There is one extremely important thing in the world that you can’t make more of, can’t replace, and can’t buy – no matter how much money you have.

That is your TIME and while we can never have more than 24 hours in the day, I’ve been determined to find the absolute best tools to make those 24 hours the most productive possible. 

Not enough time, be more productive, have more time in the day

After I quit the 9-5, I realized that I had to learn how to manage my schedule, how to best organize tasks, manage deadlines, and determine priorities. Over time, and after much trial and error, I have come up with routines and tools which have helped me best manage my life as well as have a successful business.

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Let me share with you the 6 tools that have proven to dramatically increase my productivity as well as change both my business and personal life:

Productivity Planner

Before I check e-mail, talk to clients, or start any of the tasks that I have to do, I fill out the productivity planner created by Brendon Burchard of High Performance Academy which arranges my day into three broad sections: Projects, People, and Priorities.

Here is a brief overview of how you use the productivity planner:

  • You start off with listing your projects with five sub-tasks for each of the projects.
  • Next you list the people who you are waiting on in order to move on with a project.
  • Then you list the people who you absolutely need to reach out to today no-matter what.
  • And last, you write the absolute highest priority items which you must complete today no matter what.

Once you start incorporating this into your morning routine, I’m confident that it will make a big difference to give you clarity and focus before starting your day.

 

E-Mail Management

Mailstrom is an invaluable tool which helps you quickly clear through all of the clutter in your inbox and discover what e-mail messages are absolutely critical, and which are not,  so you can quickly delete ones which are either old, irrelevant, or spam messages.

I used to be guilty of letting messages like old subscription messages, update messages from project management software, and other e-mails pile up in my inboxinbox, but then I discovered Mailstrom.

When I first started using Mailstrom, I had 2,098 messages in my inbox and within 10 minutes I was able to remove 2,113 messages and only leave 15 messages which were absolutely necessary to have in my inbox that day.

If your goal is to end the day with 0 messages in your inbox, as I strongly recommend, then this is an incredible tool to quickly help you sort and delete all the messages which aren’t completely necessary.

Mailstrom - Inbox at 0, clear inbox, delete gmail messages

Time Management

Focus Booster will not only keep track of where your time goes, but it will also help force you to get more done by keeping you focused on the task at hand.

One of the key benefits to using Focus Booster is that it uses the Pomodoro Technique which allows you to work in sprints (called pomodoro sessions) and maintain regular breaks. These breaks keep the mind fresh and fast, which is required when working with such focus. The other key principle behind maintaining focus with the pomodoro technique is being able to effectively manage distractions.

A great benefit is that it also allows you to track all of the time that you’re spending on client projects and see exactly how much you need to bill clients for previous work that you’ve completed.

Focus Booster - Time Management - Track Client Time

 

Time / Habit Tracking

Rescue Time allows you to really get an accurate picture of how you are spending your time and helps you understand your daily habits so you can easily see what you need to do to become more productivity every day.

The app comes almost as close as it can get to forcing you to be productive by allowing you to set goals, automatically tracking how you’re spending your time, logging your highlights throughout the day, blocking distracting sites and even allowing you to set an alarm to tell you when you’ve been on Facebook (probably looking at videos of kittens – because who doesn’t love videos of kittens?) for too long.

If you don’t want to have to worry about adding in tasks and tracking everything manually then this is an excellent tool for you.

rescuetime - manage time, time management, manage tasks, distractions, productivity

 

Tasks, Notes, & To-Do’s Management

For years I have always been searching for the perfect way to keep track of to-do’s and notes. I’ve tried some systems which allow you to prioritize your tasks by color and urgency, have automatic reminders & alerts on my phone, and other really advanced things, but I’ve always used them for a little while and nothing seemed to stick.

I’ve always looked for something to keep track of all my meeting notes, to-do’s, goals, ideas, and even grocery lists but I normally would always start with a complex system and then eventually go back to a pen and paper because honestly it’s just so much easier to just jot everything down in a notebook.

Then I discovered the app called WorkFlowy and so far this seems to be the best note-taking and organizational app  that I’ve used.

Unlike systems like OneNote or Evernote, you don’t need to have ‘notebooks’  to organize everything. All of your notes, to-do’s, goals, and basically everything that you want to keep track of in your life is all part of one list.

On this list you can have as many sub-items as you want and can “zoom in” on one of those sub-items to create separate todo lists.

This will make a lot more sense when you watch the video below.

If you want something that’s helps make it easier to manage your life and business – then I’d recommend trying WorkFlowy.

 

Project Management

If you need a way to manage projects among different team members and clients with almost no learning curve then Trello is fantastic for this.

One thing that many people struggle with when working with project management systems is how complicated most of them are to use and this can be a big issue when you’re trying to bring clients into a project management system or quickly get a new team member up to speed on how to track tasks, upload files, and communicate with other members of the team.

And then we have Trello… Imagine having a bunch of index cards and then moving those cards between lists on a bulletin board. Now you understand how Trello works.

While it is extremely simple to use, it still has a ton of free features such as: Posting comments for instant feedback, allowing you to upload files from your computer, Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, and OneDrive. Adding checklists, labels, due dates, and more.

This system has been an incredible asset to my business and has helped me streamline communications and task management for both my clients and staff.

Trello - Project Management, Task Management, Client Projects, Manage Files

Comment below:Are there any tools you’d recommend either from the list above or in general that have helped change your personal or business life?

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