Do More, With Less

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We often hear about new productivity apps that will allow you to write notes that you can sync between devices, or apps that make scheduling easier and more intuitive. In other words, apps that will simplify our working experience by adding something to it. But what about the apps that will help us simplify our working experience by removing the extra clutter?

Here are a handful of apps that will help you be more productive by removing some of the biggest distractions we face at work.

AMBIENT SOUND

One of the hardest things to have to deal with at work is noise. Coworkers are chit-chatting (or, you know, “working”), people are moseying around and opening and closing doors, or carrying on conversations, and sometimes the incessant clicking of a keyboard is enough to drive you mad.

Regardless of where it comes from drowning out the noise around you will boost your productivity:

NOIZIO

I use this and it’s magic. It takes all the best nature sounds – camp fire, thunderstorm, rain, crashing waves, etc. – and allows you to mix, match, and combine them into the most productive soundscape you can imagine.

(Note: this is only available for Mac and Apple products.)

NOISLI

If Noizio sounds right up your alley but you don’t jive with Mac and Apple products, this for you.

Noisli offers pretty much the same soundscapes, and the ability to mix and match, but it also offers a background that changes colors, giving you the added benefits of chromotheraphy.

If you’re looking for a way to get into it and lose yourself in your work. This is where you should start.

WEBSITE BLOCKERS

I know I’m not the only one who is easily distracted by the infinite possibilities of the internet. Trying to get anything done with that web browser staring you in the face is one of modern life’s daily struggles. But it doesn’t have to be.

SELFCONTROL

SelfControl is a free app that allows you to restrict you own access to the world wide web (people still call it that, right?). If you want to get two hours of uninterrupted work done, fire this baby up, tell it what websites you want to block and for how long, and viola, your computer just became a very expensive word processor.

One negative about this app is that once you set the timer, you will not be able to access that website until the timer has run out. If you set it for two hours, be prepared to be locked out of Facebook for two full hours.

COLD TURKEY

Much like SelfControl, this app allows you to block portions of the internet for specified lengths of time. However, unlike SelfControl, you can also block apps (like your email client, or games), set an internet-blocking schedule, or lock yourself out of your computer completely.

If you find that you spend too much time procrastinating when you should be working, or that you can’t seem to but your computer to bed, maybe it’s time to go (requisite bad word play) cold turkey.

SOME HELPFUL TIPS FOR YOU

TIP THE FIRST

Take advantage of the productivity options in the apps you’re using. For example, I use Microsoft Word all the time, and they just introduced a “Focus” feature that expands the document, and only the document, to full screen. No settings, no formatting options. Nothing but the words and the page.

TIP THE SECOND

If you’ve paired your phone with your computer, which many of us have, turn off the notifications while you’re working. The incessant ding of a text is bad enough on the phone. It’s even worse when you’re trying to work.

TIP THE THIRD

Take breaks. I feel like we’ve talked about this before, but contrary to popular belief, the key to productivity isn’t working as many hours as you can. It’s working as many good hours as you can. When you finish a task, take a break. When you feel stuck, or overwhelmed, take a break. When you’re feeling tired, take a break. Your body, and your work, will thank you for it.

Until next time – keep up the good work.

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Arye

When Arye isn't helping optimize your time, he is doing his part to ensure life is full of shenanigans.