We’re several weeks into the new year, right around the time when folks start struggling with their resolutions—if they haven’t already abandoned them altogether. That’s because resolutions require more than good intentions and will power. You need to systematically create new habits.
The good news is there’s an abundance of online tools to help you out. Below are three favorites, each using a slightly different method of motivation. Whether your goal is to read more, lose weight, save money, or something else, these apps can help you pave a path to success and see you all the way to the finish line.
If you thought that deluge of political rants, memes, and arguments in your Facebook feed would end with the 2016 Presidential Election, think again. If anything, the thrum of political debate has only grown louder since the final votes were tallied. Whether you participate in these posts, just seeing them is proven to be wearing and stressful , and can ultimately be a drain on your productivity.
You don’t necessarily have to swear off social media completely to get relief, nor do you have to start a campaign of “unfriending” folks with offending opinions. There are several free browser add-ons that will help you purge your feed of politics—or at least keep it out of sight long enough to get your work done. Here are a few of the best.
As powerful as Gmail is, you make it even more productive with add-ons from Gmail Labs. If you’re new to Labs, it’s the testing ground for Gmail’s more experimental features. The successful ones go on to become standard Gmail capabilities—the much-loved Send & Archive button was once a Gmail Lab experiment—but while they’re in the Labs, there’s always the outside chance they could break, change, or disappear.
To enable any Gmail Lab feature, click the gear icon in the top left of the Gmail pane. Go to Settings > Labs. Scroll down to the feature you want, select the Enable radio button, and click Save Changes. Should you run into trouble using any of these, you can get to your email by going to https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?labs=0, which disables these features so you can reach your inbox.
The Excel Date & Time functions I’m covering here—EDATE, YEARFRAC, EOMONTH, and NETWORKDAYS.INTL—are four of the many used for counting days. For each function listed below, I’ll define it first, then show the function’s arguments, which are the values that functions use to perform calculations. Then I’ll show a sample of the function’s syntax—how the formula is arranged, which includes the function’s name, parentheses, comma separators, and its arguments.
Note that Arguments are always surrounded by parentheses, and individual arguments are separated by commas.
People have used Dropbox Paper to create more than a million documents since it launched in private beta a year ago. But if you haven’t yet tried it yet, you’re missing out on an impressive collaboration tool, particularly if you’re already using Dropbox to store your files. You can share and co-author documents, enter comments, and pull in images directly from Dropbox. Here’s how to start using it.
Create a new Paper document
Open Dropbox in your browser and select Paper from the left sidebar menu on the main Dropbox page. By default, this takes you the Docs page. (As you create more projects in Paper you’ll be able to navigate between your Docs, Folders, and Favorites using the menu on the left.) Click the Create new doc button on the right. When your new document opens, you’ll be prompted to give it a name and a contextual description.
The humble to-do list is the foundation of every productivity plan. It’s a natural instinct to unburden our brains by itemizing our most pressing tasks, and few things feel as satisfying as crossing a task off the list.
Though a simple pen and paper is still an effective way to keep track of the things you need to do, a good to-do app will actually remind you to do them, allow you to easily manage multiple lists, and sync across your devices so you always have your list at hand. Here are a few of our favorites.
The best thing about PowerPoint is the animation. Building motion into slideshows makes them come alive like no static images could ever hope to do. It’s going to get even more interesting when PowerPoint gets 3D capabilities with the Windows 10 Creators Update due in early 2017.
In order to make things move in PowerPoint, your objects need a path (called a motion path) to travel from one location to another. Setting up the motion path used to be tedious, but now it’s a simple, straightforward procedure.