PRODUCTIVITY TOOLS I CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT
These tools keep me organized, productive, and sane all day every day.
Asana is a to-do list app. I’ve tried Google Keep, Outlook Tasks, Trello, Wunderlist. Asana hits the sweet spot of being simple enough for light users yet sophisticated enough for heavy users. I can customize by creating project-specific and person-specific lists. I can create recurring tasks like quarterly tax payments. Pro Tip: Use Asana only for things that have a deadline or date, so don’t take notes here. Use OneNote or Evernote instead. Keep your tools separate. There is no tool that will organize everything. Like building a house, you can’t use a hammer for everything. Need help getting started on Asana? Hire Gabrielle Fishman for a quick training tutorial; she’ll save you so much time. No need to watch videos or read the lengthy instructions.
Calendly is a scheduling app. Sending people your availability in order to schedule meetings is so 2015. Calendly creates a calendar for invitees to pick a specific date and time. But the best part is that YOU get to dictate how open your calendar is. Don’t want to have Fridays as an option? No problem, unselect that and Fridays will not be displayed to your users. And rescheduling is easy too. The free version gives you only one event type so it’s easy to give it a try on a small scale. Pro Tip: See how it works on my calendar.
Canva is a graphic design app. This simple graphic design tool is perfect for newbies. No need for expensive software like Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator because you get all of those functions with Canva. You want a quick way to make graphics look professional without spending hours struggling with color, fonts, or photos. Your resume will actually get read. Your readers will delight in getting a newsletter from you. Your branding will be consistent. You will rise above Times New Roman. Pro Tip: Use Canva to make all your social media posts consistent with your brand. See samples of my branded posts on LinkedIn.
OneNote is an app for taking notes. Do not use your email inbox as a filing cabinet. Use OneNote or Evernote instead. I’ve tried both and they’re neck and neck. In order for these tools to deliver for you, you must use them regularly. Stop putting reminders on sticky notes . Transition over to these instead of paper lists. When you have too many places to capture thoughts, your mind doesn’t trust that you’ve kept it all and it will nag at you. Caution: learning and using OneNote or Evernote take time. Be OK with feeling awkward for a few weeks as you adjust to a new way of organizing your thoughts. Pro Tip: Use OneNote to keep track of notes and use Asana as your task list.
There is an app, but I recommend the real thing. I’m using my 3” Time Timer right now to help me finish this page for you. Otherwise I’d work on it too long and bam! 3 hours have gone by. The best thing about this timer is its simple design perfect for kids and adults. Plus it doesn’t make that annoying ticking sound. Pro Tip: Use this instead of your phone’s timer. Your phone is too distracting.
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