The volume and pace of information we encounter working in a digital world is overwhelming. We are constantly expected to complete tasks for the working world while also networking through the management of social media accounts. Who has the time to be successful with both? In order to achieve daily goals, keep on top of regular workloads, and avoid landing in the gutter, productivity management must be a top priority for anyone trying to find a balanced life in the modern context.
The list below provides you with some of the tools, apps and websites that I find keep me on the right track for these goals. They help me avoid distraction and keep the highest productivity levels I can. While some are intended for daily use, others are only useful on occasion. I have included those I use regularly and those I only use occasionally on the top five list because although some are not the right fit for my needs, they each have proven success for the right person. You will likely find that some of these work better than others for you as well, but my hope is that you find at lease one of these resources to be a useful aid for your personal workflow and productivity challenges.
1. Feedly & Instapaper
These two tools free up some of my daily time, which allows for increased productivity. One of my regular and more enjoyable daily routines is to find and share useful and interesting social media contact with others in my network. Who has a huge block of time to devote to reading social media content? These two apps help me manage my workflow by streamlining the process of sharing content. Feedly helps me discover new and interesting articles, and I can then send that content to Instapaper when I’m too busy to read, and Instapaper allows me to store the article for a time when I have more freedom to prioritize and focus on that reading task.
2. Stay Focused Web Extensions
I’m no stranger to distraction, and my guess is that I’m not alone. It’s so easy to find yourself idly perusing Twitter, Facebook, or other social networks that are built to keep you browsing and away from your work.
The Stay Focused Browser Web Extensions allow you to list the websites that steal your attention and limit the time you are allowed to visit them. This is your internet nanny. She will keep you on task and focused on work. As a Chrome user, I have found success with Website Blocker in the past
3. Your Calendar
Where does the time go? A digital or analogue calendar will help you keep track. This is a must-have tool for productivity. Google’s digital calendar provides you with mobility and multiple device access (mobile phone, laptop, etc.) but an analogue calendar can be great for those on-the-go moments when you need to quickly pencil in an appointment. Many find a hybrid solution useful, but you must ensure that you sync the data between calendars or your productivity gains will be lost.
This tool has a wide range of utility that can increase your productivity. With Evernote you can take notes, share information with others, store pictures or collected information, collaborate with others, and all this can b synced to your account for access on multiple devices. I use this time-saver frequently to create lists of items to return to later and to store ideas for future blog posts.
I’ve mentioned Buffer before as on of my favorite apps. This one can be used in conjunction with Feedly and Instapaper. Buffer allows the user to schedule the content I find to be posted to social networks. This creates a steady flow of curated content with minimal effort. This app offers a stress-free way to save time without keeping yourself connected to the social network at all hours of the day.
These resources are just a starting point for the ways technology can help increase your productivity. We encounter so many distractions daily, and it’s easy to avoid the work at hand. Sometimes a few simple tricks, apps, and tools can keep us moving in the right direction. Set goals for your own productivity and workflow, and use these tools as a way to stay on task. Don’t think of them as a punishment. I like to think of them as a way to afford myself more time and freedom in the evenings to stay offline and focus on my family.