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Last Updated on January 2, 2020

10 Best Productivity Tools to Get You More Time in 2020

10 Best Productivity Tools to Get You More Time in 2020

Productivity is about maximizing your time and tasks within a reasonable time frame. Depending on who you ask, the priorities vary and are different.

In today’s fast-paced and busy world, we are increasingly depending on tools to boost our productivity . Sometimes we juggle with so many tasks and responsibilities that it becomes difficult to stay on task. So, thankfully, there are apps and services that can help you by sticking to your goals.

Productivity tools are tailored to different lifestyles, and different interests. In this article, I will go over some of the highly-recommended services that helps with optimizing your time and effort.

1. Beeminder

    Beeminder is a motivation tool that helps users visualize goals and set measurable targets.

    For example, if it is about going to the gym, spending less time on social media, learning a new language, investing time on a project with a deadline, this app is right for you. Not only does it help you focus on the goal, but minimize distractions.

    Check out the app here!

    2. Toggl

      Toggl was founded in 2006 and provides online time tracking software tailored towards freelances, graphic designers and consultants. One of the perks of the service is its generous free tier of service.

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      With Toggl, you can keep track of the time you spend on different tasks and review if you’ve spent your time wisely.

      The functionality of Toggl is not restricted by device. In other words, it can work on your computer, tablet and phone while simultaneously keeping track of the number of hours worked on a specific task or project. It is an intuitive and easy-to-use service that provides users the tools they need to keep track of time.

      Check out the app here!

      3. Evernote

        Evernote is a household name and the company was founded in 2000. The app allows users to capture, organize and find your information across multiple platforms.

        You can add to-do’s, images, web pages and has a built-in searchable option. You can organize and customize the notes whatever way you want for a seamless experience.

        Check out the app here!

        4. RecueTime

          RescueTime is headquartered in Seattle and founded in 2007. It is a web-based management tool that monitors a users’ computer usage and time spent on a site.

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          It is available on iOS and Android platforms. It allows users to track not just on mobile, but also on systems like Linux and Windows OS. The experience is seamless and has an intuitive user interface.

          Check out the app here!

          5. Todoist

            Todoist was founded in 2007 in London, England. It is a project management solution that meets the needs of a small and midsize businesses. It offers a three tier pricing scheme: free, premium ($36 per year), and business ($60 per person a year).

            The benefits are that Todoist is cross-platform and has excellent features. It has natural language input and productivity reports. It is definitely a great resource for creating to do lists and getting them done.

            Check out the app here!

            6. Freedom – Block Distractions

              Freedom was founded in 2015. It is a digital distraction solution and offers comprehensive support on more than just one device. It can block distractions across all devices like you Windows PC, you Macintosh, Android phone, iPhone, and tablets.

              The company has three pricing model. Users who sign up can do a monthly, yearly or a forever subscription. What is nice is that once you set what sites to block, the app enforces it across all your devices, so you are less distracted.

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              Check out the app here!

              7. Noizio

                The Noizio was launched in 2014 and it is a minimalistic sound equalizer for Mac OS X and iOS. The premise is very simple, yet effective. You increase your productivity by tuning out the thoughts in your mind or around by listening to relaxing music. You can choose from more than 30 sounds of nature to unwind and enjoy down time.

                Check out the app here!

                8. IFTTT

                  The company’s name stands for If This Then That, also know as IFTTT is a free web-based service. Also, IFTTT is considered the world’s leading connectivity platform. It helps users save time by automating the internet tasks that you always do. For instance, you can back up your media files to a cloud account, message friends and more. The pre-built applets, the utility program that performs one or a few single functions, which performs all your most common tasks.

                  Check out the app here!

                  9. ANY.DO

                    Any.do is based in Tel Aviv and founded in 2011. According to Crunchbase, the tool is utilized by over 20 million people. Why? The answer is users love it because it helps them stay organized and get more done productively.

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                    It is an all-in-one productivity solution that combines the calendar, tasks, lists and reminders. It is a robust tool that allows you to plan your schedule accordingly.

                    Check out the app here!

                    10. SPARK

                      Spark is a subdivision of Readdle and the company was founded in 2007. It is an award-winning app and helps to manage your emails. It has built-in capabilities to analyze your most important emails and helps users classify them as the top priority.

                      Emails are divided into the following categories: personal, newsletters and notification.s You can download for free on the Mac and iOS.

                      Check out the app here!

                      The Bottom Line

                      Productivity tools will help you organize your life. Whatever the profession you are in, automating and organizing your life around digital tools is essential to your work and wellbeing.

                      We often think we must find a work-life balance, but it is not entirely true. It’s more important to maximize your time to complete tasks in a timely fashion. Do not burn yourself out and instead, focus on maximizing your time to be with family, friends and your significant other.

                      Featured photo credit: Kat Stokes via unsplash.com

                      More by this author

                      Anthony Carranza

                      Multilingual writer and journalist covering all things technology and productivity.

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                      Last Updated on October 22, 2020

                      2 Transformational Ways to Spark Your Creative Energy

                      2 Transformational Ways to Spark Your Creative Energy

                      Good things come in twos: Peanut butter and jelly, Day and night, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The same is true for what sparks our creative energy: our thoughts and actions.

                      Creativity is an inside job as much as it is about a conducive schedule, physical environment, and supportive behaviors. By establishing the right internal and external landscape, creativity can blossom from the abstract to the concrete and we can have fun along the way.

                      Sparking creativity is all about setting up the right conditions so a spark is ignited and sustained. The sparks don’t fizzle out. They are allowed to grow and ripen.

                      Think of a garden. Intention alone will not produce the delicious red tomato nor will the readiest seed. That seed needs attention at its nascent stage and as it grows a stalk and produces fruit. If we want to enjoy more than one fruit, we keep at it, cultivating the plant and reaping multiple harvests.

                      Creativity lives in each of us like seeds in the earth or encapsulated in a nut. Seeds of ideas, concepts, designs, stories, images, and even ways of communicating that surprise and delight await activation.

                      By sparking our creative energy, we activate these unique seeds. Like snowflakes, they are of a moment and always without a match. The smallest sparks encourage even the smallest, most dormant seeds to sprout.

                      The good news is that our creative energy wishes to be sparked—to be invited to play. It wants to be our regular playmate.

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                      1. Be Childlike in Your Thoughts, Attitudes, and Approach

                      Being childlike in our thoughts, attitudes, and approach is an easy way to internally have our thoughts be gracious prolific gardeners to our creative energy. If we want it to come out and play and hang around as our regular companion, then let’s return to our 5-year-old selves.

                      Our childhood selves are naturally curious. We still have that curiosity! All we have to do is remind ourselves to get curious. We can do that by simply observing and being with what is in front of us instead of making up a story about what won’t work or why something can’t be done. So, it’s about cultivating curiosity instead of jumping into judgment.

                      Move Your Inner Judge to the Sidelines

                      When we get curious, creativity percolates and, ultimately, takes its place in the world. To give a hand in choosing curiosity over judgment, we can move the judge that also lives inside us to the sidelines. The judge squashes our creative urges, even when they are as small as sharing a point of view. It’s that pesky voice that causes us to doubt ourselves or worry about what others will think.

                      The judge is also risk-averse. The judge likes things to stay the same. Change makes the judge nervous.

                      Creativity is all about risk and changing things up. It needs risk, even failure, to be its naturally innovative, dynamic, impactful self. The judge likes to convince us failure is something to be avoided at all costs.

                      To move the judge to the sidelines and let curiosity reign, we can pay attention to who we are in conversation with and who is calling the shots.

                      Is it the voice of fear, doubt, or anxiety (the inner-critic—the judge’s boss)? Or is it the voice of wisdom, courage, strength, and non-attachment, and of course curiosity (the inner-leader)?

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                      We can easily tell the difference by how each makes us feel. The inner-critic depletes and slows us down, putting roadblocks in the way. The inner-leader energizes and a natural rhythm develops.

                      It’s all about who we spend time with. If we wish to exercise, we will seek out our friends who go to the gym or hike. If we want to lose some weight, we will opt to eat dinner with someone who prefers a healthy spot over fast food.

                      After getting curious, we can honor what our curiosity prompts us to do. The spark can do its job and a fire starts to glow when commitment enters. Our childhood selves were fully committed to being creative. That level of commitment is still something we are very capable of exercising!!

                      Again, we need to let go of the judge. We can ask ourselves, what do we want to commit to—negativity that depletes our creative energy, depth, and output, or the understanding that our thoughts and attitudes matter and that right thoughts and attitudes are the sparks that really let our creativity come alive?

                      Learn to Recall Your Childhood Self

                      To get in touch with that unabashedly committed childhood self, recall your childhood self. If you have a picture, pull one out. Keep it around so you can remember to activate that innate creative nature that was prominent then and wants to be prominent now and always.

                      Soak in the essence of that being. Commit to their commitment to brave and dogged trial and error because it is yours as well. You are that person.

                      Remember how tenacious you were when you wanted to build that sandcastle. You kept at it as the waves came in. You built with fury or reconfigured the walls. Also, remember that there was a willingness to fail since you were as invested in the process as well as the outcome—but less with the outcome. You were willing to experiment and start again. There was vitality—the main lifeline of your creative energy—instead of a rigid attachment.

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                      When you notice you are in conversation with your inner-critic or being held back by it, simply acknowledge, name it, and then switch to your inner-leader by taking a few good deep belly breaths, rubbing two fingertips together, or listening to ambient sounds in the background.

                      Physical movements shift our negative thoughts over to the positive domain of the inner-leader. As our judge continues to sit on the sidelines, our ability to quiet the inner-critic becomes stronger. We taste freedom. A simple taste emboldens us to say no again to the judge and yes to what makes our hearts and spirits sing—our creativity.

                      We begin to spark creativity to the point it no longer needs to be invited to play. It becomes our regular playmate—the younger sibling or the kid next door ready to have some fun, maybe even make some mischief by shaking things up.

                      When we align with our inner-leader and think and act from its promptings, creativity flows up and out with ease, as it needs to!

                      Letting those initial sparks generate a creativity fire that keeps burning is something we can all do! That’s the inside job.

                      2. Listen to Your Inner Leaders of Creative Energy

                      If we listen, our inner-leaders will let us know just what we need to set-up and do in our physical world to maximize that gorgeous, hungry creativity we now have flowing freely in us.

                      The seed has been unlocked! So, now what?

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                      To enable our creative energy to take its form and place outside of us, there needs to be spaciousness! Spaciousness in our physical worlds impacts our internal one. It lets the voice of the inner-leader be heard. It lets creativity have room to be sparked and acted upon.

                      With a little discipline, we can easily create spaciousness in our daily lives—spaciousness that will spark our creativity and let it take shape.

                      So, no matter who you are and what conditions help your creativity thrive, check-out these easy-to-implement basic suggestions:

                      • Reduce or eliminate multi-tasking.
                      • Say yes to what matters and what aligns with your big values and goals.
                      • Say no to all else.
                      • Say no again.
                      • Schedule time in your calendar as you do with other things in your life to just be, to ponder, to let ideas percolate, and to create.
                      • Spend time doing the things that bring out your creative energy. It could be walking, singing, or simply looking out the window.
                      • Meditate.
                      • Breathe—long breaths in and long breaths out through the nose.
                      • Invite your body and heart into your experiences so your mind is a part of you and not all of you.
                      • Try a new thing to spark your creativity. If you spend time running, try a different route. If running feels stale, cruise around a museum, or go for a bike ride.
                      • Play a game. Indoors out or outside. Think of what makes you happy that you haven’t done in a while. Is it a physical game like badminton or cards? Maybe it’s storytelling? Play is creative, and it sparks the creative energy, too.
                      • Spend time in the places that bring out your creativity. What spot in your home could be your spot for entering into that mode? Do you need to get out? Maybe a park bench is the right spot, with a book of poetry, or even nothing at all.
                      • Spend time in nature. Nature brings us to a place of calm and awe and through that our creativity is easily sparked.

                      Final Thoughts

                      These are all habits—habits of mind and habits of doing. Experiment with what works for you. Have fun. If you give even 50% to altering your thoughts and actions, then you will begin to spark your creativity. It takes a lot of curiosity and commitment, but it can definitely be done.

                      Our innate creative energy is a deep source of all that we seek—joy, connection, renewal. It deserves and looks forward to the changes you will make that will let sparks fly and ignite!

                      More Tips to Spark Your Creative Energy

                      Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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