I’ve learnt over the last few years to get more than most people out of their day, and no, not just by working 15 hour days – by being organised, by using the right technology and by being disciplined in my use of it.
Software is just software at the end of the day. The key to success is about how you use each piece available to you and how you weave it into your workflow to best effect. Tinkering with a new tool and not properly adopting it, is just a distraction. Trialing a new tool and then figuring out how it can help you in the long run, is smart.
Some of my personal recommendations and thoughts on how to increase productivity in 2013 are listed below. Feel free to add your suggestions in the comments.
Inbox spelt backwards and is the greatest plugin ever made for Outlook which will save you hours… honestly. There is a free version I’ve been using for the last 2 years – and an upgrade path for enhanced functionality. You won’t regret downloading it.
No one can work in complete isolation – yes even you, the lone consultant or coach – you need a team around you – a mentor, peers, industry groups and people to bounce ideas off. Get mentoring advice from people who’ve been there and bought the t-shirt.
Hands up if you still use Internet Explorer? Shame on you. Get hold of Mozilla’s Firefox. And take advantage of the amazing ‘Awesome Bar’… find URL’s you’d completely forgotten about and take advantage of add ins to enhance your workflow, such as managing Amazon S3 files or snipping images.
Share to do lists with your colleagues and family – because productivity doesn’t stop at work. My wife and I use this. She sends me jobs, I add to shopping lists. And no, it’s not always that sterotypical in our family – I can assure you!
You can’t work to your full potential when you’re stressed. Whilst the number of days lost through stress (in the UK at least) have fallen in the last decade, you are an individual and you need to recognise when to get professional help.
A fit body, leads to a fit mind – you probably know that already – but are you doing something about it? Are you exercising regularly? Are you challenging your self? This is a great Google Maps style resource for planning training routes around the office. Schedule in time to run – because what’s more important to productivity than your health?
Synchronising files, calendars, contacts etc isn’t always the most straightforward things to do initially, however once you’re set, have learned to get round the various hurdles, you’ll never look back. There’s nothing more satisfying than accessing files and data from wherever you are, with any device.
Remember The Milk has become one of the industry standards for to do lists. It was pretty much the original online application and has developed over the last 9 years into a free App
too. If you like ‘electronic’ to do lists – this is the one to try.
If ever there was an app or website I couldn’t personally do without, it’s this one. I’d be surprised if you’d not heard of it – but are you using it as part of your workflow and are you getting the most from it? Evernote pretty much runs my business and personal life – it stops me from becoming distracted, provides an ongoing flow of ideas and inspiration when I need it and
You need to be brave to use this app… use it to track how you spend your time in front of your computer… what are you really doing? I tried this last year and the results can be quite scary if you’re not careful. It helps you to focus on what’s actually really important and get more done.
A bonus website / application for you. How often do you need to grab a screenshot? If you’re anything like me – then the answer is, a LOT. I’ve tried a dozen screenshot tools over the last couple of years. This is the one I’ve settled on. It can screenshot to a network drive, can annotate quickly and can share in a heartbeat. It works and it works fast. Just what I need.