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Last Updated on July 10, 2018

Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time

Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time

Being productive isn’t about which apps, tools, and frames of mind you use to get things done. Enhancing your productivity is about using a set of tools and processes that can make up a full blown productivity system, becoming comfortable with and relying on those tools, and then using them to get important things done in your life and work.

Instead of recommending the best app or scanner or type of paper, it’s better to give you the top 10 tools that anyone who wants to stay productive can use.

Here are the top 10 productivity tools that you can use to achieve more in less time:

1. Task/Project manager to organize works

Task and project management of some kind is essential to making sure that you are getting things done as well as getting the right things done.

It’s very difficult to know that you are working on the thing that you should be working on if you don’t have all the stuff that needs done organized somehow. We try to be tool agnostic here at Lifehack, but here are some great applications to get you started:

2. Ubiquitous capture device to store your ideas

Another important aspect of being productive is to make sure that you always have some way of capturing “inputs” in your life. That is, if you have an idea or cool new thought about a project you are working on, you have to make sure that you can capture it so you can process that information later.

I carry a GTD Notetaker wallet because I’m a total geek. You can use anything you want though to capture like the following:

  • Smart phone with any notes apps such as Evernote
  • Pen and paper

3. Set boundaries to take control of your life

To be able to stay productive day-in and day-out, you have to set and keep boundaries. You have to protect your time and energy so you can work on the things that are most important to you.

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What are some of the things in your life that you want to do? To get those important things done, set up boundaries so you aren’t side-tracked and taken away from your goals.

Not sure how to do it? Learn from this guide:

How to Take Back Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

4. Know when and how to say “no”

This goes hand-in-hand with number three. Once you have boundaries set for what you want to and don’t want to do in life, you can now know when to say “no” to other less important things that make their way into your life.

The best way to decrease the stuff that you “have” to do is to say “no” to the things that don’t really matter to you and that won’t further your goals.

Here’s Leo Beobauta’s guide on The Gentle Art of Saying No.

5. Set realistic deadlines and expectations

I’m a developer by trade so I know how to set unrealistic expectations. A good rule of thumb when trying to set a deadline is to double however long that you will think it will take.

Of course, this is good for “light” planning, not exact planning that some jobs may need.

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Learn to make effective deadlines with these 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines.

6. Use calendar wisely

A calendar is used for the “hard landscape” of our lives. Use it to set due dates and reminders for things that are date sensitive.

Your calendar can either be analog or digital, but having a digital calendar is nice because of the ability to search, move things around easily, as well as send invites to people.

You can find some nice calendar apps here. Also, take a look at this article to find out more tips on how to use calendar to work efficiently:

How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

7. Check your inboxes and organize information

I can’t remember what life was like before I had my inboxes set up, but I can imagine it was pretty messy.

It’s important for you to have places for incoming information and potential projects to sit so you can then process them later.

Inboxes can be in several forms like these:

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  • An inbox section in your task / project management software
  • A physical, paper inbox (one for home and work)
  • Voicemail box
  • Email inbox

Then make sure to check and process these inboxes on a regular basis.

While you can filter your emails with these techniques, here’s a simple step-by-step guide to help you achieve inbox zero:

How I Achieved Inbox Zero in 4 Steps

8. Make use of a great scanner or label maker

Or both, really. Having a scanner like the ScanSnap S1500 has totally changed the way that I file things (I don’t).

All I do is scan documents in and throw them in a generic area folder, like “Work” or “Financial”, and then simply run text searches if I need to find something.

If you are still doing paper filing, having an awesome, trusty labelmaker is something you can’t live without and won’t once you get one.

Basically any labelmaker is good.

9. Utilize office document software (and their shortcuts)

It’s pretty standard now that you need some sort of document creation software to get things done. The ability to create spreadsheets, documents, presentations, etc. is a must.

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You can use a free suite like Google Docs or Office Web Apps.

If you want to get “serious”, you can get Apple’s iWork suite or Microsoft Office.

Don’t forget about the free and open source OpenOffice.org.

More importantly, you need to know all the shortcuts when using these softwares. Here’re some tricks you should know:

You are only as good as your tools. Even though you have some good software and systems in place to support your productivity efforts, without solid working knowledge of you OS of choice (whether it’s Windows, Mac, Linux, or some other weird thing), you will always be losing time when trying to get things done.

10. Start to journal

There is no better way to keep track of and understand the who, what, where, when, and why of your productivity than through journaling every day.

Whether you write a full 750 words or just take down a log of your time and tasks completed, journaling is a great way to look back on what you have accomplished, your hangups, and other metrics that are important when you are trying to be more productive.

Here’s a how-to guide on how to start journaling:

Writing Journal for a Better and More Productive Self (The How-To Guide)

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

More by this author

6 Unexpected Ways Journaling Every Day Will Make Your Life Better Why Getting Things Done is the Best Productivity System For You How to Beat Procrastination: 29 Ways to Beat It Once and for All To Automate or not to Automate Your Personal Productivity System Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time

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1 How to Live up to Your Full Potential and Succeed in Life 2 Success In Reaching Goals Is Determined By Mindset 3 Have You Fallen Into the ‘Busy’ Trap? Here’s Your Way Out 4 How to Increase Brain Power, Boost Memory and Become 10X Smarter 5 Do You Want to Know the Secret to Living a Fulfilling Life?

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Last Updated on November 15, 2018

Success In Reaching Goals Is Determined By Mindset

Success In Reaching Goals Is Determined By Mindset

What do you think it takes to achieve your goals? Hard work? Lots of actions? While these are paramount to becoming successful in reaching our goals, neither of these are possible without a positive mindset.

As humans, we naturally tend to lean towards a negative outlook when it comes to our hopes and dreams. We are prone to believing that we have limitations either from within ourselves or from external forces keeping us from truly getting to where we want to be in life. Our tendency to think that we’ll “believe it when we see it” suggests that our mindsets are focused on our goals not really being attainable until they’ve been achieved. The problem with this is that this common mindset fuels our limiting beliefs and shows a lack of faith in ourselves.

The Success Mindset

Success in achieving our goals comes down to a ‘success mindset’. Successful mindsets are those focused on victory, based on positive mental attitudes, empowering inclinations and good habits. Acquiring a success mindset is the sure-fire way to dramatically increase your chance to achieve your goals.

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The idea that achieving our goals comes down to our habits and actions is actually a typical type of mindset that misses a crucial point; that our mindset is, in fact, the determiner of our energy and what actions we take. A negative mindset will tend to create negative actions and similarly if we have a mindset that will only set into action once we see ‘proof’ that our goals are achievable, then the road will be much longer and arduous. This is why, instead of thinking “I’ll believe it when I see it”, a success mindset will think “I’ll see it when I believe it.”

The Placebo Effect and What It Shows Us About The Power of Mindset

The placebo effect is a perfect example of how mindset really can be powerful. In scientific trials, a group of participants were told they received medication that will heal an ailment but were actually given a sugar pill that does nothing (the placebo). Yet after the trial the participants believed it’s had a positive effect – sometimes even cured their ailment even though nothing has changed. This is the power of mindset.

How do we apply this to our goals? Well, when we set goals and dreams how often do we really believe they’ll come to fruition? Have absolute faith that they can be achieved? Have a complete unwavering expectation? Most of us don’t because we hold on to negative mindsets and limiting beliefs about ourselves that stop us from fully believing we are capable or that it’s at all possible. We tend to listen to the opinions of others despite them misaligning with our own or bow to societal pressures that make us believe we should think and act a certain way. There are many reasons why we possess these types of mindsets but a success mindset can be achieved.

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How To Create a Success Mindset

People with success mindsets have a particular way of perceiving things. They have positive outlooks and are able to put faith fully in their ability to succeed. With that in mind, here are a few ways that can turn a negative mindset into a successful one.

1. A Success Mindset Comes From a Growth Mindset

How does a mindset even manifest itself? It comes from the way you talk to yourself in the privacy of your own head. Realising this will go a long way towards noticing how you speak to yourself and others around you. If it’s mainly negative language you use when you talk about your goals and aspirations then this is an example of a fixed mindset.

A negative mindset brings with it a huge number of limiting beliefs. It creates a fixed mindset – one that can’t see beyond it’s own limitations. A growth mindset sees these limitations and looks beyond them – it finds ways to overcome obstacles and believes that this will result in success. When you think of your goal, a fixed mindset may think “what if I fail?” A growth mindset would look at the same goal and think “failures happen but that doesn’t mean I won’t be successful.”

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There’s a lot of power in changing your perspective.

2. Look For The Successes

It’s really important to get your mind focused on positive aspects of your goal. Finding inspiration through others can be really uplifting and keep you on track with developing your success mindset; reinforcing your belief that your dreams can be achieved. Find people that you can talk with about how they achieved their goals and seek out and surround yourself with positive people. This is crucial if you’re learning to develop a positive mindset.

3. Eliminate Negativity

You can come up against a lot of negativity sometimes either through other people or within yourself. Understanding that other people’s negative opinions are created through their own fears and limiting beliefs will go a long way in sustaining your success mindset. But for a lot of us, negative chatter can come from within and these usually manifest as negative words such as can’t, won’t, shouldn’t. Sometimes, when we think of how we’re going to achieve our goals, statements in our minds come out as negative absolutes: ‘It never works out for me’ or ‘I always fail.’

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When you notice these coming up you need to turn them around with ‘It always works out for me!’ and ‘I never fail!’ The trick is to believe it no matter what’s happened in the past. Remember that every new day is a clean slate and for you to adjust your mindset.

4. Create a Vision

Envisioning your end goal and seeing it in your mind is an important trait of a success mindset. Allowing ourselves to imagine our success creates a powerful excitement that shouldn’t be underestimated. When our brain becomes excited at the thought of achieving our goals, we become more committed, work harder towards achieving it and more likely to do whatever it takes to make it happen.

If this involves creating a vision board that you can look at to remind yourself every day then go for it. Small techniques like this go a long way in sustaining your success mindset and shouldn’t be dismissed.

An Inspirational Story…

For centuries experts said that running a mile in under 4 minutes was humanly impossible. On the 6th May 1954, Rodger Bannister did just that. As part of his training, Bannister relentlessly visualised the achievement, believing he could accomplish what everyone said wasn’t possible…and he did it.

What’s more amazing is that, as soon as Bannister achieved the 4-minute mile, more and more people also achieved it. How was this possible after so many years of no one achieving it? Because in people’s minds it was suddenly possible – once people knew that it was achievable it created a mindset of success and now, after over fifty years since Bannister did the ‘impossible’, his record has been lowered by 17 seconds – the power of the success mindset!

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