Ease Your Work Days: Great Apps and Gadgets That Can Tame Your Daily Grind

Ease Your Work Days: Great Apps and Gadgets That Can Tame Your Daily Grind

If you travel to work by bus or train, the commute can be long and boring if you’re traveling alone. Do not despair, there is a wide range of gadgets and apps for your mobile device that can make your daily commute easier, no matter how long it takes you to reach your destination.

Ease Your Work Days: Great Apps and Gadgets That Can Tame Your Daily Grind

Check The Weather

It’s always a good idea to know what your local weather is going to be like throughout the day. Weather Live Free from Apalon apps will keep you ahead of the game with its hour forecast, weather radar and rain maps, so you won’t get caught in a storm. It will also tell you the temperature, wind chill, humidity and pollen count for the day.

Plan Your Day

Use your commute time wisely to plan your schedule for the day. Jorte Calendar and Organizer enables you to manage your day completely. You can plan daily events, set alerts and reminders, input diary tasks, sync with Evernote and the cloud, display lunar calendars, sync your events in Yahoo Calendar and Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, and see or hide completed appointments.  By the time you get to work, you’ll have everything in hand.

Don’t Miss Your Stop

It’s been a long day and you find yourself nodding off on your way home, don’t be caught out and miss your stop. The Citymapper app allows you to set notifications for when you’re supposed to get off. It will also live-track your journey’s progress so you’ll always know exactly where you are. This is an essential commute companion.

Catch Up On The News

If you’re always in a mad rush to get ready in the morning and don’t have time to watch the news, you can catch up with current affairs while you’re traveling to work. WatchUp lets you customize your own personal newscast so you get to see the issues you’re interested in. You can choose from a selection of news channels including CNN, CBS News  Fox Business, Euronews, Skye News, BBC News, The Wall Street Journal, The Associated Press, Vox, Bloomberg and many local stations.

Listen to Tunes

Sit back and relax while listening to your favorite tunes with Tidal. This app gives you free access to over 75,000 music videos, more than 25 million songs, and no annoying ads. You can stream your favorite music and listen to stories about musical artists from behind the scenes while you travel to and from work.

Get Your Zen On

Restore your inner peace while you commute with Headspace the app that allows you to meditate wherever you are. The app lets you meditate in ten-minute sessions and shows you how to learn mindfulness techniques and train your mind to have a happier and healthier life. With just ten minutes a day you’ll soon feel like a completely new person. If you enjoy it, you can subscribe to get access to hundreds of hours of original meditations.

Don’t just sit there wishing you were at home in bed. Make the most of your commute time by doing something fun and productive.

 

 

Image via Shutterstock

 

 

A Television Free Life #MondayMusings

A Television Free Life #MondayMusings

How long can you go without television? It’s been two and a half years that we’ve been living a television free life and honestly we don’t miss it at all.

How it happened

Let me start at the beginning. I was an ardent television watcher, but never quite hooked on to serials. If anything, I’d watch a whole lot of movies back to back. Then I married an ardent football following man – so it was the sports channel for him. Somewhere down the line he got put off with all the scandals surrounding sports and isn’t so keen on football anymore.

We sometimes watched the news together but very rarely. Jose can hardly  ever watch a complete movie. He prefers ‘serialized movies’, so watching on DVD was a better idea for us. But that hardly happened. There were three to four times that we were glued to television together – during the terrorist attacks on Mumbai, made more real since we lived there at the time; the run up to the US Presidential Elections, watching Obama in action; our national elections post the terrorist attack; and mindless television watching when we moved to have our flat renovated. That project went on and on and left us bored and depressed.

Other than the occasional movie on Hallmark or Romedy that I watched, the television remained part of the interior decoration in our Mumbai flat. When we moved to Secunderabad, we left all our furniture behind and presently live in a rented flat that is furnished. There is a television set but we couldn’t be bothered getting the cable connection fixed. We moved the TV into storage!

A Television Free Life

What’s life without television like you ask? Much more quiet. We are not assaulted by the mindless chatter that passes for talk shows and news. We don’t have a Mr Goswami yelling about what ‘India wants to know’.

I’ll confess that social media can be equally distracting and intrusive, but I’m learning to cut that down a lot more too.

We get to read a lot more.

Our news comes to us via the Internet. I get to watch movies via YouTube.

Most of all we have more choice about what we consume and when we consume it.

“So please, oh PLEASE, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away. And in its place you can install, a lovely bookshelf on the wall.” — Roald Dahl

Can you think of life without television?

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Do You Create Space For Yourself #MondayMusings

Do You Create Space For Yourself #MondayMusings

Life can be overwhelming. Sometimes circumstances cause us to feel stressed. But more often than not, we invite stress. I know I do it all the time.  My question for this Monday (although it’s way past Monday) is : Do you create space for yourself?

The fact that a #MondayMusings post is coming out so late is evidence of me biting off more than I can chew. It also shows that I have a long way to go towards making life simple.

Just this morning, I was rushing our dog through her walk because I was trying to beat the clock. I wasn’t giving her time to stop and smell the roses the evidence of other dogs! What fun is a walk for her or me, if I keep rushing her through it?

It’s the same with life. What fun is it if we keep rushing through our days, not taking the time to enjoy them.

Do You Create Space For Yourself?

Space is something we must learn to create for ourselves. Reduce clutter both in our homes and in our minds.  We must consciously make time in our day for ourselves. You might say that’s a difficult thing given the demands of work and family, but it’s really not.  What if we took 10 minutes off watching television, or being on social media and spent them literally doing nothing. Just being.

I’m borrowing from a compassion practice to suggest a simple way of creating space for a few minutes every day.

Sit in a quiet place. Breath in deeply and release your breath gently.

Place a hand gently on your heart, cheek or stomach.

Acknowledge your feelings in that moment. For example, ‘I am feeling stressed by all I have to do today……’ or ‘I am upset with …………’

Connect yourself to the human experience. For example, ‘Everyone feels stressed. Everyone is under pressure….’

Extend yourself whatever compassion you need in this moment. For example, ‘May I be kind to myself in this moment.’ or ‘I give myself permission to relax’

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I’m linking into Mac Glanville’s MG linky today.

Reflections From Me

7 Simple Ways to Design Your Day

7 Simple Ways to Design Your Day

What do you think of when you hear the word ‘design’? If you’re like most people, you probably think of clothes, homes or websites. Most of us wouldn’t associate design with time, although it is indeed possible to be able to design your day!

The dictionary defines the word ‘design’ as to ‘decide upon the look and functioning of (a building, garment, or other object), by making a detailed drawing of it.’ Going by this, designing a day would involve thinking about how you’d like your day to look like. This would include what you achieve over the course of a day, how you feel as your day progresses, and the special moments and memories you create in those 24 hours.

Designing your day is a little different from creating a to-do list. It’s more than just ticking items off; it’s about visualizing a perfect day. If this still sounds confusing, we can help! Here are 7 simple ways to help you design your day.

7 Simple Ways to Design your Day

#1 Think positive thoughts as soon as you wake up.

Studies show that the thoughts you wake up with set the tone for the rest of the day, so take care of them! It’s a good idea to have a mantra, affirmation, prayer, word of the year or just a pretty picture in a place that’s visible as soon as you wake up. This way your thoughts will be directed in the right direction before your to-do list comes rushing into your head

#2 Hydrate yourself.

Get rid of that parched feeling with a nice drink. Lemon water, warm honey water, green tea – all great options, as long as you try to stay away from caffeine! As you sip, feel the liquid flowing through your body, moisturizing and nourishing every part. Think about how lucky you are to have this day, a day full of possibilities and hope

#3 Sit down with your planner.

It’s finally time to look at that to do list! Sit down in your balcony, garden or porch and look at the various tasks on your list. Focus on getting the big rocks or the important activities in first. Once that’s done, you can fill in the smaller rocks in the gaps.

Here’s a sample of planners from Day Designer  I’m looking at getting for myself:

#4 Identify your Circadian rhythms.

Circadian rhythms are defined as ‘physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a roughly 24-hour cycle, responding primarily to light and darkness in an organism’s environment’. We all have periods of time during the day when we work our best and when we’re the most distracted. When fitting your rocks within your day, do it according to your natural rhythms, keeping high priority tasks for high focus times and vice versa.

#5 Create time blocks.

When planning your tasks, setting very specific timelines can be very restrictive and takes the joy out of everything. So make it easier by setting aside larger blocks of time for an activity or a set of activities. This creates less stress and lets you actually get into the ‘flow’ of your tasks.

Get this: How To Design Your Day Free Daily Planner Template Download Printable by @DayDesigner

#6 Include time for recreation.

When you have a to-do list stacked with items like ‘Meeting with boss’, ‘Prepare for presentation’ or ‘Take mom to doctor’, it might feel odd to insert something like ‘read’ or ‘do crossword’. But finding time for recreation among work-related obligations is crucial to keep the brain at an optimum level. It also ensures that you don’t feel like a genie from a lamp, doing one task after the other.

#7 Fix an end time for everything.

Fixing a time to wake up and start work is pretty easy, when compared to settling on an end time. Decide on an end time for work, after which you spend time purely with family. Set another end time for the day in general, after which you spend time with yourself – journaling, reading or meditating.

As you design your day with the big picture in mind, you’ll find that you feel more in control of your life. Most of our anxiety stresses from not knowing, rather than not doing. When you design a day that’s in tune with your particular goals, your body rhythms and your family circumstances, you’ll see that things automatically seem to fall into place!

 

Image credit : Rock zen via Shutterstock

What Was It Like To Be You In 2016? #MondayMusings

What Was It Like To Be You In 2016? #MondayMusings

It seems like I’ve asked a lot of questions these days. But don’t you worry, I don’t ask you any questions that I haven’t already posed to myself. Today’s question is one that I asked myself as I’m looked back on 2016 (yes, it’s almost over) and looking ahead to 2017.

My Word of The Year

My word for this year is simplify. When I asked myself if I had done that this year, I was quick to reply in the negative. But then, I stopped and thought about it a lot more. I realized that I had indeed simplified but not in the way I had  envisioned at the start of the year.

I’ve actually done a lot more this year, including working two to three days out of home in the second part of the year, after an almost 10 year gap of being a homebody.

Difficult, but worth it

I’ve simplified in one area that I had struggled with for years – in my relationships with some people. I’ve learned how to deal with them, not allowing them to drain me emotionally, keeping things simple. Believe me, it’s not been easy, but I’m so glad that I’ve succeeded. I’m much happier and more at peace. No longer bound by ‘shoulds’ but ruled by choice.

So being me in 2016 was not exactly easy, but every step was worth it, because it brought me a lot closer to being ME.

What was it like to be YOU in 2016?

what-was-it-like-to-be-you-in-2016

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I’m linking into Mac Glanville’s MG linky today.

Reflections From Me

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You Don’t Need More Space  #MondayMusings

You Don’t Need More Space #MondayMusings

I’ve spent the last few days finally getting together the figures for my pending income tax submissions. While I was doing that, I realized that I had been storing a lot of ‘just in case’ documents which could easily be binned. I spent most of yesterday tearing up papers. Oh the joy of shedding things we don’t need!

Last month, we decided that we needed a cupboard since we were running out of storage space. As you might know we’re staying in a rented place and it makes no sense to buy new furniture, since all our furniture is lying in our home in Mumbai. While we considered borrowing a somewhat unused cupboard from my parents, I’ve looked at the space we do have and wondering why we need more. If I organize things better, we’d have more space. If I get rid of some more stuff, we’d have ample space.

I’m not much of a hoarder. But we buy stores in bulk, since it cost effective. It does get tempting to buy things we don’t need immediately or at all! Online too, it’s so tempting to store all sorts of information and links, some of which we’ll never read or act on.

You don’t need more space. You need less stuff. – Joshua Becker

My word for this year is SIMPLIFY.  And that’s precisely what I’m trying to do in all areas of my life. Part of the process of simplifying is to shed and not buy unnecessary stuff.  I’ve also decided not spend my efforts on blogging challenges that take so much of my time. I’m trying to focus on the essentials of my writing – work towards making if more authentic and effective. And working on building community, which is such a large part of blogging.

I’m making space for the essentials and pruning off what I don’t need. It’s taking time, but I’m glad I’ve started.

[Tweet “You don’t need more space. You need less stuff.”]

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Do you regularly get rid of stuff you don’t need? 

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