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8 Incredible Productivity Tools to Help Make Better Use of Your Time

8 Incredible Productivity Tools to Help Make Better Use of Your Time
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It has been said again and again that time is money. To this same sentiment, if time is wasted, then that is money wasted as well. Use any combination of these tools to stop wasting time and get back on track with your productivity. These tools will cut down on time spent doing things other than work while simultaneously streamlining your process for being more productive. Use them on your mobile and desktop device; you’ll have access whenever you need it so that you spend less time on the masses of small tasks that accumulate throughout the day.

1. Toggl

This simple tool is used for tracking time. All that you need to do is click the button for Toggl, and the timer will begin. It is a very simple yet effective way to track the time that it takes you to complete any number of tasks. The program will also allow you to view reports regarding the time and see how much time you are investing on different projects throughout the week or whatever specified amount of time.

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2. Evernote

This app is capable of saving audio and text notes, setting reminders, uploading attachments, and organizing photos and all of these things can become synced across all mobile and desktop devices. There is a feature within the app that allows the user to clip items from the web and store them for later use. This app is perfect if you are regularly using multiple devices.

3. Hootsuite

Hootsuite has been around for a while and is the go-to program for those who manage multiple social media accounts. This program allows users to manage and monitor all of their activity on social media sites on one simple dashboard. Users can schedule posts, assign tasks to team members, measure performance, organize Twitter followers and lists, and so much more.

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4. Google Drive

Along with Google Docs and Spreadsheets, Google drive assists in sharing and editing many types of files. Those who are members of a team can chat about projects and share notes within a specific document. It is free to use, so this revolutionary program should not be overlooked or missed out on.

5. IFTTT

This stands for “If This, Then That”. Essentially, this program allows you to create (or use existing) “recipes” that will connect apps and services to work together to complete a specified task. As an example, you can create an IFTTT recipe that will automatically upload your photos to Instagram to your Google Drive account. You will have the ability to create intricate integration without the need for programming experience. The use goes way beyond just social media. You can set up automatic emails to be sent if the weather forecasts suddenly indicate rain, or anything else.

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6. Google Alerts

If you have ever wondered where your company or brand is being mentioned on the internet, Google Alerts has your back. You can receive an instant notification whenever your specified term is mentioned anywhere on the internet. This helps to keep marketing efforts in line as well as making sure that you are grabbing the links from anyone that is mentioning your business.

7. Unroll.Me

This program helps to organize your inbox by gathering all of your selected newsletters into a single email bundle that can be opened and read at a later date. It helps to hide annoying email clutter and can list all of your email subscriptions. The program comes with an unsubscribe button so that you can easily remove yourself from any list.

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8. StayFocused

Perhaps this is the productivity tool to end all productivity tools. StayFocused is an unpaid extension for Chrome that will limit the amount of time that you can spend on websites that are deemed as time wasters, like Facebook. This tool can be totally customized; choose which websites to block, pick specific pages to be blocked, and how long to block them for.

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Sasha Brown

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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