“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” –Goethe
The internet has been notorious for breeding many technological distractions. While much of that notoriety is warranted, I would like to share six, web-based, productivity tools that have improved my life (and how).
RescueTime – Reports how I spend my time.
This internet browser extension tracks how I spend every minute on my computer and mobile device. I receive a report of my productive (and unproductive) minutes each week. That’s how I know that I spent 50 hours on Microsoft Word and 22 hours on Gmail during November.
RescueTime is like a bank statement for my time. It’s a great way for me to assess my priorities on the basis of my behavior.
Google Docs – Helps me to focus on my priorities.
I maintain a Google doc at all times on which I record my goals and my progress toward completing specific projects. Google docs allows me to modify this document from my desktop and from my mobile phone. So, I can review my goals and project status from my smartphone—anywhere, anytime. During the past year, almost all of the projects I have completed and goals I have achieved first appeared as a bullet point on this document.
ColdTurkey – Eliminates distractions.
ColdTurkey allows me to block access to distracting websites for up to one week at a time. Because Facebook easily can turn into a productivity wasteland for me, I use this program to block access to Facebook for six days out of each week. Even when Facebook is blocked, I can schedule Facebook posts using Buffer (see below). I respond to any Facebook comments on Tuesdays when the website becomes un-blocked.
Freedom – Eliminates more distractions.
When I want to get especially productive, I use Freedom to block access to the internet completely for several hours, which helps me to focus on offline projects. In my business, these offline projects are usually more fruitful than anything I do online.
ScheduleOnce – Simplifies scheduling.
Rather than going back-and-forth with people to find a meeting time that works, I send my ScheduleOnce calendar link, which allows people to schedule an appointment with me based on the times I have available. It stays in sync with my Google Calendar so that I don’t double-book myself. ScheduleOnce also sends reminders to all attendees about each upcoming meeting.
Buffer – Helps me to automate social media posting.
I use Buffer to schedule social media posts for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. In the 21st century, I believe that engaging on social media should be a high priority for thought leaders that want to spread their ideas. At the same time, monitoring and actively updating one’s various social media profiles all day is not a wise use of time. Buffer makes it easy to automate this task.
Time is our most precious commodity. Because our days are numbered, and there are only 24 hours in each of those days, we must be resolute with every moment.