Work Smarter, Not Harder: Best Tools to Hack Your Productivity in 2018
Yes, of course, you want to get more done. The thing is, do you really want to work more hours in order to do so? If you have no choice, that might be the way to go but if you can do things differently then that’s what you should do! The best way to do that is to do more in the time you have.
In other words, you have to boost your productivity. There are a lot of ways to do so. Naturally, you can work on improving your self-control and such. That’s hardly the only way to do it nowadays, however. That’s because we’ve created a huge number of tools which can be incredibly effective in boosting your productivity and making sure your job is done quicker, easier and faster.
Here we’re going to look at some of the best options out there. Because, after all, you don’t want to spend a whole bunch of time searching for productivity-boosting tools while you could be working – that would be unproductive.
1. Rescue Time
Though some of us are worse than others, we all waste time. The big difference is that we all do so differently. And though we might know the main ways that we waste our time, there are often little sneaky ways that time gets wasted which aren’t entertaining, aren’t useful and can easily be eliminated once you know about them.
That’s where RescueTime comes in. With this app you can figure out what you’re doing that is eating into your time. This is accomplished by the app tracking what you’re doing and where you’re doing it. In that way, you get personalized feedback on the things that eat up your productivity, so that you can take the first step in eliminating them – namely becoming aware of where the problem lies.
2. Stay Focused
Now, once you know where you’re wasting your time you need to find some way to block it. There are a lot of programs out there, but as I use Chrome I find stay Focused exceptionally useful. Here I can set what programs will be blocked through what parts of the day.
In this way, I can make sure that even as my attention and my energy wane, I still won’t be able to access those distractors and will be able to get on with what I’m supposed to be doing. Even if that keeps me on the ball for 30 minutes longer every day, that will make a huge difference. For thirty more minutes can be the difference between success and failure.
If you work in a team and you communicate a great deal online, you need to check out slack. This program is the next generation of chat, specifically designed to help you work more easily. You can have different channels for different topics, you can easily integrate work files from a whole range of sources and so on.
This means you can integrate most of the software you’re using into one place for easy access, thereby avoiding all the messing around that many other finicky programs have when you’re trying to work together. Is it as good as working face to face? Not quite, but it gets close (and it’s great that everything gets stored so that you have minutes of all the conversations).
4. Last Pass
Another place where you can help yourself get a little bit faster is in the password department. For many people, the solution to doing these kinds of things faster is to put the same password in all of their accounts. The danger when you do that is that when one of these places with weak security gets cracked they get access to everything. That can destroy your business – no matter if you work online as a translator or if you’ve got a brick and mortar company. After all, we keep all of our data in the cloud now. And they can do a lot of damage when they get their hands on it.
And so you should really have different passwords for everywhere. But then you’re going to struggle to remember which passwords you used where – and it can become a real drag to keep track of all that. Last Pass lets you do both. It allows you to generate entirely random passwords which are difficult to crack for the places online while making sure you only need to remember the one password to access the app.
Security and productivity at the same time. Not bad, right?
5. Forest App
Are you struggling to stay motivated? Then why not gamify your working experience? The idea with Forest App is simple. When you start to work, you plant a tree. If you keep working, it keeps growing but the moment you allow yourself to get distracted by the thing you shouldn’t be doing like social media, it begins to die.
This nice visual representation will give you extra motivation. Even better, there is the option to plant actual trees with in-app purchases. That means that you’re not just planting virtual ones but your work can actually make the work a better place. Nice right?
6. Sleep time
Boosting your productivity isn’t something that you do just during the hours that you’re working, but also during the hours that you’re not. What do I mean? I mean taking action to make sure you’re at the top of your game when you do sit down to do your work.
One of the best ways to do so is to work on getting the right amount of sleep for you. In that way, when you wake up you’re as fresh as you can be – which in turn will help make sure you can stay focused as long as you need to be. To help you in that regard, install Sleep Time.
The trick is that you store all the information about what you do before bed and how well you sleep. Then you can figure out what hurts your sleep and what helps it and thereby make more informed decisions about when to go to bed and what you do before you do so.
Another place where we can all use a bit of a productivity boost is with our personal finances. After all, we all hate doing them so if we can make sure that we have an app that does them quickly and easily, that will make all our lives better.
That’s where Mint comes in. This program is simple, easy to use and it’s easy to integrate all of our finances in there. In that way, you know where you stand and where you’re at, without having to waste hours every week to have that information.
That sounds like a win to me.
8. X AI
One of the things that eat into our time on most days is scheduling meetings and arranging calls. To help you streamline this part of your day, consider using X AI. The idea is easy. You cc Amy or Andrew in an email and the AI at the other end will scan the email, figure out the dates and time of the meeting you’ve set up, and put it in your calendar.
Yes, that’s right. You don’t have to learn any programming or complicated code instructions. You don’t have to remember to go to a calendar to put everything in. Instead, you just have to send an email and everything is done for you.
The program is so effective and so well constructed, people didn’t even know they were dealing with an AI and sent the program chocolates to thank them for setting everything up so effectively and naturally.
9. Additional accounts
On most laptops, you can set up multiple accounts. Most people assume that this is meant for when multiple people use the same device. But it certainly does not have to be. You can also use it to separate your work and your private affairs. That’s what I do.
On my work profile, I’ve made sure that the computer does not remember the passwords for my social media profiles, Netflix and anything else that isn’t related to work. In this way, If I want to access that stuff I have to log out, put in my password for my private time profile, and only then access everything I’m supposed to do. These extra steps, as Harvard psychologist Shawn Achor explains in his book The Happiness Advantage, create a higher barrier for me to quickly go check these sites. As a result, I’m far less likely to do so, which helps me avoid the time hole that these services offer.
A lot of people believe that productivity is about resisting temptation and getting on with the task at hand. Research tells us differently. Highly productive people do not resist temptation but instead, manage to avoid it for as long as possible.
And then they make sure that in the time they do manage to avoid it they get as much done as they can. That’s the secret to being productive and that’s the secret to living a more engaging life. For you can truly enjoy your private life when you know you’re being the best you can be in your business life.
Want to read more about this topic? Check out 12 Mind Hacks To Boost Productivity.