Are you always looking for more ways to improve your productivity? Luckily, it’s just a few clicks away, with these handy apps and programs. They’ll help you organize your life, improve your networking, share ideas with coworkers from anywhere, and create useful habits that will serve you into the future.
When you find yourself falling prey to distractions, getting pulled from one task to another without really finishing anything, the Pomodoro technique can help your concentration. The technique, created by Francesco Cirillo, recognizes that people need small breaks in order to focus and avoid burnout.
Using the Pomodoro technique, you first choose a task you want to get done. Once you have decided what you will focus on, you set a timer for 25 minutes and commit to working on that task and that task alone(!) until the timer rings. When the timer goes off, you put a check on a piece of paper and give yourself a five-minute break to stretch, get a snack, or do whatever you need to do to relax. At the end of five minutes, you repeat the process. When you have gone through four 25-minute cycles of focused work, treat yourself to a longer break, around 20 minutes.
While any timer will do, we like the free Pomodoro Timer Lite app. Your task is displayed in front of you on a little note sheet, with an old-fashioned timer displayed above that looks just like the original tomato timer that Francesco Cirillo originally used. Every time you complete a 25-minute cycle, the app adds a little check to the note. It also keeps a little icon at the top of your screen, reminding you of your commitment to “focus!” So the next time you’re struggling to concentrate on completing a job application or getting through an important project that will help you get recognized at work, check out this app to help you stay on track.
Trello is an online board, which allows you to track and categorize upcoming priorities. You can create boards for any area of interest in your life, whether that be work projects and deadlines, educational or skill-building goals, or personal interests. Once you have set up a board about a specific theme or project, you can add cards with reminders for individual tasks needed to bring the project to completion. Not only can you use the cards to categorize, prioritize, and set due dates and reminders, you can also make the boards interactive. Teamwork and accountability become a lot easier with all team members able to add goals and reminders, assign tasks and check off things that have been finished.
If you’re looking for a job, Trello can help you keep track of which positions you’d like to apply to, whom you should contact to request informational interviews, or what job fairs are available in your area, as well as allow you to set deadlines for each task. This tool will also help you stay organized at your job, as well as improve your ability to work on a team, and turn out projects in a timely manner
Another handy app to help you keep track of your many priorities, Any.do offers space for practical planning, as well as a bit of dreaming! The app offers pre-sorted lists for both work and personal priorities, and then provides a larger, aggregated list that holds all your tasks in one convenient place. You can star the tasks that are of greatest importance, so that they grab your attention when you look back in.
Any.do reminds you what you have to do today, tomorrow, in the upcoming weeks, and our favorite for setting big goals, “someday.” With these options, the app helps you keep track of day-to-day responsibilities, while also keeping you cognizant of your biggest, most fantastical plans. Having your dream of becoming a top executive right in front of you will help make the smaller tasks you need to do each day to achieve that goal all the more appealing!
Part of productivity revolves around creating good habits. For instance, if you are looking for your ideal job, one habit you might want to pick up is to apply to at least one potential job per day. If you are already in a role that you’re satisfied with, it might serve your ongoing career growth to try to seek one opportunity to interact with your coworkers per day. Or, you may want to pick up a skill that will help you in your professional development – in that case, a good habit might be to study something related to your field on a online learning platform like EdX or Coursera for 25 minutes a day
(feel free to pair your habits with your Pomodoro techniques).
Coach.me helps you create the positive habits that can lead to ongoing personal growth and professional success. The app asks you to set a few goals that you’d like to work towards doing regularly – the point isn’t to set a huge ambition like “Speak Swahili fluently,” but rather to set small goals that you can achieve daily to create a habit that will move your towards your dream, like learning one new vocabulary word per day in your target language. When you complete your goal for the day, you check it off. The app congratulates you when you achieve a small streak and sends you reminders when you haven’t been able to do what you had planned on. It also features an active user community that allows you to get support as you move towards creating the habits that will help you achieve lasting success.
It happens too often – you meet someone who is thrilled by your elevator pitch, wants to hear more about your ideas, and may even want to work together in the future. They pass you their business card, but hours later, you realize it somehow got lost in your pocketbook, fell out of your coat pocket, or was even casually used to throw out a piece of used gum…
The FullContact Card Reader provides a quick and easy way for you to get rid of the business cards themselves, while keeping track of the many people you meet through networking. All you have to do is take a picture of the person’s business card – FullContact will extract the information from the picture to automatically add the person as a contact in your phone’s address book and in a huge variety of other apps. With easy access to professional contacts’ information, you will be all the more likely to make the most out of every networking opportunity!
Here’s another app for those who find themselves easily distracted by the siren call of their social media feed. It’s easy to unknowingly waste time aimlessly scrolling through Facebook or Twitter and opening any article that seems of even casual interest. Pocket helps keep you focused by letting you save those news articles, editorial pieces, and even silly cat videos to watch later, with or without an internet connection.
You don’t have to worry that you will forget to read the article later, as it is saved for your viewing pleasure. This app is especially handy for those who take public transportation to and from work – rather than feeling like your commute is time wasted, you can rest assured in the knowledge that you worked hard all day, and can now enjoy the many entertainments the internet has to offer.
7. KeePass Password Safe
Though it may seem like a small detail, it can be a serious time suck to have to remember the many passwords to your different accounts. However, compromising your security by using the same simple password over and over again could put your information at risk – and there are few greater distractions to your overall productivity like finding out your identity has been stolen.
KeePass, a free open source software, helps you deal with this issue by maintaining all of your passwords in one secure location. It also helps you generate new passwords that are nearly impossible to crack and can be individualized for each account. Keep your work and your email safe, while saving time and potentially a lot of hassle for you and your company, using KeePass.
These seven tools can help you increase productivity –
they’ll help you create good habits, get organized and get moving towards your goals!
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