How I stay productive everyday did not happen overnight. It took years of tweaking and bunch of experiments to figure out what the most optimum method works for me.
Now these are the productivity tools that I use DAILY to help me keep track of both my work and personal life.
Every Morning I print out my calendar and then review my tasks. The tasks are assigned via Outlook reminders.. Then I simply plug in the times that I would dedicate into the Calendar. I learned this trick from Cal Newport’s book Deep Work. Cal states that you get the most of your work if you hyper focus on a certain task and do not stop until the allotted time is finished.
The tools I use are Microsoft Onenote, Trello, Wunderlist, Bullet Journal, and off course Outlook. These are the tools I use daily to keep track of my tasks and stay organized.
OneNote is probably the most underrated piece of software Microsoft has ever made. Surprisingly not that many people use this software that is included in all Microsoft office suite. The folder setup is almost exactly how my brain operates. There is similar product that lot of people use and it’s called Evernote. But I prefer Onenote because how it integrates with Outlook.
Trello is basically my Project Management software. It uses a Kanban method where I can group certain tasks. How I add tasks is first capture the tasks from Outlook reminders. I sort them out according to the correct group. I’m able to update tasks and keep track of what I did.
Wunderlist is similar to Trello but has a completely different layout. I use this for both my personal and business related items. I like it because it’s on my cell phone and I can easily sync the tasks. Often times I used it similarly to how I use Outlook reminders. Once I add the task I transfer it to Trello.
Bullet Journal has been a game changer for me also. It’s basically an analog organizer. I like the fact that I’m using a PEN and actually writing it down on paper. Something magical can happen when you do it this way.
Outlook is the foundation of all the other software. This is because where most of the work starts “EMAIL”. I know people absolutely hate emails but it is a necessary evil and how most people communicates.
Finally I didn’t mention this earlier but actually applying the time to work on these tasks require another technique. It’s called the Pomodoro technique. The idea is to use a timer where you work distraction free for 25 minutes then take a 5 minute break. Do 4 iterations and take a longer 15 minute break.
For me 25 minutes was to short especially if I’m doing deep work. It was easier for me to work 45 minutes and take a 15 minute break.
What works for me may not necessarily work for you. It took a long time for me to get the right mix of productivity tools for myself. The key is to continue to experiment and find out what works for you. Trust me, finding that sweet spot is so satisfying and you’re going wish you knew about this years ago.
Originally published at Thomas Wooldridge.