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19 Best Web Resources To Enhance Productivity

19 Best Web Resources To Enhance Productivity

These days, there’s no shortage of web resources to choose from. And although options are wonderful, they can also be the bane of our existence. Too many options have often been the primary cause for a total lack of productivity.

For example: let’s say you want to learn how to make a good martini. You google search: “how to make the perfect martini”. Boom. You get back enough how-to articles on martini-making to make your head spin. You click one of the results…. It’s not bad. But maybe there’s something better. You go back to your Google search results and click another one, opening another tab in your browser. This one’s okay. But not as good as the last. Then you go back and look for another article.

You repeat the same cycle again. And again.. and again. Until next thing you know — you’ve got so many open tabs on your browser window that you’ve forgotten what you were trying to do in the first place!

How’d you go from searching for the perfect martini recipe, to watching a Justin Bieber video on YouTube?

This, my friend, is the double-edge sword of the world wide web and the many resources that it offers us to make use of… and if we waste too much time using the wrong ones (i.e. Justin Bieber videos on YouTube), then we end up sabotaging our own productivity as a result.

So without further ado, I present to you the 19 best web resources to enhance productivity. Save the martinis for after you’re done reading this article.

1. Evernote

This is the juggernaut of web resources to help with productivity. Personally, it’s my primary way of staying on track with my daily projects and tasks. Super charge this resource by integrating it with the Getting Things Done productivity methodology and you’ll be setting yourself up for success for a very long time.

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2. Spreeder

Learning to speed read can be massively helpful when you’re trying to plow through piles of documents and books in search of a vital piece of information. Luckily, there’s an app for that, and it’s called Spreeder.

3. Wunderlist

Wunderlist is the bucket-list-building app you’ve always wished for. Fast. Intuitive. Shareable. Whether you’re creating a “someday/maybe” list or pounding away at a project filled with tasks you need to accomplish, you just can’t go wrong with Wunderlist.

4. Coffitivity

Researchers tell us that people work better when there’s white noise in the background. That’s where an app like Coffitivity comes in handy by generating the buzziness of a cafe’ in the background while you’re working.

5. Tomato Timer

Tomato Timer is based on the Pomodoro technique, which is an incredibly popular productivity method that requires you to incorporate specific periods of rest and renewal into your workday by breaking it up into 25-minute chunks of productive time. After the 25-minute chunk of time is up, you get a short break before repeating the same cycle over again.

The Tomato Timer will alert you when the 25 minutes is up so you can get up and take a quick moment to recharge your batteries before getting back to work again. The fact that you know you’ll be able to take a break when the timer goes off will help you beat procrastination once and for all.

6. GetFlashNotes

Too busy to read that pile of books on the bedside table? Start using GetFlashNotes book summaries and you’ll be done reading them, all in under 20 minutes flat. The fact that you can read the best self-help and business books in mere minutes makes this a productivity resource that you should never leave home without.

And since their summaries come formatted for every device, you’ll never have to.

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7. Do Nothing For 2 Minutes

If there’s one thing modern professionals don’t get enough of, it’s short periods of rest. You work hard. Bless yourself with 120 seconds of peace via this simple but powerful productivity resource. You’ll feel better for having done it.

8. Doodle

Never go back and forth about when to schedule a meeting, and forget about wasting time email-polling your friends about whether they can make it to your birthday party on this or that date.

Instead, use Doodle to identify a few potential windows of time that work best for you, and ask everyone else to fill in what works for them within those windows. Doodle makes scheduling things easy.

9. Feedly

Organize everything you love — from blogs, to news, to websites and more — all in one place that you can go back to whenever you want, via Feedly.

10. Podcasts

Listening to a podcast can be a vital productivity resource if you’re doing it with a purpose. Want to learn how to quit smoking or how to be more confident? Listen to a self-improvement podcast on iTunes.

Want the big ideas from that business book your co-worker told you about? Listen to a non-fiction literature podcast. Take advantage of podcasts. They’re free, fun, and can teach you tons of productivity hacks within a very short period of time.

11. FocusWriter

A simple tool that provides a clean on-screen writing environment for the essentialist. FocusWriter comes complete with other small but useful resources to enhance productivity, like timers, alarms, spell checking and goal-setting functionality.

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12. Hootsuite

Automate all of your social media, rather than dividing your attention, when you could be productively getting things done instead. Let’s say you’ve just written a great blog post and you really want to capitalize on the power of social media to spread that blog post as far as possible. Rather than sharing and tweeting about it on all of your social media platforms all at once, you can use Hootsuite to pre-populate exactly when – and how often – you want your blog post to be spread around on each of your individual social media accounts.

If the best time to self-promote on Facebook is on Tuesday mornings between 8 and 9 am, then set up your messaging with Hootsuite to ensure it goes out on that specific day. Rinse and repeat for your other platforms.

13. IFTTT

The acronym stands for “If this, then that”, and it’s an app that allows you to create little chains of productivity using simple “recipes”. The “recipes” act as Triggers and Actions to prompt you to stay productive.

For example, you can make a recipe that automatically turns every email you start in your Gmail into a reminder in your iOS Reminders app. Pretty cool, eh?

14. Lift

Get push notifications to remind you to stay on track with your health and fitness goals. Prompt yourself to “drink more water” at various times throughout the day. Remind yourself to stick with your gym habit every morning.

Use Lift as you constant companion to help you harness the power of habit when you need it most.

15. Productivity Owl

Productivity Owl is a Google Chrome extension that keeps you on track by letting you know when you’re not being as productive as you should be. The productivity owl literally gets in your face, too. Every time you’re browsing pages that you know you shouldn’t be, the little Productivity Owl swoops down from the corner of your screen to let you know that it’s time to stop checking Facebook so you can finish up that presentation that’s due tomorrow.

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16. SelfControl

What if you could block yourself from succumbing to the luring urge’s to constantly check your social media apps like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube? Well, now you can. SelfControl’s application lets you block your own access to distracting websites, your mail servers and pretty much anything else on the web.

Just preset a period of time to block for, add sites to your blacklist and click “Start.” Until that timer expires, you won’t be able to access those sites – even if you restart your computer or delete the application.

17. Audible

Every book you read is a deliberate investment in your personal development. But what if you’re not a big fan of reading or don’t have the time to? Don’t fret. You can listen to audiobooks instead.

With Audible, you can listen to books while you run, walk, or drive to work in the morning. Easy peasy.

18. Unroll.Me

See your favorite newsletter subscriptions “at-a-glance”, rather than in an endless stream of spam-like emails that never seem to end.

19. Sleepy Ti.me

Last but not least, we have the Sleepy Time app. Because there’s absolutely no productivity hack, trick, or tool that’ll ever replace your body’s need for sleep. Sleepy Time is a bedtime calculator that’s meant to help you maintain a steady snoozing schedule.

Clock in when you want to sleep, and let it calculate how many Z’s you need to catch for your body to perform at peak levels of productivity throughout the day.

Time to get productive

So there you have it – 19 of the best productivity web resources available today. But beware of awesome-app overload. These resources are only as powerful as you allow them to be.

So print this list out or save it somewhere you know you’ll come back to, so that you can try a couple at a time until you figure out your favorite from the bunch. Stay productive.

More by this author

Dean Bokhari

Author, Entrepreneur, Podcast & TV Host

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Last Updated on June 18, 2019

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

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

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 Making 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

Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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