Our Favorite Tools and Tips to Increase Productivity

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To-do list
Table of Contents  
  1. 1. Mailbox
  2. 2. Lift
  3. 3. Reminders
  4. 4. RescueTime
  5. 5. Evernote
  6. 6. Headphones
  7. 7. App Purge

I want to share the tips and tools that have absolutely worked for me when it comes to increasing productivity throughout my workday.

Since I’m a guy that works from home, it can be hard to be productive when I can watch TV, surf Facebook, and take a nap whenever I please. If you work at an office, you might be pestered with useless meetings or interrupted by your co-workers asking what you did last night or what you’re eating for lunch.

In either case, it’s extremely important that you stay productive. And not just for work’s sake, but for your wallet too. If you don’t get work done, you don’t get paid — same goes for me.

I’ve tried pretty much every productivity tip out there and have downloaded every tool, but I want to share with you the things and tools that have worked for me to increase productivity throughout my working life. If you have any additional insights you want to share, please do so in the comments below.

1. Mailbox

Sounds simple enough, but this is a very powerful app that manages your email. I used to have two email accounts that I would keep open on two different browsers at all time. Does this sound like you?

Frankly, email is a huge time suck, and most of the time, it isn’t worth checking. With Mailbox, all of my email accounts are compiled into one app, and I can quickly make decisions on whether or not I should answer an email.

The gist is, you get an email and you have four options: delete, archive (so it’s searchable later), add it to a list, or schedule it to show up later. There’s a swiping method that makes it easy and quick to make a decision. The goal of the app is to completely clear out your inbox quickly.

Try it! If you like it,let me know how much. Click here to download.

2. Lift

I’ve been screaming about this app for a while now which you’ll know that if you’ve been reading this blog. The app has been a godsend when it comes to building good habits and getting rid of bad ones.

For instance, I had the terrible habit of never flossing, to the point of cavities, plaque, and numerous other dental problems. So, after installing the app, I made one of my habits “floss.” That simple.

Every day, the app allows you to “check-in” to the habit, and when you do, it glows bright green. Now as simple as it sounds, you become addicted to actually making that habit go green. After a certain amount of time, you will develop the habit without having to use the app. I now floss religiously and my dentist couldn’t be happier.

You don’t have to use it just for flossing, you can use it for a number of other habits. In fact, I already mentioned the Mailbox app, and I created a habit of clearing out my inbox every single day.

I’ve also used it to not spend money, write for 30 minutes a day, and read. I’m building these daily habits using this app, and it has made me a more productive person.

Click here to download.

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3. Reminders

This is an iPhone app I use to create a scheduled to-do list. I create a list of 5 things I’d like to accomplish that day, and I check them off when I finish them.

You can use any kind of to-do app to do this, but I would also recommend 30/30, which is a timed to-do list. It’s really awesome if you want to crank out your to-do list in record time, leaving you with more time to bullshit with your co-worker, if that’s of interest to you.

4. RescueTime

This is an app I suggest you install for one month. It tracks everything you do on your computer. It will tell you where your time is spent throughout the day. For instance, if you spend 30% of your day on Facebook, it will email you at the end of the day with a message that you were not productive.

Use this to find your trouble spots. If it’s Facebook, for instance, block yourself from going on Facebook. You need to physically block yourself from doing it, not mentally. It’s easy to say, “Shit, I gotta stop using Facebook,” and then plan on starting that tomorrow. Truth is, you won’t. So put a system in place to protect you from yourself. Install a Facebook blocker on your computer and delete the app from your phone. Do it now!

Click here to download.

5. Evernote

I write everything in Evernote (yes, I’m writing this in Evernote right now). Use it to record everything and anything. I like to use it to write and it is the only thing open on my screen. No distractions, no fuss.

I also use it to take pictures of beer bottles that I drank and loved so I can quickly pull it up on my phone when I’m at the beer store.

The best part about Evernote is you can use it anywhere. If you write a note on your computer, it’s synced to your phone and/or tablet instantly. It’s like having an actual notebook with you at all times, so whenever you think of something and need to write it down, you can rest assure that it will be on all your devices.

Click here to download.

6. Headphones

When I worked at a desk, and wanted to get some actual work done, I slapped on a pair of headphones and listened to jazz. People are less likely to bother you when you have headphones on. This works even if you don’t wanna be bothered at dinner with your family, but I don’t recommend that.

If you can’t use headphones, just put on some music. Music to me is the ultimate productivity tool.

Our Favorite Tools and Tips to Increase Productivity

Our Favorite Tools and Tips to Increase Productivity

7. App Purge

This tip is simple: delete all the apps on your phone that waste time. I used to play Dots, check Twitter and Facebook — what a huge waste of time. I even did it while watching TV!

Speaking of which, if you work from home, get rid of cable. In fact, I urge you to take my 30 day challenge of living without cable. When you have nothing to watch, you’re forced to get work done. Less distractions equals more productivity.

The key to productivity is less distractions and more motivation. For me, that means less Facebook and more music.

I hoped this advice was helpful. If you have any productivity tips and/or tools you’d like to share with me and the rest of the LMM community, please do so in the comments below.

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Matt Giovanisci - Podcast Co-Host Hey, I’m Matt (Gio), a swimming pool and coffee blogger. I used to be terrible with money until Andrew helped me out. Now, I'm a financial big whig... sort of.

I live South Jersey (actually, I just refer to it as Philadelphia). Follow me on Twitter and we can chat about pools, beer or internet marketing.

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