Temperatures are climbing, birds are chirping, and despite our certainty that it would never come, spring is here. The only downside to this (and yes, there is only one), is that you might find yourself gazing longingly out the window at the passersby who are basking in the sun's rays. Okay, snap out of it. At CCA, there are a few sites we like to keep bookmarked for those moments when productivity levels are waning. Check them out.
1. Watch a TED Talk. Choose from over 1,900 talks by the world's most inspiring thinkers and doers. In 18 minutes or less, you can learn How Butterflies Self-Medicate, how to Be An Opportunity Maker, How Great Leaders Inspire Action (a CCA favorite), and so much more. No matter what you're interested in, TED Talks have the power to change the way you think, work, or live—and hopefully give you the motivation you need to tackle that next assignment.
2. Help end hunger. And brush up on your vocabulary. FreeRice.com lists a word along with four choices for its meaning. If you get it right, they'll donate 10 grains of rice through the World Food Programme. Each time you answer correctly, FreeRice ups the difficulty, so you're constantly being challenged—just think of yourself as the office thesaurus. Take note of their disclaimer: "WARNING: This game may make you smarter. It may improve your speaking, writing, thinking, grades, job performance..." (Worth the risk, right?!)
3. Learn something new. Click the "Surprise" tab on TodayIFoundOut.com for a myth-busting fact that will make a great conversation starter at the coffee machine. (Limit yourself to just a few clicks so you don't wind up being counterproductive.)
4. Listen to the birds. Treat yourself to the perks of the outdoors with a site that plays free nature sounds. Choose from crackling fire, falling rain, chirping forest birds, hooting owls, and more. Did you know a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research found that ambient noise increased production on creative tasks? All the more reason to tune in.
5. Clean up your inbox. If you've ever felt distracted or overwhelmed by the number of emails in your inbox, sign up for Unroll Me. After you enter your email address, Unroll Me will list all of the accounts you're currently subscribed to, with the option to unsubscribe right on the screen. Then, they'll combine the emails you do want into one daily digest that they call the "Rollup." (Think of all the time you'll save when you're not scrolling past junk mail to get to what you really need.)
6. Take a break. According to the Pomodoro Technique, the best way to promote productivity throughout the day is through short, scheduled breaks. Doing so gives you the authority you need to put distractions on hold until the next break, and can also eliminate that sense of burn out you get when you've pushed yourself too hard. Try a site like Moosti, which has a 25-minute timer for focus periods, a 5-minute timer for a short break, and a 15-minute timer for a longer one. You can even customize your colors using the menu on the right side of the screen.
7. Be calm. Why not spend one of your 5-minute breaks completing a meditation session on Calm.com? You can choose your nature scene, a time limit, and whether you'd prefer a timed or guided session. (If you're choosing guided, make sure to use headphones.) Then, come back from your break feeling mentally recharged.
Now that you're armed with seven different ways to boost your productivity, get back to work!