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Top 10 Methods How IoT Enhances the Healthcare Sector – ReadWrite

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A doctor checking his patient's status on his smart phone.


Given the post-Covid challenges the healthcare industry is expected to face, is Healthcare IoT, also known as the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), the best way ahead?

The healthcare industry has been in focus for the last two years due to the challenges posed by Covid-19.

The last two years have had the healthcare industry in share focus. From diagnosing the Coronavirus to researching and producing vaccines, technology is playing an essential role in controlling and preventing the pandemic from escalating.

One of the technologies that are at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic is IoT. It helps keep doctors and medical personnel safe while monitoring and treating Covid-19 patients remotely, without fearing contamination and getting infected with the virus.

The role of IoT is not just limited to remote monitoring and diagnosis of a patient. It also covers other aspects of healthcare, such as managing virtual hospital wards, ensuring diabetic patients take their insulin dosages on time, and preventing heart attacks to a certain extent.

Smart devices powered by IoT are also helping people with disabilities lead a better quality of life thanks to real-time sensors fitted in their equipment.

As internet and cloud technologies further develop, IoT will also play a more significant role in patient healthcare, research, development of medicines, and better management of health care facilities.

But, before we begin understanding the role of IoT in the health care sector, let us take a minute to understand what IoT really is and how it actually works.

A doctor checking his patient’s status on his smartphone. Image Credit: Unsplash

What is IoT

Suppose one were to understand IoT in simple layman’s terms. In that case, IoT can be described as internet-enabled devices or things as they are referred to that have in-built sensors and programs that are capable of collecting and analyzing information and sharing it with other devices or programs using the internet as a medium of communication.

The IoT-enabled devices can transfer the data they collect in real-time to other networks, which can even be across the world. However, what makes them highly important and valuable, is the fact that these devices can range from simple household appliances to crucial parts in space ships.

These devices can also be programmed to operate independently, with minimal human intervention required.

The growth of IoT can be linked to low-cost computing, the cloud, easy availability of smart devices, and the presence of internet connectivity almost everywhere.

Apart from health care, IoT is used in almost every industry from automobiles to space ships and even agriculture, where it’s used to send real-time data about soil and moisture conditions.

The Role of IoT in the Healthcare Sector

While the pandemic is a recent example of the role IoT can play in healthcare, there are many other instances of how it enhances the healthcare sector. We take a look at some of the areas, IoT is already making an impact and how it is helping improve the quality of life.

1. Virtual Hospitals / Wards

Isolation has been the key to controlling the epidemic and preventing its spread. That has been majorly possible through the setup of virtual hospitals, sometimes even within a patient’s home.

In Australia, for example, just 51 of 475 Covid-positive patients needed to be treated at a brick n mortar hospital, while the rest were treated virtually at home.

Smart and connected IoT-based wearables have made this transformation possible.

Oxygen measuring devices and other devices, designed to measure body temperature, send their data to doctors at a monitoring station, who monitor all vital parameters and prescribe treatments accordingly.

Countries like the UK and UAE are implementing IoT-based medical systems to virtually treat more patients and reduce the burden on traditional hospitals while making healthcare easier to access.

As countries start adopting new health care technologies to be better prepared to handle future pandemics, IoT will see an increased acceptance and usage in many healthcare-related areas.

2. Automated Insulin Delivery Systems

When it comes to diabetes, constant monitoring of the blood glucose levels and timely dosage of insulin is the key to preventing and reducing health complications related to diabetes.

It is now possible through IoT-enabled devices that monitor the blood glucose levels and determine the exact amount of insulin dosage required based on current blood sugar levels.

The Automated Insulin Delivery (AID) Systems deliver the required insulin dosage to the body, even when the person is asleep, without any manual or external intervention required.

Due to these AID systems, patients with diabetes and requiring regular insulin injections do not need to depend on others for their regular insulin doses.

The AID systems also ensure that the patients take their insulin dosages regularly and at the time prescribed, thereby ensuring that there is no sudden spike or low in their blood sugar levels.

With more than 8.5% people of the world’s population being affected by diabetes, as per WHO, these AID systems are the perfect solution to prevent further health complications among them.

3. Wearable Biosensors

Wearable biosensors are no longer the realm of science fiction.

IoT-based biosensors have made it possible for physicians to monitor their patients’ vital parameters even outside a hospital environment. It has helped reduce doctors’ time to conduct routine physical tests and prepare their reports.

Designed to be lightweight and easy to wear, they are used to discreetly and comfortably monitor the heart rate, temperature, etc., as people perform their daily routines.

The data collected by the biosensors is further analyzed to determine a patient’s health over different activity levels and identify the cause for changes in their health parameters. It can help prevent the outbreak of sudden health complications among patients.

The need for periodic health visits can also be reduced through biosensors, helping save both time and money in the long run.

4. Remote Treatments

Thanks to the development in communication technologies and the internet, patient data can be uploaded and accessed quickly anywhere in the world, making remote diagnosis and treatment possible and easy.

IoT devices help doctors access real-time reports and health parameters to take preventive and corrective action if needed, without any delay.

AI and algorithms analyze the data and generate alerts if the health parameters are not within the normal range. In case of emergencies, we can program the IoT devices to contact the closest emergency healthcare providers for timely care and hospitalization if required.

Remote treatments are possible not just for chronic or fatal diseases but also for common ailments, eye care, and surgery.

IoT-enabled health care machines can self diagnose themselves
IoT-enabled health care machines can self-diagnose themselves. Image Credit: Unsplash

5. Maintenance of Health Care Equipment

Not just patients, but IoT can also help diagnose problems in medical equipment and take corrective measures if required.

Medical devices are programmed to work within set parameters and report any deviations or fluctuations in the results. For example, a significant deviation from the recommended values could initiate an automatic diagnosis of the equipment. The results would be sent to the equipment manufacturer and technicians for further action.

Automatic updates and maintenance schedules can be built within the systems to prevent malfunctioning or damage to sensitive parts.

Health care equipment manufacturers can also use IoT devices to monitor the correct usage of high-end medical equipment and ensure that they are being used as per the guidelines to prevent any breakdowns.

6. Robotics

Complex surgeries can be managed much better with IoT-enabled micro-robots placed inside the human body, especially in areas where it is challenging to operate with the human hand.

With fewer incisions required to perform such surgeries, the healing process is also better. In addition, the IoT-enabled microrobots can also share patient data in real-time from within the body to enable surgeons to make quicker and more responsive decisions.

Another area that IoT-enabled robots are deployed in patients is to take care of routine tasks, such as medication delivery and measuring health parameters such as temperature, blood pressure, etc.

Wearables can help monitor the heart rate
Wearables can help monitor the heart rate — Image Credit: Unsplash

7. Heart Rate Monitoring

While biosensors measure a body’s vital parameters such as temperature, blood pressure, etc., there is also a need to monitor the heart rate continuously in patients with heart-related problems to ensure timely action in case of unexpected symptoms or heart-related complications.

Periodic cardiology tests are not an accurate indicator of future rapid fluctuations in heart rates. Moreover, to accurately measure heart rates, patients need to be connected to wired machines which hamper their mobility and is also inconvenient.

IoT-enabled devices such as smartwatches and wearables are a step in the right direction towards monitoring vital heart rate parameters and sounding an alarm over irregularities. While they may not be 100% accurate, at the moment, the technology is evolving with more features such as ECG recording, etc.

By constantly monitoring the heart parameters, medical practitioners can also ensure that their patients follow the prescribed treatment routines and are not over-exerting themselves.

8. Data Analysis

One of the key requirements in critical health care is real-time data on a patient’s symptoms and health condition. Unfortunately, traditional diagnostic machines take time to capture, analyze and share the data.

IoT devices, on the other hand, have sensors that can capture and share data immediately. That helps doctors make a quicker analysis and even confer with other specialists on the mode of treatment required.

Further, most of the devices are AI and Machine Learning enabled. That enables them to present a faster and more accurate diagnosis of the patient’s symptoms and test results.

Some IoT-enabled devices can also prescribe the next course of treatment based on analysis of the data collected. Apart from treatments, the data collected from patients can also be analyzed to understand the health complications better and identify the causes for the same.

9. Research

Data collection and analysis is one of the objectives of IoT-enabled devices and equipment. They are also of immense assistance when it comes to researching medical applications and technologies.

The data collected by IoT-enabled devices can help researchers in the studies of various diseases and preventive medicine. For example, real-time data shared by IoT devices can be used to stop the spread of a disease before it becomes a pandemic.

IoT-enabled devices can also collect vital health care data and use data-driven insights to speed up research activities, reduce errors, and help make better decisions. They can also play a crucial role in research labs in helping reduce research costs through the faster and better collection of patient data.

10. Healthcare Management

IoT is a crucial factor when it comes to providing quality healthcare and healthcare management.

As hospitals increasingly adopt the latest technologies and equipment, there is an increasing need to ensure all of them work smoothly together to provide better health services.

Facilitation and easy accessibility to all the data collected from patients with different healthcare departments, physicians, and specialists is one of the factors for installing IoT-enabled technologies in hospitals.

Many healthcare organizations see IoT playing a significant role in helping them with monitoring and maintenance of equipment and other healthcare facilities. In addition, managing and operating healthcare equipment remotely are also one of the areas where IoT is considered very effective.

IoT-enabled technologies play an important role in helping hospitals manage a perfect environment given the various factors such as temperature, humidity, air circulation, oxygen levels, etc., that need to be monitored and maintained constantly.

IoT is Transforming the Healthcare Industry.

IoT is transforming the way industries work both within themselves and with other organizations. However, the field they are making the maximum impact in is healthcare, where they play a significant role in saving people’s lives and ensuring they get the best medical treatment on time.

The wide acceptance and usage of IoT in the healthcare industry and its varied applications show IoT’s significant role in transforming healthcare. Apart from IoT, another important development in the field of healthcare is the use of virtual medical assistants.

Technologies such as remote treatments, virtual hospitals, and virtual medical assistants are making health care more accessible, while biosensors and heart rate monitors are helping in making critical patient data accessible on a real-time basis. That helps in quicker diagnosis and better treatment.

As technologies develop and internet access grows even in the remotest regions, one is bound to see further innovations and developments in IoT technologies, specifically for the health care sector, making it more affordable and accessible for all.

Article Image Credits: Provided by the author; unsplash;  thank you!

Top Image Credit: evg culture; pexels; thank you!

Suresh Dawmani

Suresh D. is a Content Writer with Wishup. He loves writing on topics connected to IoT, AI, and technology as a content creator. An avid photographer, he is the author of the book “Mumbai Tales.”

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5 Ways To Grow Your Business With Technology

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Brad Anderson


“I’d like my business to remain stagnant.” No entrepreneur, owner, or CEO ever uttered those words. You can be sure none ever will, either. That’s because corporate growth is always an overarching goal for any organization. Growing your business comes with its challenges, of course, like figuring out which steps will make it easiest for you to scale and expand.

One thing’s clear: You need to develop a clear-cut growth strategy. And technology needs to play a huge part in that strategy. After all, we’re living in a primarily technological world. If you’re not making the most of the tech at your fingertips, you regularly miss opportunities to strengthen your brand’s position.

Where can you start? Below are a handful of ways that you can leverage technology to grow your business’s footprint. Try these recommendations, whether you’re a micro startup or a mid-size corporation headed toward a Fortune 500 future.

1. Automate repetitive manual processes.

Is it worth automating all the mindless to-dos in your business in order to grow? Yes, especially if you do the numbers.

McKinsey research studied the ordinary tasks of several occupations. They concluded that around 33% of the tasks of six out of 10 jobs could be automated. For example, let’s say your company is modestly sized at 50 workers. If your staffers work a traditional 40-hour week, 30 of them are frittering away 13 hours. In other words, you’re losing nearly 400 hours weekly to pay employees to handle repetitive duties.

To be sure, not all tasks can be automated. However, you owe it to yourself to find ones that can. For example, is your finance department team processing payroll or inputting invoices by hand? Then, invest in software to remove the tedium—and reduce the chance of human error.

Check out your sales and services processes next. Do your salespeople or support agents have to cut and paste information? Are they forced to switch between two or more programs that don’t communicate? Look for ways to integrate those systems to free up everyone’s valuable time so they can concentrate on growth-based responsibilities.

2. Strive to make customer first impressions stickier with tech tools

Tons of articles highlight the importance of growing your business by retaining customers. It’s true that retention tends to be less expensive than acquisition. Nevertheless, you can’t hold onto your customers until you get them in the door. So put a premium on delivering impeccable first impressions that urge people to stick around.

The right type of technology can assist you in wowing your best leads via an unforgettable customer experience. Take first-time logins, for instance. Okta reports that asking a visitor to set up an account turns off 37% of prospects. So what can you do to overcome this friction point? First, you can rely on social logins to streamline the process. From the customer’s viewpoint, being able to login via already-existing Facebook, Google, or credentials is effortless. From your company’s viewpoint, you can begin marketing to yet another buyer or potential buyer.

A strong CRM can be equally beneficial to moving leads into and down your sales funnel. Once you’ve captured prospects’ data through a social sign-in, personalize future communications like emails, texts, and DMs. Only two years ago, McKinsey found that 80% of retail buyers valued the personal touch. So whether you’re in retail or not, strive for individualization to keep new buyers coming back.

3. Bring a virtual assistant to your team.

You may not have the funds to hire live customer service representatives 24/7. That’s okay. Chatbots can give your organization the ability to offer visitors self-service, even during non-business hours. And they can do it for a fraction of what you’d pay a live agent.

Not sure you’re ready to put your faith in a chatbot? A New York Times article explains that today’s AI-fueled chatbots are only getting smarter. They’re also gaining widespread acceptance, with chatbot growth poised to hit around 15% in 2022. One Gartner executive even predicts that a genuinely conversational AI chatbot program is just around the corner.

Already, some chatbots are inching toward humanlike responses. A University of Florida experiment found that about a third of people could not tell a chatbot from a real person. Consequently, there’s little harm in exploring the wide world of chatbots for your company. Your chatbot doesn’t have to be perfect to be appreciated by customers with questions who want fast answers.

4. Investigate tech solutions to tap into your data.

Tremendous amounts of data flow into your company. Yet it would be impossible for you and your team to make sense of it all. Does that mean you have to give up on finding a way to unearth your data’s insights? Not at all. You just need a tech-based data mining solution.

You have plenty of choices regarding software that can analyze data and find trends. First, though, determine where your data exists. Is it in your CRM? Or a legacy piece of software? Once you know where to find your data, you can search for highly-rated data mining systems.

Be aware that some data mining programs have been developed with specific industries in mind. These can include healthcare, finance, e-commerce, or manufacturing. It never hurts to see if something’s already been created for your sector.

5. Invest in a branded mobile app.

Mobile app use continues to rise. By 2025, one Forbes writer notes that the app market will approach $1 trillion. So why, then, doesn’t your brand have an app of its own?

This is the question a lot of business leaders are asking themselves. Offering customers the chance to interact with your company through an app makes sense. Not only does it give them an immediate connection to your organization, but it simplifies the purchasing process. At the same time, it helps buyers feel that they’re getting special treatment as you deploy push notifications and exclusive offers.

How can you make the most of your app once it’s been developed? First, make sure your customers know it exists. Lots of brands have apps that get very few downloads. The issue isn’t necessarily the app itself. It’s that they don’t know the app is available. Therefore, be diligent and consistent about talking up your app to drive higher usage and conversions.

You’re not alone if you feel that growing your business isn’t happening as fast as you like. Most leaders wish that they could get to the next plateau faster. One method to add a little speed to the process is to lean into the technologies you’re not using yet. Then, with the right combination of tech tools, you should begin to see a positive difference in your numbers.

Image Credit: Artem Podrez; Pexels; Thank you!

Brad Anderson

Editor In Chief at ReadWrite

Brad is the editor overseeing contributed content at ReadWrite.com. He previously worked as an editor at PayPal and Crunchbase. You can reach him at brad at readwrite.com.

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The Developer’s Guide to Mobile Authentication

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Deepak Gupta


Mobile app developers must ensure that the mobile app is effortless while keeping internal information protected and secure. Complex or repeated authentications can be frustrating for your mobile app users.

This article discusses various means of simple and secure mobile authentication, ensuring frictionless UI and UX of mobile authentication screens and data security.

What is Mobile Authentication?

Mobile authentication is a security method to verify a user’s identity through mobile devices and mobile apps. It caters to one or more authentication methods to provide secure access to any particular app, resource, or service.

Let’s look at the various mobile authentication methods developers can utilize depending on their business use case.

Mobile Authentication Methods

Password-based Authentication

Email-Password and Username-Password are common types of password-based authentication. While utilizing these methods, developers should consider setting secure and robust password policies in their authentication mechanism, such as:

  • Mandatory use of symbols and numbers
  • Restricting the use of common passwords
  • Blocking the use of profile information in passwords

These measures ensure better quality passwords and prevent user accounts from brute force and dictionary password attacks.

Limitation: Passwords are hard to remember, and typing in passwords on a small mobile screen degrades the user experience. Hence, developers must use authentication that does not compromise the security postures yet provide an appropriate user experience.

Patterns and Digit-based Authentication

The user must set a pattern or a digit-based PIN (typically 4 or 6 digits). Developers can utilize this as an authentication factor for their mobile application, as this authentication method is faster and more comfortable than entering passwords on a mobile screen.

Limitation: Both patterns and 4 or 6 digits PINs are limited. Also, users tend to use simple patterns and PINs like L or S patterns and 1234, 987654, date of birth as their password.

OTP-based Login

Users use an OTP received via SMS or email to authenticate themself. Thus, users do not have to remember a password, pattern, or PIN to access their account. At the same time, developers don’t have to implement password-based security mechanisms.

Biometric Authentication

Biometric authentication uses unique biological traits of users for mobile authentication. Some common examples of biometric authentication are fingerprint scanning, face unlocks, retina scans, and vocal cadence.

Developers can implement pre-coded libraries and modules to enable authentication through mobile components like the finger scanner, camera (for facial recognition), and microphone (for voice-based identification).

Social Login

It acts as a single sign-on authentication mechanism. Developers can implement this in mobile apps to use users’ login tokens from other social networking sites to allow access to the app.

Also, with social login, developers don’t need to worry about storing passwords securely and managing the password recovery option. It helps the user sign in to the mobile app without creating a separate account from within the app, hence increasing the user experience (UX).

User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) in Mobile Authentication

Login and registration screens are a gateway to your mobile applications; if they are a hassle, the user might not bother using the application. Thus, developers should pay a lot of attention to these screens regarding user experience and usage.

Here are some quick tips for mobile authentication screens:

  • Simple Registration Process: Lengthy registration forms are a big no-no. Brainstorm essential information for creating an account via mobile application and only include those fields.
  • External or Social Login: Allow users to log in via external or social accounts. This way, users don’t have to remember another password or credentials for your app.
  • Facilitate Resetting: Include forget password on the login screen for good visibility and reach if the app provides password-based login. Also, setting the new password should be seamless and fast.
  • Keep Users Logged In: Not logging out users on app close is helpful in a good experience. However, this depends on the type of app you offer. Developers should include MFA for better security if the app stores sensitive information or skip the stay logged-in feature altogether.
  • Meaningful Error Messages: Errors and how they are handled directly impact user experience. Thus, developers should keep error messages meaningful and clearly state what went wrong and how to fix it.

Tip: Customize the mobile app keyboard for the type of input field. For example – display a numeric keyboard when asking for a PIN and include @ button when asking for an email address.

Conclusion

Considering the above points would result in a great and secure user experience for your mobile app users. However, if you feel executing these guidelines would take ample time, be informed that CIAM solutions are available in the market to handle all these requirements for you.

Deepak Gupta

Co-founder and CTO @LoginRadius

Founder and CTO @LoginRadius, Software Entrepreneur. I love to write about Cyber Security, AI, Blockchain, Infrastructure Architecture, Software Development, Cyberspace Vulnerabilities, Product Management, Consumer IAM, and Digital Identities.

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10 Practical Ways to Maximize Your After-Work Time

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Calendar


After‌ ‌work, you probably want a relaxing, stress-free night. And that makes sense. Planning activities like reading or meditating can help relieve stress when things get tough at work.

In addition, you can use this time to expand your knowledge or develop your skills. Additionally, you can engage in new experiences or pursue a passion.

The benefits of participating in these activities can range from increasing your productivity to improving your health and general well-being.

With that said, here are 10 practical ways to maximize your after-work time.

1. Tie up loose ends.

My mom had a tradition that she followed every evening when I was a child. As soon as we got home from school, we had to clean up the house. It wasn’t a long bit of cleaning — usually, she set a timer for 20-minutes. Obviously, we whined about this and the time trying to get out of it was likely longer than the actual time spent. But this effort and habit kept the house tidy and saved us from major cleanings if the cleaning had waited until the weekend.

After I finish working for the day, I will set a timer for 20-30 minutes and tidy up. ‌Or,‌ ‌I‌ ‌can‌ ‌handle items on my to-do list I couldn’t do during the day. Even though that’s not a lot of time, you’d be surprised at what you can actually accomplish.

You can clean dishes, fold laundry, make a grocery list, clean your calendar, or send‌ an important ‌email. ‌In addition, a timer can be a great way to tie up the day’s loose‌ ‌ends‌ ‌and help your transition from work.

2. Get a weeknight hobby.

Commit to an out-of-the-home activity after work. Some ideas could be an exercise class, volunteering, or a night out with friends. ‌Then, rather than spending your time at home, you’ll have more time to do what you ‌care‌ ‌about.

“By scheduling your time after work, you are more likely to stick to your most important ‘to-do’ items. Many people find that they are most productive when they have more to do,” says Dr. Lisa N. Folden, licensed physical therapist and naturopathic lifestyle coach, owner of Healthy Phit Physical Therapy & Wellness Consultants. “By having a scheduled event after work—especially one that can double as exercise—you have more accountability to avoid sitting around aimlessly scrolling through your phone or watching TV.”

3. Sweat it out.

Yes, I am aware. ‌You’re well aware of the importance of physical activity. ‌However, this still can’t be stressed enough. There is no doubt that a regular exercise program boosts your creativity, confidence, and resilience — whether in the workplace or the home.

In short, moving your body is one of the best things you can do to boost your productivity. ‌After all, exercising relieves stress and relieves mental strain. The result? You’ll sleep better and be more energetic.

So, block out time at the end of the day — to go for a run, ride a bike, or join an exercise class. Other ideas would be playing with your pet or kids, dancing, or getting caught up on a chore.

4‌. ‌Enjoy‌ ‌the‌ ‌company of those‌ ‌you‌ ‌love.

Spend quality time with those who are important to you, such as family, friends, and colleagues. ‌Not only does it make life worthwhile, but it’s good for you too. ‌It releases endorphins and lowers stress when you talk to your spouse, kids, siblings, parents, or friends. Even a simple phone call with a loved one can benefit your well-being.

What’s more, with friends and family, there are lots of fun things to do, such as;

  • Go to a restaurant or host dinner ‌at‌ ‌home.
  • Visit a museum or art gallery.
  • Go for a walk after dinner.
  • Host a game night.
  • Attend a concert or sporting event.
  • Go to the movies.
  • Participate in a group activity, like bowling.
  • Attend classes together.

5. Address your needs.

“This may seem totally out of place in an article about getting a lot done after work, but hear me out,” writes Rachell Buell over The Muse. “While it’s very important to make the most of your time, the only way you will have enough energy to do so is by first attending to your basic needs.” ‌Also, get plenty of sleep, eat, and relax. “By addressing these needs, you allow yourself the quintessential element to productivity: sustainability.”

“A few weeks ago, I had a serious moment of panic,” Buell shares. “Feeling completely overwhelmed by everything on my plate, I lost my cool.” ‌Regaining my composure, I came up with a brilliant idea:‌ ‌a sanity‌ ‌list,” she added.

“The list included things like doing daily yoga and drinking 64 ounces of water every day of water ‌and‌ ‌cuddling‌ ‌with‌ ‌my‌ ‌husband. ‌Whenever I cross everything off my list, I feel like a million bucks, and I’m fired up for more.”

“After a long day of work, most of us need time to switch gears and give ourselves a mental break before we try to accomplish anything else,” Buell says. “Whether that’s plopping in front of the TV to catch up on the day’s news or going for a jog to take the edge off, take a moment and consider what you need to feel recharged during the week, and keep it on your sanity list.”

6. Write out your priorities.

Is there ever a time when you feel like something is a high priority when it’s ‌not? ‌When prioritizing productivity, it can be easy to focus on getting more done rather than considering what is really important.

At the beginning of each week, I find it helpful to prioritize everything on my to-do list. Then, during the week, I navigate my time more efficiently by determining how essential a given item is. Personally, I use the Eisenhower Matrix to assist me with this.

By figuring out where each item fits in, you can focus on where to begin. ‌For example, when doing home projects, start with the most essential stuff — then move to the middle and lower priority stuff. ‌With work projects, you can start the next day knowing what needs to happen in what order.

Best of all? Creating a list of priorities can help you feel accomplished even if you don’t start the project yet.

7. Get outside.

Are you familiar with “nature deficit disorder”? ‌Initially, Richard Louv used the phrase in his book Last‌ ‌Child‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌Woods:‌ ‌Saving‌ ‌Our‌ ‌Children‌ ‌From‌ ‌Nature-Deficit‌ ‌Disorder. ‌Louv‌ ‌says our indoor lifestyles are causing a lot of health and behavioral issues.

Even if you think that’s a stretch, studies have found that we spend 92% of time indoors. And that can negatively influence our physical and mental health. Why? Because it’s a simple way to reduce stress, increase happiness, and live healthier.

Moreover, connecting with nature and the outdoors can replenish your energy.

With that in mind, Rachel Hopman, Ph.D., a neuroscientist at Northeastern University, suggests that you live by the 20-5-3 rule;

  • 20-minutes. ‌Twenty minutes is how much time you should spend outside, like at ‌a‌ ‌neighborhood‌ ‌park,‌ ‌three‌ ‌times‌ ‌a‌ ‌week.
  • 5-hours. ‌Five hours is the minimum amount of time you should spend each month in semi-wild nature, like a forest‌, city, or state‌ ‌park.
  • 3-days. ‌You should go camping or rent a cabin three times a year to escape it all.

8. Power down.

In today’s culture, many of us are overly attached to social media and our smartphones. In fact, DataReportal estimates the average American looks at a screen for 7 hours and 4 minutes a ‌day. So why’s that a problem? Research has found too much screen time cal lead to digital eye strain, impaired sleep, and ‌diminished mental health.

Furthermore, too much screen time can result in information overload. And it’s also distracting when we’re trying to get things done.

Therefore, setting boundaries around your phone and social media use is vital. For example, set a timer to limit how long you ‌play‌ ‌games‌, watch videos, ‌or‌ ‌scroll ‌on social‌ ‌media. If that doesn’t work, keep your phone in a different room or make sure you shut down all social media at a specific time each night.

Initially, this will be awkward. But you may be surprised how much more alive you feel when you’re away from screens. ‌Eventually, you’ll feel re-energized rather than worn out‌ ‌after‌ ‌work.

9. Invest in yourself.

Did you know that the former CEO of Twitter, Dick Costolo, studied improv comedy? Why? ‌Learning improv comedy improved his leadership skills.

Investing in yourself is ‌vital to success, whether that means getting some coaching, participating in psychotherapy, taking a workshop, working on more hours for graduate school, or completing a certification program. You could also learn how to play a musical instrument, join a book club, watch a documentary, or take a language course.

Overall, you’ll succeed in your professional career whether you invest in your mind, body, or spirit.

10. Follow an evening routine.

“It’s clear that you need a specific morning routine to optimize each day and be more efficient,” writes Choncé Maddox in a previous Calendar post. However, “a successful morning routine actually starts the night before,” she adds. “Simply put, you need an effective evening routine to maximize efficiency and productivity the following day.”

So, what should your evening routine consist of? Well, that’s up to you. But, here are some suggestions worth exploring;

  • Plan out your day. ‌Look at your calendar to find out what’s on your agenda for tomorrow. Doing so gets you mentally prepared and makes any adjustments.
  • Pick out your clothes. ‌The task may sound insignificant. But it will save you a lot of time and energy that you could use elsewhere.
  • Eliminate negativity and reflect. ‌You can reflect on your day in the evening and choose‌ ‌gratitude‌ ‌over negativity.
  • Read. ‌Turn off the television and read a book while you wind down for the evening.
  • Prepare meals. Mornings are already hectic. Save your sanity and energy by preparing your meals the night before.

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Image Credit: Karolina Grabowska; Pexels; Thank you!

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