Unless you have your dream job, admit it: most of the time, you’d rather be somewhere else. But if you want to keep your job – a good plan during a pandemic – you’ve got to demonstrate that you’re a productive employee. It’s hard to stay productive. But luckily, as the cliché goes: there’s an app for that. In fact, there are a few.
Here’s a list of some of the things productivity apps can help with:
How to divide your time matters. As the wise saying goes, “Work smarter, not harder.” Those who cannot manage their own time suffer from stress and spend four hours on something that could have been done in one. If you’re not a person who naturally manages their time well – and most of them aren’t – a productivity app that features a clear mapped out schedule for tasks is a lifesaver.
Many will deny it, but there are those – especially the folks working from home – who attempt to relieve work stress by viewing “adult content.” This leads to – um … wasted time. (If you clicked on the link, we hope it satisfied you.) Apps that block X-rated material deliver you from temptation as the choice is, um, out of your hands.
You can use such apps to block access to your Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Tik Tok accounts completely during work hours, or you can let yourself have little social media breaks. Not having the option of checking social media for two hours, for example, is extremely liberating.
Break it up:
Productivity apps generally come with some form of the Pomodoro technique timer. The original timer was an actual timer shaped like a tomato, and most people would set it for 25 minutes. The idea is to work like crazy for 25 minutes and then “reward” yourself with a five to 10-minute break. Knowing that your “suffering” has a time limit is comforting, and most find the 25-minutes go by faster than expected.
The best productivity apps sync across your devices. For example, if you’re a Chrome user, your office computer, home computer, extra laptop, and smartphone can all be synced through the app, so you don’t get to sneak Facebook time on your phone during a bathroom break.
So, with those concepts in mind, here are our top four recommended productivity apps:
- BlockSite – This app does all of the above and – as its name implies – allows a lot of control over what you wish to block when you wish to block it, and for how long.
- Pomodoro Timer Pro – If you prefer to keep it old-school, this app applies the previously mentioned timer system with many different settings.
- Todoist – This app is more about monitoring your daily to-do list, again, as the name implies. It’s less comprehensive than BlockSite but offers stuff like location-based reminders.
- Lucidchart – Keeping your team on the same page is the mission of this app. Users can create a custom document or choose from multiple templates. Then add visuals from hundreds of shapes, colors, and the options to add layers. The cool part is that the app allows collaboration within the software by tagging team members.
Finally, here’s a couple of parting tips for staying productive – with or without an app:
Do the worst thing first. Pick the item on your to-do list that you dread and get it done. Willpower is a real thing, like gasoline. It runs out. If you plow through the worst thing first, you’ll avoid the genuine possibility that your willpower fuel tank will drain before you get to it; and there’s no way a normal human can do something tough or unpleasant with an empty willpower gas tank. And tackle that “worst thing” before noon, lunch. Mid-morning, your brain is fresh. Have meetings in the afternoon. Be creative or do the thing that’s bothering you in the AM.
Take more breaks:
Seriously. Brains need glucose. Ever felt an ache in your brain? That’s not you being lazy. That’s a signal it’s time to refresh. Grab a healthy snack, go for a walk, or just shut your eyes and do nothing. Trust us, it works.
Be truthful with yourself and admit laziness: Too many “time-saving” ideas are sneaky ways of avoiding work. “It’ll be better if I write a long email explaining everything.” Maybe, but maybe you should get out of your seat and go downstairs and talk with the person. Choose effectiveness.
Your IQ drops an average of 10 points if you change tasks more than 10 times a day. Stick to a goal by focusing on one task at a time.