13 Tools I Wish I Had Discovered Earlier (Learning, Productivity & Happiness)
Hellooo! What’s up? ☀
Today I’d like to share with you tools that serve me in different areas and almost every day! They brought me knowledge, helped me be more productive, and made me happier! So I hope you will also be able to make the most of them.
When YouTube recommended me a TED video for the first time I thought “oh it’s too long, next time”. The video recommended was a topic that didn’t interest me, so I associated TED channels with boring stuff. Oh god, I was wrong.
So for those who don’t know what are TED Talks yet, they are international conferences whose purpose is to broadcast “ideas worth spreading”. Lectures cover a huge variety of topics, from science, art to important issues of our time, they allow you to learn more in fields you would not have thought about.
Some can literally change your life, by bringing you new advice or point of view. Even if Ted Talks are also criticized for being “elitists”, I can’t deny that they opened my mind and inspired me more than once.
MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course. It’s an open and distance learning tool that can host a lot of participants. And guess what? The majority of them are free! Everyone can get access to them, they are no selective criteria or anything like this. You can even receive a diploma to testify you have finished the formation!
Websites like Coursera, edX, FutureLean, and Udacity offer many MOOCs. Those formations are often carried by firms, Universities, or foundations.
They cover a large choice of topics. You can literally learn in whatever field you’re interested in! For example, here are some MOOC I’ve done or planned to do:
So first I’ve discovered Koober (thank you YouTube ads), it’s a french website that sums up a ton of non-fiction books in about 20 minutes so that you gain time by reading only the most essential points. I’ve read over 100+ personal development and business books thanks to their service! As a slow reader, it allows me to not waste too much time with details that I would not remember anyway.
But as this website is entirely in French, I found an equal in English: Blinkist.
However, I did not try it, so don’t hesitate to tell me in the comment what do you think about it!
And about free equivalents, I’ve heard about the app “Bookbhook”, the blog “Four Minute Books”, and the site“Joosr”, but I haven’t tried them either. So feel free to recommend the one you liked the most! (or if there is another I forgot to mention, that could help other people)
Memrise, my savior! It’s an online learning tool based on courses created by the community. Its courses are mainly used to teach languages, but they can also be used for other academic and non-academic subjects. Memrise uses community-provided mnemonics and a flash-card system to speed up the learning.
I use it on my phone so that I can really work and keep learning wherever I am.
So what I love about this app, is that you can apply it to everything! I first used it to learn foreign vocabulary, but one day I decided to create my own courses for my High School subjects. So I used it as a digital flashcard and I created my own mnemonics with visuals I chose. Memrise manages the frequency of your words’ revision, so you don’t have to worry about that!
To sum up, this mnemonics app is soo effective! If you use it to learn popular courses already created, you’ll found mnemonics of other people (often funny and easy to remember), which is a precious time-saving trick.
And if no courses answer your needs, you can create your own one! (But be ready to spend a certain amount of time on it).
5. MIND MAPPING
A mind map is a diagram developed to represent ideas, tasks, concepts related to a keyword or idea in the center. The goal here is to generate, visualize and classify ideas into ordered categories. This is why it is very useful for study, information, organization, decision-making, and writing.
For my part, I’ve heard of this a long time ago but I was too lazy to really try it because it sounded like a long thing to do. But a week before my finals exam of high school, I was so desperate by the quantity of information I had to memorize, that I finally did my first mind map. And why, WHY didn’t I discover that at the beginning of the school year?? It was so effective (for me) that it was too bad I didn’t have enough time to check all subjects with it.
So it’s the technique I use to study at the Uni. To avoid wasting paper, I use the free website mind42.com. But there are many other apps and websites very well designed like Mindmeister, Lucidchart, Bubbl.us, etc.
6. TO DO LIST
Well, I don’t know if I need to give a definition of this one haha!
Some people don’t like doing to-do lists because they find it useless to do a list they have difficulties with respect and which takes time. Others also say that it is demoralizing to see a long list of things they need to carry out, or that they can remember the list in their head anyway.
Maybe. I don’t know. I don’t think they are any proofs that to-do-list are only for a certain type of person. But what I’m sure about, it’s how effective it is for me!
it frees my mind and reduces anxiety
it allows me to set priorities and to have a clear mind to remember what’s really important
it helps me improve my organization
it provides me with a feeling of accomplishment and progress
it enables me to not forget some tasks
it pushes me to take action
it helps me reach my goals by dividing them into small steps
So finally, I would say it’s a tool that needs a time investment but largely worth it in the end.
Pocket is a browser extension I’ve discovered a few days ago. I don’t know about you, but I’m the kind of person who keeps all my tabs open when I see a website I want to read but don’t want to do it now. And I have the same problem with YouTube since I’ve discovered the “To Watch Later Playlist” (now 594 videos are waiting for me to watch them haha)
So if you found an article you really want to read later but you are afraid to not be able to find it again, you can store it in your “Pocket”, the extension. I’m so glad I’ve discovered it because now, I can keep my windows clean and it does not slow down my computer!
In the same kind, I also use the RescueTime extension. To make it short, this tool analyzes in life how you spend your time on your computer. You can use your Dashboard at any time and realize how much time you waste on non-productive sites. If you’re really determined to be productive and reach your goals, you can complete with a Site Blocker extensions, so that for the desired time, you won’t be able to get access to sites you waste too much time on (goodbye Facebook!)
For my part, I discovered it was the contrary: I spend too much time working and don’t let myself breathe enough. So thanks to RescueTime I realized it and now I try to do more breaks to reach a more balanced lifestyle.
At first, I was not very convinced by EverNote. To tell the truth, I didn’t really try it because I didn’t feel the need to download it on my phone.
Until… Until my phone got stolen. It was a hard blow for me because I’ve stored more than 1000 photos on that phone and 4 years of notes in it. And guess what? Nothing was on the cloud or saved on a hard disk…
So it was hard to realize I’ve lost all my project notes, my ideas, and my thoughts… All my work… BUT, it was such a great lesson for me, because now I don’t wait anymore to save in duplicate my data. And that’s also the reason I finally downloaded EverNote: no more “Post-It” app without the Internet, I want something that will last and that I can reach everywhere.
And how surprised I was when I discovered all the cool options EverNote offers (audio, reminder, hand-written text, etc)! So no more lost data ever.
I’ve discovered Grammarly at the same time I started this blog and I’m so glad it was not after! This tool is an English grammar and spelling checker when you write something (it can be anywhere: a blog post, an email, etc.), it suggests you correction and you just have to click on it to confirm. Even if it remains an artificial intelligence that does mistakes, I feel more confident when I write, knowing that the biggest mistakes will be corrected.
So if you’re a student who needs a little boost for your English homework, such as, I think it will greatly help you! 😉
It’s hard to not hear about the benefits of meditation. I’m so happy when I see more and more people getting into it!
So what it is about? It consists of confronting one’s thoughts and anxieties and not obscure them, by using being mindful and present in the present moment. It allows us to relate to what surrounds us with kindness. In other words, meditation is the art of doing nothing.
We live in a time when we try too hard to do everything and control everything: it is impossible and it creates discouragement or frustration. The solution is to not feel guilty and welcome things as they come.
Meditating contributes to
improving health and immunity
And the list goes on!
This is such a vast topic that if you’re interested, tell me so that maybe I’ll write a guide about it!
A lucid dream is a dream that we make while being aware of it. In other words, it’s about several psychic phenomena that occur during the sleepof a person who knows, at the same time, that it is not real. It allows you to control and do whatever you want to do in a dream, to trigger any events, and to enjoy them as you would do it in life.
So now, you’re maybe wondering “Why did she put it there? Tool for what?”
First, I consider the different “levels” of lucid dreaming. Low levels correspond to blurry dreams that don’t last long, whereas “high level” corresponds to dreams that look so much like reality that it is hard to know if you’re still dreaming.
The point is that in high-quality lucid dreams, you can take the opportunity to improve yourself!
Indeed, I’ve read different scientific studies and I’ve learned a lot about all the benefits you can receive by mastering lucid dreaming! For example:
It strengthens the cognitive memory (because it requires a lot of effort to the mind)
it improves problem-solving in real life and with greater ease
It improves focus and accuracy
it strengthens our self-confidence and helps us to feel more satisfied with our life (because this type of dream gives us a general sense of well-being)
it helps us to overcome fears, stress, and post-traumatic situations (because we can give them a solution through lucid dreaming)
it improves our creativity (when we guide our dream, we are creating a new world, like if we were producing our own film)
it can help you get rid of your recurrent nightmares
But my favorite one is :
When you repeat a physical training during a lucid dream, it can improve your performance in real life(You can read the source n°3 if you want more information about the scientific experiment)
Okay, but now that we know this, how do we really have a lucid dream?
Well, to tell the truth, I’ve tried plenty of different methods but I only had 2 lucid dreams (for the moment) in my life, and both were not while trying a specific method.
BUT, the last one I had been triggered by a specific event that you can reproduce I think.
In fact, it was just my cat who woke me up at 3 am while I was surely in a specific sleep phase. So I got up, put the cat out of my room, closed the door, and got back to sleep. A few minutes later, without doing anything in particular I started lucid dreaming!!
Finally, one of my favorite: the hidden power of doing a bucket list. It’s a real working tool, with wide possibilities, for those who wish to improve their lives.
So what it is? It’s the list of all the things you want to do before you die. As simple as that. So the question you have to ask yourself is “What are the things I absolutely want to achieve in my life?”
Okay, but what are the interests of doing it?
It causes you to really think about what matters, things you want to focus your life on
it allows you to become the main actor of your life. To be in control and to not let life and society control you. Sometimes we don’t always know how to get rid of passivity, so it’s a great way to push you to take action.
it helps you to better understand your wishes and discover yourself through them
it will make you happy each time you will have achieved a point in your list. It’s a strong act and a step towards a more extraordinary life.
it can be used as a compass in your life, to help you focus on your goals and be aware of what is not useful for you so that you don’t waste energy uselessly
it makes your goals and dream tangible and real. By reading them aloud, you make your first step, you acknowledge that they exist.
So to help you find elements to add to your list, you can answer these questions:
What does my ideal day look like?
What are the things I put aside because I don’t have enough time?
Who would I like to look like? Why?
What do I want to leave as a legacy after I leave this world?
Where and with whom do I feel the better?
Know that your list can change at any time and evolve with yourself. Write everything that makes you vibrate, whether you believe it’s achievable or not.
Here are some ideas:
Travels (which country makes you dream? Which places or monuments? Which people you want to meet?)
Life experiences (What does motivate you? Which experience would bring you happiness, feel the essence of life?)
Skills (What kind of skills do you want to learn? What knowledge you always wanted to know but never found the time for?)
Personal goals (Where and how do you want to live your ideal life? What do you value the most between work and family? How would you change your life now?)
Bonus tip: The best way to reach your goals is to share them with your friends and family. Indeed, according to Prof. Gail Matthews of the Dominican University of California, over 70% of participants who tell each week their entourage about their progress, achieved their goal. Those who kept their resolutions for them had only 35% to meet their goals.
Would you be interested in an article on how to analyze your bucket list to discover fun things about what does it mean about you? And would you be interested to see my list to give you inspiration?
So that’s it for today! Thank you for reading until the end and I hope you discovered new things ♥