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Last Updated on July 23, 2019

10 Best Productivity Tools to Get You More Time in 2019

10 Best Productivity Tools to Get You More Time in 2019

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 was founded in 2011. It 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 November 18, 2019

                      How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

                      How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

                      Everyone of my team members has a bucketload of tasks that they need to deal with every working day. On top of that, most of their tasks are either creativity tasks or problem solving tasks.

                      Despite having loads of tasks to handle, our team is able to stay creative and work towards our goals consistently.

                      How do we manage that?

                      I’m going to reveal to you how I helped my team get more things done in less time through the power of correct prioritization. A few minutes spent reading this article could literally save you thousands of hours over the long term. So, let’s get started with my method on how to prioritize:

                      The Scales Method – a productivity method I created several years ago.

                      How to Prioritize with the Scales Method

                        One of our new editors came to me the other day and told me how she was struggling to keep up with the many tasks she needed to handle and the deadlines she constantly needed to stick to.

                        At the end of each day, she felt like she had done a lot of things but often failed to come up with creative ideas and to get articles successfully published. From what she told me, it was obvious that she felt overwhelmed and was growing increasingly frustrated about failing to achieve her targets despite putting in extra hours most days.

                        After she listened to my advice – and I introduced her to the Scales Method – she immediately experienced a dramatic rise in productivity, which looked like this:

                        • She could produce three times more creative ideas for blog articles
                        • She could publish all her articles on time
                        • And she could finish all her work on time every day (no more overtime!)

                        Curious to find out how she did it? Read on for the step-by-step guide:

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                        1. Set Aside 10 Minutes for Planning

                        When it comes to tackling productivity issues, it makes sense to plan before taking action. However, don’t become so involved in planning that you become trapped in it and never move beyond first base.

                        My recommendation is to give yourself a specific time period for planning – but keep it short. Ideally, 10 or 15 minutes. This should be adequate to think about your plan.

                        Use this time to:

                        • Look at the big picture.
                        • Think about the current goal and target that you need/want to achieve.
                        • Lay out all the tasks you need to do.

                        2. Align Your Tasks with Your Goal

                        This is the core component that makes the Scales Method effective.

                        It works like this:

                        Take a look at all the tasks you’re doing, and review the importance of each of them. Specifically, measure a task’s importance by its cost and benefit.

                        By cost, I am referring to the effort needed per task (including time, money and other resources). The benefit is how closely the task can contribute to your goal.

                          To make this easier for you, I’ve listed below four combinations that will enable you to quickly and easily determine the priority of each of your tasks:

                          Low Cost + High Benefit

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                          Do these tasks first because they’re the simple ones to complete, yet help you get closer to your goal.

                          Approving artwork created for a sales brochure would likely fit this category. You could easily decide on whether you liked the artwork/layout, but your decision to approve would trigger the production of the leaflet and the subsequent sales benefits of sending it out to potential customers.

                          High Cost + High Benefit

                          Break the high cost task down into smaller ones. In other words, break the big task into mini ones that take less than an hour to complete. And then re-evaluate these small tasks and set their correct priority level.

                          Imagine if you were asked to write a product launch plan for a new diary-free protein powder supplement. Instead of trying to write the plan in one sitting – aim to write the different sections at different times (e.g., spend 30 minutes writing the introduction, one hour writing the body text, and 30 minutes writing the conclusion).

                          Low Cost + Low Benefit

                          This combination should be your lowest priority. Either give yourself 10-15 minutes to handle this task, or put these kind of tasks in between valuable tasks as a useful break.

                          These are probably necessary tasks (e.g., routine tasks like checking emails) but they don’t contribute much towards reaching your desired goal. Keep them way down your priority list.

                          High Cost + Low Benefit

                          Review if these tasks are really necessary. Think of ways to reduce the cost if you decide that the completion of the task is required.

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                          For instance, can any tools or systems help to speed up doing the task? In this category, you’re likely to find things like checking and updating sales contacts spreadsheets. This can be a fiddly and time-consuming thing to do without making mistakes. However, there are plenty of apps out there they can make this process instant and seamless.

                          Now, coming back to the editor who I referred to earlier, let’s take a look at her typical daily task list:

                            After listening to my advice, she broke down the High cost+ High benefit task into smaller ones. Her tasks then looked like this (in order of priority):

                              And for the task about promoting articles to different platforms, after reviewing its benefits, we decided to focus on the most effective platform only – thereby significantly lowering the associated time cost.

                              Bonus Tip: Tackling Tasks with Deadlines

                              Once you’ve evaluated your tasks, you’ll know the importance of each of them. This will immediately give you a crystal-clear picture on which tasks would help you to achieve more (in terms of achieving your goals). Sometimes, however, you won’t be able to decide every task’s priority because there’ll be deadlines set by external parties such as managers and agencies.

                              What to do in these cases?

                              Well, I suggest that after considering the importance and values of your current tasks, align the list with the deadlines and adjust the priorities accordingly.

                              For example, let’s dip into the editor’s world again.

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                              Some of the articles she edited needed to be published by specific dates. The Scales Method allows for this, and in this case, her amended task list would look something like this:

                                Hopefully, you can now see how easy it is to evaluate the importance of tasks and how to order them in lists of priority.

                                The Scales Method Is Different from Anything Else You’ve Tried

                                By adopting the Scales Method, you’ll begin to correctly prioritize your work, and most importantly – boost your productivity by up to 10 times!

                                And unlike other methods that don’t really explain how to decide the importance of a task, my method will help you break down each of your tasks into two parts: cost and benefits. My method will also help you to take follow-up action based on different cost and benefits combinations.

                                Start right now by spending 10 minutes to evaluate your common daily tasks and how they align with your goal(s). Once you have this information, it’ll be super-easy to put your tasks into a priority list. All that remains, is that you kick off your next working day by following your new list.

                                Trust me, once you begin using the Scales Method – you’ll never want to go back to your old ways of working.

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                                Featured photo credit: Vector Stock via vectorstock.com

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