Saturday, 18 March 2017

Apps tips from experts III, for productivity's sake

Last but not least, for productivity's sake:

RescueTime – An add-on to Google Chrome that measures your time spent on different activities and programs. It produces daily, weekly and monthly reports and I use it to see where my time goes, what activities are unproductive and time-sucks and how much I work.
Rescue Time – This is free but there is a paid version. I use it to time my hours at my PC. But it does more than log time at the PC. It breaks down your work patterns into productive time, very productive time, or distracting time You can control which website or applications are productive/distracting. For example, although I might go onto Facebook during the working day, it is usually for work purposes, so I count it as productive. You can see how long you were using MemoQ, for example, or how long on Skype. You can also categorise your applications into types, such as communication and scheduling, business, writing (i.e. translating).
I haven’t been using it long but it is already producing some insightful reports.
You can set goals, such as achieving 85% productive time, not working more than 2 hours at weekends, and others
– RescueTime tracks the time you spend online, offline and away from your computer. It’s helped me to boost efficiency and streamline processes, and I don’t know what I’d do without it! It saves me time and headaches by working automatically and holds me accountable by showing exactly what I’ve spent my time on (whether that’s work or Beyoncé videos). The best bit is the ‘productivity pulse’, which shows how productive you’ve been that day. The paid option also allows you to block distracting websites, set up goals and alerts, and even compare your annual productivity levels.
– RescueTime Lite: Free, Time management software
If you want to keep track of your productive/distractive time online, this is your tool. You get reports that show which applications/websites you have spent your time on, how much time you have spent in different (editable) categories, how productive you have been, and whether you have achieved your goals.
– RescueTime helps me track how much time I spend on what on the computer. At, you can categorize the programs/apps and websites you use from very productive to very distracting and once a week, you get a report on how much of your computer time was productive. Quite an eye-opener! You can also set goals and you are cheered accordingly if you reach them. The regular reminder motivates me to keep on the right track.
Focus@Will – If you’re easily distracted by noise around you, this app is for you! Focus@Will is like a Pandora for productivity, featuring scientifically optimized music to help you concentrate and increase your focus. You simply select your channel, from classical piano to ambient cafe noises, choose the intensity level, and tune into your work. An optional timer reminds you to take breaks every now and then to give your brain a rest. I listen to the Focus@Will app with noise-cancelling headphones on my iPhone whenever I translate to tune out barking dogs, ringing phones and other distractions.
– Focus@Will is a paid music streaming service that lets you listen to music scientifically proven to increase your focus. I don’t know about the science behind it, but I do know that it has kept me bright-eyed and bushy-tailed during long proofreading sessions and tricky translation passages. This might be just the tool to bebop you out of that afternoon slump.
Workrave – Workrave is a free tool to help you remember to take breaks. I love my job and I love running my own business, which sometimes means I get sucked in and forget it’s time for a break, a glass of water and a bite to eat. Workrave reminds me to take regular breaks and even takes me through exercises to keep my body in tip-top shape. It makes the day whizz by and I’m a fresher, happier translator as a result!
Simple Pomodoro (Firefox or Chrome) – This app helps me divide my working hours into 25 minute chunks (when I have to focus on the task, and I’m not allowed to check social media, eat, take calls etc.), interspersed with 5 minute breaks. It works both ways: with tasks I’m keen on, it reminds me to take regular breaks; with tasks that I’m not so very fond of (administrative work etc.), it’s easier to focus when I know I can have a break every 25 minutes.
7 Minutes Full Work Out – The title gives out what it does, I guess – interval training for seven minutes. I can use it at home – no equipment needed. It’s excellent for days when I don’t get to move around much. I use it mostly in the morning, first thing before (or right after) coffee.
Fitbit App – As translators, we can sometimes end up sitting at our desks for hours on end. I use the fitbit app as a reminder to keep moving and get some exercise! I’m much more productive if I look after my health and fitness, so I always aim for a good balance between work and play.
Focus Keeper – This is a small app for iOS based on the concept of Pomodoro technique. I find that concentrating on translation for shorter periods of time followed by a break helps me translate 20-30% more words per hour. Taking regular breaks from sitting at my desk is also good for my health.
TomatoTimer – A useful productivity tool where simplicity is the key. I find that thinking in 25-minute segments (with the promise of a short procrasti-break at the end) helps me to keep going when faced with a daunting task. It also helps me to move more when I’m working from home: at the end of the 25 minutes I get out of my chair and stretch my legs.
Moosti – Moosti is a simple Pomodoro timer app. It’s on my favourite list because of its additional features. You can mark the time period you wish to work for, and set your short break and long break times. You can also use it on your mobile phone so you will still receive the notification when you get up and move around during your break. This app is perfect if you tend to peg away for hours until your eyes become blurry!
Strict Workflow – This is a ‘Pomodoro’ extension (for Chrome, but similar tools are available for other browsers) that blocks a list of sites for a set period before giving you a break – perfect for those of us who are easily distracted by social media and news sites!
– I use this Chrome extension to manage the time I spend surfing the Internet. As you know, sometimes you waste time checking your pages or commenting on fb, twitter and so on. This tool helps you to block certain websites for a set time and be able not to be distracted from them.
Productivity Planner – This tool mixes the Pomodoro technique with a daily/weekly planning focusing on the most important tasks. As I love getting things done, accomplishing goals or dreams and celebrate my wins, this is a tool that is now fully part of my day and I miss it when it is not around! I use the paper version, but the developers are planning to create an app, too.
SelfControl – This little helper is my last resort when I just can’t stop procrastinating. It shuts down all the websites that you put on a blacklist (like Facebook, Twitter or other dangerous time sinks) for a pre-defined amount of time, e. g. for one hour. After you hit start, you cannot circumvent the restrictions in any way, not even by quitting the app. Because sometimes someone needs to be strict with us when we just can’t.
Noisli – Noisli is a simple little website that lets you choose a background noise (nature sounds, train rattle, café atmosphere, etc.) to boost your productivity. Studies have shown that you are more productive with a soft constant background noise than in absolute silence. It works miracles for me! Bonus: Sometimes I get to choose a noise that fits my current translation. For example, while I worked on a book on the Top 50 dive sites in the world, I listened to the sound of sea waves in the background. Method Translating!

Yes, I know that some apps could go in more than one category, and that if I go read that article again I'll probably chose some more apps. It is what it is.

No comments: