We all want to be productive and while that can mean different things, I believe that productivity can be summed up in three words: get things done. With that in mind, here are a few tools and some hacks that I find most helpful to assist with productivity.
- OneNote. As a writer, I am always thinking of new ideas that I need to capture right away. Because I do not always have a pen and paper, OneNote is very handy. One feature of OneNote is that it synchronizes to my Office accounts, which allows me to access my notes on multiple devices. Using OneNote, I note all kinds of things, including shopping lists, account passwords, writing ideas, and so much more. I can also add an “add note” shortcut to my home screen, making note-taking even more convenient. Other features include sticky notes, voice notes, attaching images, searching notes, and drawing notes.
- Calendar. I mentioned in a previous post that if it is not in my phone, it does not exist. My calendar app is a tool I use every day. I am constantly aware of what the day holds in terms of reminders and events; and what is coming up for the week. I have recently added my bills and debt to the calendar highlighting what day they are due. As a bonus, events can be color-coded (i.e. a red bar for debt). This hack helps me to stay on top of things, especially when I set up the notification, which conveniently pops up on my smartwatch when my phone is not nearby.
- A Smartwatch. I recently purchased a smartwatch after researching for months several different brands and features. Some of the main things I was looking for were related to productivity. The ability to receive email and text notifications, along with at-a-glance weather, top news, the date and time(s), and more is a beneficial alternative to pulling out my phone; especially when being on the phone would be considered inappropriate.
- Email Folders. If you receive newsletters, advertisements, and other non-work related email in your mailbox, I strongly advise creating separate folders for these items. Doing so will allow you to focus on the most important emails that require your attention or response. You can later get to the non-urgent items when you have time to leisurely review them. Perhaps for 15 to 30 minutes at the end of your workday, you can scan those folders and read only what you want.
- Fiverr. I have only recently started using Fiverr but I have found it to be very helpful. I am a DIY kind of girl and an autodidact so it can be challenging for me to cheerfully outsource things I’m working on, even if I don’t really know what I’m doing. However, I was satisfied with a recent project and was grateful that the project was one less thing I had to think about, worry about, and learn. I love learning but time is your most valuable asset so in some cases, it is best to let go and outsource.
- “Ok Google”. While I am more likely to go into Google and type in “define xyz”, I cannot always do that. I use Google a lot, as in several times a day, for defining words and researching various topics so being able to ask Google is most helpful. Despite the controversial privacy issue that many of these big corporations’ face, the technology behind these tools are transformational and go a long way in increasing productivity.
- Alexa. Full disclosure, I do not use Alexa; at least not yet anyway. However, you would have to be living under a rock to not know about it. A list of Alexa’s features include Entertainment, Communication, Productivity, Smart Home, Shopping, News & Information, and Skills. Under productivity specifically are Alarms & timers, Calendars, Reminders, Lists, Calculations & Spelling, and Help in the Kitchen. Concisely, an Alexa-enabled device can pretty much cover all your productivity needs.
If you want to increase your productivity, check out some of these tools.
Rita Lucas is a GovLoop Featured Contributor. She is a writer and author who works with the federal government as a management analyst and project manager. As a writer, she helps small business and non-profit organizations promote their mission and brand; and as an author, she has published several titles that promote self-development. As a government employee, Rita has worked in the field of human resources for 11 years and has volunteered for leadership positions with veteran-focused and millennial-centric organizations. Rita holds a bachelor’s degree in business and a master’s degree in publishing. She is a new mom and resides in Maryland with her family. You can read her posts here.