored to different lifestyles, and different interests. In this article, I will go over some of the highly-recommended services that helps with optimizing your time and effort.

1. Beeminder

    Beeminder was founded in 2011. It is a motivation tool that helps users visualize goals and set measurable targets.

    For example, if it is about going to the gym, spending less time on social media, learning a new language, investing time on a project with a deadline, this app is right for you. Not only does it help you focus on the goal, but minimize distractions.

    Check out the app here!

    2. Toggl

      Toggl was founded in 2006 and provides online time tracking software tailored towards freelances, graphic designers and consultants. One of the perks of the service is its generous free tier of service.

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      With Toggl, you can keep track of the time you spend on different tasks and review if you’ve spent your time wisely.

      The functionality of Toggl is not restricted by device. In other words, it can work on your computer, tablet and phone while simultaneously keeping track of the number of hours worked on a specific task or project. It is an intuitive and easy-to-use service that provides users the tools they need to keep track of time.

      Check out the app here!

      3. Evernote

        Evernote is a household name and the company was founded in 2000. The app allows users to capture, organize and find your information across multiple platforms.

        You can add to-do’s, images, web pages and has a built-in searchable option. You can organize and customize the notes whatever way you want for a seamless experience.

        Check out the app here!

        4. RecueTime

          RescueTime is headquartered in Seattle and founded in 2007. It is a web-based management tool that monitors a users’ computer usage and time spent on a site.

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          It is available on iOS and Android platforms. It allows users to track not just on mobile, but also on systems like Linux and Windows OS. The experience is seamless and has an intuitive user interface.

          Check out the app here!

          5. Todoist

            Todoist was founded in 2007 in London, England. It is a project management solution that meets the needs of a small and midsize businesses. It offers a three tier pricing scheme: free, premium ($36 per year), and business ($60 per person a year).

            The benefits are that Todoist is cross-platform and has excellent features. It has natural language input and productivity reports. It is definitely a great resource for creating to do lists and getting them done.

            Check out the app here!

            6. Freedom – Block Distractions

              Freedom was founded in 2015. It is a digital distraction solution and offers comprehensive support on more than just one device. It can block distractions across all devices like you Windows PC, you Macintosh, Android phone, iPhone, and tablets.

              The company has three pricing model. Users who sign up can do a monthly, yearly or a forever subscription. What is nice is that once you set what sites to block, the app enforces it across all your devices, so you are less distracted.

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              Check out the app here!

              7. Noizio

                The Noizio was launched in 2014 and it is a minimalistic sound equalizer for Mac OS X and iOS. The premise is very simple, yet effective. You increase your productivity by tuning out the thoughts in your mind or around by listening to relaxing music. You can choose from more than 30 sounds of nature to unwind and enjoy down time.

                Check out the app here!

                8. IFTTT

                  The company’s name stands for If This Then That, also know as IFTTT is a free web-based service. Also, IFTTT is considered the world’s leading connectivity platform. It helps users save time by automating the internet tasks that you always do. For instance, you can back up your media files to a cloud account, message friends and more. The pre-built applets, the utility program that performs one or a few single functions, which performs all your most common tasks.

                  Check out the app here!

                  9. ANY.DO

                    Any.do is based in Tel Aviv and founded in 2011. According to Crunchbase, the tool is utilized by over 20 million people. Why? The answer is users love it because it helps them stay organized and get more done productively.

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                    It is an all-in-one productivity solution that combines the calendar, tasks, lists and reminders. It is a robust tool that allows you to plan your schedule accordingly.

                    Check out the app here!

                    10. SPARK

                      Spark is a subdivision of Readdle and the company was founded in 2007. It is an award-winning app and helps to manage your emails. It has built-in capabilities to analyze your most important emails and helps users classify them as the top priority.

                      Emails are divided into the following categories: personal, newsletters and notification.s You can download for free on the Mac and iOS.

                      Check out the app here!

                      The Bottom Line

                      Productivity tools will help you organize your life. Whatever the profession you are in, automating and organizing your life around digital tools is essential to your work and wellbeing.

                      We often think we must find a work-life balance, but it is not entirely true. It’s more important to maximize your time to complete tasks in a timely fashion. Do not burn yourself out and instead, focus on maximizing your time to be with family, friends and your significant other.

                      Featured photo credit: Kat Stokes via unsplash.com

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