Top 20 Efficiency Apps & Hacks To Increase Productivity — Part 2

Michael Solomon
Apr 17, 2018 · 5 min read

By Michael Solomon, 10x Management Co-Founder

10x represents top tech freelancers and matches them with forward thinking companies that need rapid access to the best and brightest.

I’ve co-founded four companies, all of which are still operating, and three by the time I was 30. Part of the secret to being so productive is taking the time to learn how to be more productive. Invest your time and energy in learning productivity hacks. It’s the best investment because you do it once and then have the benefit of the knowledge indefinitely. Hack everything that is repetitive in your life. Here’s the second half of the list of 20 of the best apps and hacks to help make you more productive (the other 10 I posted last week):

11. Plan Ahead

Most people feel that planning ahead and making commitments will cause them to miss out on opportunities that come up later. This FOMO is actually quite counterintuitive. Typically, when one plans ahead, you have more choices. By way of example, if you book your dinner reservations or flights at the last minute, you have many fewer choices than planning ahead. This often causes people to miss out because they can’t afford or don’t get what they really want. Looking ahead and planning for what is to come is one of the biggest gift you can give yourself. And sometimes, you can even make changes when those last minute great opportunities arise. Just remember not to blow off your commitments to people you value because something good comes along.

12. Calendar Everything

Having a schedule keeps you on track. It serves as a constant reminder of the things you need to do and when they should be done. I would be lost without my calendar!

13. Add to Tasks in Gmail & To Do Lists

Tasks allows you to get things out of your inbox and onto a To Do List. Take your To Do List with you wherever you go by taking advantage of Tasks. Stay organized and remain productive!

On another note, to-do lists in general (in a word doc, as a note on your phone, or good old-fashioned paper and pen) are great and I swear by them, but if you’re the kind of person who creates a list and then ignores it, you’re better off using your calendar for this purpose.

14. Find the Right Tools For the Job

In the physical world, I was putting together a set of Ikea chairs and didnt have an allen wrench bit for my drill. After the first chair took 60 minutes, I took 30 minutes and went to Home Depot bought the drill bit for about $3 and did the next three chairs in a total of 60 minutes. For three dollars, I saved two hours (or 90 minutes if you deduct the travel time). #VeryGoodInvestment.

In the digital world, if you have a lot of scheduling to do and you don’t have a human to help, check out x.ai for an AI assistant who can do it for you. Or calendly does a similarly good job with scheduling. Regardless of physical or digital find and use the best tools for the job.

15. Google Everything

Whatever you don’t know how to do, you’re always seconds away from learning. I learn new things every day and many of them save me tons of time. You should learn how to use Google like a pro and search for everything you want to learn or know.

16. PushBullet

PushBullet allows you to have your open tabs accessible on all your devices, and it enables quick file sharing between your computer, laptop, and mobile device. If you switch working from your computer to your mobile phone often, PushBullet is a great way to ensure that everything you’re working on at your computer is instantly moved over to your phone, and vice versa. It’s a great tool for people who like to get work done on the go. Of course, there are lots of other tools that do this too.

17. Bookmarks Toolbar

These are little icons at the top of your browser, meaning the pages you go to all the time are only one click away. I use the Bookmarks toolbar hundreds of times a day, and it saves me a ton of time. Instead of writing out the web address of the site I want to navigate to, all I do is click a button and I’m taken where I want to go.

18. Ctrl+Shift+T

If you’ve ever accidentally closed a tab that you were still using in your browser, simply enter Ctrl+Shift+T, and the tab you closed will immediately open up again! Golfers have mulligans, and now computer users have their own mulligan. I use this shortcut pretty often and it saves me minutes throughout the day, not to mention endless frustration! You can use it repeatedly to keep going back and open the tabs you closed in the reverse order. While we are at it, the undo capability on the iphone and the unsend capability in gmail are also life and time savers.

19. Blinkist

For reading (or listening to) certain kinds of books (business, self help, how to) faster, Blinkist provides summaries with an emphasis on what’s important. The subscription price might seem high until you realize it can save you a few hours on one book. To me, that makes it worth it. Conversely, if you gain some wisdom from the books that impact your life, the price is tiny.

20. Spree

Ever wanted to read 1,000 words per minute? With Spree, you can. Spree is an app that removes the need to move your eyes while reading. It turns you into a speed reader by flashing single words of a sentence in order in one central spot. It’s a pretty cool app!

21. Clarity In Composing

You thought I was only going to give you 20? Here’s one extra for luck!

Make sure your writing is clear. The less time you have to spend explaining and clarifying the better. One technique which can be helpful is ending your notes with a very clear list of action items you are hoping for from your note. Another thing to do is clarify your tone with words. Email carries no tone and you may be writing with a certain voice in your head but the words will only convey that intent if 1. The reader gets it right intuitively, or you clarify by saying the tone of this email was intended to be…

Remember, every instance you save time on what you need to do, you get to spend more time to do the things that you want to do. Using productivity apps and hacks is a great way to remain efficient throughout the day and get more done!

Michael Solomon is an established entrepreneur and the founder of 10x Management, a prominent tech talent agency. He remains a sought-after voice in the business technology world and makes frequent appearances on Bloomberg Television, MSNBC, and BBC. Michael’s sharp eye for business has helped 10x Management revolutionize the technology sphere.

Michael Solomon

Written by

Michael Solomon is the co-Founder of 10x Management, 10x Ascend, Brick Wall Management and Musicians On Call.

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