Hustle culture demands us to be at the height of our game every single day.
Working hard has its cultural currency, but I advocate for working smarter. Maximize your time and tasks within a reasonable time frame without sacrificing your sleep and wellbeing. That’s how I approach productivity and you need a little help to get there.
Multitasking leaves many struggling and overwhelmed. And when you’re not in a healthy mental state, you can’t be expected to manage all your responsibilities and achieve goals at the same time. That’s a recipe for stress, demotivation, exhaustion and ultimately burnout.
The pandemic has caused an incredible spike in burnout in many and not just essential workers. So the question about motivation and productivity remains important.
Being motivated and productive during the day is crucial for your growth
Let me tell you. We’re living in unprecedented times. The weight of all that’s happening takes its toll and you’re doing fine. You can’t expect to be put together all the time and sail through every task just because you work from home.
Define productivity and motivation for yourself, so you still achieve what can’t be put on the back burner and have time to take for yourself. There will be those personal projects, work tasks and life responsibilities that we can’t ignore and that’s where you can work smarter.
I’ve selected six tools that can help you smooth out your day and earn you some well-deserved peace.
6 tools that will help you be productive and motivated every day
Toggl is one of the original productivity tools on the market as it dates back to 2006, when the productivity bug was still in its infancy. Perfect for freelancers and generally busy people, this tool is easy to use and has a lot to offer even in its free version.
So what can you do with Toggl? There’s organizing different projects on a calendar, but where it shines is the time tracker. You can review how much time you’ve spent on particular tasks and how to best recalibrate your day in order to maximize your day’s work.
If you’re stretched thin between multiple projects, Toggl gives you the necessary clarity and order to accomplish everything. The tool also scales wonderfully, if you want to coordinate teams of all sizes.
Toggl is about time tracking, while Todoist is about project management. It was one of the earliest to-do applications to hit the market and remains one of the most accessible ones. Not only because of a clean UI, but low rates. The most expensive business plan is still $60 per person a year, while the free version gets the job done just as easily for casual users.
If you’re trying to work through a particularly tough project, which needs to be broken down, or are a student juggling studies, exams, internships and work, Todoist is for you. It’s cross-platform and adaptable to your specific needs. You can add as many categories of tasks as you want, which you can then color coordinate and assign different icons.
Email management is another area in our digital lives that can benefit from some decluttering. You see some attempts as to how Gmail divides emails into primary, social and promotions. Spark takes this idea into new heights so that you never miss out on an important email.
Apart from the division of emails into different categories, Spark can also tell which emails deserve to be read first and rearranges your inbox not in a purely chronological order, but by top priority. Spark separates emails into three categories – personal, newsletters and notifications. You also can set up notifications so that you’re notified on emails by people you already know.
What Spark does for your email, Inoreader does for your online subscriptions. RSS feed readers are back in fashion and they’re better than ever. You should be using an RSS reader, if you have a lot of sites you regularly check. It just saves time.
Inoreader is one of the best on the market. The reader helps you discover new content not just through its content discovery zone, but through its own internal search and recommendation tools like Article Popularity Indicators and Sort by Magic.
Even though it’s a mobile application, you can still link your account to your Chrome browser, so you always have an overview of notifications. An added bonus of the extension is that you can check for RSS feeds on any page you’re on and subscribe immediately.
Another task management tool is Any.do – a fun, minimalist application with a lot of flexibility. The way the to-do lists are made, edited and stacked together is malleable and intuitive. The app responds to the flick of the finger on the screen and makes it a joy to play around. Find the perfect way to structure your day to day and special occasions in an organic way.
Afraid you might forget to do something time sensitive? Just set up a reminder. Perhaps one of the best features is the calendar, which really allows you to keep track of everything with gorgeous, colorful themes. Any.do can be accessed on mobile, laptop, desktop, tablet and smart watches.
I’m ending this list with Freedom, because we all need a little bit of freedom from distractions. I fall prey to the promises of serotonin by Twitter, Facebook and Discord. Freedom is here to make you focus on what needs doing by blocking your access to your main distractors. The application works for Windows PC, Macintosh, Android phone, iPhone, tablets and Chrome, so you cover all your bases.
You select your devices, select your distraction-free time and let everything happen. You don’t have to perform the set up for each device, because Freedom covers them all. Yes, the service is paid, but well worth the investment, because organization is only one element to your success. Retaining your focus is just as important.