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.

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.

As a parent, I think that it is always in our best interests to really take a sincere interest in those things that are important to our children. Sure, kids can change their minds like the weather where one minute they want to be a rock star and the next a fireman. So, the real challenge is knowing when to say ‘yes’ to something that your child is interested in pursuing as a hobby, and when to say ‘no’ to such things.

Personally, I think that hobbies that offer a real chance at fostering a life skill that will benefit the child later on is life is something that should always get a ‘yes’ when asked. This can be anything from learning photography, to singing lessons, to piano lessons.

In fact, if you have a child who is interested in music, then you might want to consider setting up a mini home recording studio for the youngster. Obviously, this is something that is best for kids who are a little older because you can then help them learn about things like using a mixing board and laying down vocal tracks or guitar tracks and so on. Of course, if one of the parents or older siblings shares this interest, then it can be something that the whole family can enjoy together.

To get started on creating the perfect little music studio for your kids, you will need to identify an area of your home that can be turned into the studio. A small, unused hobby room is the perfect choice as you ideally want enough room for a small desk and a place to sit while doing the recording.

Once you have the dedicated space, you might need to do a little soundproofing to get the best possible acoustics in the room. Fortunately, this is something that can be done on the cheap. In fact, the entire process of putting together a small home studio for the kids to record in can be done with a small budget.

For instance, you can shop for the best studio monitors under 200 dollars for good sound – and they will be high quality studio speakers at that low price. You can also similarly shop for low priced studio microphones, studio monitor stands, a nice studio recording desk, mic stands, recording headphones, mixing board and more recording home studio equipment. Of course, you will also need to get some software and a laptop or computer so that the kids have a place to record and store their music. For this, you can use some of the basic software on the computer or even a free software option like Audacity until they get better or stick with this new music hobby.

The good news is that if the hobby does stick, then you can easily sell the used gear and upgrade to some other gear that offers more functionality. This is a great way to avoid the initial cash outlay in the event that the child grows bored. And who knows, you just might have fun in the studio too!