With the amount of work being done on your home PC, a slow or less-than-ideal configuration is more than a frustration, it’s a hurdle between you and getting on with your life. You’re likely taking care of personal and business emails, doing your banking and staying connected through social media at the very least. Thankfully, there are a lot of tools out there that can make your home computing sessions productive and streamlined. Here are three tools to add to your PC that will make your life easier.
1. A Dashboard
Dashboards like OneLaunch that appear as soon as you boot your computer allow you to keep everything important in one place. Dashboards keep you updated with time, weather and local information but also organize your most used computer features all in one space. It links your bookmark toolbar and favorite websites and integrates with the local programs you use the most. Easily create snips without having to remember shortcut keys and even open the Windows browser all from one location. When you’re feeling less productive it even has pages of links to your favorite games and streaming entertainment services.
2. A Focusing App
If you find yourself spending too much time on Netflix, Facebook or playing solitaire when you really need to be getting things done, try an app that forces you to focus by removing your access to tempting sites that make time disappear. Apps like Stayfocusd will block specific sites at specific times. So if you work on your personal computer during a standard workweek, you could have the app block your access to timewasters from 8 to 5 or you can have it set a time limit for specific apps, so if you want to swipe through your feed for half an hour, that’s all the time you’ll be able to waste until tomorrow.
It’s also a great choice if your kids are working on homework online.
3. Pomodoro Apps
Finally, try using the Pomodoro method in conjunction with an app that will help you keep track of your time. Originally named for the little tomato-shaped timers it employed, the technique requires you to focus for 25 minutes followed by a five-minute break. The 25 minutes is short enough that you can force yourself through it and stay focused but long enough for you to complete a significant portion of a task. The five-minute break keeps you from burning out and is a good chance to stretch your legs since you shouldn’t be sitting for hours at a time.
Now, rather than having to reset your tomato twice every half-hour, there are apps out there that will monitor your time for you, keeping you on track and focused for as long as you need. Try Clockwork Tomato, Forest or Focus List. There are dozens of Pomodoro apps, so do some research to find one that integrates with the tools you already use and has the unique features that will keep you using it every day.
With these three additions, your time on your computer can be handled quickly and efficiently, letting you get back to living IRL.