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April 21, 2017

4 Secret and Unexpected Productivity Tools

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You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.”

Zig Ziglar, American author, salesman and motivational speaker

Ever hear the expression “If you fail to plan, plan to fail?” That’s essentially what Zig was pointing to.

In our digitally connected, fast-paced society, everyone seems to be striving to reach peak productivity, to become an entrepreneur with an abundance of clients and projects, or to just become a better version of themselves.

No matter which of these paths resonates most with you, time management and optimized productivity are the keys to getting from A to B.

In order to help you become the master of your own schedule and not be a slave to the clock, here are four secret productivity tools that will help you carve out plenty of time for self-care, passion projects and your short and long-term work goals.

1. Structure Your Day Appropriately

Your daily structure is the centerpiece of your entire operation; this is what helps to create or waste precious time that you cannot regain.

To build a framework that is conducive to productivity, the best place to look is at the habits of highly-successful people.

Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, is well aware of how to manage his time and knows that “the early bird gets the worm.” Tim starts his day at 4:30 a.m., and before doing anything, he begins responding to e-mails as a loaded inbox can be a huge distraction and time waster; start setting your alarm clock a bit earlier if you really want to get ahead of the game.

While answering your e-mails, look for a good deed to accomplish; donate to a charity, connect a colleague with someone that can help them grow, plan a charity event, or just do something that makes you feel good. Author of Give and Take, Adam Grant, believes helping others to be a motivational task. Those who implement the strategy are sure to find the “buzz” that goes along with helping others and can likely ride that wave for a good portion of the day.

Round out your morning by having a nice cup of Joe; scientists have found between 9:30 and 11 a.m.  to be optimal, if you’re a coffee junkie.

Come lunchtime, give yourself another boost by getting physically active; hit the gym for a few minutes, ride a bike, or take a walk. This will help you easily overcome that mid-day crash, clear your head, and revitalize you for the second half of the day.

And of course, employ a project management tool or to-do list to keep you focused and on-task. I adore ToodleDo for my personal stuff, and Wrike for keeping work projects collaborative and on schedule.

Structuring your day in this manner will enable you to feel more alert and productive, making it easier to create more time for yourself and your projects.

2. Manage Your Time with Time

If you are one of those folks who is constantly shorting yourself on time when working on various projects, Time is for you.

Time is a time management application that tracks your progress on various tasks to keep you focused.

The clean and intuitive interface requires that you enter a task and the time needed to complete it. From there, Time will begin counting down, turning from green to yellow to red as time dwindles.

After time runs out, the counter sounds an alarm and begins counting up to add a bit of pressure and to let you know how long you went over.

All of this may sound pretty standard, but this is where the real magic of Time reveals itself: Powered by AI technology, the more that users leverage Time, the more intelligent it becomes by recognizing patterns and habits, and making productivity suggestions based off of those quirks.

Additionally, Time uses linguistics recognition to carry suggestions over to other tasks that are written differently. For example, you could enter “buy groceries” or “go the grocery store” and Time will understand that those are the same thing.

Time helps you make sure you’re never short on. . .you know what.

3. Get Vertical

Anyone who has a desk job has read the headlines: Sitting is the new smoking.

Fortunately, you don’t have to just sit around all day to be productive.

Standing desks, like the ones from Autonomous, allow desk jockeys to sit and stand at the touch of a button; and in some cases, that’s not even necessary.

The Autonomous SmartDesk is capable of remembering your sit and stand desk heights and allows you to change between them automatically.

Autonomous provides shoppers with a base model that can be outfitted with various features and upgrades like tabletop finishes, multiple motors, and even the shape of the desk.

The ergonomic design is particularly useful because it conforms to your body and allows you to rest your arms, effectively reducing pressure and inspiring movement.

What makes the desk really special, however, is its AI Box integration that turns the desk into a personal assistant that can use voice commands for adjusting desk height, ordering lunch, and can even control Smart home devices.

If the whole Alexa CIA video creeped you out too much to want any more voice controlled devices, fear not as the AI Box is optional and can be leveraged through a companion app instead.

4. Hire Trevor to Manage Your Calendar

No, Trevor is not the new hunky mail guy at work.

Trevor AI is an artificial intelligence application that connects your tasks with your calendar in an intuitive way that fits your lifestyle.

Trevor separates your calendar into natural sections such as morning, night, after work, etc., and coordinates your tasks in a way that fits with your lifestyle.

Trevor AI integrates with various calendar applications like Todoist, and many more task management apps like Trello, Evernote, Pocket, and others coming in the near future.

Trevor also uses natural language to understand phrases like “research project.” The app will then add the task and suggest open time slots for you to complete the task.

Trevor is super easy to use and significantly lightens the mental load for professionals with overflowing calendars.

Get your work life in order with these awesome productivity tools and you are likely to find a lot more time and energy for yourself, your projects, and those that matter most.

What is your biggest productivity pain point?


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Conscious online marketer, web executive, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney has been creating and fostering online innovations since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, influencer marketing, community management, lead generation, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, and accomplished life coach.  Learn more on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.

2 Responses to “4 Secret and Unexpected Productivity Tools

    avatar James Isles says:

    Top post. Thanks, this came along at the perfect time — was just thinking about finding a tool for time management and good to get one recommended.

    Not sure about the personal assistant though in my experience with them they are hard work as the speech recognition doesn’t work that well.

    All these advises will lead to increased productivity.

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