Trying to be more efficient? Try out these tips and tricks

There are only so many hours in the day. Use these ideas to help you make the most of them.

Manage financial accounts online. Direct deposit your paycheck and log in to your financial institution’s website to check balances and set up automatic payment for bills.

Store everything on the cloud. Most new computers come with cloud computing software. Programs like Dropbox and even Google docs store and share important pics, music, and document files online so you can easily access your files anywhere.

Kill notifications. Disable email notifications and the like to focus on the task or project at hand instead of getting into an email-Twitter-IM spiral of time-wasting.

Track distractions. Figure out where you’re wasting time on the computer and block Internet distractions using rescuetime.com, which tracks efficiency trends and application usage.

Shop online when possible. It’s as easy as googling a specific item. If it’s something local you’re after, call ahead to see if they stock the item before wasting gas and a whole afternoon.

Listen to a good book. Audio books allow time to take in some good literature while doing laundry or commuting. Audible.com has a low monthly fee and plenty of audio books for smartphones, tablets or mp3 players.

Make lists. Short- and long-term lists are simple but effective — after working through your daily list, tackle weekly or monthly goals. Apps like Evernote and Wunderlist are free and designed to help by organizing goals and providing reminders.

Plug in those headphones. Listen to whatever gets you focused. Consider noise-cancelling headphones if music alone can’t drown out distractions like chatty coworkers or roommates.

Use a calendar. Share a Google calendar or sync your smartphone calendar to a laptop or tablet, and keep it updated. It’s easier to keep track of things when they’re all in one place.

Pump some iron. When your concentration is tapped out, refresh and refocus by hitting the gym or taking a bike ride.

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