Technology in the workplace can do a lot to save you time, effort and mental bandwidth, and these five services are no exception…
No matter which type of work environment you find yourself in, technology can bring a ton of value to your work day.
It could be for time management, personal finances, workforce management, or maybe just something to help your personal workflow, technology can help make many aspects of work easier.
These five technologies are no exception, and are worth looking into.
1. The Mayo App
Mayo is a mobile application that allows users to ‘ask for help’ from the people in their immediate area- be it a coffee shop, store, library, etc.
Using a no-sign-in-required model, Mayo discourages the social ‘connectivity’ aspect that is traditional in most social platforms and instead focuses on connecting people in the real world for the purpose of solving tasks at hand.
Mayo’s founder Allen Chan is integrating this application into the professional co-working and university environments for helping people solve business problems and school related tasks, respectively.
If you work remotely or find yourself in a population-dense area, Mayo can help you with everything from brainstorming business solutions to borrowing a MacBook charger.
Because the Mayo app is relatively new, there is a lot of opportunity to get early-adopter value from the application.
2. All About PDF
PDFs are the cornerstone of digital documentation in the workplace.
It’s a format that is widely accepted and maintained for professionalism purposes, but for the most part, PDFs are stagnant and can pose a lot of hassle when in a time crunch.
Have you ever received a PDF and realized you have to make changes to it? Not an easy task to accomplish.
All About PDF is a PDF management software that allows you to modify PDFs in ways previously not thought possible, all on a dime’s notice.
See the screenshot below for just some of what All About PDF can do for you in the workplace.
3. Keeper Tax
Finance management is a headache for a lot of professionals, especially those in the freelance or contract working space.
Tracking receipts, invoices, costs, expenses, from every micro transaction that occurs on a daily basis is a time management nightmare that nobody has time for.
Keeper Tax is a tool for automated expense tracking with one specific purpose- to help you to get the most accurate tax report filed with the IRS.
Keeper Tax steps in as the middle man for finance management and texts you (yes, you read that right) whenever an expense is incurred on your credit/debit card.
From there, you can tell Keeper Tax if that expense should be filed as business, personal, or other.
According to Cal Newport, Deep Working is “Professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate.“.
What is Deep Work?
Deep Work means that we must learn to focus intensely on a single task for long periods of time without distractions and without breaking concentration.
Requires a sense of confidence and a conviction that you will succeed.
Is at a disadvantage in a society that values social media.
Is not a trend but it can make you more efficient and transform a boring job into a satisfying one.
Is rare but is valuable in today’s economy. Deep Work ethics in the workplace is rare as well. Most people have embraced distraction because it is easier and allows us to avoid planning and concentration.
How to train your brain and build habits for Deep Work
To create real value and to get ahead in this economy, it is imperative to develop an ability to:
Learn and master hard things quickly.
Produce at an elite level.
There are several rules to Deep Working and to replacing distraction with focus.
Personal desires such as eating, sleeping, sex, television and music are the main cause for distractions. Willpower is not sustainable enough to fight off distractions because your will will eventually be strained.
That is why Deep Work necessitates rearranging your schedule. You can schedule Deep Work by:
Minimizing shallow obligations from your day to day.
Dedicating a full day or more to concentrate on a task and to shut out all exterior noises.
Routinely going deep everyday at the same time and for the same amount of time.
Fit in Deep Work wherever and whenever you can.
Besides scheduling your Deep Work and to maximize your success, you must also establish how, what, where, when, for how long you want to practice Deep Work.
Rule #2: Embrace boredom
Deep Working requires that you focus on a task and reject all distractions in a world where your brain has been conditioned to research distraction.
Outside of Deep Work sessions, you have to take care of your mind, embrace boredom, learn to meditate, schedule a break from focus to give in to distractions, rewire your brain to resist distractions.
Surprisingly, embracing boredom will help you improve the limits of your concentration abilities.
Rule #3: Quit social media
There are many benefits to social media.
However, Cal Newport states that modern technology is to blame for shallow work and suggests that social media should be intrinsically used as a tool.
He also emphasizes that you must assess your priorities in life and the impact of social media on your life.
To regain control of your time and attention, you can apply the law of the vital few over your network tools then avoid using Internet to entertain yourself.
Shallow Work can be damaging to your life. Shallow Work can be defined as “Noncognitively demanding, logistical-style tasks, often performed while distracted. These efforts tend to not create much new value in the world and are easy to replicate.”
To identify and remove the shallowness from your life, you must apply the following strategies:
Schedule your entire day to avoid spending time on autopilot and to fully benefit from Deep Work.
Determine how mush time you are spending on shallow activities and eliminate them.
Become hard to reach via your network tools.
Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, Cal Newport explains all the strategies you can implement to become more productive and more focused in this economy .
Cal Newport takes most of his analogies from educators because they have to go in depth in their field of choice and provide quality work.
However, this book is written for bosses and leaders who want to go to the essential, be more productive, efficiently organize their day, improve workplace culture and who want to achieve their highest potential.
It is sad to see that meditation, Deep Working and deep thinking have disappeared from and been perverted by the corporate system.
Indeed, corporate culture promotes shallows activities. People are busy as ever but are often distracted by network tools and forced to break from their concentration.
Furthermore, people –if they are not the person in charge–who practice Deep Working are not well perceived in the workplace even though they are high achievers and improve productivity.
Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport is a good reminder to stay focus and to go to the essential in life.
Let me know below what you think about this book!
A deep life is a good life.
Deep work is at a severe disadvantage in a technopoly because it builds on values like quality, craftsmanship, and mastery that are decidedly old-fashioned and nontechnological.
The deep life, of course, is not for everybody. It requires hard work and drastic changes to your habits. […] But if you’re willing to sidestep these comforts and fears, and instead struggle to deploy your mind to its fullest capacity to create things that matter, then you’ll discover, as others have before you, that depth generates a life rich with productivity and meaning.
The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, And Confidence With Everyday Courage by Mel Robbinsis a self-help book, urging people to take action by using a 5 second countdown trick.
What is The 5 Second Rule?
The 5 Second Ruleis a “metacognition technique” that improves your sense of self, your life, career, health.
The principle of The 5 Second Rule is the following:
“The moment you have an instinct to act on a goal you must 5-4-3-2-1 and physically move or your brain will stop you.” At 1, you should be moving.
Where does The 5 Second Rule come from?
The principle of The 5 Second Rule comes from the combination of two thoughts:
Mel Robbins, while feeling she failed at life, realized that she would take only 5 seconds to talk herself out of waking up in the morning, out of improving and doing the right thing.
One night, while watching TV, Mel Robbins also made the observation that a rocket launches after a 5 second countdown. Afterwards, she would launch herself out of bed, the same way the rocket would launch into space.
What are the benefits of The 5 Second Rule?
The 5 Second Rule is an empowering thought process. Through this principle, you are able to experience freedom and quiet your mind.
Among its various applications, you will have the ability to improve your health, focus on the essentials, increase your productivity, break procrastination, avoid distractions, be authentic, replace your bad habits with good ones, get up early and start your routine early in the morning.
The 5 Second Rule is a tool that drives courage in difficult times and builds “Real Confidence”. It pushes you to act and to change.
What about courage?
According to Mel Robbins, when trying to change, when facing something that is uncertain, unknown, that scares you or makes you hesitate, your brain feels like something is wrong.
Your mind will then stop the change process and trap you with your own thoughts.
Courage, your birthright, is therefore required to push you forward and to implement change.
The 5 Second Rule will give you the courage you need to go after what you really want, to have a more fulfilling life and to not give in to your fears.
In addition, it is detrimental for you to stop making excuses for not acting on your instincts. Your excuses are always wrong and there is no right time.
No external factor will validate your choices and your ideas. Only putting yourself out there and getting out your comfort zone will.
What about confidence?
Confidence is a skill which means it is a learnt behavior. In fact, your confidence has nothing to do with your personality and will increase every time you step out of your comfort zone.
Your everyday courage will help you assess your own worth, build up your confidence, connect with yourself, find your true passion, build meaningful relationships, and meet new people.
Your everyday courage gives you the confidence to explore and makes you realize that the power you need was inside of you all along.
In appearance, The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, And Confidence With Everyday Courage by Mel Robbins, looks like a time management book that provides quick short-term fixes.
However, in reality, The 5 Second Rule is a transformational tool, delivering long-term results.
It is written for people who are plagued by fear, who want to change and take charge of their lives but don’t know how to. Change is difficult because it requires courage and confidence.
Furthermore, The 5 Second Rule can be customized to your liking. It enables you to:
Work on your confidence and your courage.
Stop overthinking, worrying and magnifying problems.
Control your emotions, fight mental illnesses and bad mental habits.
Take ownership of your life and start the transformation process.
The 5 Second Rule is a principle that we already intuitively and intrinsically know. But, after years of research, Mel Robbins coherently put these ideas together.
Mel Robbins also shares poignant quotes, real examples and testimonials of people who have used The 5 Second Rule for diverse reasons.
The 5 Second Rule is life changing, encouraging, motivational and inspirational. It shows you how to change for the better.
That’s what you are doing when you use the Rule. You are honoring yourself. You are championing your ideas. And each time you use it, you take one step closer to being the person you are truly meant to be.
Doing the work to improve your life is simple, you can do it, and it’s work you want to do—because it’s the most important work that there is. It is the work of learning how to love and trust yourself enough to stop waiting and to start leaning into all the magic, opportunity, and joy that your life, work, and relationships have to offer.
When it comes to goals, dreams, and changing your life, your inner wisdom is a genius. Your goal-related impulses, urges, and instincts are there to guide you. You need to learn to bet on them.
The difference between people who make their dreams come true and those of us who don’t is just one thing: the courage to start and the discipline to keep going.
In Fast Focus, a quick-start guide to mastering your attention, ignoring distractions, and getting more done in less time!, Damon Zahariades provides tools and strategies to manage your ability to focus.
What is focus?
Focus is the concentration required to consciously block out the noise and the distractions while performing a task.
The ability to focus can be a natural talent. But for most of us, it is a built-in habit, a skill which means it can be learnt.
Why do you need to effectively manage your attention?
Focus can positively impact your life. A lack of focus will reduce your effectiveness and your work quality.
Lack of focus or mind-wandering is not all negative. It helps us get in time with our creative side and find solutions to difficult circumstances.
Designing the proper environment is the first way to zero in on your task and to harmonize your workflow:
Light up your work environment and always take advantage of your natural light. A low lighting makes you drowsy, strains your eyes and decrease your learning abilities.
Some people feel comfortable working with background noises while others enjoy silence. Experiment and find out which one works best for you.
Consider your level of physical comfort. To do so, you can adjust your clothes, your stationary, your sitting position, your sitting time and your sight line.
Monitor the temperature of the room. For example, a too warm room will cause you to sleep.
Breathe clean air.
Practice aromatherapy. Some scents have a direct impact on your mood, mind and effectiveness.
Avoid social situations if you want to work. Human nature makes us drawn to people but interacting with people decrease your focus.
Organize and declutter your workspace. Clutter affects your focus more than you think because it decreases your processing abilities, hurts your creativity and occupies your memory space.
Monitor your time to measure your progress.
Write down your ideas and tasks so they don’t monopolize your thoughts.
Strategies to overcome mind-wandering
There are several tactics to increase your focus, to relax and to avoid the biggest distractions in your life.
As stated above, it is essential to monitor your time, to set realistic deadlines, to reward yourself and break down your tasks in smaller steps.
Don’t set too many daily goals and limit yourself to 5 tasks daily or else you will feel overwhelmed and pressured.
Identify the purpose for every task.
Exercise first thing in the morning.
Avoid ignoring the ideas and thoughts floating around in your head. Log them down quickly before you forget them.
Identify “internal or external stimuli” that break your concentration.
Record every task that you must undertake by putting them down via a to do list.
To sharpen your focus, to enter the zone and boost your performance, listen to music or nurture silence.
Take regular breaks and naps to refresh your mind, to refresh your mind and to avoid boredom.
Restore your focus by taking a short walk instead of remaining at your desk.
Multitasking is valued by society. However, attacking one task at a time will help increase your performance and your work quality.
Pack all similar activities into one and execute them in a row while monitoring your time.
Break down your day into several tasks and allocate the time necessary for each task.
Stay away from internet.
Spend less time in meetings or avoid meetings all together as they can clog up your day and as they hold little value.
Set boundaries and expectations about your time and your focus.
Turn off your phone for long periods of time.
Observe how your energy fluctuates during the day and use moments where your energy is high to achieve high productivity.
Mediate and take care of your inner peace.
Stop checking your mails frantically. Instead, keep track of your inbox once or twice a day.
Define a daily routine and follow it. Routines facilitates your life, enables ow brain processing. You can use that same brain power to accomplish your tasks.
Stay away from perfectionism.
Completely edit the first draft then come back to correct your mistakes.
Stop “consuming too much caffeine” because it is unhealthy and reduces your ability to concentrate.
Fast Focus, a quick-start guide to mastering your attention, ignoring distractions, and getting more done in less time! is a pragmatic, complete, quick and easy to read self-help book.
In Fast Focus, a quick-start guide to mastering your attention, ignoring distractions, and getting more done in less time!, Damon Zahariades shares valuable tips on how to increase your productivity and your focus.
Damon Zahariades shares his preferences and also incorporates practical links and tools to enable your productivity.
It is a step by step guide, written for leaders, for people from all walks of life, for those who are easily distracted by social media, for those who procrastinate, who daydream easily and those with low productivity.
I like the fact that this books highlights the fact that so many things, concepts and institutions in life are purposely set up to distract us from reality: from the local bully to the background music in the stores to technology and internet.
All these distractions are the reason why most people procrastinate and never achieve their version of success.
When we lack a specific purpose, we become more susceptible to distractions. We focus on whatever our brains tell us to focus on, rather than the other way around. We become passengers rather than drivers.
Damon Zahariades is a productivity expert, owner of the blog Art Of Productivity and the author of Fast Focus, a quick-start guide to mastering your attention, ignoring distractions, and getting more done in less time!.