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5 Task Apps for Visual Thinkers

5 Task Apps for Visual Thinkers

Most productivity tools and reviews focus on very linear, left-brained thinking. What if you’re a visual thinker and looking for a tool that suits your needs? Pen and paper, a massive whiteboard, or post-it notes can work for the right-brainers out there, but they’re also not necessarily very practical in this digital age, where you might need to access your tasks on the go, keep notes and track progress on them, or share them with someone else.

Features to look for:

If you’re looking at trying a digital app to help manage your to do list, and you’ve struggled with productivity tools in the past, here’s a few features that you might want to look for before you try yet another app:

  • Color coding: This is such a simple feature that so many tools are lacking. It astounds me. If you’re an intensely visual person, color coding functionality can make the difference between a tool being really useful (being able to see at a glance how many high priority tasks you have today, or how many tasks from each project, for example), and staring at an intimidating list of action items that looks totally impossible.
  • Calendar view instead of just list view: For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out why the typical to-do list overwhelmed and intimidated me. The problem was that without a way for me to see my tasks spread out across the week (or month), I had a tendency to pile all of my tasks on one day, creating a feeling of perma-overwhelm and frustration. (Shockingly enough, that was not conducive to productivity!) Having a view that lets me see how my tasks are spread across my work week lets me see if I’m overloading a particular day, and rearrange accordingly.
  • Overall good design and usability: Productivity nerds have kind of a love/hate relationship with design. Good design is given credit where due, but if you refuse to use a tool because its aesthetics just don’t jive with you, you’re going to get some eyerolls. However, there’s evidence to support that good looks make for better productivity. A case study referenced in How to Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci mentions a training office where aesthetics were improved that saw a marked increase (like, a ninety percent marked increase) in learning effectiveness afterwards. In A Whole New Mind, Dan Pink references a similar study with classrooms.
  • Something that will be easy to integrate into your current workflow: By this I mean that it’s a good idea to think about the attributes your current system has  that work for you. (Alternately, you can think about things that aren’t working for you, and work backwards from there.) If, for example, you love the post-it note method of organizing your to-do list, then something like KanbanPad or Trello could be ideal for you.

My top 5 picks for task management for visual thinkers:

KanbanPad

Sporting an adorable mascot and a colorful design, KanbanPad is my favorite out of the kanban style task tools out there.

Price: Free

Features: Color coding, ability to delegate/have multiple users in a wordspace, drag and drop interface, ability to create checklists of sub-tasks

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Ideal for: The super-visual worker who can’t imagine live without color coding. If you work with a large team, KanbanPad might not work as well for you and your team, depending on their personal preferences but that can be said for almost any tool. Especially ideal for creative entrepreneurs who hate traditional “to do list” apps but need a way to stay at least marginally organized.

Trello

Trello Interface

    Trello is similar to KanbanPad, with a few differences in design and use. If you’re looking for something post-it style, you can’t go wrong with either one of these apps.

    Price: Free

    Features: Drag and drop interface, color coding, deadlines (with reminders as the deadline approaches), ability to delegate/add users to a workspace, checklists with progress bars for task lists, ability to attach files

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    Ideal for: The creative team looking to stay on track with visual-friendly features (color coding, etc.), but without missing deadlines.

    Thoughtbox.es

      Thoughtboxes

      Thoughtboxes is a colorful task management tool, that lets you create lists of tasks which can be starred for priority, and dragged and drop through boxes. This means you could create a “to do” “working on” and “done” set of boxes, and move tasks in between them to keep track of what had already been created, or you could create subject-themed task lists, like in the screenshot above.

      Price: Free for up to 3 “trains of thought” (projects) for basic users, $3/month/user for unlimited projects, ability to collaborate, organize your trains of thoughts with folders,

      Features: Drag and drop controls, sharing/collaboration with pro version, color coding and intuitive visual interface

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      Ideal for: The solo worker who wants a minimalist, but not boring, way to keep track of their projects and tasks.

      WeekPlan Interface

        Weekplan

        Weekplan is a planning tool based on the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People so it’s not just a task management tool, it has built-in guidance for creating your tasks and planning your week.

        Price: Free plan or Pro plan is $3/month for additional features (subtasks, recurring tasks, integration with other apps)

        Features: Drag and drop interface, week view interface, ability to sort tasks by roles, guided journaling

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        Ideal for: The person who wants a life and business task management tool all in one spot, probably a solopreneur or someone who doesn’t need to coordinate with other users.

        Teamweek

        Teamweek is basically a really pretty, interactive Gantt chart. In case that means nothing to you, what it translates to is that you can see how long tasks are supposed to take and see them overlapped on top of each other in a visual way, instead of just seeing them as a list of boxes to check. (Clearly useful for the visual thinker!) 

        Price: Free trial, after that $4/month for each “manager” user, $2/month for each normal user

        Features: Color coding, to-do lists/subtasks, milestones, ability to assign things to a person, project and client labels

        Ideal for: The creative team leader or the creative solopreneur who wants a visual way to track their quarterly or monthly goals and progress (shown from 0:00 to about 4:10 in the video above), plan their week visually (shown from 4:10-7:13 in the video), or want to plan a launch (7:13 to 9:40 in the video).

        Those are my picks. What are your favorite task management apps for visual thinkers? 

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        Last Updated on February 17, 2021

        50 Ways to Increase Productivity and Achieve More in Less Time

        50 Ways to Increase Productivity and Achieve More in Less Time

        If you feel like you don’t have enough time to do everything you want to do, maybe it’s time to check-in with your time management skills.

        No one is born to be very good at time management, so that’s okay if you think you’re bad in it. But everyone can learn to boost their productivity and achieve more!

        Here are 50 ways to increase productivity and add hours to your day.

        1. Set a Timer

        Estimate the time you need to tackle different tasks and set a timer for each of your tasks. How you go about this is up to you as there are many different ways. There is the Pomodoro technique where you focus on a task for 25 minutes followed by a five minute break afterwards.

        In the event that you have a task that will take much longer than that, you can consider one of the many timer-based apps. One that comes to mind is Clockify. It’s used for freelancers and entrepreneurs alike, however it’s a good way to be setting yourself a timer. It provides reports and you can serve as a project manager of sorts too. Best of all, it’s free.

        2. Eliminate All Distractions

        Distractions include the phone, email notifications and having multiple web browsers open on the desktop. Just as it’s important to be organized offline, it’s key to have things organized online as well. This free guide End Distractions And Find Your Focus is a good tool to help you. With this guide, you’ll learn how to get rid of distractions and boost productivity. Grab your free guide here.

        You can also learn more on how to get rid of all distractions in this guide: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

        3. Listen to Music That Boosts Productivity

        Distractions should be avoided, but sometimes a bit of music in the background can help you focus.

        Of course, it doesn’t need to be heavy rock music, but a bit of Beethoven may do you some good.

        Here’s a complete guide to help you pick the right music for better productivity: How To Maximize Your Productivity With Music: A Complete Guide

        4. Find Meaning in What You Do (And Love What You Do)

        Enjoying what you do is the ultimate way to increase your productivity.

        If you aren’t sure what you love doing yet, don’t worry. Leo Babauta has some unique ways to help you: How to Find Your Passion

        5. Prioritize your tasks ahead of time.

        By listing your tasks in order of importance, you can make sure that you finish all of your most important tasks during the day.

        Learn a unique technique to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster.

        6. Batch Similar Tasks into a Single Batch.

        Tasks like blog writing, phone calls, email and errands can be grouped into a single batch. You will save time by completing similar tasks in one session. One way to help you with organizing all of those things is through the app Todoist. It’s an easy and simple way for you to plan out your day, set reminders, and group all of your most important tasks in a convenient spot.

        7. Complete Your Most Dreaded Tasks First Thing in the Morning.

        Whichever activity you are dreading the most is probably the one you need to complete first thing in the morning.

        Many people tend to check emails in the morning because after checking a list of emails, they feel fulfilled. But that’s just an illusion of having achieved more.

        Doing simple tasks like checking emails first in the morning is bad for you. Instead, do the difficult tasks because you have more energy in the morning to tackle them!

        8. Reward Yourself for Finishing a Big Task

        To stay motivated for whatever you do, reward yourself every now and then.

        Keep track of your small wins and milestones and celebrate them. So whenever you struggle about your progress, you see how far you’ve come!

        Find out more about this 2-Step Approach to Self-Motivation: Track Small Wins and Reward Yourself.

        9. Don’t Multitask

        Research has shown that multitasking is not productive. If you think you can multitask, think again.

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        For optimum productivity, focus on one thing at a time.

        10. Step Away from the Computer

        The Internet has become one of the number one distraction. To increase your productivity, try to do as much of your work offline as possible.

        I do this a lot when I try to brainstom new ideas and have found it to be very beneficial to simply unplug.

        11. Use Focus Tools

        Make good use of apps and technology to help you remove distractions.

        Here’re 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools to help you stay focused. This way, you’re not distracted by the web, e-mail, or IM.

        Also, join the free Fast-Track Class – Overcoming Distraction, and you’ll learn the one simple method to work even when you’re surrounded by distractions. Join the free session now!

        12. Just Start

        Often times, starting is the hardest part. People tend to wait for the perfect time with perfect condition to start. But there’s no perfect condition.

        Once you get going, you will quickly get into a rhythm that could last for hours.

        13. Find out Your Productive Hours

        Everyone has a certain time of the day in which they are more productive than others. For me, it’s the morning.

        Find out when your prime time is for productivity and optimize your work schedule accordingly.

        14. Keep a Notebook and Pen on Hand at All Times

        This way, you can write down your thoughts, to-dos and ideas at any time. The key is to get everything out of your head and onto paper. Your subconscious mind won’t be reminding you about it every other second. Another consideration is getting the app Evernote. Not only does this save you on ink and paper, Evernote is a convenient place for you to jot down notes and thoughts and then share them with the team. In certain circumstances, this can prove useful if you’re the type of person that has a lot of ideas that you want to share.

        15. Write a Blog to Chronicle Your Own Personal Development and Achievements

        The blog keeps you accountable and always working towards self improvement and personal growth.

        When you write down all the small achievements you’ve been having, you’re also more motivated to move forward.

        And you know what, this is how I started Lifehack too! What also helped me in starting Lifehack is WordPress, which allows people to set up a website for free. WordPress has simplified a lot of the process of building a site to the point that virtually anyone can build a website now.

        16. Write out a To-Do-List Each Day

        I like to plan my day the night before. This way, I can get started on my most important tasks as soon as I wake up. The Full Life Planner is a nice tool to help you organize your days and get things that matter done. Check out the planner here and start to plan your day ahead easily!

        Make sure you don’t make any of these common to-do-list mistakes!

        17. Write Your Most Important Tasks and To-Dos on a Calendar.

        The key to good time management is knowing where to be and what to be doing there at any given time. Effective calendar management goes hand in hand with good task list management.

        Learn here How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space.

        18. Reflect on Your Productivity Constantly

        As you go throughout your day, repeatedly ask yourself:

        “Am I currently making the best possible use of my time?”

        This one simple question can be an excellent boost to your productivity.

        19. Get up Early Before Anyone Else

        I know it could be difficult for some to wake up early in the morning but nothing beats a quiet house!

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        Here’s How to Start Your Day at 5:00 AM and some Simple Things Early Risers Do to make waking up early easier.

        20. Get Plenty of Sleep

        When you work online, sleep can become a long lost memory. However, it’s important to get plenty of sleep so that your working hours can be as productive as possible.

        Try out this night routine which I highly recommend for productivity: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide: Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

        21. Exercise

        Research has shown that midday exercise boosts productivity and morale in the workplace.

        Take a short walk at lunch or do some simple stretches during your break to maximize your productivity.

        Here I have some exercises recommendations for you:

        22. Outsource as Much as Possible

        If you want to achieve more in less time, learn to delegate or outsource work. Here are just a few of the companies that will help you outsource your everyday tasks:

        Also, read this guide to learn how to delegate effectively: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

        23. Set Some Exciting Goals

        Without worthy goals, you will never be motivated to get things done.

        Set goals that are challenging and achievable. The best goal setting framework is a SMART goal. That said, there are other tools that can help you out as well. For example, The Dreamers’ Guide To Reaching Your Goal is a great guide to help you set and reach goals effectively. Grab your free guide and learn how to make your goals happen this year!

        24. Tell Other People About Your Goals

        When you tell others about your goals, you will instantly be held accountable.

        25. Listen to Podcasts

        Listen to educational podcasts or audio books while you’re driving to work, cleaning the house, exercising, or cooking dinner.

        Audio learning has the power to add hours to your day. Not to mention, your cranium is sure to thank you for it.

        Some recommendations for you: 11 Podcasts To Inspire Yourself

        26. Read David Allen’s best-selling book Getting Things Done

        This is one of the most important productivity books you will ever read. Read it, apply the tips in your daily lives and get more things done.

        Here’re more great books about productivity too: 35 Books on Productivity and Organizational Skills for an Effective Life

        27. Learn to Speed Read

        When you can read faster, you will read and learn more! Check out these 10 Ways to Increase Your Reading Speed.

        You can also make use of the app OutRead to help speed up your reading speed!

        28. Learn to Skip When You Read

        When you’re reading a book, just read the parts that you need and skip the rest. But you have to read with a purpose.

        Learn how to make it work here: How to Read 10X Faster and Retain More

        29. Focus on Result-Oriented Activities

        Pareto’s law (also known as the 80 20 rule) states that 80% of the outputs result from 20% of the inputs. This means that 20% of our actions result in 80% of the results.

        We must find the 20% that is creating the 80% of our desired outcomes and focus solely on those activities.

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        30. Take a Break

        You can’t always be working at optimum productivity. Instead, you should shoot for working in short bursts at your most productive times.

        31. Start a Polyphasic Sleep Schedule

        What is polyphasic sleep?

        Polyphasic sleep is a sleep pattern specification intended to compress sleep time to 2-5 hours daily.[1] This is achieved by spreading out sleep into short (around 20-45 minute) naps throughout the day. This allows for more waking hours with relatively high alertness.

        While you can learn more about it here, you’re recommended to take some naps during the day to recharge your energy too.

        32. Learn to Say “No”.

        We can’t do everything and therefore we must learn when to say no in order to save our sanity.

        Learn the Gentle Art of Saying No from Leo Babauta.

        33. Go on an Information Diet

        Most of the world lives on information overload. We must eliminate mindless Internet surfing.

        Stop reading three different newspapers a day and checking your RSS feeds multiple times a day. Otherwise, you’ll never get anything done.

        The key is to limit yourself only to information that you can immediately take action on. Here’re some simple tips you can try: 10 Simple Productivity Tricks To Manage Overloaded Information

        34. Organize Your Office

        The piles of paper around your desk can be a huge barrier on your productivity. Optimize your time by organizing your office, setting up a system and dumping the junk.

        Check out these 21 Tips to Organize Your Office and Get More Done and 20 Easy Home Office Organization Ideas to Boost Your Productivity.

        35. Find a Mentor

        By modeling after those who have already achieved success, you will save yourself a lot of time and energy.

        A good mentor is hard to find, so here’s a guide to help you: What to Look for in a Mentor

        36. Learn Keyboard Shortcuts

        With technology’s help, you can double your work efficiency. Even better, you learn all the shortcuts when using technology, for example keyboard shortcuts.

        When you use keyboard shortcut, you gain 64 hours every year!

        Not sure what shortcuts to lear? Check out these 22 Tricks That Can Make Anyone A Keyboard Ninja.

        Besides learning the shortcuts, you can also create keyboard shortcuts with AutoHotKey.

        37. Improve Your Typing Speed to Save Time

        Do you know you can save 21 days per year just by typing fast?

        You don’t really need to take some serious courses to type faster, try these typing games online:

        38. Work from Home and Avoid the Daily Commute

        If your job is a flexible one, consider working from home. This saves you the commute time and you’ll find yourself more energetic throughout the day as you have saved the long ride.

        Take a look at these tips to help you stay productive while working from home:

        How to Work from Home and Stay Ultra-Productive

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        39. Get Rid of Time Wasters

        Common time wasters include Instant Messenger, video games, Flickr, checking your stats 10 times a day, television and extraneous Internet surfing.

        Don’t rely on your willpower, make use of some of these useful tools to help you stay focus: 10 Online Apps for Better Focus

        40. Plan Your Meals in Advance

        Plan out all of your meals a week ahead and make your grocery list accordingly. This allows you to focus on the necessary – saving you time and money. You can also save yourself even more time through a wide variety of apps. One app that I find helpful is Mealime. It’s an app that provides you with a wide selection of recipes and also a convenient spot for your grocery list as well.

        Considering the fact that over 4 million users have this app, it goes to show that there is a good selection of meal plans that you can follow and that the app is friendly to use.

        41. Cook Your Meals in Bulk

        When you cook your meals in bulk, you will have plenty of leftovers. This can avoid having to cook everyday.

        Find out more about how to make cooking in bulk works: Once a Month Cooking: Productivity Hack or Overrated Time Suck?

        42. Protect Yourself from Unnecessary Phone Time with Caller ID

        The minutes you spend on picking up unnecessary phone calls are time wasted. You can prevent that from happening.

        Check out this detailed guide how you can deal with those unnecessary phone calls: How To Lose the Useless Items that Weigh Down Your Day – Cellphone Calls

        43. Take Shorter Showers

        This one may sound silly but it’s actually something I struggle with. I spend up to 30 minutes in the shower. Think of the time I could save simply by speeding up a bit.

        44. Save the Trips to Bank by Taking Direct Deposit

        Many employers now offer direct deposit. If yours does, then be sure and take advantage of it and save yourself from a number of trips to the bank.

        45. Auto Pay Your Bills

        How many times have you been worried about whether you missed the bills deadline?

        Auto paying your bills will save you time and eliminate late fees and increased interest rates.

        46. Shop Online

        Whenever possible, avoid going to the store. When you shop online, you can be more focus about what you’re getting.

        47. Speed up your Internet With a Broadband Connection

        Many people are aware of the slow speed of internet but aren’t doing anything about it. In fact, this is the number one Internet time-saver!

        If you must use dial-up, then you can use accelerators like Propel and SlipStream to double or even triple your speed.

        48. Keep up the Speed of Your Computer

        If you’re a Windows user, use Windows hibernation feature to avoid the slowdown of exiting and restarting Windows.

        Or maybe, consider switching to Mac as there’re plenty of Advantages You Probably Don’t Know About Switching To Mac From PC.

        49. Turn off the TV

        The average American watches more than 4 hours of television every day. Over a 65-year life, that’s 9 years glued to the tube.

        For better health and productivity, turn off the TV. Here’re 11 more reasons to tell you to stop watching TV so often.

        Turn off the TV and you are sure to get more out of life.

        50. Use a Tivo or DVR

        This can help you cut an hour-long television show down to just 40 minutes. You can save time while not missing the fun.

        So, here’s the ultimate list of techniques you should learn to boost productivity. Pick the techniques that work for you and make them your daily habits. As time goes, you’ll find yourself being a lot more productive.

        More Time Management Tips

        Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

        Reference

        [1] Medical News Today: What is biphasic and polyphasic sleep?

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