Category: Tools



office-620817_1920There are way too many productivity tools out there to mention, making it even more important to choose the one that’s a perfect fit for you. The tool you use to support you on a daily walk through your to-do list should fit you as well as your favorite pair of shoes. After you’ve done your homework to learn exactly what the tools you’re attracted to can do and determine which is the best fit based upon your Productivity Persona™, you can’t stop there. Once you have the perfect tool for you in your hot little capable hands, you’ve got to work it if it’s going to support you. There are three major things you’re going to want to do:

  1. Set Yourself Up For Success-It’s important to use all the features to support you daily. When you get your tool, invest the time in setting it up completely, and no half-stepping! Add your contacts, and for electronic tools, sync it with your calendar, and add your business email so that you have access to it. It’s convenient to have it all in one place, not to mention the time you’ll save.
  2. Develop Habits– Once it’s set up you want to build the muscle of using your tool every day . If you haven’t been using something to support you on a daily basis, you’ve got to allow yourself the time to get into the swing of things. Use reminders to help you build this muscle if you need to. On a regular basis, add new calendar items, contacts and any updates, and use it to plan and to guide you daily.
  3. Back It Up!- Sync and back up your electronic device regularly—at least twice a week. It’s a good practice to set reminders in your calendar so that you don’t forget to sync and back up. There’s nothing worse than losing or having something happen to your electronic device and not having that back up. I’ve helped clients work their way back from that disaster and it’s not pretty. If you’re using a paper tool, maintain it the same way and share your calendar information with your assistant or another trusted party. If you’re a one-woman show, keep a second copy in a safe spot for easy retrieval in the worse case scenario.

pocket-watchWhen people are looking to find out what things are wasting their time, I tell them to start by keeping track of their time. I usually give them this tool. Along with it they get a really simple process to follow each day. The biggest challenge when it comes to tracking your time is making the space to do so. It’s really easy to get caught up in what you’re doing for a few hours and then suddenly realize that you didn’t write down the last couple of things you did or you look at your log at the end of the day and see that you didn’t record the interruptions you had that day. Before you write anything in your time log, you’ve got to create the space for what you’re about to do. That has to be part of the process, or you won’t get the best results.

Here’s my process:

  • Know why you’re tracking your time (You’re looking to see what you’re procrastinating on, identify time wasters, etc)
  • Set your intention for the outcome you desire
  • Start your day by acknowledging that you’re going to record what you do as you do it
  • Record each activity and its level of importance (If you’re using my tracking tool)
  • Each time there’s an interruption, make note of it
  • Include the breaks you take-intentional or not
  • Keep tracking for about 5 days
  • Look at each day’s log to see what it reveals

Once you see what’s in play you can make the necessary shifts to shore up your daily habits to get and stay productive. Creating and holding the space to be consistent with your tracking for that week is crucial for getting the entire picture of what’s actually going on. Right now choose when you’re going to start tracking your time, get your log and dive into the process.

 


Wasting your time can be pretty frustrating. You really want to get to the things one your list but may not be able to figure out just what’s going on. But before you can get to a space where you’re knocking things off your to-do list left and right, you’ve got to look at what’s going on right now. Where is your time going? What things are stopping you in your tracks or detouring you? To find the answers to those questions, tracking your time is the step to take. It may not be the most fun thing to do, but it will let you see just what things are getting your time, allow you to record all of the interruptions you get during the day, discover if you’re giving your time to things that matter.

You might not see it at first, but making the space in your days to keep track of what you’re doing and what happens during the course of your day will give you valuable information. What you see on the front end is just a list of things you did, how much time it took to do each what things actually got some or all of your time. When you look much closer, you see…

  • Exactly what things you’re giving your time to
  • How you prioritized things and where you made the mistake of putting one thing before another
  • How to determine the importance of the things on your agenda moving forward
  • What interruptions tend to happen and which ones you allow
  • The difference between what got done and the things you had on your to-do list and what kept you from the important things

The biggest insight you’ll gain is seeing what your biggest time wasters are right before your own eyes. That’s priceless because it gives you the big picture. You’ve got to know what the reason for the problem is before you can create or apply a solution for it and logging your time does exactly that for you.  If you don’t know where your day is going, why things aren’t getting done and always feel pressed for time, chances are you’re wasting time. This is a great starting point for you. Start tracking your time so you can get the information you need and be ready to move forward with finding and implementing a solution. Use this nifty little tool to help you.

 

 


SaneBoxIf you’re like most, email might be a bit out of control with hundreds or maybe even thousands of emails, most of them unopened. You have lists you’ve subscribed to sending email and probably some unsolicited items too. They’re coming in so fast you just can’t handle it. You’ve tried hitting your inbox to remedy the overgrown number, but to no avail and if you do get the number down, they come right back at you with what seems to be even more determination.

If you can relate to this, you might want to consider using SaneBox. It’s an add on tool that works with your current email client to keep your inbox from being out of control. You set the rules and it follows them. Gotta love that! It organizes your email and makes sure that you get the important stuff by prioritizing important emails and summarizing the rest. There’s nothing to download and nothing new to learn.

It uses smart filtering and other productivity features live One Click Unsubscribe that lets you drag an email into the “SaneBlackHole” folder, and you’ll never hear from that sender again. To add to the productivity mix, SaneBox notifies you when an email you sent isn’t replied to by a certain time, so you can follow up. Additionally, it allows you to place an email in a Snooze Folder and then SaneBox will place it back in your Inbox when it’s convenient for you. With all these great features, it’s a great solution for ending your inbox insanity. Get more details at the SaneBox website.

 

 


EvernoteTools are part of the productivity puzzle. You know how when you were a kid and you would be putting together a puzzle and you always ended up with extra pieces that didn’t seem to fit or you couldn’t figure out where they went? That was frustrating, and putting together your productivity puzzle can be too. You want to be able to get the pieces and put them together in a way that fits instead of having extra, strangely shaped pieces of the puzzle. You want tools that fit you and make it easier to get it all done.

One tool that I’ve been in love with and using for a while now is Evernote. It serves me well and my clients who use it rave about it too. Evernote works really well, especially for those who find themselves chasing the BSOs. (Bright shiny objects) If electronic tools are a fit for your Productivity Persona,™ you can probably implement the use of Evernote. It’s like having a notebook handy and so much more. It lets you write anything from short lists to lengthy research; collect information and easily find the things you’re looking for. Some of the things I use it for are bookmarking articles I want to read later, saving research material and sharing information with team members. You can clip web articles with the web clipper app, capture handwritten notes, and snap photos to keep the physical and digital details of your projects with you at all times.

The beauty of Evernote is that it syncs across all devices, your laptop, phone, tablet and the internet. You have access to anything you save from any device in just seconds. I think this is my favorite feature because it lets me have my notes in the palm of my hand. There’s a free version as well as a paid version to support you, a well stocked app center, Evernote For Business as well as physical products you can add to your productivity mix. Visit the Evernote website to see if it’s a fit for you.

 

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