Trending December 2023 # Five Ways Ai Can Help Your Production Processes With Cnc Machines # Suggested January 2024 # Top 20 Popular

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Here are the five ways AI can help your production processes with CNC machines

The past few years have seen an increase in the use of AI in CNC machines in the manufacturing industry. Looking at industries ranging from the medical industry to the automotive, oil and gas, aerospace, and warehousing industries, they are all employing the use of these machines.

If you see a machine somewhere, a certain product, or even a part that has been molded, chances are that CNC machines have been used for what you are seen to come to life.

The increased use of CNC machining has made it possible for production industries to catch up to the quick production and high accuracy needed today. This has, however, been made possible by the incorporation of modern technology into the production processes.

CNC Machines and Artificial Intelligence What are CNC Machines?

CNC machines refer to the equipment used to automatically control machining tools such as mills, lathes, 3D printers, and drills among others through the use of a computer. 

A CNC machine can be used to process different pieces of metal using programmed instructions to ensure that they meet certain criteria of specifications. This is done without direct human intervention.

Today, there is increased incorporation of AI into these CNC machines. Production industries are seeing machines that respond to commands and come with predictive capabilities and other modern features.

How is AI Helping in Production Processes with CNC Machines? Increases Efficiency and Productivity

The most important things when it comes to the incorporation of AI in CNC machines are efficiency and productivity. With the use of artificial intelligence, CNC machines can analyze all the data they produce during production and provide real-time results to their operators. This is important in boosting productivity.

When the data is analyzed, the machines can suggest any changes to their operators. With this, the operators can make the changes, affecting how the machine operates. This ensures that the machines’ efficiency is improved.

Boosts Performance Through Machine Learning

Initially, industries relied on human operators when driving changes in machining. However, this is changing due to AI. Today, they can rely on analytics, real-time data, as well as machine learning to dictate how the CNC machines learn, respond to requests and optimize performance.

AI has allowed operators to get insights on things such as how CNC machines operate, function, and perform. In addition, this has opened a wide view into how all the CNC machines work and perform with each other. 

With that, operators can see the performance of each machine and eliminate anything that slows performance. The machines are also learning about ways to boost their performance and giving suggestions to their operators. This boosts the machine’s performance.

Lowers Production Costs

If you ask any manufacturing plant managers today, they will tell you that their production costs are affected by their ability to service their machines in good time. They need to know when the machines should be tuned, calibrated, and parts adjusted. This always requires time.

However, artificial intelligence is making things easier for them. It is making it possible for industries to predict the time needed for servicing or doing any maintenance activities on the CNC machines. AI uses data to drive the machines and offers the operators real-time data on how the machines perform. 

This allows the operators to predict when the machines might need servicing, or when a certain part might need to be replaced. With that, they are able to save money by making sure that the machines are always operational and servicing them at the right time.

Transforms the Production Processes

The use of AI is transforming all the industries that rely on CNC machines for their production processes. Introducing artificial intelligence into these machines has not only seen increased levels of production but also a lot of technological transformation.

For instance, CNC machine operators

can use IoT devices to control the machines

, rate their performance, and make any required changes no matter where they are working from. This has been made possible by AI.

Promotes Automation

Similarly, some production processes with CNC machines have been automated especially due to the incorporation of AI. These machines are learning what they need to do, and receiving commands from their operators. 

In addition, industries are using

collaborative robots to revolutionize their automation

. With AI, these robots can operate the CNC machines, increasing productivity, reducing the chances of human errors, and ensuring that most processes are automated.

With that, they are working on their own and streamlining their operations. This is made possible by AI.


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Five Ways To Help Democracy Even If You Can’t Vote

Voting is one of the most important parts of participating in a democracy, and even though it is protected as a Constitutional right, it’s also a privilege. In the US, you can only cast a ballot if you’re a citizen over 18 years old who meets requirements that vary depending on the state you live in, which leaves out a lot of people who would love to have a say in the upcoming elections.

If you’re one of them—maybe you’re too young or aren’t a US citizen—there is still a lot you can do to keep yourself active and engaged during this entire process and beyond.

Go canvassing

You may not be able to register, but if you can communicate, you can canvass. This is not only a political tradition going back decades, but it’s also one of the best ways to get people informed and excited about what’s going on.

Essentially, you get to be the spokesperson for whatever cause or candidate you’re supporting. This means you’ll answer people’s questions and highlight what’s relevant to their lives, which puts you in an excellent position to bring awareness to your cause and even change voters’ minds.

The great thing about canvassing is that you can start small—do your research, get around your block, and talk to your neighbors. Right now, with the pandemic, canvassing requires some preparation, so make sure you wear a mask and keep your distance from the door so the people answering can feel safe. Also, use hand sanitizer before you knock on doors and ring bells to protect anybody who may come after you.

If you don’t feel comfortable canvassing IRL, you can always volunteer for online canvassing efforts. You can contact a campaign, non-governmental organization (NGO), or local group and tell them you want to volunteer. Some candidates have made it even easier by creating phone apps with all you need to spread the word online.

Volunteer your time

If you don’t know exactly what you want to do to help your cause, you can contact your candidate’s local campaign office and see what’s available. Most of them have direct links on their websites that will identify your location and put you in contact with the right people.

Be warned, though—when you volunteer, you’ll have little control over what you’re doing. Most likely you’ll get to pick an activity from a list (probably canvassing, event staffing, or contacting voters through calls and texts), but there’s no guarantee there will be something that really excites you.

If you’re not thrilled with your job, remember you’re in it for the cause and whatever you do to help can make a difference in the final outcome.

Drive people to the polls

Do you have a driver’s license and access to a car? Awesome! You’re ready to help make democracy happen.

Senior citizens, people with reduced mobility, those who live far away from their voting place, and anyone who tried to vote early but couldn’t due to complicated or prohibitive absentee ballot procedures often need to catch a ride to vote. Carpool Vote is an initiative that started in 2023 and aims to help everyone claim their right to cast a ballot.

The idea is simple: If you need help getting to your polling place or to simply register, you can request a ride and the platform will set you up. If you have a car and a license to drive it, you can sign up as a volunteer and help people on or before election day.

Don’t consider this an electoral Uber where you’ll have tons of requests all day long. The system matches riders and drivers according to certain parameters, like the driver’s availability and the type of car they have. When there’s a match, the driver can accept the request and will then be able to directly contact their potential passenger to make arrangements.

This is an easy and straightforward way to help get the vote out, and you’ll get to meet new people interested in the process. It’s a win-win.

Become an interpreter

If you speak another language, it’s possible you may be able to enroll as an interpreter at the polls. The availability and requirements for this position highly depend on the state you live in, so it’s important to check for poll working opportunities on the US Election Assistance Commission’s website.

Most poll worker positions require you to be a registered voter, but being an interpreter is one of the few exceptions—though there are still some requirements. In New York, for example, they’re looking for people who can speak Spanish, Hindi, Chinese, Korean, or Bengali, but interpreters need to be 18 or older and permanent US and New York City residents.

Get creative

Doing your part is easy and doesn’t require a certain age or passport. If you want to skip the most obvious choices and break the mold, there is still so much you can do.

We have some suggestions:

Raise awareness

Anyone can spread the word about what they believe in. Choose your favorite platform and run wild with it. If TikTok is your thing, you can put together short explainers on why people should vote for your candidate or even vote at all. You can also research and debunk false bits of information on Twitter.

The internet is vast and full of possibilities, but if you want to travel a more analog path, you can organize discussions among your peers or, if you’re in a classroom setting, ask your teacher to help you get the ball rolling. There are many resources for educators and even full lesson plans, so if they roll their eyes at you, you can tell them you already did all the legwork.

Take care of people standing in line

Voting is already happening and many early voting birds have been forced to stand in line for hours to get their ballot in. To make things worse, the climate in some places has refused to acknowledge we’re officially in Fall, so those long lines may also be stretched out under unrelenting sun and high temperatures.

If you want to be this election’s equivalent of Santa Claus, you can visit a polling place near you and supply voters with water, snacks, and even fresh masks—because we all know how unpleasant a sweat-drenched mask can be. Maybe provide folks with some hand fans to keep things cool—they’re cheap and you can easily buy them in bulk.

Talk to your family and loved ones

If election season has its own version of an extreme sport, this may very well be it. Talking politics can be taboo in some households—especially when opposing political views live under the same roof—but sometimes these conversations can be truly rewarding. Keep your cool, listen to whoever you’re talking to and, above all, empathize.

You’ll need to manage your expectations, though. You may not change minds or convince your aunt to get out and vote, but you may have planted a seed that will bloom in future elections. It can be a process, but by talking about it, you’re doing more than enough.

#Appyweek With Ak: Wysa Boasts An Ai Bot To Help With Anxiety

Oh my gosh, it’s March already! And while I am a bit shocked at how fast the time flew by, I am pretty excited because it’s Women’s History Month! To mark the occasion and honor women in tech, I have decided to test and review Wysa: Mental Health Support developed by Jo Aggarwal, the app’s co-founder and CEO.

So, what is Wysa, and why is it a potent app in today’s scenario? Because despite being important, mental well-being is often overlooked or pushed under the rug.

The stigma & ignorance surrounding it stops people from speaking out or sharing their issues. Wysa is a digital chatbot that supports users to overcome or handle their difficult times.

Wysa iPhone app review: How the AI penguin helps with depression and anxiety

Wysa is an AI-based, emotionally intelligent bot that assists users in managing their emotions and thoughts. Consider the cute-little teal penguin as your personal AI therapist, who listens and talks to you 24/7.

It employs several tools such as CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) to understand your emotional and mental health and offers well-guided meditation and breathing exercises.

Some benefits of AI therapists 

No judgments – Speak your heart out or bitch about people without a worry.

Always accessible – No appointments or waiting! The chatbot is available 24/7.

Cheaper – Even if you opt for their premium version, it is still more affordable.

Plays multiple roles – It doubles as a journal and an understanding friend.

Well, these are some great perks, but nothing could beat the benefit or charm of one-to-one interaction with a therapist. Wysa wisely brings them into the picture.

Wysa also offers personal therapists!

When you need some external help from your home’s comfort, Wysa’s global mental health professionals could be of great help. You can get daily messaging support and 4 live sessions for less than $100/month.

Let’s meet the CEO & founder of Wysa

Jo Aggarwal has a pretty impressive career graph, which started with a stint at Infosys as a software engineer. She has been a part of the internet/product tech development industry since 1997.

As of now, Aggarwal handles the algorithm design, troubleshooting, and UX for Wysa. She beautifully explains her motive and mission behind the app in an interview:

We have lost loved ones to suicide, and she herself has struggled with depression – our search for useful, usable help at this time showed us the huge gap that exists in current systems of care. This led us to develop Wysa as a response so that high-quality support is always accessible for those who need help.

Accolades for Wysa 

In 2023, Wysa won the Accenture Ventures Challenge in the Responsible Technology category. Plus, ORCHA, the world’s leading health app evaluation agency, named it the ‘Best App Health & Care.’

And among other things, it is Aggarwal’s relentless work & social ethics that has led the app to this stage. The iGeeks team and I would like to appreciate and congratulate Jo Aggarwal for her passion and the efforts she has put in to build and promote mental health awareness.

Can Artificial Intelligence help with mental fitness?

After reading all the accolades about the app and Aggrawals’ life story and interviews, I was intrigued to use Wysa. From the start, a pertinent question was bugging me:

Would an AI really understand my unique set of issues and troubles? 

Well, I got my answer. To help you understand the app and its working better, I have divided my experience into parts.

The cute & colorful UI

Wysa’s icon is a teal-colored penguin, and the app continues the ‘cartoonish’ approach all the way. A calming color-story is maintained, whether you prefer the dark or light mode.

It’s pretty easy to maneuver; everything is well-labeled and approachable. It is a great thing considering some users might be low on patience initially.

The ChatBot

Wysa wants to be your 4 am friend; it says so on the main page. You can approach the chatbot any time, and it will gladly oblige. It firstly enquires your mood with the smiley’s help.

This will act as an ice breaker, and your mood will be the topic of discussion. Whether anger, gratitude, frustration, happiness, or hopelessness, it will listen to everything you have to say.

Depending upon the conversation, it will prompt you suggestions for journaling,  meditation, or relaxing exercises. Quite like a millennial, it would occasionally share funny GIFs, inspirational quotes, etc.

The audio support

Also doubling as a mindfulness app, Wysa supports an array of helpful content. Dubbed as Tool Packs, they are neatly divided into wellness, productivity, anxiety management, and more.

I love how detailed and exhaustive these categories are. A few inspire you, help you sleep better, overcome grief, and build confidence or self-esteem.

Although, there is one problem… the voice is monotonous. Whether it says love or anger or compassion, everything is in the same tone. No background music makes things boring, and the mind tends to wander off.

That was not the case during meditation sessions with Calm or Pillow. And maybe it’s just me, and it works for others, but the audio help did not impress me.


I also noticed the app smartly using hashtags. While chatting, it will prompt you to make a list of tasks, what makes you happy, etc. Later you can type in #list to edit or add new things to any list you have made; smart, right!

Daily Reminders

Mindfulness does not happen in a day; you have to practice daily. From the Notifications section in the setting, you set multiple arrays of daily or weekly reminders for yourself.


You are literally pouring your heart out and obviously wouldn’t want any third party to access the data. As per the company’s privacy policy, Wysa employs several security protocols to secure all data, including the AES-256 protocol.

And though the company stores and refers to your data to improve the AI, it doesn’t ask you intimate details like photos, phone numbers, or mail IDs.

Moreover, you can regularly reset your data from the settings to ensure your private talks remain private.

Was AK’s week with Wysa appy?

Yes and No! The start of the week, i.e., Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, was quite great as I enjoyed interacting with the Wysa bot, exploring the features, and listening to the audio content offerings.

However, the excitement quickly wore off. Majorly because all the talks got repetitive by Monday. While the app tries to learn and grow with you, it doesn’t really understand the unique set of issues and troubles you might be facing.

I could predict what the bot will ask me to do next. And not so surprisingly, as per a study, that happens with almost all AI-therapist users.


I must say the app is well built. If you need an outlet to vent about your issues and troubles, it is spot on. There are times you don’t need a professional to point out issues; just saying it out loud could make a difference.

In that sense, Wysa can be of great help to most of us. And since it is free to download and offers a decent freemium version, you should give it a try.

AK Meter (Points out of 5)

User interface:      


AI Therapy:      

Audio aid:     

Fun quotient:       



What is Appy Week with AK?

I love observing apps and how they make our lives better from different angles. Appy Week with AK is a unique series that amalgamates my passion for apps and users’ need to find the perfect app.

Under the series, I pick and test an app thoroughly every week. Then report all my observations and experience to you guys; so you can figure out whether to skip or download it.

Check out the previous Appy Week with AK reviews:

Author Profile


A self-professed Geek who loves to explore all things Apple. I thoroughly enjoy discovering new hacks, troubleshooting issues, and finding and reviewing the best products and apps currently available. My expertise also includes curating opinionated and honest editorials. If not this, you might find me surfing the web or listening to audiobooks.

Ai In The Enterprise: Five Key Deployments

From automating mundane and repetitive tasks to optimizing business processes, AI is already having an impact on many workplaces. Generally, users are able to reclaim time, focus on high-value activities and unearth opportunities that would otherwise lay dormant in massive data repositories.

But there’s more to AI than efficiency gains and fatter profit margins. Properly harnessed, AI can make the lives of IT professionals less stressful and help office workers navigate the workday with greater ease. AI can also help create compelling and more empowering app experiences that enhance worker productivity and make getting the job done feel less like a chore.

What roles can AI help your organization? Datamation gathered some insights of technology leaders and professionals on how AI can contribute to the workplace. Here’s what they had to say.

Buoyed by surging business demand, the cloud computing market is growing by leaps and bounds. Although most enterprises are lured in by the promise of low-cost, on-demand IT services, many quickly discover that managing their cloud-enabled environments can be just as challenging and costly as their on-premises systems, if not more so.

“AI-enabled cloud management uses analytics and machine learning in order to analyze big data from various IT operation tools and devices. As a result, it is able to automatically spot, and more importantly react, to issues in real time. Think of AIOps [Algorithmic IT Operations] as continuous integration and continuous deployment for core IT functions,” said Rayapati.

“AI-enabled cloud management is not just an option anymore but a necessity for businesses with dynamic and complex IT environments. With the rise of cloud, distributed architectures, containers, and microservices, a rise in data overload is the end result,” continued the executive. “The only way to help CIOs and IT managers reduce their cloud costs, improve cloud security compliance, and reduce alerts fatigue is by bringing intelligent machine operations online.”

The bad news: Cyber-attackers are adding AI tools to their arsenals in 2023, predict top executives at data security and compliance solutions vendor Semafone.

“Cyber criminals will increasingly use artificial intelligence and machine learning to create automated attack systems that learn how to defeat security barriers as they spread,” warned Semafone’s CEO, Tim Critchley, Global Solutions director, Ben Rafferty, and head of Information Security, Shane Lewis.

“Network security will ultimately be driven by machine learning and artificial intelligence. Machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies at the security layer are going to be extremely dependable sentinels. Unlike todays network security systems which are largely human administered and maintained, ML and AI will be constantly vigilant against threats and vulnerabilities and will allow us to use the ‘P’ (prevention) in IPS [Instrusion Prevention System] with confidence,” stated Bae.

“The current thinking as a security professional is that if you have an updated database, secure firewall, patched OpenSSL, etc., you’re secure – but this presents a false sense of confidence that can be fatal to the security of the network,” cautioned Bae. “Machine learning and AI technology don’t suffer from over confidence and preconceived notions of security. It will simply do the job of identifying anomalies and mitigating threats, but far faster and better than today’s, largely human latency bound, security posture model.”

In the past, using business applications involved staring into interfaces littered with arcane menus, countless keyboard shortcuts and an ever-growing mental list of do’s and don’ts. Now, thanks to smartphones, cloud applications, the consumerization of IT and other recent technology trends, folks expect user-friendly interfaces that get the job done with a minimum of fuss, both at home and at the office.

Businesses may balk at the effort and expense required to drag their pre-internet and 90s-era applications into the modern day. Luckily, AI is here to shoulder some of that burden.

“Artificial Intelligence has without a doubt been a hot topic of 2023. In most cases, AI is discussed in a long-term capacity, but in 2023 we expect to see AI leveraged to help drive application efficiency and adoption by optimizing the user experience,” predicted John Carione, strategy and product marketing leader at low-code application development firm Quick Base.

“For low- and no-code applications, this means using AI to help app development tools understand usage patterns in order to automatically adapt to their specific role,” Carione added. “This creates a more fluid experience for the end-user and helps automatically tailor the right set of functionality for the right role, ultimately improving productivity and reducing security or compliance risks.”

In today’s workplaces, there are many reasons why projects stall and things fall through the crack, but few are as reviled and morale-deflating as office meetings.

Instead of enlightening employees and getting everyone on the same page, meetings often become productivity-killing time sinks. Agendas meander, topics become unfocused, urgent emails pile up and the path forward becomes murkier than when attendees first file into a conference room.

AI can help keep meetings on-track, and perhaps, turn meetings into one of the office rituals workers really look forward to.

“Cloud-based video conferencing solutions give us access to huge amounts of data about meeting habits. This data, aided by artificial intelligence and machine learning, could allow us to optimize the use of the platform and increase the effectiveness of meetings – many of the other trends (e.g. virtual assistants, facial recognition) are, in effect, powered by AI,” stated Bobby Beckmann, CTO of enterprise video conferencing specialist Lifesize.

“At a basic level, AI could enable us to determine optimal meeting length, ideal number of participants, or best time of the day to hold a meeting to improve productivity,” Beckmann added. “Voice recognition could analyze the content of meetings, compare against other meetings in the same organization, and make suggestions as to connections between people with complementary skills or knowledge.”

As workforces grow ever more distributed and folks come to rely on collaboration apps to connect with far-flung team members, a lot of the unspoken information and nuances of face-to-face interactions wind up lost between the ones and zeroes that comprise text chats and video calls.

AI can help fill in those gaps, picking up behavioral cues and helping users better connect with colleagues on the other side of the screen. AI will bridge virtual experiences with the emotional and conventional intelligence that people use to instinctually navigate new introductions, intense negotiations and other facets of business life, according to Jim Somers, vice president of Marketing at LogMeIn’s Collaboration unit.

“It’s been proven that face-to-face interactions improve relationships – both in business and personal life,” said Somers. “In 2023 and beyond, we’ll start to see artificial intelligence play a larger role in the process of relationship building among colleagues, customers and partners.”

Thanks to AI, cameras can pull double duty. Not only do they capture visuals, they provide AI systems with data that can be turned into insights about users state of mind. “Facial recognition technology will be built into remote collaboration tools to read visual cues,” Somers said.

“This ‘meta meeting,’ which focuses more on the feeling of the meeting (body language, tone, etc.) rather than the actual conversation, will gather insights and learnings that help the meeting host facilitate better human connections and drive positive results,” Somers concluded.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

Change Your Mindset And Your Output With These Five Productivity Apps

The digital economy, the gig economy, the anxiety economy – these are all ways we describe the world we live in today. But when it comes down to it, we’re really living in the productivity economy.

The need to be ever more productive is the crux of why the pace of life seems to be continuously accelerating, why we’re implementing automation to manage that acceleration, and why some people are burning out and taking a new minimalist direction, living untethered from the societal norm of “getting things done” faster and more efficiently.

Table of Contents

But you don’t have to “cut the cord” to live a happier life. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with how much you have to (or want to) accomplish in a day, these five productivity apps could be the solution.

Fabulous – Goal Setting and Habit Tracking

Download: iOS, Android

If you’re looking for a productivity app that wants to understand your current state and guide you to an improved state where you’re more productive, Fabulous is a fabulous choice. This app wants to help you shift your mindset by establishing better daily routines that feed into a more productive, healthier, happier lifestyle.

Backed by Research

To start, Fabulous asks you a series of questions during setup to get to know you–i.e., When do you wake up? Do you get enough sleep? Do you exercise?

These aren’t the arbitrary curiosities of an application developer; Fabulous was “created at the Center for Advanced Hindsight at Duke University, a lab dedicated to studying what makes people happier and healthier with behavioral science,” the app’s makers say.

It’s essentially a channel through which years of research and science are now being leveraged to help everyday people improve their lives.

Take a Journey

Based on what you tell Fabulous, it provides you with a personalized plan to get your mind and body on the right path. Once you subscribe (or sign up for a free trial) to access a space called Sphere, the the app sets your first goal for you. You begin what it calls An Unexpected Journey.

You’ll start with something simple, something easy you can accomplish. Fabulous will challenge you to drink water first thing when you wake up for the next three days to get your mind moving towards a new state.

As you complete challenges like this, you’ll unlock new ones. The idea is that you’ll continue to maintain the habits you’ve formed with previous challenges, and over time you’ll change your routine for the better. You can see what’s up ahead on your Journey Roadmap.

But that’s only one journey. There are others, like A Fabulous Night (learn “how to manufacture a great night’s sleep) or The Art of Stoic Living (learn how to use “Stoicism to uncover new opportunities and succeed in high-stress situations”). There are also Sphere Series, which are six-month collections of journeys intended to help you create better routines, increase energy and cut out bad habits.

Make Yourself Fabulous

With Make Me Fabulous, you can access several activities intended to help you improve your health and happiness. Complete a seven-minute workout, take a 20-minute power nap, or for ultimate productivity, try a Deep Work session where you don’t break for minutes or hours.

When you’re more motivated to change and achieve milestones, you’re more productive. That’s the basis of Fabulous. It does the hard work of coming up with new routines and adjustments for you; all you have to do is execute on them.

Download: iOS,Android

Because changing your mindset being critical through meditative practices and was built around the practices of former monk and renowned mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe.

Basics Course

As a beginner, using the free Basics Course of the app gets you a 10-session trial with two techniques to leverage. This is to get you familiar with the foundational techniques of meditation and mindfulness.

Meditation Library

There are hundreds of sessions built around improving areas of your life, such as focus, physical activity, and sleep. You also get tips and nuggets of wisdom to help you stay on the right path.

Other one-off features like Mindful Moments and SOS sessions area available for moments when you feel the need to practice mindfulness or squash stress at any point throughout the day. You can track all of this progress to see how much you’re improving.

Maintaining mindfulness of what you’re trying to accomplish and doing it with a clear mind to ensure negative or burdensome thoughts don’t get in the way is critical to improving and maintaining

Productive – To-Do Lists and Goal Planning

Download: iOS

It’s great to get your mind in the right place to ensure you can be as productive as possible. But at a certain point, you may want more of a structure to organize and manage what it is you’re trying to be productive with. An app like Productive can help with reminders and statistics that keep you on track to achieving your goals.

Choose or Create Better Habits

Habits are the foundation of Productive, and really the foundation of your productivity as a person. The entire point of this app is to make it easier to set and stick to those habits that help you meet daily goals. Productive offers a range of habits to choose from: Hit the Gym, Tidy the House, Talk to a Stranger–the options are seemingly endless. You can also create custom habits.

When you choose a new habit, you also choose an icon to represent it as well as determine the duration of the activity and when/where it will occur. The habit is then added to your list of things to accomplish and will appear when you’ve set it to, whether that’s daily, weekly, monthly, or once. Upon completion, you simply mark it as done.

Habit Stats

You’ll be able to see your progress or lack thereof with Productive’s Life Log feature. This provides a calendar view indicating on which days you’ve completed all or only some of what you set out to, giving you visibility of when you’re most or least productive. Stats include:

Total perfect days

Your current streak

Your best streak

Total habits done

Average per day

Productive is really a simple app, which is actually very appropriate given the nature of its purpose–to enable higher productivity for users through a minimally distracting architecture and interface.

Google Keep – Notes and Lists

Download: iOS,Android

It wasn’t until recently that people began yearning for new digital ways to manage productivity. But some people still prefer notebooks and planners to stay on track.

If this is you, it may be nice to stick with a simple productivity app like Google Keep. Nothing fancy to see here; Google Keep just gives you a modern way to keep track of thoughts, create lists, and organize everything else in your life.

Capture, Organize Thoughts

Capture thoughts, from typed or speech-to-text notes to doodles to images you take or upload. Organize these under labels to group them how you like and make them easy to find.

Or, find them by type, e.g., see all of your images in one place, regardless of label. Either way, considering this app is from Google, it’s really easy to search on whatever notes, images, doodles, or lists you create.

Lists Galore

If you’re a serious list-maker, Google Keep gives you an easy way to create them with checkboxes you can mark off as you go through. In particular, a perk of the app is it actually helps you fill out your grocery list with suggestions. You can also set reminders for lists as well as notes and images to ensure you take care of what needs to be done at the right time.

If you’d prefer to keep things simple but organized with just a touch of help, Google Keep is perfect. It’s a straightforward yet modern variation of the notebook planner, and it’s more advanced than the native notes app you likely have on your smartphone.

Flora – Focus and Habit Tracking with Gamification

Download: iOS, Android

Many of the situations we find ourselves in require multiple individuals to stay focused for a group to collectively be productive–whether it’s a business meeting, study session, or get-together. It’s often our smartphones that distract us.

Flora is a productivity app that makes it a little easier–and more fun–to ensure these sessions are productive by helping everyone to keep their eyes off their phones.

Plant Trees for Productivity

The concept behind Flora is simple. You set a timer to stay focused on the task or activity at hand without going to your smartphone for a break from the interaction. When you begin the session, a virtual tree will being to grow in Flora. Before beginning, you can invite others to join by sending them a unique code.

As the tree grows, you have the option to take a break or give up. Any break time you use will be subtracted from your final focus duration time, whereas giving up will kill the tree. Flora shares your tree-growing and tree-killing record with your community of peers (you can keep it private if you’re too ashamed) so they can see how truly productive or unproductive you are.

To up the stakes, you can also set a real monetary price you’re willing to pay to plant a real tree whenever you fail a Flora tree-planting session. If you complete a session, you won’t be charged and Flora will reward you with a prize.

Map Planting to Goals

Flora enables you to tag sessions, set time-based goals, and set reminders for when things are coming up. This way, you can see how productive you are under different circumstances based on how well you do with planting trees during these sessions.

If you can’t stay focused on your own, incentivizing your productivity could be a useful step to take. Flora not only makes you pay the price for breaking focus, it also turns those shortcomings into something vitally important to our world: trees.

Get Back on Track

Whether you take on too much work, try to be involved in too many activities, or try to make time for too many people, attempting to accomplish more can easily become a burden and lead to the feeling or outcome of being less productive.

How Speaking At Conferences Can Help Your Exposure & Expertise

I’ve met a good chunk of my colleagues in the marketing world while speaking at or attending conferences. I’ve found most conference speakers are not only highly educated about their subject matter, they also are usually highly motivated at make for some great friends.

This year, I had the opportunity to speak at four conferences (which is still peanuts to many), which allowed me to fully grasp the power conference speaking can give you, no matter your expertise or industry.

Here are some of the ways conferences can help you grow your company branding and exposure.

Exposure and Networking

Additionally, many of the larger conferences have speakers’ lounges, which lead to even more time to spend with other highly qualified professionals in your industry. It’s usually a quieter atmosphere, and the shared experience of speaking at the conference makes for an easy icebreaker.

Get Feedback

One of my colleagues told me at Pubcon Las Vegas this year that he loves speaking because of the feedback he receives, both during his session and in feedback surveys. While the idea of constantly receiving feedback, often live and from your audience, can sound intimidating, it gives you a unique view into what your target audience is looking to learn more about.

For instance, if your presentation is about local SEO and you keep receiving questions about Yelp, it might be worth considering offering Yelp consultation to your agency’s offerings. Or, you could write an e-book on Yelp “SEO” that could help small business owners follow the review site’s best practices to increase visibility.

Audience questions can also bring up holes in your presentation, especially if it’s one you are going to give at more than one conference. If you are repeatedly asked about the same slide or portion of your session, it likely means it wasn’t clear and needs to be revised.

This is extremely helpful because we are often too close to our own work and assume listeners know what we are talking about, so we gloss over it. Because most conferences cater to all levels, it’s likely worth it to explain key terms or examples to the audience briefly in a slide, since the room usually has a few beginners. Getting this type of feedback about what content to include (or even cut) can help improve it over time.

Thought Leaders Equal a More Reputable Company

Many people I’ve met while they were speaking at conferences lead with their own name and expertise, instead of their company. This means that even though they may work for a well-known player in the industry, they’ve done an excellent job at branding themselves as an expert. While this is obviously extremely beneficial to the speaker (as it provides both job security AND exposure), it is also beneficial for their employer.

At conference trade shows, I’ve overheard many conversations where a company’s name is recognizable simply because the attendee had heard of someone who worked there. In order industry, people like Jim Boykin, Scott Monty, or Kris Jones have made a name for themselves and their organizations have been brought alongside them in the process.

That being said, it’s important for organizations to recognize the power that conference speaking can have for both their own credibility and their employees. It not only offers employees a chance to represent their company at networking events, it also allows them to become better speakers and topic experts. Growing thought leaders within your organization will help grow your influence and cement your hold within your industry.

What benefits have you seen from speaking at conferences?

Images via Shutterstock.

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