24 Life Changing Productivity Tools

(and which ones you shouldn’t use)


BY CHRIS DANILO — First appeared on my personal blog

Okay here’s what’s going to happen

You’re going to see all of these tools and immediately want to read about all of them, figure out which are best for you, and spend more time than you want clicking and scrolling and downloading today.

“As to methods; there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.”
— RALPH WALDO EMERSON

Ignore the outdated sexism. Ralph isn’t a bad guy, I swear.

The point is to focus on what’s important, and NOT the method/tool used to get the result you want.

Here’s how to tackle this list:

Think of ONE thing that’s killing your time right now.

Then, and only then, should you scan this list and look for a solution to that one thing. If you find it, go for it! If not, you can always come back to this later when you’re in the shower thinking; “Ah, man, there’s this one thing that’s just eating up my day.”

Remember that your productivity is not going to decrease because you didn’t exhaustively read this list.

But it could decrease for today if you spend time looking at stuff that’s irrelevant to your projects and try to solve ALL of your problems at once.

It’s a psychological technique called “chunking.” Basically, we just take big things and make them small things.

For example, which of these is easier to remember?

8776422967

OR

877–642–2967

We “chunk” information all the time. It’s the only way we stay sane.

It’s the same for your tasks.

Focus on ONE thing that matters today. Master that. Then move to the next thing.

Don’t try to do everything at once.

“I’m spending too much time emailing.”

Then focus on finding an email consolidator.

“I’m wasting time trying to schedule meetings with my team.”

Then focus on finding a scheduling assistant or automator tool.

Ready?

Go.

24 Productivity Tools:

(Spoiler alert: some of them aren’t apps.)

In no predetermined order.

1. Unroll.me— Email reduction.

Roll all of your subscriptions and promotions into one, digestible email. I don’t know how I’d get by without this.

Unroll.me

2. Evernote— All your thoughts, quickly searchable, in one place.

Pay for the premium version and you can search for text in hand-written notes. Great for looking up those whiteboard meetings.

Evernote

3. Scannable — Scan documents with your iPhone

and upload to Evernote or the cloud, your iCloud account, Google Drive, or to an email address. It’s mostly fast, but make sure the document is on a different colored background.

Scannable

4. Google Drive— All of your data, available at any time

. . . in the cloud. Great for businesses. My whole life is here.

Google Drive

5. Calm.com— Meditation for newbs.

The optional audio guidance is super helpful.

Calm.com

6. Sleep Time— An alarm clock

that syncs with your sleep cycle. Kinda cool. I’m still skeptical about how well this method of sleep tracking actually works. I use this particular app because it syncs with Argus, another activity app I use.

The real value here is in ‘tags.’ Label each night’s sleep with tags like “Ate late,” “Not my bed,” or “Had caffeine today.” This way you can correlate good nights’ sleep with your behaviors to make better decisions.

Sleep Time

7. Trunk Club — Personal stylist, and wardrobe management.

“Men hate to go shopping, but love to look good.” Offer up your dimensions and get paired with someone who can pick out clothes that look good on you. If you don’t like it, send it back. You pay for only what you keep.

Get paired with the same stylist I use.

TrunkClub

7. IfTTT— Web triggers that automate boring tasks.

IfTTT

8. Zapier— Automates like IfTTT, with some different software integrations.

This one is a little more business focused. Love this for transferring files between different Google Drive accounts.

Zapier

9. Mint— The best, simplest free personal finance tool available.

Mint.com

10. Expensify— Take a photo of your business expense receipt

. . . with your phone. Reimburse, tax-deduct, add notes, etc.

11. Siri —Apple’s personal assistant.

One of the most commonly overlooked tools to which you’ve already got access, for ‘capturing’ your ideas, thoughts, or to-do’s.

Trust me, you’re not getting what you should get out of Siri.

Common uses for me:

What’s the weather like, today?
Move my 2pm meeting to 4pm
Call my Mom at work
Set a timer for 25 minutes
Siri

12. Sunrise— The most synchronized and beautiful calendar available.

Their keyboard/app Meet is seriously changing one-on-one scheduling.

They’ve got apps for desktop and iOS. Impressively convenient.

Sunrise.am

13. HealthTap— Quick, free answers to health questions from real doctors.

They’re generally pretty quick. You can pay for a membership if you want faster answers or personalized help.

HealthTap (Sorry for the horribly unnecesary greenish gradient in this photo.)

14. The Workshop School of Action— The shortest, no-nonsense route to success in business.

You’ll wonder why you (or anyone) paid for an MBA — if you can survive this schooling.

Workshop School of Action

15. Hipmunk— Flight schedules you can actually understand.

No one has visuals like this. Gorgeous. Simple.

Sort by priorities like “Price,” “Duration,” and “Agony.”

Hipmunk

16. Airfare Watchdog — Finding cheap flights so you don’t have to.

Airfare Watchdog

17. ResumeRuby — Fast, beautiful, resume templates.

This is the best, fastest way to stand out among the pile of resumes on your any recruiter’s desk.

ResumeRuby

18. Christian Baum’s Biz Resources

One of my favorite entrepreneur’s collection of useful tools for business.

Christian’s Resources

19. LastPass — Synchronous password management for all platforms

It’s a competitor with OnePassword. If you’re a Mac user, you should check out OnePassword too. It’s prettier and more “user experience” focused. I’ve just been using LastPass long enough that I’m feeling the ‘lock-in’ effect.

LastPass

20. ToDoist — An omnipresent to-do list

Syncs with everything, everywhere, gives great visuals of project velocity, and adds a human touch with due-date options like “due next Monday,” and “Every Monday and Tuesday until September.”

ToDoist

Some books that will change your brain:

21. The Lean Startup

Eric Ries’ iconic startup methodology. If you’re starting ANY kind of project, you should read this.

22. Knock ‘em Dead: Secrets and Strategies

The ONLY book you should read if you’re looking for job interviews and resume building.

23. Gut Feelings

A straightforward, intuitive explanation of the science behind why we should listen to our gut feelings.

24. Kid President’s Guide to Being Awesome

Pep talks, Celeb interviews, and 100 ways to change the world. This book is a great way to add some positive perspective and get you motivated again.


This isn’t an exhaustive list. But if you liked it, you might also like some of the books that have changed my life. You can find them on my page, here: http://chrisdanilo.com/vault



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