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What is Your Favorite Productivity Tool?

What is Your Favorite Productivity Tool?

Today, the Lifehack Expert team has shared their favorite productivity tools that increased their efficiency and made their life better. Look through their recommendations, try them out and comment with your experience and recommendations below.

 

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    Kirstin O’Donovan
    Rescue Time.

    This amazing tool tracks your activity on the computer and sends you a summary of how you have spent your time with the hours you did the past week. This is an excellent tool to identify your time thieves and improve your productivity because you are able to see where you are spending too much time and where you need to cut down. It also gives you a percentage of how productive you are. When we want to be more productive, the first step is improving the areas you are not so productive and this tool does all the hard work for you. A weekly summary is sent directly to your email.

     

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      Piotr Nabielec
      FreeMind.

      At work, it stores all my tasks in graphical and hierarchical form – projects with nested tasks, tasks delegated to others and allows prioritizing and summarizing very easily. Drag and drop, multiple colors, links and icons make things visual and quick to navigate through.

      With just one look I have a great summary of what I am doing, why I am doing it, what is critical and urgent, what is the best thing to do going forward, all delegated tasks and how much I already accomplished this week.

      I’ve been using it for years and it has proven its value!

       

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        Victoria Crawcour
        Wunderlist.

        It’s an online to do list that comes in both desktop and mobile versions, meaning I can access my lists at work, at home and on the go. As well as being much more efficient than paper lists that I more often than not misplace, you can invite other team members (making it great for collaborative working), assign tasks to them, include due dates on your tasks to stay on target, add subtasks and even important notes. You also receive notifications when each task is ticked off, meaning you never lose track of a projects progress! I don’t know how I’d cope without it; it could organise even the most scatter-brained among us!

         

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          Kavetha Sundaramoorthy
          10 minute rule.

          It’s super simple. Every morning, I set aside just 10 minutes to start an activity. Lets say I want to write a book, I will set a timer for just 10 minutes and focus intensely on writing until it rings.

          This technique is especially helpful for things you find hard or overwhelming to start. Like getting in shape. Just run in place for 10 minutes every morning until timer goes off.

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          The two benefits:

          One, you only have to do it for 10 minutes, so your mind is less likely to make up distractions and excuses.

          Two, if you do this without a break every day for a few weeks, JUST 10 minutes a day, you have established a new pathway in your brain. Now it’s a habit, something your brain will help you do without thinking or debating (like brushing teeth)

           

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            Trent Hand
            EMClient.

            I use it to organize both of my email accounts in one section, keep track of all my calendars, and generally function better at getting back to people. It’s like Outlook, but free.

             

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              Andy Small
              OneNote.

              I use OneNote in my professional and personal life to keep myself organised. It comes with the Office suite of tools but it’s often overshadowed by other productivity apps. While it has no OS X app it does have a web interface you can use in OS X.

               

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                  Robbie Williford
                  Buffer.

                  It is my favorite tool for my social media productivity. I use it to post on my social media outlets in a smart way. I can maximize my reach and really hack into my social media potential in a simple and effective way.

                   

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                    Melody M. Austin
                    HootSuite.

                    It really is the best for social media productivity. I can watch popular topics in the industry and plan post days in advance. It’s great when I have projects for managing client profiles and my own profiles as well.

                     

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                      Josh Medeski
                      Doit.im.

                      It is a lesser known GTD app. I use it to empty my brain, sort my projects, and set reminders for the furutre. It syncs across all of my devices, and the Doit.im team is constantly making the product better!

                       

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                        Ann Smarty
                        Firefox “pinned” tabes feature.

                        I save any task as a pinned tab and I won’t remove it until it’s done.

                         

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                          Rob Toledo
                          Trello.

                          It’s by far my favorite way to stay organized on projects for both time management as well as outlining the project as a whole. It’s free to use and is definitely worth a shot. You can share boards with friends, coworkers, clients and bosses. Definitely changed the way I organize my days.

                           

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                            Aaron Morton
                            Get it done.

                            I have started using ‘Get it done’ task app, a task management software that allows me to easily see what i need to do for each project.

                            I find myself more creative when I have multiple projects running simultaneously. In order to make this work I have to Be very organised. This app helps me do that.

                             

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                              Bojan Djordjevic
                              Byword.

                              It would definitively be Byword. As a writer I spend most of my productive time in the writing app. The less time I spend in a task manager thinking, and the more time I spend in the writing app working, the more productive I am.

                              Byword is helping me move away from all the distractions that could potentially distract me, and keeps me in the writing mode.

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                              Your favorite productivity tool should be the one that delivers you the most results. Pick one that lets you complete your primary task in the least possible amount of time.

                               

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                                Hannah Braime
                                Things.

                                Things by Cultured Code for Mac and iOS has changed the way I manage my life. It uses David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” system to manage task lists, projects and areas of responsibility. I can schedule tasks, differentiate between work-related and personal to dos, and assign different tags to tasks to provide context, such as ‘errands’ and ‘offline’. It’s a great way of getting everything out of my head and into the cloud, leaving me with the mental space to focus on more exciting things!

                                 

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                                  Jason Havner
                                  Feedly.

                                  I can minimize the time it takes to sift through useless news and get the stuff that matters to me most all in one spot. Its easy to see all my favorite new content daily without wasting time browsing through hundreds of articles.

                                   

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                                    Rob Boirun
                                    Bible+.

                                    I’m not a preachy type person and don’t want to tells others what they should do. But for me, I just started with a few preset reading plans on Proverbs and this has really made my focus on things much clearer and with purpose. It’s really set my daily planning with a meaning that I have not found before using my own agenda.

                                     

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                                      Maria Brilaki
                                      SelfControl

                                      My latest “no more distractions” discovery: The “SelfControl” app for my Mac. Once I enable it I can no longer access websites renowned for their distraction effect…like Facebook. SelfControl actually allows you to choose which websites you want to block, so anything can go in the list – from Gmail to CNN.

                                      I usually set it for 2 hours at a time. SelfControl has a countdown timer that is visible on my screen.

                                      The (expected) benefit? Less Distractions + Increased Productivity. I avoid mindless browsing that just happens out of habit.

                                      The (unexpected) benefit? Focus. Seeing the timer countdown makes me feel in “work mode”. For the next 2 hours, I’M WORKING!

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                                        Mike Bundrant
                                        BusyCal.

                                        I am a Mac user and was not satisfied with the calendar app that comes standard, so I began my search. I am an NLP trainer and life coach, so it is critical for me to keep appointments clear and straight as well as manage multiple other projects involved with marketing my business.

                                        BusyCal is a paid app, but well worth it. I color code my projects and deadlines right in the app. It syncs wherever I want to sync it. BusyCal also allows easy tracking of tasks, all in a simple, intuitive interface.

                                        After trying a dozen or more apps, including interfaces that allow the client to choose their own dates for appointments, I have opted for the easy and simplicity of BusyCal to keep my appointments and tasks organized.

                                         

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                                          Ohad Frankfurt
                                          Any.Do

                                          Without a doubt, the BEST to-do list app out there, but for me – its more than that. this app is my personal assistent, and helps me be more productive in my daily tasks, and because of its slick interface and fantastic user experience, it makes the process of geting things done – fun.

                                           

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                                              Robbie Williford
                                              Lift.

                                              My favorite tool is Lift, which is a habit-tracking app that allows me to have a daily checklist of things that I need to accomplish. It allows me to push myself in order to form the habits that are going to make me a better person. It holds me accountable every single day and honestly, I like that.

                                               

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                                                Zoe B
                                                STING.

                                                I use the STING method to increase my productivity. Research has shown that interruptions waste 28% of a person’s day and this simple method allows you to minimise interruptions by improving your ability to focus on one task at a time.

                                                The STING method entails the following steps:

                                                • Select one task
                                                • Time yourself
                                                • Ignore everything else
                                                • No breaks
                                                • Give yourself a reward

                                                 

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                                                Brian Lee

                                                Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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                                                Trending in Productivity

                                                1 8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More 2 How Exercising Makes You More Productive 3 10 Practical Ways to Drastically Improve Your Time Management Skills 4 15 Highly Successful People Who Failed On Their Way To Success 5 How to Memorize More and Faster Than Other People

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                                                Last Updated on September 20, 2018

                                                8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

                                                8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

                                                You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

                                                Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

                                                When you train your brain, you will:

                                                • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
                                                • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
                                                • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

                                                So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

                                                1. Work your memory

                                                Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

                                                When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

                                                If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

                                                The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

                                                Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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                                                Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

                                                What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

                                                For example, say you just met someone new:

                                                “Hi, my name is George”

                                                Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

                                                Got it? Good.

                                                2. Do something different repeatedly

                                                By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

                                                Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

                                                It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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                                                And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

                                                But how does this apply to your life right now?

                                                Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

                                                Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

                                                Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

                                                So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

                                                You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

                                                That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

                                                3. Learn something new

                                                It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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                                                For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

                                                Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

                                                You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

                                                4. Follow a brain training program

                                                The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

                                                5. Work your body

                                                You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

                                                Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

                                                Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

                                                Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

                                                6. Spend time with your loved ones

                                                If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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                                                If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

                                                I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

                                                7. Avoid crossword puzzles

                                                Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

                                                Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

                                                Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

                                                8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

                                                Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

                                                When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

                                                So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

                                                The bottom line

                                                Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

                                                Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

                                                Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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