Improving your productivity means working smarter. How do you become smarter? You need the apps, books, websites, blogs and other resources that the highly productive use each day. To make the most of this article, I suggest choosing one app, one book and website to use for a month. Once you have mastered those resources, read this article again to find additional resources.
Armed with the right productivity apps, you can achieve much more work in the same amount of time. These habits will help you to improve your habits, manage your calendar and make progress. Get started today!
This iPhone application is based on a simple premise – that once you start a good habit, you will want to keep it going. The only challenge is to find a habit that contributes to your goal. If you are in sales, your daily habit could be to make 5 phone calls per day to new prospects.
Have you ever made a commitment to improve yourself and then forgotten all about your good ideas the next day? Stickk lets you put money at stake for your goals, a great way to motivate yourself to focus each day. If follow through has been a challenge for you, Stickk may be the perfect solution.
Writing down tasks as they occur to you is a key productivity habit. Remembering to complete those tasks is another matter. The Reminders app comes on each iPhone. You can set reminders such as “review annual goals for 5 minutes” to help you maintain your productivity focus.
Nozbe is a task management tool that comes recommended by highly productive people including author and entrepreneur Michael Hyatt. This app makes it easy to sort and arrange your tasks into projects. Even better, the app is built on the world famous Getting Things Done productivity methodology.
As UJ Ramdas has shown, The Five Minute Journal is a great tool to improve your productivity. Two of the exercises in the app give you a productive lift in the morning: set 3 tasks “to make the day awesome” and list three items you are grateful for. It is a great tool to focus on what truly matters each day, rather than the urgent.
Managing social media effectively is a key way to build your personal brand and grow a business. Social media can easily eat up your entire morning if you’re not careful. Buffer makes it easy to schedule your Tweets, Facebook shares and other social media activity. This is also a great tool to use keep social media running while you travel.
No list of productivity apps would be complete without Evernote. It is one of the best tools to keep notes, lists and other ideas organized. You can also upload photos and other media to Evernote and search through it later. I recommend keeping your travel packing list, gift ideas for friends and family and meeting notes in Evernote.
8. TextExpander (for Mac)
Do you find yourself explaining the solution to a problem or giving the same answer over and over again? You need TextExpander to automate that process. This tool alone may help you get through your email much faster. Lifehacker has a guide on how to make the most of TextExpander.
Keeping passwords memorized and organized is one of the chores of online life today. If I had a dollar for every time I have used a password reset tool, I would be able to hire an assistant! 1Password is a great app that makes it easier to manage passwords to all of your accounts. Mike Vardy at Productivityist has a great article on 1Password’s merits.
10. Where’s My Phone
Losing your phone is frustrating. Losing ten or twenty minutes searching for your phone is even more frustrating, not to mention a drag on productivity. From time to time, I use the Where’s my Phone website to call myself. The best part – this is a free resource!
Reading and learning new ideas from other people is one of the best ways to become much more productive. These books are filled with systems, habits and other resources to help you get more done.
Getting Things Done remains one of the world’s most popular productivity books for a reason – it works! The Weekly Review habit is one of the most powerful ideas from the book and well worth the price of the book. For the greatest benefit, I recommend reading the book twice.
12. The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM) by Hal Elrod
by Hal Elrod Getting up early in the morning is one of the secrets of becoming highly productive. Many of us intellectually understand the benefits of early rising. If you have ever struggled to get up early, you need Hal Elrod’s book. You will discover how to start the day with high energy and motivation to work through the rest of your goals.
There are many approaches to productivity today. You can use technology to increase your output and automate tasks. What about your own approach to work? In this book, Womack shares several strategies to improve our productivity and focus. One of my favorite strategies from the book: choose to do fewer tasks rather than packing more into your day.
Why exactly are you working to become more productive? For most of us, productivity is a means to achieve our goals. In this outstanding book, you will learn over sixty success principles that can make a difference to your results. I have listened to the audio book several times and read the newly issued 10th anniversary edition. A key principle from the book: take 100% responsibility for your life.
Working through a full year of goals is daunting. If you have ever struggled to achieve goals or improve your productivity with habits, this book has a solution for you. In essence, you will learn why most people fail with annual goals. Even better, you will discover how to get more done by viewing the year in twelve week increments.
16. The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan
Focus is essential as you strive to become more productive. In their book, you will learn about the merits of focus from Gary Keller, a leading real estate professional. This book is a perfect book to pick up if you ever struggle with managing multiple goals and priorities.
17. Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy
Procrastination and aimless drift are major enemies to staying productive. In this classic time management classic, author and trainer Brian Tracy explains his top tips on getting more done. My favorite insight from the book: complete the most difficult task of the day at the start of the day. After that point, everything will feel easier.
Have you ever noticed that your energy and ability to focus changes through the day? For most of us, we have greater engagement at 10am compared to 5pm. This book will explain the art and science of managing your energy effectively. Entrepreneur Noah Kagan included this book in his list of The 18 Books that Changed my Life.
19. Become An Idea Machine: Because Ideas Are The Currency Of The 21st Century by Claudia Azula Altucher
Did you know that creativity is a skill that you can develop? This book of exercises encourages you to tackle a daily challenge of coming up with 10 ideas on a variety of topics. Once you complete this exercise, your problem solving capability will be dramatically enhanced. For further inspiration, read The Ultimate Guide for Becoming an Idea Machine by James Altucher.
Evernote has already been mentioned in this article as an essential productivity resource. Some people find Evernote overwhelming – there are many options and possibilities to consider. In this brief guide, Kelly gives step by step instructions on how to use Evernote. You will also receive tips and suggestions for how to better organize your work using Evernote.
No guide to productivity resources would be complete without a guide to the field’s top blogs and websites. Each writer brings a different style and emphasis to productivity. Explore a few different websites to find one that resonates with you.
Founded by Mike Vardy, Productivityist provides a variety of perspectives on productivity. You will find an overview of productivity apps and technology. There are also a wealth of book reviews. One of my favorite articles from the site: How Did Ben Franklin and Isaac Newton Accomplish the Work of 10 People? Rigorous Note Taking.
Created by Craig Jarrow, the Time Management Ninja offers short and focused articles to inspire and instruct you. I recommend joining the email newsletter so that you can receive inspiration each week to manage your time and work toward your goals.
23. Asian Efficiency
The team at Asian Efficiency emphasize rituals as a method to become more productive. In addition, there are great resources that show you how to improve sleep and use apps better. One of the site’s memorable articles: How to Simplify Your Life with Systems.
As you dig into productivity and life improvement strategies, you may wonder if the advice will work for you. For those of us who love research and experimentation, this is the perfect blog for you! For example, Chris Bailey shares his experience after a month of binging on Netflix (created a lot of bad habits). On a different note, Chris also explains the top 10 lessons I learned using my smartphone for only 60 minutes a day.
Lifehacker is a multi-author blog that draws millions of readers each month. Productivity is a recurring theme on Lifehacker but you will also find plenty of technology tips and other life hacks. Start with this productivity article: Steve Jobs’ Best Productivity Tricks.
Lifehack brings you advice and tips on a wide variety of topics including communication, technology, work and productivity. To get started, read 8 Things Successful People Do During Their Lunch Breaks – that is a great way to make the most of your lunch hour.
Project Management Hacks provides career advice to project managers and other professionals looking to get ahead in the corporate world. Classic productivity articles include Why You Need A Weekly Review To Become More Productive and How To Build A Checklist In 6 Steps. If you are seeking a career focused productivity resource, Project Management Hacks is a great read.
Improving your daily habits is one of the best ways to improve your productivity. In his articles, online seminars and ebooks, James Clear shares how he has become successful. If you are struggling in working toward a challening goal, read, “How to Stay Focused When You Get Bored Working Toward Your Goals.”
29. Study Hacks
Learning how to learn is one of the best ways to become more productive. On his long running blog, Cal Newport, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University, shares his insights on writing, studying and becoming successful as an author and researcher. If you are working on challenging problems, read Deep Habits: Spend Six Months to Master Skills to get started with Study Hacks.
30. Get Rich Slowly
Do you suffer from anxiety and uncertainty about your personal finances? Those concerns are common productivity killers. In this blog, you will learn how to manage money better. The blog covers everything from cutting back on spending to the basics of investing.