In a world where (according to the New York Times) we may be assaulted by as many as 20,000 media impressions daily, and 28% of the average office worker’s day is consumed by handling emails, focus is hard to find, and we all search for ways to make ourselves more productive. Here are three tools to help you do just that;
Unsubscribe.com is a website that will help you do exactly what its name implies, plus more. Not only will you be able to safely un-subscribe from spammy emails , but you can monitor the connections you may have authorized on your other social accounts like Facebook , LinkedIn and Twitter. Un-subscribing for me is always a little nerve-racking. Since some email un-subscribe buttons actually collect your information, and you don;t actually know what the purging process is , this provides a new level of comfort. In addition, when I analyzed my social connections I was stunned when I saw how many sites I had authorized to connect with my Facebook account, that I had not used or visited in over 90 days. A no cost, high benefit, product, Unsubscribe.com is a small download as a browser extension (which handled Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo) but also has downloads for Apple Mail, Outlook and more. You can add unlimited email addresses, and there is no subscription cost at all. If you don’t even finish reading this post, your time here has been well spent.
Rescuetime.com helps you reclaim the time you spend casually browsing the web and surfing social sites when you know you have work to do. The app provides you with three ways to increase productivity. First you can track all of the active time you’re on your computer, with only the active site or program triggering time tracking. As you switch from window to window on your mac or windows based PC, it calculates the time you spend working with each product. When you are away from the computer, the time is also tracked, and you are given the option of adding the non-computer task (meeting, phone call, webinar etc) or to tell the program not to track that block of time. Secondly the app will provide you with graphs and charts detailing the time you’ve spent and what you’ve done with it. If you choose to pay the small fee of $6 per month, you can also you can block casual sites for a specific period of time, say 30 or 45 minutes to force yourself to focus on a specific task. Even if you are interrupted by an IM or other notification, the app will remind you of your commitment and block the offending site. Free or paid, for any level of unsupervised, or even minimally supervised worker, this is a great program
The third productivity enhancing program is the one I used to write this blog post. Ommwriter Dana. This simplistic word processor has few of the bells and whistles that we have come to expect at hand when we write. But its minimalist background, horizontal cursor, and new age music allow the writer to concentrate on writing. Not manipulating the text, but just creating it. Though the colors and sounds are calculated to help the writer focus, it reminds me of the experience of using a manual typewriter with that scariest of all things, the completely white piece of paper. Here we have reached a full circle, complete with audio response when you type each letter. A free product is available for the Mac, iPad and PC, and if you write at all, I recommend at least trying the experience. You might just find it as useful as I have.
So please try these productivity enhancers, and if you have a little extra time as the result of your increased focus, stop back and let me know how you liked them.