Tag Archives: productivity

macOS & iOS App Sale – XwaveSoft

Product Announcements – XwaveSoft of Odessa, Ukraine  is having a Back-to-School sale on their entire range of macOS and iOS applications. Starting on August 29, all their applications on Mac and iOS App Stores will be offered at 40% discount. The range consists of widely known applications, where the most effective productivity techniques are incorporated to help people maximize their time, avoid burnout and get rid of procrastination.

Acknowledging the worldwide research about Work-Life balance, the XwaveSoft team are excited about the chance to help people manage their time more effectively, and easily align their daily routines in order to achieve better results. These apps increase personal productivity and helps to focus on things that really matter naturally organizing plans, projects and ideas in a clear way for faster goal achievement.

The products:

  • Be Focused Pro (iOS) – $1.99 (USD) – now $0.99 (USD)
  • Be Focused Pro (Mac) – $4.99 (USD) – now $2.99 (USD)
  • Cloud Outliner (iOS) – $2.99(USD) – now $0.99 (USD)
  • Cloud Outliner (Mac) – $9.99 (USD) – now $5.99 (USD)
  • eXtra Voice Recorder (iOS) – $1.99 (USD) – now $0.99 (USD)
  • eXtra Voice Recorder (Mac) – $4.99 (USD) – now $2.99 (USD)
  • Focus Matrix (iOS)- $2.99 (USD) – now $0.99 (USD)
  • Focus Matrix (Mac) – $4.99 (USD) – now $2.99(USD)
  • Daily Habits (iOS) – $2.99 (USD) – now $0.99(USD)
  • Chrono Plus (iOS) – $1.99 (USD) – now $0.99 (USD)
  • Chrono Plus (Mac) – $4.99 (USD) – now $2.99 (USD)
  • Magic Cutter (Mac) – $9.99 (USD) – now $5.99 (USD)
  • Christmas Gift List (iOS) – $1.99 (USD) – now $0.99(USD)

The discount in the Mac App Store and iOS App Store is valid from Tuesday the 29th of August through to Saturday the 2nd of September.

macOS New App Release – Rest Time 1.0

Product Announcement – publicspace of Luxembourg City, Luxembourg has released Rest Time 1.0 for macOS, its small, simple, elegant & unobtrusive break reminder written entirely in Swift and using Apple’s latest platform technologies. Taking regular rest breaks away from your computer is essential to stay focused and productive throughout the day. Short breaks also boost concentration and prevent discomfort and Repetitive Strain Injuries.

Rest Time lives under an icon in your Mac’s menu bar and pays attention to how long you have been working, so that you don’t have to. Unlike other products, it does not require privileged access that might put your privacy and internet security at risk.

Intelligent Activity Monitoring:
Rest Time schedules your breaks intelligently: It will never start a timer in your absence, and it will automatically detect when you have taken a break without requiring any prodding. Unlike other tools, Rest Time does this without requiring the dreaded “Access for Assistive Devices”, which would leave you wide open to key logging and other privacy and security risks.

Chilltastic Breaks:
During a break, Rest Time takes over the entire screen and displays a relaxing animation prompting you to take your well-deserved break. While the screen is locked, Rest Time”s unique time lock button allows you to unlock it in emergencies, while gently dissuading you from doing so too often.

Your Companion, Not Your Boss:
Rest Time recognizes that there are times when taking a break is not an option, and allows you to disable its countdown for up to 12 hours. This safely gets Rest Time out of the way during presentations or other times when its use might be inappropriate, but makes sure that you do not forget about recovery breaks later in the day.

Simple & Elegant:
Rest Time reminds you to take breaks and has everything it needs to do so well – and nothing else. The resulting design is uncomplicated and easy to live with, day in and day out.

Rest Time is brought to you by a development team with over 20 years of Mac software development experience, and is based on the very latest platform technologies:

  • Simple & elegant menu bar item user interface
  • Privacy preserving activity monitoring
  • 3-, 5- and 10-minute warnings before breaks
  • Soothing break animation
  • Can be temporarily disabled without quitting the app
  • Timer begins only when you become active
  • Automatically detects informal breaks
  • Ability to delay breaks for a set amount of time
  • Gracefully deals with your Mac’s sleep mode
  • Locks entire screen, but can be unlocked if necessary
  • Supports multiple displays
  • Automatic software updates
  • Free 14-day free trial
  • Developed by a team with over twenty years of continuous Mac development

System Requirements:

  • Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan or later
  • 64-bit Mac
  • 32 MB Hard Drive space

The single user version of Rest Time is available for $9.95 (USD) from the publicspace web store. The web store also offers Family, Small Business, Business and Enterprise licensing and customers may chose to include a “forever upgrade” with their purchase.

macOS New App Release – Timing 2

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Product Announcement – Independent software developer, Daniel Alm of Munich, Germany has released Timing 2, his popular time tracking application for OS X. Timing 2 keeps track of one’s time – all by itself. The Mac app records meticulously how much time the user has spent on apps, documents and websites. This data can then be used to analyze one’s productivity, but is also essential for billing hours. Timing 2 introduces a completely new interface, automatic productivity score estimation, and the ability to automatically detect blocks of time that belong together, for even more accurate time sheets.

Professional Mac users need to know how they spend time on their Mac – otherwise, keeping track of which projects consume too much time is a nearly impossible task. Timing 2 answers this question by automatically tracking time spent in each app, document and website. The user can then later inspect this data using Timing’s extensive analytics features and assign activities to projects. Rules let the user further automate those assignments.

For those who need to bill their hours as accurately as possible, Timing 2 also supports classic start/stop timers and lets the user create tasks retroactively. Timing 2’s detailed timeline even shows when the user did what, and automatically suggests tasks for blocks of time that belong together. This automatic grouping feature lets the user assign a whole day’s worth of time in just a few seconds. The app can even automatically ask users what they did as soon as they return to their Mac.

Timing 2 also supports creating exhaustive reports over the tracked data, including timesheets or “weekly snippet” summaries. These reports can then exported in Excel, CSV, PDF and HTML formats for further processing or forwarding them to a client. Even though it collects sensitive data like the currently used document, Timing will not compromise the privacy of its users. Recorded data stays safe on the users’ computer and any entry can be erased retroactively. In addition, tracking can automatically be disabled outside working hours.

System Requirements:

  • Mac OS X 10.11.0 or later
  • 100 MB disk space

Timing 2 is offered in three variants on the developer’s website. The “Productivity” edition ($29 USD) tracks all details on how apps are used. The “Professional” edition adds support for creating tasks, manual start/stop timers and has reporting functionality. The “Expert” edition comes with more filtering options, customized reports, and AppleScript support.

What is Your Learning style?

I came across the article “There Are 7 Types of Learners: Which One Are You?” recently. Those of us in technology and engineering face life long Continuing Education (CE) to keep current with the state of the art. However as we consider the various means of satisfying our CE needs, we need to understand that there are different styles of learning, and what works well for one person, may not for you.

The styles that have been identified are (from learning-styles-online.com: The Seven Learning Styles):

  1. Visual (spatial): You prefer using pictures, images, and spatial understanding.
  2. Aural (auditory, musical): You prefer using sound and music.
  3. Verbal (linguistic): You prefer using words, both in speech and writing.
  4. Physical (kinesthetic): You prefer using your body, hands.
  5. Logical (mathematical): You prefer using logic, reasoning, and systems.
  6. Social (interpersonal): You prefer to learn in groups or with other people.
  7. Solitary (Intrapersonal): You prefer to work alone and use self-study.

We each probably have an idea of which styles are best for us, but we can find out for sure by taking an easy on-line test at Memletics Learning Styles Questionnaire. The results can then guide you to the most effective types of CE content for your learning style.

Reading Fiction Improves Your Job Performance

Reading – I came across the article “Five Ways Reading Fiction Makes You Better At Your Job” this morning and thought that it made good arguments for include some time for reading fiction in your daily schedule. I have been reading fiction, mostly science fiction, for most of my life. What this article points out is that readers of fiction benefit in five ways:

  1. Improved reasoning skills
  2. Understanding of complex problems
  3. Emapthy
  4. Stress relief
  5. Strong role models

I have found over the years that reading has been a means of relaxing and forgetting for a few minutes the stress of life. If you can find an author you like and get immersed in his story, this may help you unwind.

Many, but certainly not all, novels have strong characters that can serve as role models. I think that this is particularly true of Young Adult readers, but it does apply to everyone in one degree or another. Again there is the challenge of funded the right book with the right role model for you.

I do think that reasoning skills can be improved if you read a novel that has some mystery or complex problem to be solved. You begin, whether consciously or not, to try to come up with a solution before the author does.

You can get very invested with a character in a story. While I have read hundreds of novels, only in a very few cases have I felt that a close friend is gone once I’ve finished the story. I have also found that stories often take a different approach to a problem that I would have taken. It makes me think a little more about the problem.

The net of all this is that you should find a few minutes each day to read some fiction. There is so much available now to read that finding something should not be hard. If you are on a tight budget, there are several daily email publications you can subscribe to that will alert you to free or low cost eBooks. Most are from new and upcoming authors, but I have found that many are pretty good. There are also some “all-you-can-read” services.

You Only Need 5 Email Folders

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I am constantly reading articles that make suggestion for improving productivity. I came across the article “The Only Five Email Folders Your Inbox Will Ever Need” a few weeks ago and have been trying (not too successfully) to follow the advice given.

The essence of this article is that you should create four new folders into which you sort your email leaving your inbox empty. The five folders are:

  1. Inbox – the existing folder where all new email is placed
  2. Today – stuff that needs to be handled today
  3. This Week – stuff that needs to be handled this week
  4. This Month (or This Quarter) – stuff that needs to be handled this month
  5. FYI – information stuff that I might want to refer to later

So I have created those additional four folders (Actually, my FYI folder has subfolders for specific subject areas as well). So how have I fared with this approach?

I look at my new mail 2-3 times a day. If it is something I can deal with in 5 minutes or less, I do that immediately (generally). I try to sort the remainder into the folders suggested. Even after weeks of trying this, today was the first day I actually completely processed my Today folder. I guess “out-of-sight-out-of-mind” comes into play.

I have also found that my initial sorting has not always been correct. I have too often placed email in the Today folder when it should have been in This Week or even This Month.

This approach does require changing your habits so that processing these folders becomes an automatic routine. The FYI folder I find useful as I had been saving email in a number of separate folders. I moved those to the FYI folder and now have that reference information in one spot.

Is this a process that will work for you?