We live in a technological world, and mobile apps have revolutionized the way we learn, connect with others and get stuff done. If you’re looking for some ways to keep you motivated and productive throughout the day, here’s a list of 7 apps and websites that will help you dominate your to-do list.
The Kanban System is a workflow visualization tool that allows you to see project status and flow at a glance. It’s a great way to break up big projects into manageable pieces For awhile, I’d write down tasks on post-it notes and stick them under one of three statuses: Backlog, To-Do, Done. As more projects were added, my wall looked a bit crazy. It was colorful chaos. Then I discovered Trello.
Trello is a digital board that allows you to easily manage projects and see status at a glance. Under headings, you create cards for individual actions and can add notes or checklists to them, too. Furthermore, you can create multiple Trello boards so you can separate your projects out as needed. Try planning out your week using Trello as a project management tool. It’s a great way to stay organized on the go.
Our cell phones are some of the largest distractions when it comes down to getting work done. Be it a Facebook notification, a phone call or an email. Constantly picking up and putting down your phone while you’re trying to work decreases productivity. Of course turning off your phone is an option — but it’s one we don’t utilize unless we have to. If you’re worried about turning off your phone but you still want to limit your mobile as a distraction, you should download Forest.
Forest is an app that rewards your focus with a forest. Select an amount of time you’d like to work and plant a shrub, bush or tree. If you leave the app or open up another app before time’s up, your plant will die. The app tracks how many minutes you’ve focused during the day and you can visually see the forest you planted. You earn coins to purchase different types of trees, or you can donate your digital coins to plant a tree in real life.
The Pomodoro Technique is an excellent time tracking and management tool that will help you knock out the most extensive to-do lists. It involves six easy steps and a simple timer:
- Write out your to-do list and select one task that you’d like to get done. Something that requires your full attention.
- Set a timer for 25 minutes, and get to work. Focus only on that task and don’t allow any distractions.
- Work on that task until the timer rings. If while working on a task you remember something else you have to do, write it down on your sheet of paper.
- After 25 minutes is complete, put a juicy checkmark next to that item. Or, if you still need to work on it, put a tally mark next to it to show you spent one Pomodoro session (25 minutes) on it.
- Take a short break! Allow yourself to check text messages, grab a cup of coffee or stare into space for five minutes. After your time is up, select a new task or continue working on your previous one.
- For every four Pomodoro sessions you complete, with a five-minute break between each, take a longer 15-minute break. You’ve earned it.
The beauty of the Pomodoro Technique is that it allows you to immerse yourself in your work with breaks as rewards. By tallying how many Pomodoros a particular task takes, you can gain a better understanding of where your time is going.
The Most Dangerous Writing App
Getting started on a writing project can be daunting, and staying focused on it through completion can be impossible. If you need assistance getting started and building momentum for any writing project or business plan, The Most Dangerous Writing App will keep you moving. Select a session length and start typing, but you better not stop. If you wait too long before starting that next sentence, the app will start deleting what you have written. This is a great tool for banging out first drafts or brainstorming sessions where you just need to get ideas on paper.
Write or Die by Dr. Wicked is also a comparable product built with the ability to handpick rewards and consequences (like images of kittens or images of spiders), but there is a one-time fee of $20 to unlock all the features.
Medium is not a productivity app per se, but it is a tool you can use to be more productive. I am not a morning person and am likely to hit the snooze button three or four times before I manage to drag myself out of bed. However, I wanted to start waking up earlier to better plan my day and get a jump start on items on my to-do list. If willpower and alarm clocks don’t work for you, try this.
Engage your brain.
If you give yourself something to focus on, be it reading or listening to something, it’s a lot easier to pull yourself out of sleep mode and get yourself in gear. I use an app called Medium as my go-to in the morning. You select content that interests you, and each morning they deliver a daily digest full of insightful articles across a variety of topics right to your inbox. If reading isn’t your thing, pick a podcast series you like to boot up seconds after your alarm stops buzzing.
If you find yourself computer-bound during your lunch break, make it a point to watch a TED Talk. It’s a great burst of mid-day inspiration or insight. Making the most of your time is important as an entrepreneur, and dropping in opportunities to learn throughout your workday will keep your mind invigorated with new ideas and perspectives. With the TED Talk app, you aren’t limited to watching it on your computer. You can easily browse topics, speakers, or get a random presentation on your cell phone.
Gamification revolves around the concept of using games or game elements to convey information. Habitica is a RPG-based productivity app that helps you develop and stick with habits. Design your avatar, and level up as you check things off your to-do list. You can earn rewards, upgrades and other fun things for accomplishing tasks. Not meeting your set goals costs you health points. The app is built around a thriving social network, so you can join guilds and go on missions to slay monsters — and it all involves establishing daily habits.
Whether you use all of them throughout the week or just one of them on a daily basis, productivity apps can help you make the most of your time. I’d love to hear how some of these work for you.