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Tag : routine

Biohacking for Retouchers: How Light Can Improve Your Health & Performance (1)


What is Biohacking?

In recent years, the emerging field of biohacking has gained significant attention as people seek to optimize their health, performance, and longevity through various methods.

By experimenting with lifestyle interventions, supplements, and technologies, biohackers seek to enhance physical and mental performance and overall well-being.

How can Retouchers Benefit from these Insights?

As retouchers who spend many hours sitting exposed to computer screens, it’s essential to prioritize maintaining good health to deliver optimal performance. Therefore, it makes sense to delve deeper into various aspects that biohacking can improve. We’ll explore some of these aspects below.

Biohacking Lights: The Key to Improving Retouchers’ Performance

For our retouching output, it is essential to how we can use the power of light to optimize our workday and increase well-being during long editing sessions.
Studies have shown that exposure to certain types of light at specific times of the day can significantly impact the circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm is the natural 24-hour cycle that regulates sleep-wake cycles, hormone production, and other physiological processes.

Exposure to light at appropriate times can help synchronize the circadian rhythm, leading to better sleep quality, improved mood, and increased energy levels.

Why Natural Light is also Part of Biohacking

An essential aspect of using suitable biohacking lamps is first understanding the importance of natural light exposure.

The best time to be exposed to natural light throughout the day is in the morning, within the first one to two hours after waking up. Natural light in the morning helps regulate the circadian rhythm right from the start.

Spending time outdoors during the day can help regulate circadian rhythm and promote better sleep quality at night. Additionally, exposure to natural light has a range of benefits, including improved mood, cognitive function, and vitamin D production.

Why Blue Light Filtering Glasses are Important for Retouchers’ Health

Color assessment is undoubtedly an important aspect of retouching work, as the colors of an image can appear different depending on the type and quality of light in which it is viewed. In the past, we have learned a lot about how to use the right lighting conditions and color assessment tools to ensure accurate color representation. This can range from using a color-calibrated monitor in a properly lit environment, minimizing the impact of colorful objects in the office or to using a spectrophotometer to provide more accurate and precise measurements of color.

However, the use of blue light blocking glasses can be a valuable tool for retouchers to mitigate the negative effects of blue light emitted by electronic devices such as smartphones, laptops, and computers which can disrupt sleep and cause eye strain and fatigue. Some strong blue light blocking glasses, commonly used in professional gaming, have orange-tinted lenses that are specifically designed to block blue light wavelengths. These glasses filter out harmful blue light, while still allowing other wavelengths of light to pass through.

Ideally, for non-color-critical tasks such as emailing, time tracking, marketing, invoicing, accounting, and setting up the retouching workflow, retouchers can use blue light blocking glasses to promote better sleep quality and overall well-being. When switching back to color-critical tasks during the day, it is important to give the eyes a break to adjust to neutral color conditions to better judge light and colors.

In the best case, retouchers can find a compromise between the use of blue light blocking glasses and color assessment tools during the day to maintain good eye health and an appropriate sleep rhythm while still being able to pursue their work professionally.

Can the Use of Plant Lights Improve our Biohacking Efforts?

Plant or grow lights are artificial light sources designed to support the growth and development of plants. However, their benefits extend far beyond the field of horticulture, and they can actually play a significant role in improving biohacking efforts of retouchers like us.

Plant lights emit a spectrum of light that closely mimics natural sunlight and can therefore regulate circadian rhythms.

In addition to their effects on circadian rhythms, plant lights can also enhance mood and energy levels. Exposure to bright light has been shown to increase the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in regulating mood and promoting feelings of well-being.

Plant lights can also help to combat the effects of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression that occurs in response to seasonal changes in light exposure.

Another benefit of using plant lights in a biohacking context is their potential to enhance cognitive function and productivity. Exposure to blue light has been shown to increase alertness and cognitive performance, and plant lights emit a spectrum of light that includes a high proportion of blue light. By using plant lights to provide a source of blue light, we may improve our focus and concentration, and get more done in less time. Incorporating plant lights into your routine may be an effective way to achieve your goals.

Daily Routine Plan for Biohacking with Lights

A Guide for Biohacking with Lights

To help us better understand the different aspects of light, we have created a schedule for when we should expose ourselves to various types of light:

  1. Natural light: Spend at least 20-30 minutes outside in the morning sun within an hour of waking up to help regulate your circadian rhythms, and promote alertness and energy throughout the day.
  2. Blue light: Blue light from devices can disrupt your sleep-wake cycle, but it can also be useful for promoting alertness and productivity during the day. Try to limit exposure to blue light in the morning or early afternoon, and avoid using devices emitting blue light before bed.
  3. *Plant light: Consider using plant lights throughout the day – in your work environment or at home – to regulate circadian rhythms, enhance mood and energy levels, and improve cognitive performance.
  4. Blue light-blocking glasses: Wear blue light-filtered glasses during times when exposed to blue light from devices, especially in the evening or before bed to mitigate its effects on sleep quality and circadian rhythms. Consider wearing them during the day to reduce eye strain.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, biohacking provides a means of enhancing our physical and mental performance and promoting overall well-being. As retouchers, we can use biohacking lights and technologies to optimize our working routine and maintain good health over the long term. So, taking biohacking seriously is an excellent option to maximize our performance and health! Start right away!

If you found this article helpful, be sure to check out our other blog articles in the Smart Work section. Give some special attention to this one: The perfect light setup for post-production.
Also, if you have any suggestions, additions, if this post is out of date, or if you find any mistakes, feel free to leave a comment. You are welcome to share this post, and we are very grateful for every recommendation.

How to be productive: Timeular Timetracking


If the word time tracking is used, my first association is permanent employment, an old-school, complicated tool, my own forgetfulness, and the imprecise result.
Time recording that costs time.

For a long time, my summary was: It works without it.

Until I discovered Timeular.
The companies mission is to help people track, understand, and improve how they spend their time at work, allowing them to create more value for themselves and those around them.
They have an incredible story, including being awarded as Newcomer of the Year at the Central European Startup Awards 2017.

What is Timeular?

The Timeular tracker is an 8-sided dice that sits on your desk.
The advantage: It’s visual, it’s haptic, it looks stylish, and is 100% customizable. It’s a great physical reminder.

How does it work?

In general, Timeular is very easy to use: Assign an activity to each side of the tracker and flip to start tracking your time.

You can change categories, tags, hashtags, and the style over time to optimize your time-tracking or adapt to new business tasks.

It consists of a desktop and mobile app as well as the actual tracker.

Here are some insights into the desktop application:

After pairing the dice and the application, name your categories, and assign colors to them. Plus, assign the dice sides to the tracker (turn on the button while facing up the specific side).

You can also create your own spaces, add members, etc.

You can start recording from any of the 3 options (smartphone, desktop, tracker). Tags and hashtags assigned once in the desktop app (see above) can be assigned both in the app and in the desktop application.

As soon as you activate and connect Timeular, you will automatically receive emails from the team with additional help.

Adjust your Tracking for specific needs

It can help you to improve tracking for

  1. Economic reasons:
    Most users track things that they bill as Timeular activities, using the project or client name, or even the activity name, e.g., coding, deploying, researching, communication, etc. Optionally they add notes of what they have done at the end of the day, often using our #tags and @mentions functionality, e.g., #billable, @clientA, @clientB, #Ticket-123. This information can be used for advanced invoicing and reporting. Some people even use our PDF export for that.
  2. Productivity reasons:
    On average, 20% of our time accounts for 80% of our results. They recommend not track 100% of your time but rather track and optimize those 20% first. It’s easier and will provide results more quickly. You can always go more in detail when you’ve become a time management Pro. Here are a few inspirations on how to approach this:

    • What are those few things you spend the most time on? Track them as Timeular activities and forget the rest for now.
    • What is that one workflow you feel like it should be more efficient? Split up different steps into Timeular activities and track only that.
    • What are the activities you wonder how much time they take? Track them as Timeular activities for two weeks and don’t care too much about the rest.
  3. Accountability reasons:
    Most users track things that they are held accountable for at work as Timeular activities to export the data afterward and easily send it through. Optionally they add notes of what they have done, often using our #tags and @mentions functionality, e.g., #unplanned, @departmentA, @projectB, #Ticket-123. This information can be used for a more detailed account.
  4. and Compliance reasons:
    Most users simply track their activities as Timeular activities. At the end of the week or month, they manually fix their timesheets to comply with different regulations. People usually add a full-day time entry for vacation days and assign it to their activity called vacation-day, sick-day, or something similar. If the company uses something other than Timeular, they usually export their time entries as CSV/XLSX and import it in their company tool, or they write an integration using our API.

It’s common to have more than one reason, but they recommend optimizing your use for the main reason.

At MK Retouching, we decided to use the tags to connect tasks and clients. We use hashtags to divide the tasks into smaller parts/projects.
Tags and hashtags give us an unlimited number of additional options.

The analytics

These analytics include a lot of details. You can use the analytics, e.g., for

  • customer value analysis,
  • hourly rate calculations,
  • billing of additional expenses
  • finding out your real fields of work and thus to optimize your positioning
  • outsourcing time-intense tasks that won’t pay your bills etc.

Very useful can also be their trends. This can also be used to find out when the busy months are and also moments when it makes sense to go on vacation. It can also make sense to plan breaks in work-intensive phases (to find the balance).

After testing Timeular for a while, we are very pleased with the result. We were amazed at how easy it is to assign tags and hashtags despite the large number. However, it should be noted that the tracking of activity is canceled if another one is started. Parallel tracking does not work.
It also seems important to have an internet connection.
It can also happen that the tracking stops if the activity is too long. You can see at any time whether tracking is running and for how long in the desktop bar or on the smartphone. There is also a notification on the smartphone (“Tracking CATEGORIE” / “Not tracking”).
The time tracking can be corrected manually at any time.

Did you already test this Timeular? What are your experiences? Let us know in the comments.

We recommend buying the dice + app at the Timeular website:
In case you lost your dice, or you need a new or additional one, you can also buy it on Amazon by clicking on this image:

Do you have any suggestions, additions, is this post out of date, or have you found any mistakes? Then we look forward to your comment.
You are welcome to share this post. We are very grateful for every recommendation.

Photo by Daria Sannikova from Pexels

How to be productive (as a retoucher)

An incredible number of books have been written on this subject: how do you become productive, how to be REALLY productive, how to focus, how to be great at your job, how to stop procrastinating, how do you get rich, how do you become the perfect company.

Let me tell you; there is no secret recipe, just good inspiration. The bad news first: you have to overcome yourself to implement your perfect method.

What works: routine

Routine gives you security. Security makes you think less and faster.

  1. Have a document ready for everything. Know the shelf.
    From mood boards, the cost estimate, to invoice templates, to payment reminders, everything sorted by year. The document for travel documentation, the logbook, the expected calculation for the year, as well as the matching real numbers with all items per month… There are many documents to prepare!
    Have folders with the most important documents:

    • Insurances,
    • Principal offices and chambers of crafts,
    • Contracts,
    • Purchases and their guarantees+ refunds/recycling programs,
    • Medical documents/dokumentation,
    • Your financial documentation of the past ten years,
    • Proof of application or further education.
    • Overview of which contracts have to be concluded each year and which are renewed automatically (even unwanted).
  2. Have the software ready for everything.
    Have software where you can control your processes at any time and which reminds you not to forget things: alarm clocks, calendars, accounting software, job timing apps.
  3. Fixed processes are key.
    Imagine you have to explain to someone else how you always do things so that you two do it the same. As a result, you make many small decisions that make your work more consistent.
    E.g., create actions always to export images for social media and have a system to consistently name all your files.
    Do you have chaos on your computer? Maybe time to buy a new one and renew your system here. Or to buy a lot of cloud storage and develop a system there. This can be a real relief.
    But never forget to rethink and optimize your routines. Nothing is worse than sticking to bad old habits and processes.
  4. If-then plans.
    If-then plans are a kind of strategic commitment. They put you in an alarm status when a certain moment or circumstance has come that makes productive action possible. An example: You receive a push notification from your bank account that payment has arrived. An if-then plan could be if a payment arrives, then I thank the customer for the received payment (and quick transfer) and update my financial documents.
    To sum it up, you can get rid of bad habits and also introduce new good ones.

Schedule your day/week

Planning your day, week, or even months is quite complicated for the self-employed. Many unpredictable factors come together here (we only focus on those of business): job inquiries from concrete to vague, job cancellations, job postponements, spontaneous calls, and emails. Maybe even an unpredictable pandemic.

Things that help:

  1. Make promises, set time goals, and find someone before whom you have to justify your progress.
    These are suddenly emerging obligations for which you have to do something and therefore have no excuse. This could also be state funding with guidelines, a business coach, a manager, a self-written business plan, or your best friend. Sit down at the end of the quarter or year and look back at what you’ve accomplished in the past period.
  2. Always have a plan A, a plan B, and a plan Z.
    The most important tasks are those that are directly connected to your business, obligations, and to-do’s that bring you money and pay your bills. These always have priority. But still have alternatives for the unpredictable things, obligations such as your monthly tax statements, the maintenance of your devices, backups, optimizations, further acquisition measures, and much more.
  3. Know yourself.
    You know at what times of the day you are productive for which tasks and when you need breaks. It starts with the sleep-wake rhythm: Are you a fresh lark, or are you one of the nocturnal owls?
  4. Challenge yourself and your colleagues.
    Challenge yourself and your colleagues. Take part in competitions. Or maybe attend to so-called 14- or 30-day challenges. Those can lead you to become sportier, healthier, and more productive. For example, you can learn languages faster, read more books, or listen to podcasts.
  5. Time management.
    Many tasks can be done in parallel. But be careful, don’t overwhelm yourself; otherwise, the quality of the tasks will suffer.
    Back when I was still a student, I got the hint: work 1.5 hours, then take a half-hour break. You do this all day long until your well-deserved end of the day. The goals you set yourself in the 1.5 hours will make you significantly more focused and faster. The 30min breaks are for power napping, eating & drinking, for the toilet, the household, short private phone calls, and social media. So you have completed all tasks, both private and business, at the end of the day, do not sink into chaos and are less exhausted. Other people will accept these time frames and will bother and interrupt you less.

Stay motivated

  1. Nothing makes us more productive than motivation.
    Lack of motivation and nothing works anymore. To do this, you have to challenge yourself and step beyond your comfort zone. Unknown places, unknown people, and sometimes unfamiliar activities. This also applies to your free time if this is sometimes not possible in your day-to-day job routine. Surprise yourself, develop a bucket list of things that delight you, and challenge you, let you grow personally.
  2. Everyone needs their balance.
    Try to avoid having very grueling and tiring phases for too long. Make a list of things that fill your energy storage again. Even small things like a cold shower, a vitamin-rich drink, 10min sunbathing, a face mask, or a foot bath with minerals. You should get this list out at least once a week and treat yourself to a special day. Do not forget to include time, for example, for sporting activities in nature or with people who are close to you.
  3. Declutter yourself.
    Sometimes I have the feeling that over time things, documents, notes accumulate or simply grow old. Then it’s time to clear out. Make sure to reorder, restructure, remodel, and renew certain places in your work area at least once a month. One useful option would be to create zones for different tasks. This can be liberating and give you the feeling that you have a complete view. With the new order, you avoid messy environments and losing valuable minutes searching for electronics, important documents, or files. Plus, almost forgotten things are back in mind.
  4. Fight against getting tired.
    To maintain concentration you need to adjust and fix several things:
    The first thing is your lightning condition. Forget about headaches and eyestrains: Set breaks with natural sunlight.
    Air Quality: Open the windows at least 3 times a day and think of the installation or maintenance of air filters.
    Give yourself tasks during the day where you have to change your position, e.g. by scanning documents.
    Gray wall paints make women unproductive. So if you are a woman and retoucher, rely a bit more on white and black.
  5. The aromas have an impact on our mood. 
    Consider using fragrances like lavender, mint, and citrus. Rituals, for example, is a very well respected brand and offers a lot of variations here.

Do you have any suggestions, additions, is this post out of date, or have you found any mistakes? Then we look forward to your comment.
You are welcome to share this post. We are very grateful for every recommendation.