This post is all about the 7 most effective productivity tools and tips you need to try to massively increase your productivity!
Do you find it difficult to concentrate and focus on the task at hand? Do you feel like no matter how much time you spend on your to-do list you can never get ahead of it?
Feeling overwhelmed by work/school load?
I have just the answer to your problems!
Being productive and getting the most out of our time is something that we all strive to do. I mean who wouldn´t like to be able to effectively manage their time and complete your tasks in less time than usual?
I know I do.
However, being productive is something we can´t always achieve, whether it be because of external (distraction, phone, the environment around us…) or internal (level of focus and concentration, self-discipline, performance levels…) reasons.
And most days we are left with the feeling that there aren´t enough hours in the day to achieve everything we set for ourselves.
So what can we do to increase our productivity levels and actually take control of our time, instead of the other way around?
Well, I want to share with you the 7 most effective productivity tools and tips you NEED to try to massively increase your productivity and be in charge of your schedule like a boss.
Before we dive deeper into these incredibly effective tools and tips, it´s important that you know what you need in a productivity system.
Productivity systems are practices, guidelines, or systematic methodologies that help people get things done in an efficient manner.
It is a known fact that there is not a perfect system that works for everyone. Every person is different as well as their needs and goals when it comes to productivity and work performance.
So in order to find the best productivity system for you, it is important that you know what you need in said system and what your goals are.
So what do YOU need to be productive? Something that will help you keep track of your tasks? Something to help you stay organized?Or maybe something that will help you stay focused and get things done?
What is the environment you work/ study in? Do you often get interrupted, do you work with several people in the same space?
Think about your daily routine while you are working or studying, what is the factor (internal or external) that makes it difficult for you to enter into this concentration and productive session.
For example, I know that when I sit down to work, my biggest enemy are my thoughts. They feel like grasshoppers jumping from one thing to the other without sense or reason, which makes it difficult for me to concentrate 100% on what I’m doing and I end up getting distracted every so often.
In order to solve this, I´d need a tool or method to help me focus and get things done. See where I´m going?
Once you have this established, the first step to creating your personalized productivity system is to try different methods and tools available according to your needs and goals. So let´s jump straight into the 6 most effective productivity tools and tips we previously talked about to help you create your productivity system!
Discover when you are most productive
The first productivity tip I want to share with you is to discover when you are most productive.
Believe it or not, we have times during the day when our productivity levels spike up. That is because of two main reasons.
The first is because we all have a circadian rhythm that controls our sleeping and waking cycles. Inside these circadian rhythms, we can find different types called chronotypes.
These types of rhythms are the ones responsible for dictating when we naturally wake up and fall asleep, which end up affecting when we feel most alert and productive.
The second reason is that we have genetic markers in our DNA that make us predisposed to feeling more alert at certain times of the day.
The thing is that we all have different chronotypes and genetic markers. Meaning that, because of our genetics and sleeping patterns, there are people who are more productive during the morning and others during the evening.
The goal of this tip is to discover when you are most productive to plan your day around those hours.
You can learn when you are most productive by playing around with your schedule. Try performing high concentration activities at different times of the day as well as reflecting on your routine and your energy levels throughout the day.
Change your perception of productivity
As we saw earlier, productivity is not something that comes easily, at least not for most of us, and we saw that the cause of this could be either by external factors- for example distractions- or internal factors.
Some examples of internal factors could be distractions that are caused by you which makes it difficult for us to concentrate. Some people hate productivity and some others have incredibly negative perceptions about being productive which make the tasks altogether more difficult.
How to stop feeling guilty for not being productive?
Has it ever happened to you that you are doing one of your hobbies or just laying in bed watching a movie and you are overcome with a feeling of guilt because you are not doing something “productive” and that you should be doing something useful with your time?
Well, this feeling guilty for not being productive is actually a type of anxiety called “time anxiety”. This type of anxiety is often caused because since we were children we have been taught this link between basing our happiness and success on our ability to be useful.
This type of anxiety also comes from the thought of time being out of our control.
In today’s society, people have become so obsessed and anxious with the goal of being productive that we’ve been conditioned to believe that to be unproductive is lazy, and that to be lazy is something we shouldn’t be proud of.
What can you do to overcome time anxiety?
In order to overcome this time anxiety and eliminate those feelings of stress and over-achieving tendencies striving to always be productive causes, you first need to accept the “time truths”:
- It is not within your abilities to control time
- Time is perishable, once spend it cannot come back
- Time is endless
After internalizing these truths here are a couple of tips and activities you can try in order to overcome the fear of not being productive:
- Visualize and determine what time well spent means to you. What is time well spent, where are you, what have you achieved, is it a physical thing or is it a figurative thing, and how do you achieve it? Make sure you know exactly what it is that will make you feel satisfied with your time and how you are spending it.
- Replace the negative thoughts with realistic affirmations. When the time anxiety kicks in, our mind is filled with negative and obsessive thoughts. The goal is to identify these beliefs and thoughts and change them to realistic affirmations. For example instead of thinking “I do not have enough time to do all these things”, you could change this thought to “I only have time to do this one thing, but I will put all my energy into it and do it to the best of my ability”. See where I´m going?
- Give a purpose to every activity you are doing, especially the ones that trigger your time anxiety. For example instead of being mad at yourself and thinking “I just spent two hours of my time playing a video when I could have been exercising or working on myself” change that thought into something more positive like “I´ve spent 2 hours of time playing video games, which I really enjoyed. During those hours my body and my mind have been resting and I have done something that makes me happy, so it was not a waste of time”.
And lastly, remember that you are a human being first and that you deserve to rest and do things for the simple reason that they make you feel good and make you happy. You DON´T have to be productive 100% of your time in order to be happy and feel accomplished.
How to overcome the hate for productivity?
Believe it or not, there are people who hate being productive, but how does this happen?
Well, if we think about it, being productive is a combination of taking action, staying focused, and being strategic. And when done wrong, the effort this requires can push us toward burnout and in some cases even depression.
Another issue with productivity is its variability, meaning there is no one system that can be applied to all. This often leads us to adopt the wrong strategies which do more harm than good.
What can we do to overcome the hate for productivity (or avoid or avoid going to that extreme)?
- Visualize the reward. Very often people hate productivity because they focus on the pain from trying to be productive, rather than the reward it will bring. In these cases it’s important to motivate ourselves by visualizing the reward doing these certain tasks will bring us, whether it´s material or emotional, long term or short term.
- Schedule to maintain your focus, but don´t overdo yourself. Many studies have proved that our brain can only effectively concentrate on something for an hour and that after that productivity begins to drop. Set a timer for an hour. Get yourself into a productive zone as you leave all thoughts of the outside world behind. When time is up, take a quick break. Do some quick exercise, take a short walk, grab something to eat, or something else that re-energizes you. It’s harder to hate productivity when you’re feeling refreshed.
Sharpen your saw
Working, being productive, and getting things done are highly important, as it is to know when to sharpen your saw, meaning when to rest and recharge your batteries.
Imagine for a moment that you want to cut a log and you are using a saw. The problem is that before you start cutting the tree you didn’t stop to check if the saw was sharpened or not.
So without realizing it, you will spend more time than you could have cutting the tree because you didn’t invest a couple of minutes to make your task easier.
It is as important to know how to be productive as it is to know when to sharpen your saw, meaning when to rest and recharge your batteries.
So make sure to rest from time to time so you don´t burn yourself out and never underestimate the power of sharpening your saw.
I want to share my latest discovery with you, brown noise- one of the 3 most popular color noises- and I am not being dramatic when I say it has massively improved my productivity. But wait, what the hell does color noise mean?
Have you ever put background sound while are studying or working? Like music, the sound of a fan, or one of those relaxation videos on youtube?
If you have then you are going to love these, because color noise is precisely that. They are “background noises” that help drown out the unwanted noises, and thus distractions that you might have in your environment, which ultimately make working, studying, and even sleeping so much easier.
The most common color noises are white, pink, and brown noises. But how do these work?
Well, when upper, mid-range and low frequencies are played at the same time it creates the sound of static, just like the kind you’d hear coming from a radio, rain, or waves in the ocean.
The goal is that these sounds of varying intensity, frequency, and energy wavelengths, resulting in the different colors, create a constant sound around you blocking out other sounds from your environment and keeping them from reaching your brain.
How do you know which one of these (pink, white, or brown) is best for me? Well, it’s all about trying and experimenting. Some people swear by white noise while others focus better with pink noise.
Personally, I prefer brown noise, and from my personal experience, it shockingly increases my productivity levels when I´m listening to it (in fact I am listening to brown noise as I am writing this article) and is the perfect tool since it drowns down the noises and distractions around me and most importantly helps me keep my thoughts focused and concentrated on the task I have at hand.
If you want to try this tool and experiment with how these different noises affect your productivity here I have linked a track with each color noise:
If you are a content creator or use social media to promote your business, you might want to check this app called Buffer.
As beneficial as social media can be, the truth is that managing your account and content can be incredibly time-consuming, between the creation plan, planning, posting, and managing.
But here is where Buffer comes in. Buffer is an app that helps you manage, schedule, organize, and post all your social media content in ONE place.
It is true that there are many tools out there that help you keep track and organize your social media content, but here is why Buffer might be the best choice for you:
- Can organize and plan content for nearly all social media platforms
- Easy to upload and edit the content on all applications
- Trusted by thousands of social media managers
- Desktop and mobile applications
Buffer is free for one profile per social media account. For multiple accounts, a $10 fee is charged.
If you find it difficult to get organized and feel like your to-do lists, calendars, schedules… are all over the place then I highly suggest you use Airtable.
Airtable is an app available on desktop, App Store, and Google Play Store, free to use for solopreneurs and bloggers, however, you do need a premium membership if you are a bigger business.
Benefits of Airtable:
- The platform is simple yet powerful.
- You can create to-do lists, editorial calendars, marketing strategies, and memos.
- There is no limit to the things you can organize and create
- Easy guides to follow
- Can share and assign content among members
Strides Habit Tracker
If you are looking for a tool to help you keep track of your goals and intentions, then search no more, because I present to you Strides habit tracker.
Strides habit tracker is an app that will help you organize all of your goals as well as help you keep track of each one as you complete them.
Remember your goals from last year, yes the ones you didn´t accomplish, well this is your opportunity to achieve them.
Benefits of using Strides Habit Tracker:
- Allows you to track any goal, whether it be financial, health, career, etc…
- Shows analytics/milestones
- Sends notifications to keep you accountable
- Quick and easy to use
- Free forever
- The Strides Habit Tracker is available on the desktop and App Store
Being productive and getting the most out of our time is something that we all strive for, however, it is not something that comes easily to us. So what can we do to increase our productivity levels and take control of our time?
Well, the first step is to know what you need in a productivity system to help you achieve this goal. Do you need something to help you stay focused and get things done, something to help you keep track of your tasks?
Once you have this defined, it´s a matter of trial and error. The truth is that there is not one productivity system that “fits all sizes”, each one works differently and has different needs and goals.
Here are some tips and goals we talked about in this article you can try:
- Discover when you are most productive: because of our genetics and sleep pattern, there will be moments in the day when we are most productive, and these moments will be different from person to person. So play around with your schedule, and try performing high-concentration activities at different times of the day to discover when you are most productive so that you can plan your day towards those hours.
- Sharpen your saw: Rest, which is often neglected, is as important as being productive and getting things done. Don´t forget to take a break from time to time and to always be proud of your progress no matter the speed.
- Color noise: Color noise is very often used as background noise, and it is incredibly effective when wanting to drown down distractions and unwanted noises and enter that state of productiveness. The most popular color noises are white, pink, and brown.
- Buffer: Buffer is the must-have productivity app for anyone who manages social media account as it takes incredibly tedious and time-consuming tasks and makes them much more easier.
- Airtable: Airtable is an incredibly efficient app that will help you keep your to-do lists, memos, calendar, and strategies… all in one place.
- Strides habit tracker: if you are someone who is horrible at achieving their goals then you need to give this app a try. It will help you set goals, and organize and keep track of them as you accomplish them.
And last but not least, don´t obsess with the idea of being productive. Yes, it is something worth developing but be careful not to jump to the other extreme where you end up hating productivity or have the fear of not being productive 100% of your time. Resting, charging your batteries, and doing things just because they bring you joy is as important as getting things done and being productive.
Strive to always find the balance between the two extremes.
If you made it to the end of the article, thank you so much for investing your time in it. I hope the tips, tools, and exercises in it will help you increase your productivity and become the boss of your time and schedule instead of the other way around.
Now, before we say goodbye I have one more question for you: What are your 3 biggest takeaways from the article? I´d love to read you in the comments!
Remember that you are worth of even your deepest and wildest desires!
Gracias una vez más por compartir consejos y herramientas para poder seguir creciendo. Referente a la pregunta ,me quedo con lo siguiente: 1. Encontrar el equilibrio es fundamental, 2. Parar de vez en cuando y afilar el hacha, 3. Visualizar el resultado o comprender el” para que” esforzarse y ser productivo.
Saludos para la tribu!