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3 Ways Technology Can Make You Happy

3 Ways Technology Can Make You Happy

In a guest post for Nir And Far, Brendan Kane – who has built technology for MTV, paramount, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, and the NHL throughout his career – recently shared three ways you can find happiness through technology:

We all have the power to change our lives. I know this because I found ways to reprogram my inner circuitry and change my perspective of the world. A few simple steps inserted into my daily routine dramatically improved my life. Surprisingly, many of my new rituals were made possible using the technology I carry with me every day.

THINK BIG

“Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones that do.”

-Steve Jobs

I was trained to think small and seek comfort rather than risk. From an early age, many of us are told to think realistically and to leave the big audacious ideas to people with more experience and resources. But the truth is, as Steve Jobs said, ““Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you.”

We are all born with the same basic brain hardware and though there are variations in intelligence between people, the differences are relatively minor and show little correlation with life outcomes. However, what does make a difference  is how much we believe in ourselves and our capabilities. A much greater determinant of where we will end up in life is whether we have what Stanford researcher Carol Dweck calls a “fixed” or “growth mindset.”

I set out to remove the fixed mindset I had cultivated over the years. I did this through a daily practice of using my iPhone notes tool to brainstorm the biggest and craziest ideas I could think up. These ideas could be anything from starting a billion dollar business to designing a way to live on the moon. The practice of thinking big on a daily basis flexed my mind’s capacity to move past limitation and helped me become a more creative thinker.

USE GRATITUDE TO CHANGE YOUR ATTITUDE

“Gratitude is the single most important ingredient to living a successful and fulfilled life.”

-Jack Canfield

One of the most impactful steps in reprogramming my brain was to take a daily inventory of everything I was grateful for. Before I go to sleep each night, I make a list of the positive things that came into my life that day. For example, I might jot down a few words to remember a particularly beautiful sunset, a compliment I received, or even a meeting that went well. I use a gratitude app on my phone to record these moments.

This routine sounds trivial but I found something strange happened when I adopted the practice. After about 30 days my perception of the world began to change. I became happier because I found myself more aware of the amazing things I had in my life. I would stop several times a day to smile in recognition and appreciation of the small things in life. The change also impacted my professional life. I started to attract more fulfilling business opportunities and more positive people to the projects I was working on.

CARRY YOUR DREAMS WITH YOU

“Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.”

– Anais Nin

What would you do tomorrow if you won the lottery? What are 10 things that you would want to accomplish with the rest of your life? Most people can only list a few things that they would do and some people can’t list any. I asked myself what the point was of running so hard toward financial independence when I really had no idea what I was going to do once I got there. If I didn’t know what I wanted, how could I achieve it?

I discovered that one of the best ways to determine what I wanted was to create a dream book of images on my iPad that I could look at every morning and evening. I gathered a list of images that represented the things I wanted most in my life and I put images representing them on my iPad and iPhone.

I often listen to my favorite music while I play a slide show of the pictures I use to remind me of the things I want to achieve, places I want to go, people I want to meet. I imagine what it would feel like if I had each of those things in my life. This exercise created a thought sequence that helped me set new goals in life and provided a deliberate destination that I could envision working and striving for each day.

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PERCEPTION IS REALITY

Einstein said, “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one”. Indeed, we are highly influenced by the way we see things. Changing the direction of our lives seems difficult because many of us have been conditioned to believe it is not possible.

But the truth is, changing our lives is as easy as changing the way we think. Changing my own life was a slow process, but I began to feel more joy and fulfillment by regularly incorporating these simple technology-facilitated habits.

Nir’s Note: This guest post comes from  Brendan Kane who has built technology for MTV, Paramount, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, and the NHL. In this article, Brendan describes how he reprogramed the way he views the world using little more than his iPhone and iPad.

Nir Eyal writes about the intersection of psychology, technology and business at NirAndFar.com. He is the author of Hooked: A Guide to Building Habit Forming Technology. For more insights into how products change behavior, join his free newsletter.

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3 Ways To Use Technology For Happiness | NirAndFar

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Published on September 20, 2018

11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

In today’s fast-paced and never-ending busy world, we are overwhelmed by tasks that need to be completed by tight deadlines. With so much technology it is difficult to find the right tools to help boost our efficiency. And, many tools get obsolete so its essential to stay up-to-date to know when you will have to make adjustments to these tools. Independently of where you work, there’s a good chance that you have to be working on a PC or a laptop.

Do you are feel like you do not have enough time, or cannot accomplish much as of late? It is recommended to take a step back and look at the big picture. Also, you want to explore new and innovative ways to improve productivity.

In this article, I outline 11 features and apps within the Chrome browser that can help you do just that.

Minimizing Tabs

Let’s face it we all have more than a dozen tabs opened on our computers. One neat trick to still keep most of them open is to turn them into pinned tabs. On Google Chrome you can right-click the tab and select “Pin Tab” option. This turns the tab into an icon enabling you to continue multitasking.

Pinning a tab anchors the tabs on the left of your toolbar; a great benefit of the “Pin Tab” feature is that you can’t close these tabs accidentally since the “X” disappears after pinning them.

Incognito Mode

Google Chrome is a very easy-to-use and intuitive. But, Google does collect our browsing data; so to remedy this, you can use Incognito Mode. This feature does not keep your browsing or download history. You can enable or access it in three different ways:

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  1. Press Ctrl/Command+shift+N
  2. Select File Menu and choose New Incognito Window
  3. Download extension New Incognito Window

This feature is very handy if you’d rather not have your browsing history stored and utilized for future advertisement or suggested pages.

Save Webpages as PDF Files

Have you ever browsed interesting or important information and then forgot to bookmark or save it in “favorites”, making it impossible to find again? Chances are you have done this on a number of occasions.

Thankfully, there is an easy solution. You can save webpages as PDF files. On your keyboard, press control/command+p and you will be able to save webpages as PDFs.

Open Recently-closed Tabs

Ever had dozens of tabs opened and all of a sudden your browser shuts down? It has probably happened to all of us. You can easily recover all of your tabs using two approaches. Don’t panic if this happens because there is a workaround and solution for it.

One is by pressing Ctrl/CMD+Shift+T.

The other approach is to click on the three vertical dots on your browser and hover over “History”.

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Solve Mathematical Problems

Google’s Chrome browser doesn’t just search for relevant and updated information. It is also capable of performing some mathematical problems. Within the omnibox (Chrome’s address or URL bar), you can perform mathematical exercises.

For example, if you are struggling with percentages you can search 20 percent of x amount and it will instantly provide a result. Pretty handy, right?!

Play Media Files

Are you frequently met with difficulties when playing or watch a video files? Well, once again Chrome comes to the rescue. You can can listen or play videos from all sorts of movie or music files (mp3, mp4, .mov, .mkv, .ogv, .webm, .wav, etc.) by simply dragging the file into the search bar.

In addition, you can view images, PDF files and Microsoft Office files, too.

Navigate Swiftly Between Tabs

With all of those tabs opened comes great navigation responsibilities. Rather than clicking through every tab, you can use shortcut keys like Ctrl+Tab to navigate all of the different tabs. Also, you are able to navigate to the first tab by pressing Ctrl-1, Ctrl-2, and so on. If you want to switch to the very last tab, press Ctrl-9.

Stay Focus(e)d

Computers nowadays have awesome capabilities.

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Sometimes we like to get work done, but let’s face it, we’re all human. We sometimes procrastinate by visiting a website we really like, or maybe take a break with watching a flick on Netflix, a video on YouTube or browsing Facebook.

With Chrome’s StayFocusd extension, you can truly stay focused and get more done in less time.

This extension naturally helps you stay more productive by limiting the amount of time you spend on websites. You can set the time and it will automatically block those sites after a certain period.

Grammarly for Editing

Grammarly is a must have, and it’s really a complete powerhouse. Grammarly helps you check your grammar and spelling for everything you write online.

You can use it professionally or as a student, which will make the editing process much easier and more efficient. Furthermore, it can automatically check for typos when you send an email, type a Tweet, or post a Facebook comment. It’s like having your own personal copyeditor!

Loom

There are times that words in an email or written text in a chat app will just not convey the right meaning.

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There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, the same is true of videos.

With Loom, you can capture, narrate and immediately share video recordings of your screen, which will help coworkers understand issues you are facing, or to easily convey an explanation on screen. Plus, with video you will be able to easily walk people through a process, and you can use it to create simple how-to videos.

Chrome Calendar Extension

No matter what your level of responsibility is at your job, Google Calendar is another essential resource to have at your fingertips.

Specifically, you can have this extension added as an icon in the toolbar of your browser, which I highly recommend. Once you add the extension to your browser, you can check for upcoming events with a single click without leaving your current page.

Final Thoughts

Google Chrome has definitely evolved from its inception. As you can see you have a very powerful tool that comes as a free installation and is loaded with dozens of capabilities. The above listed Chrome apps can resolve some of the most common obstacles to your time management and productivity.

Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

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