19 OF THE BEST PRODUCTIVITY TOOLS TO HELP YOU GET MORE DONE IN LESS TIME
Are you looking for simple productivity tools to help you organise your time?
Do you want to be more efficient, effective and productive? Then keep reading.
Following are 19 of the best productivity tools and hacks out there to help you get MORE done in LESS time.
#1 | SET A TIMER WHEN COMPLETING TASKS
Tell me you’ve noticed this before. When you have unlimited time to complete a task, you end up spending way more time on it than you need to. It’s human nature to use up the time you have for a task...but you can actually use this tendency to save time.
Set a timer when completing tasks like:
Responding to emails
Working on projects
You’ll be surprised at how much you can get done in a short amount of time when the pressure is on.
#2 | USE CALENDAR BLOCKING
You may have seen me talk about how the to-do list isn’t the be all and end all. I stand by that. That’s why when you’ve written your to-do list, you put those tasks into your calendar. When you do time blocking, keep the following guidelines in mind:
Keep your tasks simple and specific
Allocate every single task an amount of time (even getting ready in the morning!)
Set reminders for your time-sensitive tasks
These tips will ensure that your calendar keeps you productive, while also giving you more personal and professional freedom. Click here for a full tutorial on time blocking. This is one of the best productivity tools I use - you won’t regret it!
#3 | ONLY CHECK EMAIL TWICE A DAY
You may have heard of Time Ferris, author of The 4-Hour Work Week (aff link). Now, while you may not be able to do all your work in just 4 hours, drastically limiting the time you spend on email is something almost anyone can do.
One way Tim recommends saving time on email is to designate specific times (I advise twice per day) to check and respond to emails. You just need to make sure everyone around you knows what’s up. Set up an autoresponder that says something like, “In an effort to be more productive, I will be checking and responding to emails at 10am and 3pm only. Thank you for your patience!”
#4 | BATCH TASKS
Instead of jumping around from task to task, why not batch related tasks together into one set time period? For instance, you can batch all your image-related tasks together, taking photos, editing them, creating social graphics, all in one batch. This is one of the best productivity tools, because it will help you stay focused and allow you to save time by leveraging the overlap between related tasks.
#5 | EXPERIENCE FREEDOM (THE APP)
Do you lack the willpower NOT to check email, texts or social media while working? I get it! That’s why you need an app like Freedom. This can reduce the need for self-control, blocking out the apps and websites that tempt you. Set the schedule you’d like to stick to, choose which apps or sites you want to block, then start working. Talk about productivity tools that help you work distraction free!
#6 | USE SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT TOOLS
When it comes to productivity tools, using the right tools to manage your social media can save you LOADS of time. It’s so beneficial because you can have:
Access to all your accounts in one dashboard
A single social media inbox
That’s what I call getting more done in less time.
Not sure which tools to use? Download this free list of the 15 best social media management tools out there.
#7 | GIVE YOURSELF DEADLINES
I always set myself daily, weekly, and monthly goals and deadlines. This can be a great motivator for getting your work done fast and on time. While these will usually be self-imposed deadlines (meaning no one will ever know if you don’t meet them), they can boost your motivation and productivity.
#8 | USE THE POMODORO TECHNIQUE TO INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY
We’ve already talked about the benefits of using a timer when completing tasks. The Pomodoro technique is a twist on this. It lets you schedule and set time for works and breaks. Plus it’s been shown to increase your focus, making you more productive.
Here’s how it works:
Set a timer for 25 minutes
Work your bum off
When the timer goes off, take a 5 minute break
Do this four times
After the fourth time, take a longer break
It’s that simple.
#9 | KEEP MEETINGS (ONLINE AND IN-PERSON) TO THE BARE MINIMUM
Meetings are the biggest culprit for wasting time. According to this infographic from Fuze, 15% of an organisation’s collective time is spent in meetings. That’s A LOT of time that could be spent doing something else. Here are some good tips for making sure meetings aren’t eating up your time unnecessarily:
Never hold information-only meetings
Have a strict schedule for meetings and stick to it
Hold client meetings online or on the phone to save time
Set (and stick to) a fixed start and end time so your meetings don’t go overtime
#10 | USE TEMPLATES FOR EVERYDAY TASKS
Do you find yourself starting from scratch every time you want to write an email or create a document or spreadsheet? Set up templates you can use again and again. In terms of productivity tools, these can save you loads of time, and can make your work much more consistent to boot.
Some documents that are perfect for creating templates:
Email responses to questions
Expense tracking spreadsheets
#11 | LEARN TO DELEGATE
Ronald Reagan said: “Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don’t interfere as long as the policy you’ve decided upon is being carried out.”
If you have employees or contractors working for you (or even if you’re building a brand alongside someone else), it’s your job to set policies and guidelines. And it’s their job to carry out tasks in line with those policies. In other words, don’t be a micromanager - this is a recipe for lost productivity.
#12 | HANDLE YOUR TASKS ONCE AND ONCE ONLY
If you have a bit of a perfectionist streak, this one may be hard for you. A great example of this is dealing with email - make a policy of handling each one only once. This means when you read an email, you’ll immediately respond. Don’t put the email back in your inbox for “later”, or save your reply as a draft so you can look over it later. Deal with it immediately, then move onto your next task.
#13 | PLAN YOUR DAY AHEAD OF TIME
I find it extremely helpful to have a tentative plan in place for my entire day. While other tasks or issues are bound to come up, having a general plan means I stay motivated and don’t get sucked into doing unnecessary tasks.
#14 | REPURPOSE YOUR CONTENT
One of the biggest challenges when it comes to content marketing is constantly coming up with new content. With your blog, social media posts and email newsletter content, the sheer volume of content you need to produce can easily become overwhelming.
Instead of always coming up with new ideas, try repurposing and repackaging existing content. Here are some examples:
Turn old blog posts into an eBook
Use an old email newsletter to create a new blog post
Pull some quotes from your blog posts to use as social media posts
For more on this, check out my post: Quality Over Quantity: This Is How To Repurpose Your Best Ideas.
#15 | WORK DURING YOUR MOST PRODUCTIVE HOURS
Have you noticed that there’s a time of day when you feel most motivated and efficient? For me, that is the morning. If possible, aim to do as much work as you can during that time using your favourite productivity tools to help you. You’ll notice you not only feel more inspired, but that you actually enjoy your work more too.
#16 | LIMIT YOUR UNNECESSARY EMAILS
Here’s a question for you: how many emails do you get everyday that you don’t actually read? You know the ones. You signed up for them months or even years ago, and spend every day deleting them without even reading them.
Cut down on unnecessary email subscriptions by using a tool like unroll.me. Enter your email account info and the tool will show you a list of all the subscriptions emails you currently receive. Then with one click, you can unsubscribe to any email lists you don’t read or don’t want to be on.
#17 | DO A GREAT JOB...NOT A PERFECT JOB
Resist the urge to perfect every single task. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do your best - just that you shouldn’t obsess over every tiny detail. I find it helpful to allot a set amount of time for tasks, then stick to it. This will make sure you are as efficient as possible while also not allowing time for obsessing.
#18 | KEEP YOUR EMAILS SHORT AND SWEET
Make it your goal to keep your emails as short as possible. Cut out unnecessary small talk, and jump right into the heart of the matter. Remember your goal is to convey your main message…not to win any awards!
#19 | SCHEDULE IN YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA TIME
This applies to both business and personal use of social media. It’s so tempting to check Facebook, Twitter or Instagram in between tasks (or even in the middle of tasks!) so you don’t miss out.
But constant interruptions will undoubtedly make it harder for you to keep your train of thought. This will make you far less productive. Instead, designate a set time every day to check your social media accounts and to respond to messages, comments, and tweets. Brownie points if you put it in your calendar (wink)
And remember to use productivity tools to help you manage your social media too! Download your free list below.
If you’re like most busy bloggers and business owners, time is something that’s always at a premium. But with some planning and determination, you can get more done in less time. Using the productivity tools above, it’s easier than you think.
What’s YOUR best strategy for getting more done in less time? Share below!