Business Magazine

13 Free Tools I Use to Improve My Productivity

Posted on the 23 May 2014 by Classycareergirl @classycareer

Recently in my 90-Day Get Your Career Unstuck Bootcamp, my clients have been asking a lot of questions about how to manage their time. Most of them are working full-time while still searching for a job on the side. It can be very stressful and overwhelming to do it all! I know I have been there.  Even if you are in a career you love, you still need to be as productive as possible so that you can focus on the most important items that will get you that next raise or promotion.

Here are the 13 MUST HAVE tools I use daily to improve my productivity:

A To-Do List

**Note, I have tried a ton of online to-do lists but still go back to my pen and paper everyday. If you want to see a copy of the to-do list that I use daily, click here.

1) Wunderlist: Simply create and share your to-do list online with other people.

2) Remember the Milk: An online to-do list that syncs with Evernote too!

3) Oh, don’t forget: Schedule free text message reminders exactly when you need them.

A Calendar

4) Google Calendar: You can’t go wrong with Google calendar.  It really sets the bar for staying on track with your time. And you can share it with the people you work with so that you are all on the same schedule. This helps my assistant know when she can schedule my coaching calls and handle interview requests.

5) Time Trade: If you schedule calls or meeting with other people, you definitely need to check out Time Trade. If you have ever scheduled a complimentary career strategy session with me, you know how easy this system is to use! It’s like my personal meeting scheduler and I don’t have to do a thing. It syncs with my google calendar and let’s other people book appointments for me only when my calendar is open in the spots I have designated for those calls and then sends each person a calendar announcement. Easy!

Free Tools to Stay Productive

A Timer

6) Egg Timer: A simple, easy-to-use online countdown timer, or egg timer. Just set a timer and start. I batch my similar activities into certain days and times to get more done. For instance, today I am only writing my blog, newsletter and social media posts for the week. So I give myself a certain amount of time to do these activities and am NOT allowed to check social media during that time. It’s tough but necessary!

:)

7) Pomodoro Technique: According to this technique, 20 minutes is the optimal focus time. Taking short, scheduled breaks while working eliminates the “running on fumes” feeling you get when you’ve pushed yourself too hard.

Music to Focus

8) [email protected]: This app lets you listen to music and times you so you get a reminder of when you need to take a break! You can choose the music and the free version is just set to a 60 minute countdown. But, you can pay a small fee for a variety of music and countdowns to fit your work and personal productivity schedule. I use this everyday!

A Way to Clear Distractions

9) Rescue Time: With so many distractions and possibilities in your digital life, it’s easy to get scattered. RescueTime helps you understand your daily habits so you can focus and be more productive. This app helped me see where I was spending too much time on unproductive work and helps me set productivity goals so I can improve each week.

A Way to Capture Ideas

10) Evernote: Not sure what I do without Evernote. I set up notebooks that help me focus on what is really important. I also save all of my files and emails that I don’t necessarily need on a daily basis in Evernote as well. It’s so easy to search for things you need. So glad I started using this a few years ago!  Evernote is also where I host all of my training PDFs that I download from various websites as well and it’s a great place to save articles that you might not have time to read but can go back to later with the Evernote Clipper.

11) Dropbox: Cloud storage for all your files that you can access on every computer. Dropbox has made sharing files and videos with my assistant so easy! Another thing I don’t know what I would do without!

A Way to Manage Projects and Teams

12) Asana: My assistant and I have tried to use a lot of different tools to manage our projects and we have jumped to five different ones in the past few years. But, I think we have definitely found the best one now and it is free to use as well! Asana is very clear and organized and we know exactly what each other is working on. The best part about it is that it has a calendar so I can see if I have given her way too many tasks due in one day:)  This helps me spread it out so I don’t overload her!

A Way to Manage Your Contacts

13) Insightly: I just discovered this tool to keep all of your contacts in one place. It’s a contact management system that is free as well. Previously, I didn’t have a very good follow-up system for clients and potential clients that I needed to stay in touch with. This system is helping me stay organized and remember to follow-up which we all know is the key to networking success, right!?

Want the PDF Stay Productive Cheat Sheet that goes along with this post?  Enter your name and email below and I will send it right to you now.

Readers, would love to hear from you! What tools help you stay productive and organized at work?


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