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10 Ways technology can declutter your workspace

Here’s how to tell if it’s time to declutter your workspace, and which tools will help you actually keep your area cleared.

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Let’s do an exercise together

Look up from your computer. Don’t worry; I won’t go anywhere. Just examine your work area and notice if it’s clean or messy.

Are you back? Great! You barely kept me waiting. What does your work area look like? Is there clutter everywhere? A few pictures on your desk is fine. But if you can’t move your laptop an inch without knocking pens and papers off the side of your desk, then you’re in trouble.

You might think this clutter doesn’t bother you. However, it does affect how you work.

Why you should declutter

You shouldn’t just declutter because it looks messy. You should declutter so you work more efficiently.

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Clutter competes for your attention, which makes it more difficult for you to focus and be productive. Clutter distracts your brain from concentrating on your work. Your brain can’t efficiently process the information of the work you’re trying to get done. This happens because it’s trying to process the information of the clutter on your desk at the same time.

Decluttering your workspace will lead to you being more productive. Luckily for you, technology can be used to help with the decluttering process. Here are ten ways technology can declutter your workspace!

1. CableBox Mini

How many times a day do you have to step over the cords of your laptop charger, Ethernet cable, etc.?

These cables make your workspace look messy. Use a CableBox Mini to store these cords. Your charger is usually much longer than you need it to be. Stick it in your CableBox Mini, and slide it under your desk so it’s not a distraction.

2. Scan your documents

One of the most popular forms of clutter is paperwork. Documents can compile on your desk at a rapid pace and build up to a tower of unorganized files.

These documents need a place to be stored, and there’s no better place than your computer. Scan your documents and organize folders on your computer. You’ll still have all the paperwork you need while keeping your workplace organized.

3. Get a Kindle

I’m sure you’re always learning. If you’re in college, then you probably have textbooks all over your room. If you aren’t in college, you probably have a bunch of informational books in your office.

These books can be distracting. The best way to combat this is to purchase a Kindle or any e-book reader. Shelves of books are now held in a tiny tablet, and will clear a lot of space.

4. Separate computers

Do you use the same computer for everything? Do you have your computer, tablet, and phone out on your desk as you work?

Your work computer is the only thing that should be in your workspace. Your tablet or phone will only be distracting, and you’ll feel the urge to pick it up and take your focus away from your work.

5. Charging station

Are there gadgets lying around your office? Store them all in a charging station.

Charging stations are shelves where you can charge all of your electronics. These stations look nice and provide a home to your technology when you aren’t using it. This’ll help you keep everything organized instead of leaving your electronics on the desk or floor.

6. Touchscreen tablet

Want to know how to keep pens and papers off your desk? Get a tablet.

With a touch screen tablet, you can write everything down and store it on your tablet. You can get a stylus to help you write.

7. All-In-One printer

The clutter made from four machines can now be narrowed down to one. Now you can recycle those other clunky machines and save room with an all-in-one printer, since most printers can now scan, copy, and fax documents.  You can find many popular models online or in-store for your convenience.

8. The Boogie Board

Want another way to save paper? Try The Boogie Board Sync.

This electronic notepad lets you write down notes. You can then save it to the board as a PDF file, or you can send it to your smartphone. You can also connect it to your PC via USB cable. Now your hand-written notes are easily saved electronically.

9. Use your smartphone

Your smartphone can pretty much do anything you need it to do. You can use the calendar to remember dates, notepad to jot down notes, and you can send any document you want.

A lot of your clutter can be saved on your phone and stored in your pocket.

10. Multiple computer screens

Clutter can exist on your desktop too. Too many tabs or programs open can be distracting and make you work less.

Get multiple computer screens at work. This will help you organize everything you’re doing, and you can concentrate better on your work.

The takeaway

Clutter can seriously affect your productivity. It’s time to go to your workspace and do a little spring cleaning! Do you have any tips for decluttering your workspace that aren’t mentioned here? I’d love to know what works for you in the comment section below!

#Declutter

Megan Ray Nichols is an editorialist at The American Genius, and is a technical writer who's passionate about technology and the science. She also regularly writes at Smart Data Collective, IoT Times, and ReadWrite. Megan publishes easy to understand articles on her blog, Schooled By Science - subscribe today for weekly updates!

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Chrome can now group and color code your open tabs

(TECH NEWS) Do you have too many tabs, and can’t tell what’s what? Google has tab groups that make it easier to find what you’re looking for.

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Are you a tab collector? That’s Google’s name for people who have tabs upon tabs upon tabs open on their Google Chrome browser. And while third party apps are already available to help collectors manage tabs, Google is now stepping in with Tab Groups.

Tab Groups, try it here, allows users to color-code, group and add text or emoji labels to separate clusters of tabs in their browser.

Right-click on any tab and choose Add to New Group. A gray dot will appear to the left of the tab and outline it in the same color. Clicking on the dot lets users update the color, label and name the group. Once grouped together, the tab groups can be moved and reordered. They’re also saved when Chrome is closed and reopened.

Google said after testing Tab Groups for months, they noticed people usually arranged their tabs by topic and that appeared most common when people shopped or were working on a project.
“Others have been grouping their tabs by how urgent they are, “ASAP,” “this week” and “later.” Similarly, tab groups can help keep track of your progress on certain tasks: “haven’t started,” “in progress,” “need to follow up” and “completed.”

Of course, this new feature does nothing to dissuade users from opening too many tabs, despite research that says multitasking may change the structure of your brain and Chrome is notorious for using too much RAM. So now you can’t concentrate, and your computer is running hot and slowing down.

A solution? Use Chrome extensions such as The Great Suspender, which suspends tabs that have been inactive for a specific amount of time. Don’t worry, you can whitelist specific websites so if you always need a tab for Twitter open, it won’t be suspended.

Another tip is to focus on one task at a time using the Pomodoro Technique, breaking tasks and your workday into 25-minute bursts of productivity with five-minute breaks in between. FocusMe uses a timer and website blocker to reduce the risk of getting distracted. You’re on the internet, after all.

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Quarantine bod got you down? AI trainer Artifit lifts you up

(TECH NEWS) If staying home has caused some unfortunate weight gain, Artifit can help you keep your home body fit during and way after quarantine is over.

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Mandatory lockdown’s have changed people’s routine’s in every conceivable way. From the way we work and cook to how we exercise. Home workout routines have been a hot topic in the last couple of months. People are trying to find a way to retain some sense of normalcy and maintain their healthy lifestyles We’ve all heard jokes about the so called “Quarantine 15” online and maybe you’ve even made a disparaging comment or two about your weight since gyms closed.

To be clear, there is nothing wrong with a little weight gain the face of a global pandemic. The world is changing, your life is changing, and times are scary. Be gentle with yourself and those around you.

If you are looking for a way to get regular workouts back into your life and YouTube videos just aren’t cutting it, there is a high-tech solution. Artifit is an AI personal trainer designed to make your solo workouts safer and more effective. The app acts as your personal trainer by creating your workout plans, tracking progress, and providing posture corrections.

The app uses your phone’s camera to track your reps and spot errors in form while providing real time audio feedback. According to the app creators, [Artifit] recognizes 20 major joints movements via mobile camera, and we are constantly working on adding new joints and improving the algorithm.”

Beyond the workouts, Artifit taps into your competitive side by providing you with a score at the end of each work out that you can then share with friends. The app measures and analyze your progress over time and uses this data to create a workout plan that is best suited for you.

There are a ton of reasons you might be looking for a tech-driven approach to your workout routine. Most of us already rely on technology to track out movement in one way or another – think about the Health app on your phone or your Fitbit. Working out from home isn’t for everyone, but some are thriving under a more flexible schedule and want to keep it that way.

If you are not sure when you’re going to feel comfortable going to the gym again or you no longer want to fuss over scheduling appointments with a personal trainer, this could be the app for you. Artifit can help you keep your homebody tendencies intact way after quarantine is over.

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Tech News

Google has another video conference tool, but are they too late?

(TECH NEWS) Google is making their Google Meet, available for anyone with a gmail account, leaving us to wonder if it’s a little too little, too late.

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Google Is now making its business video meeting tool available for free to everyone with a Gmail account. Wait! What? We already have that, don’t we? We do, kind of. Google has long offered free Google Hangouts, a messaging function that includes chat and video chat features for groups of up to 25 people. Google Duo is a video meeting app that has been available for cell phones and tablets, previously available for up to 8 people, but now for up to 12 people.

Sooooo, why do we care about free Google Meet? Isn’t this taking us back to, say, 2009? The difference is that with Google Meet, you can include up to 100 participants. This service used to be available only to paid G-Suite customers. Video conferencing has never been more popular or necessary, with Zoom leading the pack. Google wants you to blow off the others and give Google Meet a shot.

Why should we care? If you are already using a video meeting tool that works for you, what’s the incentive to switch? If you’re using Skype, you can only have up to 50 participants, while you can have up to 100 participants on Google Meet. On Zoom, you can also include up to 100 people on a video meeting. With a free Zoom account, you can meet for up to 40 minutes, and Google Meet has expanded their free Meet calls to 60 minutes.

Zoom has had serious issues with security and privacy. While Zoom is scrambling to enhance the safety and privacy of users, including ways to prevent illegal Zoombombing. Yet, it will be harder to trust Zoom again, now that the damage has been done. Google Meet already has a robust security system, including end-to-end encryption of all video calls. All calls go through Gmail, which already lives behind a bunch of protections, which has to be a good thing.

Google Meet also offers easy live captioning through their own voice recognition service and other accessibility considerations such as screen readers and magnifiers. People who are already familiar with Google chat/meeting tools will likely try Google Meet right away to see how it compares to Zoom, Skype, and other video conferencing tools. Google is betting on it.

However, if you already have a tool you love, you might be like, “Meh.” If you are the type who loves researching all of the tools to find your perfect match, then this is likely exciting news for you. Options are always good, though. The strangest thing is that Google has had this capability all along. When schools started shuttering during the pandemic, Zoom immediately stepped up and offered educators its professional tools for free–a clutch move that garnered them loads of positive press and help propel them past competitors into the top spot.

Google Meet will have to prove to be at least as clear, fast, easy to use as Zoom. With Google’s collection of launched and abandoned video tools, though, we have to wonder if it will be. At least Meet is already starting out more secure, which is a superb start. With the launch of Zoom 5.0, though, will it be too little, too late for Google Meet to capture a good chunk of the video tool?

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