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February 25 2014

February 21 2014

February 13 2014

4 Tips for Navigating Your Desktop Like a Boss
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Think long and hard about your relationship with your computer mouse or keypad. It's so needy, isn't it? It's always demanding that you move your fingers from their ready-made position on the keyboard for the simplest of tasks: a click here, a scroll there.

As Sweet Brown would say, ain't nobody got time for that

Keyboard shortcuts are a simple, built in way for you to navigate your desktop faster, saving you plenty of time and ditching that overly dependent relationship with your mouse. The hardest part is getting yourself into the habit of using them. Fortunately, we made this guide to help you out Read more...

More about Productivity, Features, Mac, Windows, and Keyboard Shortcuts

January 14 2014

23 Songs to Help You Get Back to Work
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While it may be tempting to lament over the end of the holidays, it's best to face the facts: Vacations end, and you have to get back to work.

After all, your to-do list won't go away with neglect, and you'll feel better accomplishing tasks in a timely fashion. Fortunately, we put together a Spotify playlist to help motivate you to work.

So, throw on our playlist, grab a cup of coffee and start promoting synergy like a boss. You don't want to be stuck late at the office, while all your friends are having fun at happy hour

Have something to add to our playlist? Share with us in the comments, below, or on Spotify, and we'll add it. Read more...

More about Productivity, Community, Social Media, Spotify, and Entertainment

January 09 2014

Smart Headband Promises Better Dreams and Improved Sleep
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There are never enough hours in a day, our over-connected culture often says. But connected devices worn nightly do not aim to lengthen our days with more tasks; instead, they help us optimize the hours we do sleep, and thus improve the quality of our working and playing hours.

For some, better sleep is achieved through lucid dreaming, or being aware that you are dreaming, an experience said to lower stress and improve performance at tasks you "practice" in dreams.

Lucid dreaming is explored and encouraged through conferences and online forums, and now, gadgets. The Aurora headband, from iWinks, debuted on Kickstarter this month and has already raised double its goal Read more...

More about Productivity, Sleep, Kickstarter, Lifestyle, and Health Fitness

December 28 2013

7 Design Tips for a More Productive Office
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The right workspace can greatly increase employee peace of mind and productivity. But before you panic and install a Google-style indoor go-cart track in your accounting firm's headquarters, relax. All you really need to do to boost your employees productivity is make a few small design tweaks

It may seem trivial, but a few simple design fixes in your office environment can make you and your employees happier, healthier and much more productive.

Whether it's as big as painting the walls or as small as adjusting your desk chair, here's how you can tailor your office's design for maximum effectiveness: Read more...

More about Startup, Productivity, Office, Features, and Business

December 16 2013

5 Valuable Google Maps Tips and Tricks
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Google Maps underwent a major redesign in May 2013. Along with an updated look, the popular mapping tool gained some new features to help users navigate and optimize their productivity

In order to get the most out of Google Maps, whether searching from a computer or a phone, here are five tips to help you find your way easier and faster.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

Image: Flickr, Johan Larsson Read more...

More about Google, Google Maps, Apps, Productivity, and Features

December 03 2013

10 Google Chrome Extensions That Save Time And Keep You Organized

There are plenty of reasons Google's Chrome browser has led users to its green pastures in recent years. Chrome is fast and clean and it integrates deeply with Google. Perhaps best of all, Chrome boasts an ever-improving marketplace of lightweight software geared toward hacking your browsing experience into exactly what you’d like it to look and work like.

If you’re new to Chrome, thinking about switching or just looking for a little variety in your workflow, dive into our list of the best extensions for Chrome and start bettering your browser.

Pocket

This well-loved utility formerly known as “Read It Later” does just that. Pocket for Chrome is a great extension that lets you virtually dogear what you’re reading so that you can circle back to it later. That means you finally don’t have to read those 18 viral bait Buzzfeed lists in the middle of your workday—just save ‘em for later. Productivity win!

Download Pocket

Any.Do

Are you a copious "to do" list maker? If you are, Any.Do may just be the extension you've been looking for. Any.Do just keeps getting better. My favorite to do list manager around (I’ve tried a kajillion of them), Any.Do’s Chrome extension syncs your browser with its excellent mobile apps so that you never forget to remember that thing you didn’t want to forget to remember, no matter where you’re working.

Download Any.Do

Evernote Web Clipper

If you’re an Evernote person, this Chrome extension is a no brainer. Clip any bit of the Web you like, from a Facebook photo to a flight confirmation. Annotate your clip and file it away for later in Evernote by clicking the toolbar logo or right-clicking your mouse in Chrome itself.

Download Evernote Web Clipper

Prevent Duplicate Tabs

You've got to like an extension that just tells you what it does without having some fancy name. Prevent Duplicate Tabs does exactly what it says it does: closes old tabs or prevents you from opening new ones so that the damned things stop multiplying like rabbits. If you don’t find your yourself adrift in a sea of too many open browser tabs from time to time, you’re probably lying. Tab addiction is real, and sometimes we don’t even remember what we opened twenty tabs back.

Download Prevent Duplicate Tabs

Web Of Trust

Web Of Trust (WOT) is a browser classic. If you find yourself in the Web’s back alleys, whether on purpose or by accident, this extension will lead you back to safety. WOT rates each site you visit with a clear color-coded system based on crowdsourced browsing data so that you don’t get scammed, hacked or worse.

Download WOT

Switch To New Tab

Another aptly named extension. Switch To New Tab can shave seconds off a task you do about one million times a day. You ever click on a link but not know where the new browser window opened? This extension takes care of that by running in the background of Chrome so that every time you click a link, the new tab is front and center on your browser.

Download Switch To New Tab

Feedly

If you watched on in horror as Google axed Reader, you’ve probably heard of Feedly. An awesome way to subscribe to and consume the parts of the Web you want, Feedly is the best spiritual successor to Google’s late RSS reader. Feedly’s Chrome extension is basically a quick launch button, but it saves messing around with bookmarks and gets you to your custom Web portal in a click.

Download Feedly

StayFocusd

On a computer, concentrating on one task is… well, I don’t remember—I just tabbed out to check the weather. If you feel the Interweb creeping in around the edges of your online zen, StayFocusd for Chrome lets you rein in that Reddit addiction with custom time limits to block out distractions. StayFocusd allows users to set time limits for any websites they visit for the day. Once you go over your allotted time, the extension will block that website for the rest of the day. Helpful hint (or fair warning): Want to turn the Web off without, you know, turning the Web off? Choose the “nuclear option.”

Download StayFocusd

LastPass

Lastpass is a security essential. If it feels like you’re resetting a password for a compromised account every time you turn around (you are), Lastpass will keep your sprawl of passwords under encrypted lock and key—and save you time and time again. And hey, you don't have to actually remember your passwords.

Download LastPass

Extensity

Extensions can make your time sailing through browsers exponentially better, but managing them can be a major pain. Chrome’s native portal for tinkering around with your third-party party extensions can be a hassle. Extensity  helps you manage your extensions and makes toggling them on and off a breeze.

Download Extensity

Browser plugins can consume considerable system resources, especially in Chrome—already a notorious memory hog. Running extensions are treated like open tabs, but they’re even easier to forget about. Try them all on, but be sure to delete or disable any that didn’t quite fit. After all, the whole idea is to improve your browsing experience, not weigh it down.

Tags: productivity

November 25 2013

10+ Must-Have Tools for the Connected Professional
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Are you the type of person who never leaves the house without your ballpoint pen? I didn't think so

For the connected professional — that person who checks Twitter every hour and would rather give up carbs than Wi-Fi — knowing about the latest technology is crucial. Using the right digital tools can save hours of work (or, 20 minutes right when you need it). Whether you're looking for a better way to schedule your day or need an extra boost of smartphone battery while traveling — make sure you have the following tools in your arsenal.

Travel

Your mobile devices are amazing — except when a dead battery renders them useless. The Mophie case is made for Samsung and Apple devices, and can double the battery life of a device. Don't hop on a long plane ride without one Read more...

More about Email, Productivity, Business, Tools, and Connected

November 22 2013

Sleep Cycle App Promises No More Sleepless Nights
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You're up at sunrise. You go to work, come home, go online and visit with loved ones. Somewhere in between, you find time to eat, buy groceries and watch reruns of Seinfeld. Sounds good, right?

You forgot one thing: sleeping.

Ah, sleep. The fickle mistress. It eludes you for so long and then, the moment you absolutely need it to be brief, you oversleep your job interview by six and a half hours. Heads up: You're doing it wrong.

Sleep Cycle alarm clock, from Maciek Drejak Labs, is your solution.

Sleep Cycle Alarm ClockImage: SleepCycle.com

The Sleep Tracking Trend

While most activity trackers on the market are known for measuring movement, a lesser known feature of some is that they measure sleep movement, as well — and can tell you if you're doing it right. The Jawbone UP tracks sleep and also offers a smart alarm for your power nap. The activity tracker from iHealth measures sleep time and efficiency. The Airo tracks your sleep cycles and can wake you up at the optimal time. Three out of the four activity trackers from Fitbit will track sleep. Read more...

More about Apps, Productivity, Sleep, Ios, and Sleep Cycle

November 19 2013

10 Mac Productivity Tools That You Can't Live Without

If you feel like your daily computer grind could use a little oomph, we've got some. A handful of these add-ons can make tasks that were previously awkward at best a breeze. Most of these tools for OS X are free and the rest are cheap—and all of them are essentials in our book.

1. Jumpcut

We’re used to copying and pasting one item at a time—that’s just the way it works. But imagine if your computer’s capacity for recall worked a little more like your brain’s working memory, scrolling through recently relevant items and surfacing the one you need.

That’s exactly what Jumpcut does. There are a few apps out there that expand your Mac’s inherent copy/paste skills, but Jumpcut is elegant, simple and so well executed that your fingers will rely on its custom shortcuts within minutes. Conjure up Jumpcut’s menu, a transparent overlay triggered by a keyboard command (in my case Command + S), and you’ll be able to scroll through a hundred items, like handy URLs, email addresses and passwords that you might need at your fingertips.

Download Jumpcut

2. Growl

More of a platform than a single purpose add-on, Growl enables customized notifications for everything from Messages to Spotify. If you’re not content with OS X’s built-in notifications sidebar—and why should you be?—power up Growl and decide exactly how you want to be notified of the endless cascade of potential social and app data that streams your way.

Decide how each pop-up will act: where it will appear, what sounds it will make when and what exactly what those should look like. If you’re a multitasker, especially on a notebook, this one is indispensable.

Download Growl

3. BetterSnapTool

If you’re working with a limited amount of screen real estate, BetterSnapTool makes organizing your windows a breeze. At the simplest level, this Mac add-on/app lets you divvy your screen into two instantly. Once you’ve defined the parameters of how you like your windows arranged—maybe a half-and-half or quadrant array is far too basic for your needs—you can click and drag windows to “hot spots” that will snap them into place without any fiddling around trying to bend a window to your spatial will.

Download BetterSnapTool

4. Camouflage

Much like some people always properly pair their socks or maintain inbox zero, some among us keep their desktops entirely free of clutter. If you are not among their ranks, this add-on will let you fool yourself into thinking you are.

Which, as it turns out, feels great. If you have a melange of screenshots, random unidentifiable files and other flotsam colonizing your precious desktop territory, enable Camouflage and poof—it’s gone. Well, until you need it, that is.

When you need some peace of mind, toggle Camouflage on with a shortcut and your desktop mess with be replaced with a delightfully stuff-free overlay. When you’re ready to deal with your digital hoarding, just toggle it back on. Or don’t.

5. Found

If you’re not a Spotlight fan, Found might be for you. Spotlight never really seems to dredge up the files I wanted, so in a fit of annoyance I disabled it with Terminal’s command line. Happily, Found is considerably smarter than Mac’s native file hunter. Like many of the tools on this list, Found can be triggered by a custom keyboard shortcut and trained to shuffle through your files in services like Dropbox, Google Drive, Gmail and Evernote. Happy hunting.

Download Found

6. Flux

We can deny the deleterious effects of staring at a glowing rectangle all day, but unfortunately, the fact of eye strain remains. If you get a sense of visual fatigue (or worse, headaches) from gazing into your Mac’s glowing abyss, Flux is your answer.

Natural light—you know, from the sun—varies throughout the day. Flux adjusts your display’s color temperature in relation to the time of day, taking sunrise and sunset into account. Maybe that otherworldly blue glow won’t ruin you after all.

Download Flux.

7. Fluid

If tabs are on the verge of driving you to madness, Fluid might be for you. It’s not always perfect, but Fluid is a quick and dirty solution for turning a URL into a standalone app of sorts.

Personally, I like to keep some sites handy all day, but leaving the tab open in my browser just adds to the mental burden of things I need to get to. With Fluid, you can transform any website into something your Mac will treat like an app, dock shortcut and all. Then instead of hunting through your browser maze, you can just Command + Tab your way to the stuff you need most.

Download Fluid

8. BetterTouchTool

Mac’s gestures and touch cues are awesome, but they don’t always act exactly the way we wish they did. Enter BetterTouchTool, a lightweight app that lets you remap everything on your trackpad, mouse, keyboard or any other input device. Want to tap to click with your Magic Mouse or remap three finger swipe on your MacBook? Consider it done. BetterTouchTool’s interface is a little overwhelming at first, but it’s chock full of versatility.

Download BetterTouchTool

9. Notify

Notify is an excellent solution if you like to have your inbox at hand but not in the way—and man, does email love to get in the way. A featherweight app that lives in your upper right toolbar, Notify gives you the at-a-glance peace of mind that you haven't missed that one critical email. If you'd prefer to err on the in-the-loop side, plug Notify into Growl and get pop-up previews and sound notifications every time a new email sails your way.

10. Skitch (screenshots, image capture)

Skitch is a well-loved app, with good reason. An extremely lightweight imaging app, Skitch is the perfect solution for capturing what’s on your screen, sizing it down, and sending it off somewhere. It performs the most essential, quick image edits with ease, saving you the time and computing power it takes to fire up Photoshop.

Skitch now integrates with Evernote, so you can swipe anything on your screen and sync it for posterity. Personally, we prefer the old version of Skitch, which is still available for download if you know where to look.

Download the new Skitch or the old Skitch

Lead image by Madeleine Weiss for ReadWrite

Tags: productivity

November 13 2013

6 Ways to Boost Productivity With iCloud
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First released in 2011, iCloud is Apple's cloud offering that allows users to keep files synced between their Mac, iPhone, iPad and iPod touch

In addition to acting as a way to backup your iPhone or iPad, iCloud also works as a way to save your contacts, calendars and notes. Beginning with iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks, iCloud also acts as a way for users to keep their passwords synced between iOS and the Mac.

Although iCloud is often compared to other cloud services such as Microsoft's SkyDrive, Dropbox and Google Drive, its deep integration with iOS and OS X gives it some unique features. Read more...

More about Productivity, Icloud, Business, Apps Software, and Work Play

October 31 2013

6 Ways Entrepreneurs Make the Most of Their Days
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Mastering productivity is a challenge even for the best of us. After all, there are only so many hours in the day and exercising, responding to emails, getting work done and catching up on sleep don't seem to fit so nicely within that time frame. Yet, excuses aside, making the most of any given 24 hours is not only doable, but those who manage to do so consistently often become the most successful of the bunch.

Consistent productivity, though, takes drive, grit, determination and a lot of focus. Plus, like any habit, experience is key to perfecting the learned behavior

More about Productivity, Founder, Business, Startups, and Supported

October 07 2013

6 Online Reservation Services to Bookmark Now
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Much to some people's dismay, it's still necessary to interact with the real world to get certain things done. But that doesn't mean you can't use the web to facilitate finding said chores. Many great sites can help find restaurants and businesses, though some are better and more reliable than others

To aid in your search, be it a babysitter, a doctor or an oil change, here's a list of six top-notch booking sites that will help you get the most bang for your buck.

1OpenTable

The dinner reservation is a time-honored tradition, but trying to score a table for two on a Friday night six months from now can be tough. With OpenTable, dinner reservations take less than a minute. Pick the city where you'd like to dine and the number of people in your party and find a restaurant you'd like to try. OpenTable lists available times right in your search. Just choose a time, enter your information and your table will be ready when you arrive Read more...

More about List, Productivity, Features, Lifestyle, and Home

September 25 2013

Warby Parker Co-Founder: Glasses Can Empower Communities
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Two glasses companies have a revolutionary idea: Spectacles should be cheap, and anyone who needs them should be able to have a pair.

Warby Parker pitches its product to customers as stylish specs. But underneath the chic is a business model set to change the way glasses are distributed. For each pair sold, the company donates another to VisionSpring, a non-profit dedicated to selling those donated glasses in poorer communities worldwide. 

The companies strive to empower those associated with Warby Parker glasses, and aim to make a huge dent in the 700 million people worldwide in need of glasses. Read more...

More about Productivity, Entrepreneurs, Education, Glasses, and Business

September 17 2013

6 Ways to Maximize Your Browser Real Estate
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More, more, more. Everything's always better when there's more, and your browser toolbar space is no exception. With compelling online content behind every click, it's easy to find yourself overwhelmed by too many open or saved web pages.

Whether your bookmarks bar is jammed with countless interesting sites or your tabs bar is overloaded, here are some simple ways to maximize the real estate in your browser toolbar.

Do you have any tips for getting the most out of your browser space? Share them in the comments below.

1. Pin Tabs

In Chrome and Firefox, you can pin tabs to minimize them to their favicons ("favorite icons") in the toolbar. To do this, simply right-click on a tab and select "Pin Tab." Read more...

More about Productivity, Browser, Features, Tech, and Dev Design

August 17 2013

11 Top IFTTT Recipes to Activate Now
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IFTTT might be the best thing for digital productivity since the Self Control app. So we've assembled a collection of the very best recipes.

IFTTT stands for "If this, then that." The site helps you craft solutions to streamline your digital organization. IFTTT recipes are excellent for planning out your social media strategy, or just reminding you to cross something off of your to-do list

There are two pieces of vocabulary you should know when dealing with IFTTT recipes. The "trigger" is the first event, and the "action" is the second. For example, if you want to tweet "Bring your umbrella!" whenever it rains, the rain would be the trigger, and the tweet would be the action. The recipe: "If it rains, then tweet 'Bring your umbrella!'" Read more...

More about Apps, Productivity, Features, Business, and Hacks

August 06 2013

Asana: The 'Tesla of Productivity Tools'
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Quick poll: How much of your time do you spend writing and responding to emails to find out if certain action items are actually getting done? Odds are, a lot. Technology enables us to collaborate with those across the office and across the world, but we still spend a heck of a lot of time checking in, circling back and following up on things. There are plenty of communication and collaboration tools, but they tend to do one or the other — they help you chat with co-workers or divvy up tasks, but they rarely do both.

Asana was born within Facebook in 2009, a time when the company was growing and launching new products, such as the "like" button and new privacy features. The product took off within the company. Read more...

More about Productivity, Features, Asana, Tech Innovators Series, and Tech Innovators

July 03 2013

The Beginner's Guide to Evernote
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If you've felt the crush of information overload and wanted to get organized, it's time to check out Evernote. The cloud-stored notebook has a strong presence as both a computer and mobile app, along with a web platform, so you can access one organized Evernote account from all kinds of places.

Evernote just celebrated its five-year anniversary, too. It's a testament that neither the service nor your data are going anywhere.

Using Evernote can be intimidating if you're just starting out, though, so Mashable created this guide to getting the most out of cloud note-taking. Read more...

More about Apps, Productivity, How To, Features, and Evernote

May 15 2013

5 Creative Ways to Spend Your Lunch Break
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One of the best pieces of work advice I’ve ever received—and yes, it was from my mother—was to make sure to take my lunch hour.

If you've gotten into the unhealthy habit of eating lunch at your desk, never seeing sunlight or feeling outside air on your skin for 10-hour stretches of time, you need to start taking a real lunch break. That hour can enhance your productivity, mindset and wellbeing.

Beyond brown-bagging it and grabbing a bench in the park (which, of course, is a totally great option), shake things up with one of these five creative ideas.

1. Join a Lunch Network

Let’s Lunch is a free online network that matches you up with someone in your area for lunch during the workweek. Connect your LinkedIn profile, provide your availability and geographic flexibility, and the site’s algorithm matches you up with a like-minded lunch partner. It’s a great way to grow your network utilizing the free time that’s already built into your day. Read more...

More about Productivity, Lunch, Workplace, Creativity, and Lifestyle
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