Archive for the 'Time Management' Category

5 Helpful Tips to Help You Retain Important Information

It’s widely believed that our memories get worse at we get older. However, whilst it is true that the aging process causes changes in our brains that can mean that it takes longer to learn and recall information, we shouldn’t mistake this for true memory loss. It is normal to forget things once in a while as we age. But, however old we are, there are many things we can do it in our day-to-day lives to help keep our brain working at full capacity.

Here are five ways to help keep your memory sharp:

Sleep

Sleep is proven to be one the most important factors in having a good memory. It is during sleep that our brains perform the consolidation processes required to do things such as moving remembered events from short term to long term memory. Lack of sleep may cause issues with retaining new information and even make you struggle to recall information laid down in the past.

Research also suggests that getting a good night’s sleep before learning is also very advantageous, since sleep deprivation can affect our brain’s ability to memorise and consolidate any new information. Remember, before your next class, seminar or training day, try to be well-rested, as it will help you more than you think.

Exercise

Studies in human brains show that regular exercise can improve our memory. Fitness amongst older adults has even been shown to help to slow the decline of memory. Exercise is also helpful with spatial awareness, which will also improve your spatial memory. Spatial memory is the storage and retrieval of information within the brain needed to plan routes and to remember where objects are located.

The health benefits to exercising regularly are well known and documented, but regular exercise is shown to improve other cognitive abilities besides memory, so whilst you’re improving your health and your memory there are many other benefits.

Meditate

Regular meditation increases blood flow to the brain, which in turn strengthens the network of blood vessels in the cerebral cortex. This reinforces our memory capacity. A particular study has indicated that meditating for just 20 minutes a day boosts memory and concentration. Meditation can particularly help working memory, which stores information temporarily for short term use.

Research shows that participants with no experience in meditation can improve their memory recall in just eight weeks. As meditation also helps with concentration, it has been shown to improve test scores.

Test Yourself

Testing yourself can help your ability to retain information, since any re-visiting and repetition of a subject will always help to embed the knowledge. Ask a friend to test you or see if there are any online resources that will check your knowledge

Doing this you can consolidate your knowledge of a topic or area and transfer your learning to long-term memory, which will happen if you continue to actively use the information. As a bonus, it also helps you know what you don’t know and to determine which areas you need to revisit.

Write it down

Writing down new information is a practice that many people use to retain information. This works because writing by hand turns on parts of the brain involved in learning and memory. Taking notes by hand, rather than even using a keyboard, may boost how well new information is retained.

Studies have shown that writing notes by hand is much better for long-term memory of ideas, or conceptual information. This is vindication for all of us who have ever said “I remember it better when I write it down”.

If you need anymore help with work-life balance, Infero has Time Management and Stress Management Courses in these areas.

Fix Your Time Management Issues With These 5 Apps

Phones are constantly distracting us with their messages, notifications and updates. Sometimes the very gadgets that are meant to facilitate our productivity actually seem to stop us from working to our full potential and living our lives to the fullest. With all of the apps out there that are designed to steal your time and distract you, why not fight fire with fire and, instead, download one of the many that have been created to motivate and help us become more productive.

Here’s our list of the top 5 apps that can help you block out those distractions:  

Forest: 

Forest is an app that lets you grow your own virtual forest by staying focused on the tasks you should be doing, rather than procrastinating.  It works by getting you to set a timer, for a period of your choice, in which you will concentrate on work activities. If you don’t disturb Forest in that time more trees grow, but leaving the app before the end of your ‘promise’ means it will kill off the trees; a perfect visual reminder to keep you focused. 

Forest is designed to keep you away from your phone whilst working, as the longer your device is undisturbed the bigger your forest will be. A great feature of this app is that you can earn virtual coins by creating your forest. When you spend these, the team behind the app donate to real-life tree-planting organisations to help combat deforestation. Another great motivator, as it means you can have an real impact on the environment. 

The app is free on Android or £1.99 on iOS. It is also available as a browser extension for Chrome and Firefox.

Offtime 

Offtime, does exactly what it says on the tin, giving you time off from specific apps with a feature that locks you out of social media during times you have set throughout the day. For example, if you set the app to not allow you to access Facebook between 12-2 pm then you will not be able to open the Facebook app during that time. 

You can label these set periods such as “work time” or “family time” to help you keep track of your day and focused at all times. The app can even help you identify your biggest time wasters, by showing you the apps you use the most. It can screen calls, by only allowing those that you choose to get through, but be setup to send custom replies to callers while it is active. It will also record all messages and notifications until connectivity is restored, meaning you don’t miss anything.

The caveat is that Offtime will need to know when you have incoming calls and be able to access a lot of apps to mute them, so please make sure you have carefully read terms and conditions before using the app. There is a light version for iOS devices, at a small cost, but the free Android version is more comprehensive. Overall, Offtime is a good tool for keeping your tech use in check.

Remember the Milk 

Remember the Milk is a to-do-list app that lets you share tasks and lists with others. It can work across all of the devices and platforms you use and lets you create tasks, assign due dates and add other information to the tasks. The free version will allow you connect to Gmail, Google Calendar, and Evernote, but connecting to other services such as Outlook may require you to dig into your pocket for the paid for version. . 

 

The free version of Remember the Milk  allows you to share your to-do-lists with two other people, but the paid for version allows unlimited sharing and also allows you to share a task list with someone, but restrict their access to read-only, if you don’t want them to be able to edit these tasks.

 

Remember the Milk is available for Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, and browser extensions. It syncs across all devices, even when they’re offline and allows you to create an unlimited number of lists

Focus 

Focus is an easy to understand app which helps you break down the day into smaller intervals, giving yourself a set time to complete a task before a short break. The idea behind this is to prevent users from being overwhelmed with a massive task list, by breaking activities into 15/30/60 minute chunks.  

Focus lets you view your daily, weekly and monthly activity so you don’t lose sight of the big picture. It requires a subscription and can be used on Mac, iPad, iPhone, and Apple Watch, but is not, at time of writing, available on Android.

 

Noisli 

Finally, we have Noisli, which is a little different to the other apps and offers a unique way of trying to keep people productive and focused by using ambient sound to create a working atmosphere. 

If you’re unable work in silence and need a noisy environment, especially when working from home, then this app can help as it offers many sounds ranging from thunderstorms, to light rain, to a busy café and more. 

For more tips and tricks on time management, check out our How You Can Reduce Stress With These Time Management Tips blog or our Time Management Courses 

How You Can Reduce Stress With These Time Management Tips

November 1st is the start of stress awareness week, a time to reflect about how we can deal and prevent overwhelming stress.

Retreating to the island of Erraid in Scotland (Like Ben Fogle did) is one way to escape life’s stress, but maybe not a practical one, so here is a few things you can do to help you live a stress-free life.

Not being able to manage your time correctly can lead to a stressful life, whether that’s through procrastinating or simply not giving yourself a decent work-life balance.

Create a Schedule

Creating a schedule and planning your days in advance can be a great way to add structure to your life, allowing you to relax knowing that you have set times for yourself throughout the day. It also allows you to be productive whilst working since you already have planned what to do ahead of time, but remember to be flexible in case anything urgent appears.

Use Modern Apps

There are many applications to help you become a time management expert, whether it’s keeping it simple with calendars and journals, or trying some specialised apps such as ‘Rescue Time’, an app that gives you weekly reports on how you’ve spent your time each day.

Specialised help

If you are looking for a more in-depth course on how to manage your time and reduce stress, we offer high quality time management and stress management courses.

Article: How Music can Boost Productivity

How many of us put a music on whilst we are working? I certainly do when I work in a kitchen, whether I do dishes or cook a feast for my friends and family. Music puts me in a better mood and as a result makes me so productive.

 

However, a cognitive neuroscientist Daniel Levitin has a different opinion, which is described in his book ‘This is Your Brain on Music’. He believes that listening to music whilst working making us less productive since it negatively affects our memory and attentional capacity. However, for repetitive or monotonous tasks it has a positive effect since music helps to get rid of boredom. Looks like he is right with my kitchen work there.

Love Music

 

 

Levitin explains that listening to music makes us less productive while working because we have fewer resources left for the task we are working on.

 

So what shall we do?

 

Levitin suggests listening to music for 10 to 15 minutes before we start working, like for studying or writing, and then work in a quiet environment with regular breaks. However for boring tasks, we should put the music on whilst we are working.

 

What is your experience with music whilst you are working? Leave us a comment and why not also let us know what type of music you listen when you work.

 

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Article: Time Management

The Most Important Time Management Technique

Time Management big

 

 

Ever looked at your list of tasks wondering what to do first? Well, you are not alone.

 

 

The Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto (1848–1923) suggested that the results and the causes of those results are unequally distributed in the ratio of 80:20. The Pareto Principle, more commonly referred as the 80/20 Rule, states that:

 

  • 20% of your activities will generate 80% of your success, or
  • 20% of a well time managed effort will generate 80% of the desired results.

 

Although the ratio 80/20 is not always this precise, it is used to put emphasis on how much is lost or how much can be gained with time management. It is not a surprise that identifying the critical 20% is the key factor to success.

 

A simple Time Management course can certainly help you to learn some tips and tricks and teach you using yourtime efficiently. But what can we do NOW to minimise our time wastage?

 

The key in identifying those critical 20% is by prioritising your tasks. You may use the Eisenhower Method to help you with that. It said that former U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower used this method in prioritising his daily tasks.

 

To determine your priorities you will need to use a matrix, where you evaluate each task according to its Importance and Urgency. If you use this matrix then you will need to focus on Important tasks. If your tasks are:

  • Important and Urgent, then do them immediately
  • Important but Not Urgent, then enter them into your calendar to keep track of them
  • Urgent and Not Important, then delegate them to a competent person
  • Not Urgent and Not Important are time wasters, so minimise them

 

This is common sense but you would be surprised how much this method will positively affect your productivity. For more info, read our future blog articles, or come to our Effective Time Management Courses.