Lifehacker is great in its own right but it is The Pomodoro Technique I want to focus on. I like being able to give a name and structure to something I've done intuitively - namely break my work into segments and take breaks. The article describes technique and shows how to use it, plus links to more information. Setting a timeframe reassures me that I don't have to work forever, making it more likely for me to complete focused work and then actually enjoy my break.
My mom uses many wise sayings and "eat your frog first" is a memorable one. It was awesome when I came across this video and book by Brian Tracy that explains this concept. This is also a great video to share with students based on reaction alone! It really is energizing to tackle your most important task first and this is reinforced by the section in the 7 Habits book on prioritizing.
Great information and ideas about living a happy, successful life on your own terms. For me the most practical, actionable parts are in the appendix section. The first is titled, "The 'No-Distraction' Dozen: 12 Tools, Apps, and Resources to Help You Stay Focused." It covers how checking social media or other apps impacts my time management and to start looking for ways to focus my time. I've found that even a small improvement in this area leads to a noticeable increase in what I get done.
Not just Mozart.Youtube has relaxing music, but, "although the melodies may seem familiar, all the music has been meticulously re-structured in vibrant new recordings to maximize effectiveness for your well-being." A CD in a collection by Sound Health, others are for motivation, relaxation, focus, etc. I don't understand all of the science but I believe that music can influence mood and mental states. I play this for my students and myself and consider it a classic of this type of music.
This app motivates you to stay away from your phone by planting pretend trees. If you can stay away from your phone for a set amount of time, the tree matures and remains in your forest, plus you earn points. If you get on your phone during that time the tree dies. I think it is fun to watch my forest grow and see something tangible as a result of concentrated work time. I have found that setting my phone completely off limits for a while has helped me make better task choices during the day.
Gamify your life. It is free for android, iphone and has a web version. It has 3 parts to the task area - habits, dailies and to-do with a slightly different purpose and function. You earn imaginary gold, maintain health, earn experience and find rewards by completing your real life tasks. It works for me and reduced my procrastination because it is fun and meaningful. I used it with middle school students, but they needed significant instruction and monitoring to learn to use it successfully.
A classic, to me 7 Habits is dense but meaningful. His system for organizing and prioritizing what I need to do resonated with me. I found it difficult to distinguish between tasks that are important, those that are urgent and those that can wait. This book describes a system that breaks your tasks into 4 parts that are sorted by important and urgency. While I don't use this for all of my tasks anymore, using it for a while helped me see the tasks that really had an impact on my productivity.
This slender tome is chock full of wisdom from veteran teachers and offers practical, concrete advice and solutions to help you tackle all of the your daily teacher tasks. I received this book as a new teacher and while I was skeptical, I still use techniques I learned from this book. As the preface states, disorganization and procrastination are probably the biggest barrier to becoming an effective teacher. From this book I learned how to organize my students and myself better.