This month I started working remotely. It turns out that it is harder to stay focused and productive that way. However, I managed to gather and integrate apps that help me to increase productivity and avoid distractions. In this post, I describe what I am using and why.
There are lots of books and articles about productivity. I have read some of them and I encourage you to do that as well. Here, I list the apps that I am using that helps to follow the productivity techniques.
If you want to be productive you need a todo list. Write down small and discrete tasks. Every morning select which of them you would like to accomplish today. For that, I am using trello but there are plenty of other apps like this.
To help you accomplish tasks from your todo list you need to remove distractions. Turn off your phone, tv, radio. Disable any notifications that might interrupt your work. In addition to that, I am using a browser extension (StayFocusd) which blocks websites that I used to keep checking during the day.
The Pomodoro Technique is a method for time management. There are five steps:
- Select a task to be done.
- Set a timer to 25 minutes.
- Work until the timer rings. Stay focused and avoid distractions.
- Do a short break (5 minutes). After four pomodoros take a longer break (15 minutes).
I have recurrent tasks that I need to do every week or month (for instance bills and taxes). I don’t want to remember adding them to my todo list every time. I used IFTTT recipe to schedule weekly or monthly recurring Trello tasks. That way I automatically see them in Pomello app as well and I am not worrying anymore that I forget about something important.
To be productive you need to take care of yourself. Eat healthy meals, get enough sleep, exercise and keep your workspace tidy. But, there are no apps for that! However, there is an app that might make you sleep better if you are working late. f.lux filters blue light in evenings and makes your computer screen adapt to the time of day.
The most important part of being productive is you. There is no app that will make you productive, but there are some that can help to and will make it fun.