Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Happy New Year!

Hello and Happy 2017! For most of the world Jan. 1 marks the beginning of a new year, with new goals and resolutions to be achieved during the next 365 days. For most educators, Jan. 1 marks roughly the middle of a year that started in August. Our goals were set before our year started, our commitments to our resolutions have already been tested. This is a time where many of us recommit to those goals, check in with our progress, and continue working to get our students, our staff, and ourselves to the finish line. Because the personal new year and the teacher mid year collide for us, it’s important to remember to take care of our needs as non-teachers at this time. Here are a few great apps and extensions to help you take care of you in this new year!


Momentum is a Chrome extension for a new tab page that opens a different inspirational scene every day with a personal greeting and opportunity to set your goal or intention for the day. There is also a To Do list and a place to add your most frequently used links or search right from the page. It’s very customisable and a great way to take a deep breath before you start frantically scrolling through your email, Google Drive, and the 10,000 other tabs we all seem to have open at any given time.


Noisli is another extension that helps with productivity. It’s a sound machine right in your Chrome toolbar. You can create custom background noise to help keep you focused and improve your workflow. Save your favorites and play them right from the extension, or head over to the website to listen and watch the simple screen change from color to color. There is also a timer feature for those planning periods when you’re strapped for time and need to get the most out of it. This works especially well for the people who have a hard time staying focused when their favorite Pandora or Spotify station is on and they end up using their pens as drumsticks for an epic solo for your teammates. Hypothetically speaking, of course.

Bell of Mindfulness

Yet another Chrome extension (because Google!) to help you breathe and focus. The Bell of Mindfulness extension plays a calming bell sound from your computer at an interval that you choose. It’s purpose is to remind you to breathe and focus on the moment. If you’re finding you need this when you’re not on your computer, the Play Store and App Store have apps for your smartphone. MindBell is a great one, but finding the one that is right for you will help you get the most from this practice.


Changing the theme of your Google browser can make a difference in the feeling you get while working online. The Chrome Web Store has a section dedicated to themes, with virtually any combination you can think of. Try a few, and see if they make a difference in your working experience. At the very least, check out “Cornify!” to add a little sparkle and shine to your screen.

Here’s to hoping that January is off to a great start, both personally and professionally! If you have other apps/websites you use share them with us below!

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