Everybody is becoming increasingly busy. At the same time, distractions seem to be becoming increasingly common. Advertising companies are getting craftier at aiming ads to distract you; websites like Facebook and YouTube get paid for every second they own your eyeballs. It seems like we need help to stay productive and motivated.
Fear not! For I come bearing gifts.
I am not being paid to promote these resources, but I am genuinely recommending them because I think they have really helped me get more organised and productive. Of course, all these resources are free – who doesn’t like free stuff?
First on my list has to be my adblocker, Goodblock. It has saved me so much time on my laptop loading pages and YouTube videos, I don’t get those tempting advertisements in my sidebars all the time; all the while I’m raising money for donation to a charity of my choice! That’s what I call productive. I realise that the ethics behind adblockers are difficult, but the fact is that the absence of ads makes my life run smoother.
In order to make productivity second-nature, it’s best to turn them into habits. Habits don’t require willpower, making them all the more easy to get done. However, developing the habit is difficult. This is where Habitica steps in. It turns the whole habit-forming process into a game, where you gain XP and random items if you complete your habits. You can also complete quests with other users! It comes with an app for iPhone and Android, and the pixellated graphics are awesome as well. The whole Habitica community is so supportive. What’s not to love?
Notes on my phone or on sheets of paper always get lost and I never seem to find them again. Trello solves this problem by providing a beautiful interface and a concept that performs: a list of lists. Not only is this perfect for sorting out everything from bucket lists to holiday planning, but you can also collaborate on shared projects with other people too!
When it comes to organising my time, Google Calendar is great. I also have a NASA calendar hanging in my bedroom, but Google Calendar syncs across my laptop and my phone so I can bring it around with me wherever I go. You can also export Facebook events to Google Calendar and other apps are compatible with Google Calendar too. There are options to repeat events in many different ways, colour code, invite others, keep them private… The list of functionalities goes on and on. In fact, a lot of Google products are very useful, but Google Calendar comes top.
The internet is a huge resource. At the same time, it can be a huge distraction. Freedom blocks certain sites and apps for a specified amount of time so that you can crack on with the work that you need to do. It’s also great for implementing the Pomodoro technique.
Moving away from the digital world, here is the first analogue method I used for keeping organised. It’s a fast way of seeing and jotting down stuff to do, collections (lists), random stuff etc. whilst keeping the notebook tidy. It is super adaptable, and you can add or take away bits to suit your style. It’s a little bit sophisticated, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll save a lot of time.
If you want a simpler method, I recommend using Strikethrough. I really like this method because it’s simple and intuitive, helping me keep track of my to-do lists. It’s very versatile, and again you can easily change the system to suit you. Here’s a 3-minute video that shows you how it works:
For the last two, I recommend getting a really nice notebook, something that you will love using, like this beautiful Moleskine Plain Pocket Notebook.
This will motivate you to actually use it, and you will be less likely to lose it! A nice pen will also help. The pen that I really love using right now is the Muji 0.38 gel pen – the lines are so fine and smooth that my handwriting improves tenfold!
I hope that you found these recommendations useful in some way. Feel free to comment below to share some productivity resources of your own!
P.S. The picture above is of my own desk. It stayed uncluttered for less than a day…