The 6 Types of Tools Everyone needs to Increase Productivity

Photo by XPS on Unsplash

At the beginning of the year, when many of us were hopeful for the new year and decided to make resolutions, I decided I wanted to be more productive. I have a problem with procrastination, and I wanted to try and change that. A year later, I still have a problem with procrastination. However, I have improved little things, and there are some tips I have learned along the way.

It is easy to become lost in all the applications out there. So for this article, I have boiled it down to 6 types of application everyone needs to increase productivity. If you have more than this number, consider which applications you need and which you can delete.

  1. To-do List

You do not necessarily need an app for this. Writing it down in a notebook works as well. Do whatever is best for you.

I prefer to use my phone.

When looking for a to-do list app, you don’t necessarily need anything too sophisticated. It can be as simple or intricate as you want it to be. I look for a few key features.

My requirements in a to-do list include:

  • It connects to Google Calendar
  • Can affix due dates and times
  • Has the ability to prioritise
  • Has a widget

I need something that will force me to complete tasks on time and will force me to look at them regularly so that I do not procrastinate. The good thing about a widget is that I have it on the first page of my phone, so I look at it every time I look at my phone. Everyone will have different requirements.

Tick Tick is the application I use for no reason other than I like it aesthetically. With Tick Tick, you can add tasks to different lists within different folders, add due dates and prioritise and schedule them with the in-built calendar. Todoist is another good app for task management.

2. Calendar App

To-do List apps are for tasks. Calendars are for events. Doctors appointments, work hours etc. Anything which requires you to be at a specific place at a particular time. Once you add these events to a calendar, you can then schedule your tasks throughout the day.

Google Calendar is as good as any calendar application. It also has the added benefit that it syncs with many different devices. Tick Tick also has an in-built calendar.

3. Daily Notes App

“Your Brain is for having ideas, not storing them.” This idea is from David Allen’s “Getting Things Done.” Full disclaimer, I have not yet read this book. It is currently sitting on my bookshelf. However, having watched many youtube videos and listened to the podcast he did with Tim Ferris, this quote is something that has stuck in my brain.

If you have a great idea, a task you need to complete, something you need to remember, whatever it is, make a note of it in a daily notes app. Store those ideas.

Craft Docs is a good app for this. Unfortunately, you have to pay for it after several notes. But it is an excellent app if you are willing to pay.

Obsidian is another thing I use. It is an app for personal knowledge management. However, it has a core plugin for daily notes. Obsidian is free and can work on your computer and your phone. I also have a community plugin called calendar which allows me to search for the notes by clicking on the correct date on the calendar. It also has an option to create a weekly note which may or may not be helpful.

4. Email Application

Email is an essential part of productivity for many people. If you receive many emails, it is helpful to have an app to sort through and prioritise those emails.

Gmail and outlook are common apps. I like using Spark Email. Unfortunately, they don’t currently have a windows application. They have a function called “Smart Filter”, which separates emails across 3 of my emails. I can see all the important ones immediately and deal with newsletters and notification emails later. It helps me prioritise and save time by sorting through insignificant emails while I’m watching TV or listening to music.

5. Pomodoro Timer

It is easy to get distracted. Pomodoro timers use a time management technique to break work into intervals separated by breaks.

I like to set the timer for 45 minutes with a 15-minute break, but you can set it to whatever you want. The human attention span is 30–50 minutes, so don’t set the timer for your focus time for longer than 50 minutes; otherwise, it will be pointless, and you won’t stick to it. Pomodoro timers work as it allows you to stay focused on a task for a short period before taking a break and going back to it. Don’t overdo it. Don’t force yourself to struggle in order to be more productive.

The app I use is the Flora app. I haven’t tried anything else. With the app, a tree grows while you are working, and if you stop before the time is up, the tree dies. It’s a cool concept, but there are plenty of options.

6. Notion

Notion is an application in itself and might be one you already know. I have singled it out as it’s an app that does a bit of everything. It can work as a to-do list, calendar, daily notes application and can be used to organise information and create content.

I liked it for writing college notes, but unfortunately, it has no offline mode. It works well as a task manager, but I use an app designed for to-do lists instead, as I have already mentioned above. Notion works for many purposes and can connect tasks to projects to study materials.

I hope that you find this list helpful. Thank you for reading this list.

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