June 19, 2018

How to Stay Focused Using Technology When Technology is Keeping You Unfocused

Jumping off Colin's Open Item earlier today about Tracker — a Chrome extension developed by a former EY employee that allows you to better understand what you spend your time doing — we came across a few browser extensions you all might find useful in this, the most non-joyful time of year where every minute counts.

If you are anything like me, a regular workday can easily become a 12 hour one between screwing around on Facebook, trolling the Daily Mail and clicking that stupid "You Won't Believe What Happens Next…" link your uncle posted, sending you into an endless vortex of predictable "viral" content for half the day. Even if you think you're only taking a minute or two to avert your eyes from your spreadsheets to check in on the Internet, two minutes can easily become 20 and we all know what happens from there.

In reading 7 Habits Of Insanely Productive People, we find three useful extensions to get control of your wandering eye. StayFocusd (Chrome), LeechBlock (Firefox), and WasteNoTime (Safari/Chrome) all basically do the same thing, which is put up a big barrier between you and the rest of the Internet. Helpful for those of us with both attention issues and very little self control.

You could also try RescueTime (Firefox), which answers the age old question "where the hell did today go?!" by tracking how long you spend in your active tab. It also tracks your total time so that might get a little depressing when you're working long hours but if your productivity score comes in low, you might realize you could have gotten a lot more done in less time had you stayed focused (ha, yeah right). RescueTime is also available as a desktop app and on mobile.

Another useful tool — if you absolutely cannot resist the urge to poke around on the Internet a little — is Read it Later (Firefox and iOS). With this, you can sneak 5 minutes on the Daily Mail (or, you know, whatever your guilty pleasure is, like Going Concern) and mark what you want to read later instead of getting into a two hour flame war with trolls. Because no one has time for that.

Anyone have any other go to tools for staying focused? You know what to do. Wait a second… why are you here if you're so busy? Oh well.


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Deloitte Starts Off the New Year with Some Generosity

Good news Green Dotters with iPhones. After having to shell out $13 a month, we’re now happy to report that because so many of you were coveting them Deloitte will now offer the iPhone under at the standard rate under its mobile device program.

Our records indicate that you have an Apple iPhone connected to the Deloitte network–and we have good news for you!
We have continued our negotiations with AT&T and Apple. Based on Deloitte’s volume of iPhone orders, we are now able to offer the iPhone at the standard rate covered by the Deloitte mobile device program.
The good news–you will no longer be charged the monthly $13.00 surcharge for the iPhone.
The PDA Team

So now everyone at Deloitte will have an iPhone? That should help with AT&T’s service issues. If you’re less enthused about this development, or you’re just hella-jealous because your firm doesn’t offer cool gadgets, discuss.

Tracking Charitable Donations? Now There’s a CPA-Developed App for That

In more non-iPad, Apple-related news, we learned earlier this week about iDonatedIt, an iPhone app developed by BMG CPAs in Lincoln, Nebraska. The app is designed to track all non-cash charitable contributions whether it be clothes, furniture or family members (okay maybe not the last one). This will allow you to track all of our donations to Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc. rather than receiving that crappy receipt they give you that has nothing on it.

Being interested in all things accountant-ish, we got in touch with BMG to find out how this bit of ingenuity came about.

We spoke with Todd Blome, a partner at BMG who came up with the idea and he told us that as soon as he got an iPhone he was thinking of ideas for apps that would be useful for his clients. Since Todd is the tech-savvy partner at BMG, (he heads up their IT consulting services) he started kicking around ideas right away and eventually landed on the idea for iDonatedIt.

Todd told us that the development was fairly simple and that there were only two test versions prior to releasing the app.

“So far we’ve 100% positive feedback on iDonatedIt,” Todd told us, “We’re definitely looking for suggestions for improvements or add-ons.” The one idea that has been floated to Todd was adding a tax savings tool to the app so that a user could determine how much tax savings would be created by the donations. “That will probably be in version two,” he told us.

iDonatedIt retails for $2.99 at the app store and as Todd noted, “a donation of one item pays for the app.” A version for the Droid is currently in the works as well.

Todd and the rest of of his team at BMG are kicking around a few more ideas for apps but he said they want to make sure iDonatedIt is working as good as possible before committing to another project. Check out the demonstration below and jump over the firm’s website or follow them on Twitter to give them your feedback.