I’d like to consider myself to be a productive person. I work a full-time job during the day, pursue my entrepreneurial passions at night, and still set aside more than enough time to exercise, relax, and hang out with friends and family. Managing this time is one of my biggest challenges, as I often feel the same way as many other ambitious twenty-somethings that I’ve spoken to: So many goals, so little time.
This is something I’ve struggled with for years, yet I’ve just started to learn that, like anything, ambition is important in moderation. Although our intentions are pure, being too ambitious can actually hurt our overall success. This influx of ambition can become a distraction, resulting in an inability to stick to one project or idea for an extended amount of time.
Time is our most valuable asset. It may be truly the only thing that money can not buy (along with good health, although these are very closely connected). It should be treated like gold, especially for those with lofty goals and aspirations.
Yet, in this digital age, we have never been subject to so many potential time-eating distractions. It’s as if we are wired to drop whatever we are doing the second we hear a ping, ding, or vibration come from one of our beloved devices. The age and adoption barriers for these devices are also decreasing rapidly, with some toddlers learning how to use an iPad before they learn how to read. Soon enough, we might see babies start to pop out with iPhones in hand.
Yet while technology is often viewed as productivity’s kryptonite, it can also be used as a super-power. A way to beat distraction, not succumb to it. The internet and app-store are filled with hundreds of thousands of time-management, productivity, and note-taking tools. While the barrage of options may be overwhelming, with a bit of research and trial and error you can uncover some pretty cool (and useful) applications, like the one I am about to show you here. Pocket.
I discovered Pocket through a book by Nir Eyal, called Indistractable. In the book, Nir, a WSJ best-selling author and expert on habit-forming and productivity, raved about it’s life-changing effects, so I thought I’d give it a shot. Prior to using Pocket, Nir fell victim to a common distraction. One that I know myself and many friends encounter everyday.
Let me know if this sounds familiar: Tasked with an important project or research assignment, you naturally head to Google to begin your work. But once you open your browser, sometimes even before you make the initial Google search, you are engulfed by a wave of headlines dripping with juicy click-bait. Even if these articles are educational, you quickly find yourself spiraling down a content-filled rabbit hole, getting further and further away from your intended work with each click.
That’s where Pocket comes in.
Pocket is an app that enables you to save articles, videos, Tweets and more to your device for later enjoyment with one-click. The articles download ad-free, directly to your device, letting you view offline without internet connection.
No more cluttered bookmark bars, documents with copied and pasted links, or open computer tabs that sit minimized because you will “get around to it”, only for them to be x-ed out in a panic-induced desktop purge a week later. (or is that just me?)
The app works via both Chrome and Safari extensions and mobile/tablet, so you can access your content from anywhere.
Pocket also has a text-to-speech feature that, if you wish, can read you your articles in a wide range of different voices and accents. (I’ve always dreamed of having an Australian girlfriend, so I guess this is the next best thing.)
Using text-to-speech is where productivity hackers like Nir thrive. Now, not only will you spend more time focused on your work, but you can also combine your reading time with other habits or routines such as working out or commuting.
Until reading Nir’s book, I never thought of my spontaneous article-breaks as distractions. I had always (wrongly) justified it to myself, that as long as I was learning, I was being productive.
So far, I’ve been using Pocket for two weeks and have been loving it. I’ve even found myself reading more than I did before. I am constantly adding articles or videos to the app, know that once I finish my work I will have a trove of ad-free information right at my disposal.
What apps have you been using to build habits and stay productive? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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