Maintaining a high level of productivity is something that can be a problem even for the most dedicated among us. Whether is it the normal after lunch slump that has you dragging or a propensity for procrastination, you do not have to accept this as a normal part of your day to day life. In fact, there are ways that you can keep yourself in line without needing to resort to a quest to achieve the perfect ambient noise. In the past, I have tried adding a noise cancelling machine to my desk and taking up residence at a table in the local coffee shop to create the perfect productive environment, each with dismal results.

What I have discovered is that you can use something as simple as an app for your tablet, computer or smartphone to ensure that your focus is at 100 percent when it comes to tackling everything on your daily to-do list. New apps come and go with some regularity, and while there are some great older productivity apps that can be quite useful, there are also some new ones that are definitely worth checking out.

One of my favorite recent finds is Jumpcut. With this app, you can save a lot of time each day with your copying and pasting activities. The beauty of Jumpcut is that it remembers your last 40 items that you have copied to the clipboard, which makes it easy to refer to something that you copied earlier in the day. Of course, if you have copied more than 40 things during the day, then you might not be able to find what you need. However, as someone who copies many things during the day and often tries to recall something from earlier in the day, I can say that this is definitely a time-saver and a productivity booster.

If email is a big part of your day, then Boomerang for Gmail is a can’t miss addition to your workflow process. With it, you can do things like hit the snooze button on inbox emails that you do not want to see, get a reminder in your inbox if no one responds to a query you sent out, and schedule and email to be sent out later. It is similar to the FollowUpThen app, with the main difference being that Boomerang for Gmail directly integrates with your Gmail or Google Apps email address.

For the creative types who benefit from mind-mapping, the new iPad and iPhone app MagicalPad is a great addition to the productivity tools arsenal. With this app, youcan quickly and easily jot down any ideas or notes that you need to get down, as well as create and manage lists and get in a bit of stress-relieving doodling. This app turns being productive into something fun so that you end up accomplishing your goals without getting burned out.

And remember, if all else fails you can revert to some of the oldie but goodies options such as a noise cancelling app like Coffitivity or simple timer that helps you practice the Pomodoro time management technique. Or, use a combination of these things to identify your productivity sweet spot.

If you are looking for ways to lead a more environmentally conscious life, then it takes a little more that driving a hybrid vehicle and sitting out your recyclables each week. Sustainable living is a lifestyle that is all encompassing. And sure, doing things like recycling and driving a vehicle that is cleaner for the environment is a good place to start, but it is only the beginning of what needs to be done. And don’t get discouraged if you cannot yet afford solar panels for your home because there are cheaper thing you can be doing now.

When looking for ways to “green” your life, a good place to start is with your home. Whether you are an apartment renter or a home owner, there are plenty of things that you can start doing today that will help you work towards sustainable living choices. One of the biggest things that you can tackle with your home is its energy consumption. Even the smallest of studio apartments can be huge energy users if not optimized for energy efficiency.

The process of turning a home into something that maximizes energy efficiency is easier for those who own their own home since unlimited renovations can be done. Renters have their hands tied, so to speak, in terms of what can and cannot be done to upgrade a dwelling’s features for energy efficiency.

Regardless of your home ownership status, reducing the amount of heating and cooling needs for your home is something that everyone can do. A good place to start is with proper insulation of all windows, which is especially important if you have thin, single pane windows throughout your home. A great cheap fix for insulating those windows is a good set of noise cancelling curtains. Normally, these are used for sleeping to help keep out unwanted noise from the neighborhood, but they are also perfect for reducing your heating and cooling needs for the home. By design, these curtains are extra thick (to keep out all that noise pollution), and that makes them great insulating curtains. You can use them to keep heat inside the home during the winter and prevent the heat and sun from warming it up too much in the summer.

Another great way to lower your heating and cooling costs is to get a programmable thermostat. There are perfect for people who work outside the home because it prevents unnecessary heating and cooling when no one is home. These are fairly inexpensive devices that are easy to use. They are also great for when you are out of town or on vacation and don’t want to waste energy on cooling or heating an empty home.

Soundproofing your home is another way to reduce energy costs. Like the curtains, this method is designed to keep unwanted noise out of the home but also doubles as energy efficient insulation. Normally, this sort of thing is done when homes are built or renovated, and it may not be possible do implement such a thing if you are renting a home.

These are just some of the things that you can easily implement in your home to make it a bit greener. Starting with these puts you on the right path for more sustainable living at home.

When you pop in those earbuds for cycling and set out for your daily ride, what are you expecting? Well, if you are like most cyclists, your expectations are for a nice peaceful ride that gets your body some much needed exercise, gets you in tune with nature and maybe even gets you a little Vitamin D from the sunlight. Possibly the last thing to ever appear on your list of expectations is inhaling the pollen from those genetically modified crops in the field that you ride past. But with an ever increasing amount of land being allotted to growing those GMO crops, inhaling that possibly toxic pollen is just what could be happening when you take those rides.

Over the recent years, the anti-GMO grassroots movement has been steadily growing. It is being primarily fueled by people who want to be able to eat food that has not been modified in any way. Why? Because there are some health concerns when it comes to putting this possibly harmful “food” into our bodies. But as more and more awareness grows out of this grassroots movement, cyclists and other people who might come into contact with the GMO pollen and pesticides are becoming aware of it’s potentially ill health effects.

In fact, a recent article in Discover Magazine notes that this grassroots anti-GMO movement has really been gaining some ground in 2013. But unlike some of the anti-GMO activism that has been going on in Europe in recent years, the grassroots activists in the United States are not taking to the fields to destroy crops and generally vandalizing the areas where these crops are being grown. Instead, the activists that are a part of this movement here in the United States are going about it in an entirely different direction. They are seeking out lobbying groups and law makers who can assist them in finally getting some legal groundwork laid when it comes to these genetically modified crops.

Like many concerned citizens across the world, the anti-GMO movement in the United States points to the fact that there just is not enough science available to determine the safety of these genetically modified crops. According to that same article in Discover Magazine, the number of crops that are genetically modified and being grown in the United States is staggering. As of late 2013, it amounts to 90 percent of all the soy, cotton and corn planted in the country. So, if you are a cyclist who rides by any of those fields, then there is the potential for some possibly ill health effects over the long term.

So far, only animal studies on the GMO crops and have been and they have shown some alarming results. These studies are being used by the growing anti-GMO grassroots movement as a reason for needed regulation on the crops and seeds. It remains to be seen what, if any, legal steps will be taken to control or limit the prevalence of these crops in the United States. One thing is certain, however, that this grassroots movement is only getting stronger.

While there are a variety of different types of physical disabilities, possibly one of the most frustrating things can be the difficulty in communicating. Sure, not all types of physical disabilities have this communication problem, but for those that do, it can be a real source of frustration. And that is not only for the person who has the disability, but also for family, friends and caretakers.

Can you imagine for a moment the helpless frustration experienced by a mother who cannot communicate with a disabled child who is in pain and cannot express to her what is causing that pain? It is truly a cruel situation that no one should ever have to experience or go through on a regular basis. Fortunately, there is a possibility that this type of situation may soon be a thing of the past.

What would you say if I told you that there have been recent developments in technology that might be able to allow those who are disabled and unable to communicate to actually be able to use their minds to communicate with friends, family and caretakers? The fact is that this has recently become a reality thanks to inventor and CEO of the innovative tech company Emotiv Lifesciences, Tan Le.

Le started with a simple idea. She just thought that it would be cool to be able to move things with her own mind. So, that was the goal that she set out with – to be able to move things with nothing more than the power of her mind. After working hard on that project, she was able to meet her goal with an innovative new headset that is groundbreaking for the disabilities community when it comes to those who cannot communicate with others as a result of their disabilities.

All of this amazingness is possible through a special headset created and designed by Le’s company. Now, if you have experience with headsets for things like call centers or shopping for the best 5.1 gamingheadset for your brother for Christmas, then you are kind of on the right track here. The difference is that this headset is mega advanced as it focuses on those electrical fluctuations that your brain makes and has when those neurons in your brain are firing and doing their thing.

This revolutionary new headset for the disabled, called Emotiv EPOC, functions by intercepting those various electrical brain fluctuations and then interpreting them to make sense of what the person is actually thinking. According to a recent Huffington Post article on the device, it can actually interpret more than just thoughts. The special headset can read your emotions, your expressions, your feelings and your thoughts as they are actually happening. The end result here is real time communication for people where such as thing has been next to impossible all these years.

In fact, this amazing new technology has already helped people who, for some reason or another, have been rendered unable to communicate with other people. The possibilities for the disabled community are endless with this device.

One of the best things about traveling is coming back home and sleeping in your own bed, right? For me, my sleep quality while traveling can really vary. Sometimes you end up in a room with the perfect sleeping setup. I am talking about some thick, heavy curtains that block out the morning sun and any streetlights or other night time lights. And a big part of sleeping well is being in a bed that is just the right amount of soft and firm. Personally, finding this when traveling is a rarity for me.

Another way to keep your sleep level normal when you are traveling is by always making time to workout. Often, a hotel has a small gym or fitness center where you can spend some time on a rowing machine, treadmill or exercise bike. Activity like this helps you sleep better most of the time.

However, there is one thing that I never really have to worry about when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep while traveling. What is it? The perfect sounds for sleeping. You see, when I am home, for the most part, I have complete control over the sounds that do (or do not) invade my sleeping. Of course, this does not account for things like sirens from emergency vehicles, but you get my point.

Years ago, I did a month of traveling in the summer and was tired pretty much the whole month. Why? Because hotel room walls seem to be notoriously thin, where you can hear pretty much everything going on in the rooms beside you and out in the hall. I have even experienced this at some guest houses and B&B’s that I have stayed in a while back.

Unfortunately, there is nothing that you can do about a hotel room or other lodging room having walls that offer little in terms of noise isolation. But, there is something that you can do for your own sanity and sleep quality. You can attempt to drown out those unwanted noises and replace them with some ambient noises that will allow you a pleasant journey into peaceful slumber. And, you can do this the exact same way that I do whenever I am traveling or staying with family.

Get yourself a good quality noise cancelling machine for sleeping and it will be the perfect solution. In fact, you will be amazed at the difference of your sleep quality when you travel with one of these little devices. You can even opt for a sleepy time app on your phone or tablet that you can use instead, if you do not want to carry a small little machine with you.

Fortunately, they make some of these in small, compact sizes that are perfect for travelers. You can easily slip one in your luggage or overnight bag and ensure that you are getting some great quality sleep while you are on vacation or traveling for work or other reasons.

You may even discover that, like me, you miss the comfort of the machine when you are sleeping at home. In fact, I use mine pretty much full time both at home and when I am traveling. As a result, I have two identical units. I keep one on my shelf in my bedroom and the other one stays in my travel bag waiting for my next trip.