Top Productivity Tools To Help You Make The Most Of Your Time
When you learn about the tricks and secrets of "uber-productive" leaders, one common theme emerges: to get real work done, you need to hide. Veteran CEO Bryan Guido Hassin, for example, noticed that he was most productive on long flights. He now schedules "airplane days" when he acts as if he's in the air - disabled phone, closed door, disconnected from the network. And Fifth Column Games CEO Andrew Marsh places a "cone of silence" on his desk when working on complex projects so his people know not to disturb him.
Time alone to think and work is critical - but it is a luxury in which leaders can't always indulge. So what do you do when you can't take a pretend flight or urgent issues intrude on your cone of silence? Productivity tools can help you master your time without hiding.
Top Productivity Tools For Busy Leaders
The following options are meant to give you a starting point. The best program is simply an expensive paperweight (or the digital equivalent) when you don't use it, so finding the right fit for your needs and your work style is key.
SaneBox: Get Sane Later
For years, meetings reigned as the business world's biggest time waster. But they've been overthrown by email. According to Atlassian, the average employee checks his or her email 36 times an hour, and it takes 16 minutes to refocus after handling an incoming message. All told, American's spend 6.3 hours a day checking email. Considering that the vast majority of emails are a waste, this is time that could be much better spent on organizational goals.
Which is where SaneBox comes in. This tool filters your email based on your priorities and their relevance to your day. Important emails make it to the inbox, while less vital communications are shuttled to a separate folder - SaneLater - and summarized in a "daily digest" so you don't have to worry about missing anything of consequence.
You can easily bring sanity to your inbox, and to your daily schedule. What will you do with those 6.3 hours?
Asana: Move Work from Start to Finish
Without clarity and communication, the work of a team quickly becomes muddled and inefficient. How do you stay on top of projects - without endless emails and status meetings? Productivity tools like Asana can make it easier. With this platform, you can see project status at a glance, turn ideas into action items, organize and prioritize tasks, filter updates, assign due dates, attach files and documents, and communicate seamlessly - and purposefully - with your team.
Alternatives to Asana include Trello, and Todoist. While functionality may vary, they are powerful platforms. The key to making them work for you is to find one with which you are comfortable.
Evernote: Remember Everything
Evernote is one of those tools that can help you do everything - or become so overwhelming that you do nothing. The amount of features is staggering. You can create, organize, and share notes, develop project tasks, communicate with your team, scan in documents and photos, upload audio and video files, clip websites to your notebook, synch to all of your devices, and much more. Tame Evernote, and tame your to-do list, by knowing what you want the program to do for you.
Fortunately, Evernote offers extensive resources to help you get started. Once you immerse yourself, you'll find your desk is a bit clearer, as is your mind.
StayFocused. Stay Focused!
I'll just check ESPN real quick, then see what's happening on Twitter. I'm busy... but I really need to Google myself and see what pops up. Just one hand of online poker won't hurt.
We sit down at our devices with the best intentions, but the Internet (especially the non-work related sites) is too tempting to resist. Stay focused with StayFocused. This customizable Chrome add-on restricts the amount of time you can spend on your vices, whether it's social media or celebrity gossip. Once you hit your allotment, you're blocked from the site for the rest of the day.
No, this isn't a fancy, high-tech tool: it's rest and recuperation. Research demonstrates that rest, vacation, and other leisure pursuits boost productivity in the workplace. Whether you need an app to send you reminders to take breaks or you just need to remind yourself to unplug and unwind now and then, fun and relaxation are among the best productivity tools ever invented.
Schedule time alone to think and tackle your most demanding tasks. And when you can't, use carefully selected productivity tools to help.