The High Productivity Tools That I Recommend
The Self Journal helps you focus your long-term goals into tactical day-to-day tasks to help you achieve them and stay mindful. This journal is the byproduct of research into what habits make the most successful vs those who just let life happen. The answer of course is that they have the ability to plan, effectively execute, and track progress by creating a daily ritual for success. This cleverly arranged, engaging journal is meant to make sure that your good intentions become a written plan.
SaneBox is one of the best service you'll find for improving your existing email account. For pennies a day, SaneBox goes into your email on the backend and puts into different folders all the messages that are probably not important. With you giving it feedback it can tell the difference between a "cold call" email and one from an acquaintance or business associate. Over time, it learns more about who and what is important to you and becomes an even more valuable tool.
One of the newest tools is included now in Microsoft Office 365 and is used in Microsoft Outlook. The app is called Clutter and you use it to sort low-priority messages in Outlook. "Clutter" can help you filter low-priority email, saving time for your most important messages. If Clutter isn't for you, you can turn it off. The email server keeps track of the email you read and the ones you don't. Once you turn it on, Clutter is automatic. As new email comes in, it takes messages you're most likely to ignore and puts them into the "Clutter" folder.
Block Site does just as its name implies… it blocks the sites that would otherwise distract you when working, such as social media websites. How many times have you checked your Facebook or Twitter page while working and ended up spending more time on them than you should? At the end of the day, you probably regret not having had the discipline to stay on task, but time has already slipped by. All you need to do is inform this program which sites you don’t want to visit and for how long. Then, no matter how much you may want to log onto those sites during that period, you won’t be able to. It even tells you how many times you tried logging in during the day. Come on… How many times?
Freedom is a productivity app that does not just block the sites that waste your time, but also blocks the apps that might also keep you away from performing your tasks. It works with your laptop, Mac, Android phone, iPhone and iPad. Users report that they have added at least 2.5-hours towards becoming more productive.
Momentum is a browser extension that keeps you focused on what you’re doing until you get it done. It pops up every time you click another tab, reminding you to stay on track. Focusing on your tasks is sometimes difficult to do because there are of course lots of distractions not only around you, but also on the Internet. Momentum reminds you to stay on task.
Stayfocused is another browser extension that keeps you productive by blocking distracting websites while you're trying to work. You can set it to block distractions either for set times and dates that you choose, or after a certain time limit (e.g., no more than 30 minutes of Facebook per day). It's an extremely simple and free browser extension. And yes, you could get around it by simply using a different browser, but it's still a great tool for helping you with your own self-discipline toward a living a more productive life.
1Focus basically simulates crunch time for you. It has you set the apps/websites to block and the duration you want them blocked. This provides a way for you to stay productive. If you would rather spend 30 minutes of highly productive time at the coffee shop rather than a few hours doing a little of this and a little of that, this might be a worthwhile tool for you.
Just Press Record is an app that works on all iOS devices including the Apple Smartwatch. You can record your voice with just one tap using the app icon from a notification or lock screen widget. Just Press Record can turn speech into text and transcribe what you’re saying… and this includes spoken punctuation marks! The app supports a number of languages and syncs to iCloud so that you can share your recordings and transcriptions easily.
Pomodoro Timer uses the Pomodoro Technique to help increase your productivity. The technique allows you to focus on doing one task for 25 minutes allowing you to take short 5-minute breaks in-between. After four pomodoros (25 minutes) it allows you to take a longer break of around 15 to 20 minutes. The inventor of the technique believes that by chunking your time to 25 minutes, this will help make you more focused.
Slack is a messaging platform for teams, facilitating discussions between collaborators who are not necessarily in the same place at the same time. It’s search functionality helps you find relevant messages that you might have missed the first time around. Slack can integrate with many other productivity apps and services.
Workplace tools for collaboration and communication are transforming how teams get work done together. Asana was among the first to make it on the scene. Asana helps teams keep track of what needs to get done and who is doing it. Unlike project management platforms, Asana is capable of handling ongoing work (whereas project management is meant for projects with an end date).
Notability lets you annotate PDFs, mark up photos, record lectures, provide audio feedback, and place screenshots and handwritten notes side by side to augment one another, all of which are accessible through the cloud. It was the best-selling paid productivity apps for three years in a row. This is a great tool for students, professionals, and teachers for taking notes. Notability allows you to record a lecture to replay later, along with the ability to make colorful and more engaging notes during and after a meeting or in your classroom.
Evernote is a productivity app with a variety of uses. This is an app where you can create and sync all kinds of notes, such as text, voice memos, photos, and more. The paid plans add full-fledged business tool and collaborative features. Excellent search capabilities and OCR on images with text make Evernote vital for finding important information quickly. With a scanner you can scan in documents or take photos of business cards with your phone and capture information for later easy search and reference.
RescueTime does for your productivity what calorie-counting does for weight loss: It brings attention and insight to your actual habits. RescueTime is a time-tracking tool that records the apps you use and websites you visit. This app creates self-awareness through its reports and also helps you stay on track by blocking distracting sites and apps during the times you need to focus. RescueTime helps you quantify your productivity goals and helps you spend less than one hour per day in email.
Gmail is bringing a popular feature from secure chatting apps as reported on CNN.com recently: disappearing messages.
A new version of Gmail will begin rolling out around the world for personal and business users. It will sport a mildly cleaned-up design, snoozing and priority features, and some productivity tweaks like a calendar and tasks panel.
But the biggest change is its collection of new security features.
Have something sensitive you want to send in an email but are worried about it surfacing in a hack10-years from now? Click the lock icon at the bottom of an email to turn on Confidential Mode.
You can set a message to expire in 1 day to 5 years and require the recipient to enter a passcode texted to their phone before they can read it. Confidential Mode emails will open in a special window that doesn't allow the recipient to forward, copy or print the message (though you can still grab a screenshot). There's an option to revoke an email at any time. The tools work even with emails sent to non-Gmail accounts.
Since many email hacks start with low-tech phishing scams, Gmail is adding large color-coded warnings on any suspicious emails. It will warn people if a sender appears to be posing as someone you know. It first rolled out new phishing tools a month ago.
Google uses machine vision algorithms to scan all the emails in your inbox and determine if they are a risk. In 2017, Gmail stopped scanning emails to target advertisements based on your conversations. But there is no way to opt of out scanning altogether since it's required for spam controls.
To help people sort through the piles of email that make it through all the filters, Gmail is adding Nudging. It will push emails it identifies as important to the top of your inbox, but only three a day. On mobile, a new setting will let you limit notifications to just the important messages.
Other productivity features include more suggestions to unsubscribe from email lists, and smart replies on desktop, which helpfully suggest replies so you don't have to type. Attachments are shown as little boxes in preview mode so you don't have to dig around in a long thread to find them. If you get an important email you don't want to forget about, hit the Snooze button and it will remind you to reply later.A new side panel will include access to your calendar and tasks. There's also a new stand-alone Tasks app for mobile.
Spark is an award-winning app for your email. It interprets which of your emails are the most important and pops them to the top of your list. There are three categories your email including Personal, Newsletters and Notifications. It’s available for free on Mac and iOS.
Rescue Time is a productivity app that gamifies the tasks to proposedly make them more fun and achievable. Just enter the task you need to focus on and then set how much time you need to finish the task. You get a green background at first, but as time runs out it turns first to yellow, then to red. In case you haven’t finished the task on time, the app turns to Overtime Mode and records how much extra time you’ve spent more on the task. I really like this one because it helps you stick to your own predetermined schedule by reminding you that you are working with blocks of time.
Producteev is a productivity app that is compatible with your Mac, iOS and Android devices. Use Producteev to create and assign to-do lists as well as collaborate on projects with others. It has push notifications so you know if there are any changes done to any task or project you are involved in.
Wunderlist brings all your to-do lists into one place and makes sure that you never forget any important tasks, meetings or projects. The app allows you to share your list with others so that they will know when they may reach you and when you are too busy. Wunderlist is works on all major operating platforms.
Trello is a kanban-style work management app. It helps teams visualize workflow. In Trello and other kanban apps, you create cards (think of them as sticky notes on a board) and arrange them into columns. Each column can represent whatever you want. You move the notes to different columns as the work progresses or you can design your own method for using Trello. It has a simple interface and fun stickers, all of which add a touch of lightness to even the most difficult tasks.
Wrike is a project management tool that offers a flexible solution for small businesses and enterprises. It lets you get up and running quickly. It has multiple ways to integrate with other apps and services.
Teamwork Projects is a project management tool that is affordable and easy to use. Teamwork Projects’ interface is self-explanatory. A huge plus for this app is that if you have a large team or enterprise, the cost is a flat price for unlimited users.
Any.do is a collaborative task-management app for iOS, Android, and Chrome. It's a beautifully designed to-do app with a unique feature called the Any.do Moment. This feature helps you make a habit of reviewing your daily tasks first thing in the morning so that you're never caught off guard by surprise meetings, tasks, or other obligations later.
DivvyHQ is a content planner for high volume content producers that allows content managers to coordinate the production of content through the use of combined calendar functions. It allows teams to work as a single unit by bringing visibility to all details of a content campaign.
Content DJ utililzes a built-in editorial calendar for all social media marketing channels. You can integrate all of your social media into a coordinated posting agenda with color coding to allow for easy differentiation of channels. Email list integration is also provided to take your customer sign-ups directly into your designed content publishing schedule. You can even see your analytics from the dashboard to be able to monitor your customer engagement.
CoSchedule is a favorite of small business owners who are looking for an all-in-one content organization solution. It allows for the planning, execution and results tracking for your marketing schedule. The content work-flow allows everyone to recieve insant progress updates of all campaigns.
Kapost specializes in managing B2B content among large teams who need a content calendar to track aspects of the buyer's journey through blogs, email marketing, social media and other branded content. If you have a number of decision makers in your larger company, this solution provides enough real-time analytics and gant charts to keep them all engaged. You may not need this solution if you are a smaller business, but if your plans are to scale up, the sooner you adopt the tools of the larger organizations the smoother your growth will unfold.
There are certain sounds that make us distracted and certain sounds that help keep us focused. Noizio provides you with an ambient background to increase your productivity. The app features different sounds such as might be found in nature or in a coffee shop for example, that will help you block the noises that keep on distracting you. Noizio is available on Mac, iOS and Android.
You can find any number of physical noise machines on Amazon that will provide you with the background that you feel is best for your environment. Have you considered adding an aquarium to your physical space? This will also give you a pleasing background noise to go along with its soothing visuals.