5 Unconventional Productivity Tools That Will Maximize Your Efficiency 55

productivity tools

This is a guest post by Paige Donahue – a blogger and editor from Pennsylvania. She is an introvert who loves traveling the world. Gifted with a rich imagination and a talent for the written word, she enjoys penning stories and sharing her adventures. You can connect with her via Twitter and Google+.

All writers have experienced that panicky feeling of being stuck in a rut, unable to move forward and nowhere to turn back. But most of the times, only the right productivity tools separate them from doing their best and most creative work.

The inability to produce work can strike at the most inopportune times, and for no apparent reason. No matter how hard you try, the words simply will not come. If you have the worse luck, it will happen in the face of an approaching deadline (which could actually be the reason why!).

You don’t even have to be a professional writer to experience this. Writing is inescapable — school papers, work memos, client presentations , post for your blogs, and so on. In this age of digital distraction, it’s going to be a tough battle to get work done unless you use the help of the productivity tools out there.

To help you get out of the rut, here are 5 great ones, with which you can achieve more in less time:

The Productivity Tools You Need to Work Better

1. Anti-Social

It may sound a bit, er, anti-social, but this online app is actually a great way to boost productivity. It blocks distracting sites such as social networks like Twitter and Facebook that wastes hours on procrastination.

Anti-Social helps keep your eye on the ball by keeping your attention from wandering. It is easy to customize the sites to block and time your work hours. Once you make your settings and activate the app, it is hard to turn it off and give in to temptation. It works perfectly well with Windows and Mac.

Some people think it expensive to pay $15 to download an app that only does the one thing. The thing is, it does it very well, so it is money well spent. If you try it and don’t think it is worth it, you can always use the 60-day money back guarantee.

2. PomodoroApp

This time management tool uses the Pomodoro technique to improve productivity using the Getting Things Done (GTD) method.

It is really quite simple. It involves four cycles of 25-minute work, and 5-minute break, except the fourth cycle break is slightly longer at 15 to 20 minutes. The basic idea is that working in short bursts keeps the mind fresh and running like well-oiled machinery.

The app also allows you to plan your tasks, track your productivity, and generate reports even with the completely free version. If you need to back up your data and sync with your Android device, you can get their paid service for $1.99 a month.

The app will soon have a version for multiple users, where you can sign up to 12 people for $49.99 a month, ideal for keeping track of your workers’ productivity. As a freelancer, however, the free version should give you a great workout.

Related: Master How You Spend Your Time with 10 Proven Time Management Hacks

3. Coffitivity

Many experts recommend going someplace else when you are having problems with getting your writing done.

Many writers find coffee shops a good place to get some work done. However, there may be many reasons why you might not be able to get to your favorite coffee shop. You could be too busy or too broke, house sitting for a friend, or waiting for an important phone call.

Whatever the reason you can’t get to your favorite coffee shop, you can still experience the ambiance that for some reason helps a lot in inspiring creativity and therefore allowing you to work better with Coffitivity.

This app can liven up your workspace with the mellow buzz of a coffee shop with free access to “Morning Murmur,” “Lunchtime Lounge,” and “University Undertones.” You don’t even have to register!

If you want a bit of foreign feel, you can shell out $9 to access “Paris Paradise,” “Brazil Bistro,” or “Texas Teahouse” for a year. It may not be something that will work for everyone, but it can’t hurt to try the free audio files at least. If it helps you get into the zone, go for it. It’s one of the top productivity tools in that field.

Related: 12 Simple Productivity Habits That Help Me Write a Lot Daily

4. BestEssays

Writers can get prickly when someone criticizes their work, but it is important to let someone give it a once over to make sure everything is honky-dory.

If you try to proofread or edit your work yourself, you are not likely to catch everything you should. Writers develop a blind spot when they look over their own work. You tend to scan rather than go over it line by line. You can get a friend to do it, of course, but you can’t be sure that he or she has the skills to do a good job.

Having professional writers from BestEssays look through your work is still the best option. They can proofread it for spelling errors and grammar gaffes, and edit it for flow and choice of words. They will give you comments on how to polish the work, which you can use in the future. You can save you a lot of time and effort. The proofreading service starts at $5.99 a page and professional editing starts at $15.99 a page.

5. Buzzsumo

When you’re stuck for a good topic, Buzzsumo is a good resource to give you some ideas.

This service helps you narrow your focus by giving you statistics on the popularity of variations on a general topic. It is always a good to write about something that readers like. For example, when you type in the topic “writing “ in the search bar, the app shows “Make Money From Home or While Traveling” got more than 367,000 shares on Twitter while “20 Embarrassing Phrases Even Smart People Misuse” garnered more than 126,000 shares on Facebook. It focuses only on social network sites, but it can still give you a good idea of what topics are currently trending.

Related: 6 Creative Ways to Express Yourself in Writing

Some people scoff at the idea of writer’s block, but there is no denying that it happens. It doesn’t last for very long in most cases, and writers all have their own ways of coping.

However, when deadlines are looming, these five productivity tools can help you get those creative juices flowing again. At least one of them should work for you, whatever your writing style.

Even if you don’t have writer’s block, you can still use them to get more work done. At any rate, you will not lose anything to try. Instead, you will gain a lot if these productivity tools work for you. So give them a shot.

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How to Stay Focused When Studying: 5 Tips to Keep You From Getting Distracted 4

How to Stay Focused When Studying: 5 Tips to Keep You From Getting Distracted

All people have been interested in studying at one moment in their lives. There are different goals set for diverse learners and each of them requires serious learning at one point in time.

Successful learners are those with full concentration during their studies as this helps them in remembering what was learned and apply it in the undertaken tests. However, irrespective of the reasons as to why people study, most of the times one would have his mind invaded by different thoughts distracting his concentration.

It is also possible to have one diverted by noises and stories made by one’s roommates, children, and neighbors among others.

With these intrusions, an individual would lose focus and this is what is required to be successful in what one was reading. It is therefore important to identify possible issues that can lead to distraction in order to come up with the most appropriate ways of remaining focused. Here are some tips:

1. Pick the right time and place when reading.

This helps in getting rid of the clear distractions.

For instance, a person would not easily focus if he chooses to study in the presence of friends who are engaged in other activities. Similarly, one would not read well if with music, television, phone, or computer on.

Once the phone vibrates or rings, an individual would be tempted to answer and this would divert his attention.

In understanding how to stay focused, it is recommended that a reader has conducive environment bearing in mind that different learners would stay alert at different circumstances.

This is an indication that no single environment fits all types of students. The right time would also involve studying at the moment when a learner feels comfortable with the schedule such as in the evening or very early in the morning.

The place chosen should not be the classroom or bedroom. But rather a quiet and nice place with a relaxed sitting position such as the library or the office.

2. Take frequent breaks.

How to Increase Your Productivity No Matter Where You Are

In addition, tips for students indicate that instead of succumbing to distraction, a pupil has to take short breaks.

When engaged in 45-minutes of learning, the student should take breaks of between ten and twenty minutes. Taking longer of breaks of over 20 minutes are dangerous for they might lead to forgetting what one was initially studying.

By planning breaks with an alarm, you not miss them or accidentally take longer ones.

Breaks are considered very crucial because they help the brain to recharge after processing the earlier acquired information. Breaks involving walking around should also be taken as an opportunity to improve recalling memory and test scores.

Breaking in between reading is, therefore, a good way of ensuring that a reader does not overburden his brain/mind with information that would not be processed. Taking pauses in between the reading session refreshes the brain and makes it possible to read for long and wide volumes.

3. Staying focused while reading is also linked with staying motivated.

As stated on EssayZoo, there are different forms of distractions for varied learners and this can be addressed by understanding the reason behind one’s studying.

This is done by taking a test or exam as something meant to challenge the reader’s learning. Since a person’s learning would eventually be rated, the process should start by setting a goal.

Even though the set goal should not be unrealistic, it should be challenging so that the learner can perform better than he has been found in the past tests or maybe better than people expect.

Once an individual is able to surprise others based on their expectations, he would feel motivated to continue studying.

Additionally, learning should be motivated with a reward, which acts as a form of self-control by ensuring that a student is compensated for hard work, studying well, being prepared, and performing well in an exam.

Encouragement should also be done by understanding what learning is important, which is different for diverse readers but all meant to enhance attentiveness to achieve personal goals.

4. Getting enough sleep during studying is a vital way of improving concentration.

What It Really Takes to Write a Book [+Free Documentary]

Even though many of the times pupils learn under pressure especially when exams are near, this does not mean an individual should read without sleep.

Just like taking breaks during a day of reading, sufficient sleep refreshes the brain and makes it ready to be fed with and process acquired information.

Learning is successful if one can remember and apply the learned information during a test. This is possible if a person is able to actively concentrate during the planned hours of studying.

According to tips for students, studying for long hours without break or sleep is on strenuous and does not bear the expected results.

Dedicating at least 6-8 hours of sleep ensures that a person wakes up fresh, alert, ready, and relaxed for the day’s scheduled learning activities.

Once ready to learn, a student would be organized and in an ordered place with only the reading materials a person requires, aware of the number of hours to spend on a topic, and the number of breaks he will take including their times.

5. Stay calm to concentrate.

Lastly, remaining focused when learning can be done by practicing concentration.

Once a student has everything he needs on the table, he should not postpone the learning exercise. It is advisable that a pupil is aware of the most crucial information to study first before proceeding to the rest. This is to ensure that one is guided by key concepts that would make the learning enjoyable and encouraging.

Also, practice concentration by not panicking, minimize computer and phone use, don’t listen to music unless it aids in studying, and remaining on topic.

It is notable that by panicking, one would make mistakes.

So make sure you remain calm, take deep breaths, and convince yourself that you read, understand, and pass the exams.

Further, a student should turn the computer, Internet, and the cell phone off to ensure maximum concentration. This is to avoid responding to text messages or searching via the Internet things that are not related to the topic of study.

It is arguable that listening to music when learning acts as a distraction because the learner is provided with additional information to process thus interfering with the real intention of the learning process.

In order to stay on-topic, you shouldn’t explore different subjects at the same time more so when studying boring, complex, and unexciting topics.

Studying would thus be effective if a person remains focused in order to achieve the set goals. Nobody enrolls for a course or learning institution without a goal. This would be achieved if concentration is always at its maximum.

While there are major ways of enhancing attentiveness, the discussed ones in this essay are picking the right time and place, instead of succumbing to distraction, taking short breaks, staying motivated, getting enough sleep, and practicing concentration.

The aim is to ensure that a learner understands the importance of learning and is committed to achieving his intentions.