Working in digital means there’s never a dull moment – but the fast pace often means that on any one day, we’re juggling a minimum of 15 different tasks. Here are a few fantastic (and free) tools that I find invaluable in staying on top of them.
Being organised doesn’t mean you have to have a superhuman memory, but you can have superhuman to do list apps! I’ve tried and tested a lot of them and none come close to this. Todoist allows you to assign tasks across your entire work week, drag and drop their priority, categorise and schedule as recurring. The paid version adds in shareable tasks, iCal integration and reminders – but I find the free version meets my needs just fine. At the end of the day, I simply start moving tasks to the next day to focus on what’s most important. It means nothing ever gets missed.
Anyone else feel slightly light-headed when you have hundreds of tabs open? Visual clutter really ruins your productivity. This app consolidates them into one easy to read page at one click. Great for research and times when you just need a breather. One click restores them all again.
Unroll.me is a tool which rolls emails from selected senders into one folder and sends you a daily digest of them all. I use this to stay on top of retailer eDM activity without reducing day-to-day productivity. On a personal level, it helps keep my promotions in my personal inbox (and hence my tendency to splurge!) at bay.
“But what about mobile?” is a question that always comes up at an agency. Instead of whipping out my mobile, Chrome and Firefox developer tools include an ability to “emulate” a mobile device to view any site. Paired with a tool like Webpage Screenshot, you can easily do anything as a mobile user from the comfort of your desktop.
“Clear your cache” is another must do for agencies when a site is playing up for someone else. I always forget which combination of key strokes gives me a hard refresh. Instead, this handy extension clears your cache at the click of a button. (Disclaimer: This piece of brilliance was developed my an old colleague, Benjamin Bjoko.).
New tabs are so boring. This one went a little viral around IE – when you open a new tab in Chrome, it displays a gorgeous nature scene, allows you to set your main focus for the day and provides an inspiring quote. Plus it has a little to do list in the right bottom corner if you prefer simple. Why is this good for productivity? Sometimes we run a little too fast – this helps you focus at the start and throughout the day.
We all need to slow down more to build up energy for when we need it most – but we don’t give ourselves the time. Prioritise your down time to build up energy for when you need it. I use this popular app at home – choose classes by how much time you have, your experience and what you want to focus on. You can even play this soothing Spotify playlist in the background.
Why is it we always come across the most interesting industry reads when we’re trying to get other stuff done? This browser plugin lets you save these for later with one click. I sync it with my iPad so I can read on my lunch break, on my way home or on the couch.
This is stock standard for most of us, but Evernote is where every little thought/meeting/inspiration gets stored, work-related or otherwise. I organise notes by client folders and put shortcuts on the left hand side for ease of use.
My best offline tools for productivity are:
1. Protein – it gives you sustainable energy throughout the day. Always include it in breakfast and lunch.
2. Headphones – Wear big ones that tell people, “don’t distract me with mindless chatter, I’m on a roll”.
3. Tea – You won’t get that plummeting energy an hour after your coffee. Peppermint tea helps ward off headaches and tummy aches.
4. Sleep – just go to bed earlier, okay? Makes a world of difference.