I wouldn’t say I’m ADD, but I’m certainly not one of those people who was born with the natural ability to stay focused on one project for hours on end. Even when I’m writing articles and blog posts, I tend to jump around – right now, I actually have four different blog posts open that I’m working on simultaneously and I’ll probably finish them all at about the same time.
But it’s okay that I’m somewhat scatterbrained – I have systems in place to ensure that the stuff that actually needs to get done, gets done. If you’ve ever had the sinking feeling that you’d get more done if you could just turn off Cute Overload, read on for a few of the free productivity tools I recommend…
1. Remember the Milk – I am not exaggerating when I say that I’ve tried just about every online task list manager that exists today. I’m very particular about the way I record tasks, and I’ve found that Remember the Milk strikes the best balance between being too simple to be useful and too complicated to use regularly. Plus, I love that it has an iGoogle gadget so that I can see a summary of my to-do list every time I open Firefox.
The way you schedule deadlines took me a little time to get used to, but otherwise, I highly recommend it as a bare-bones task manager that includes all the info you need without a bunch of extra details.
2. Leech Block – If I could get back all the hours I’ve wasted checking Facebook, I swear I’d be a millionaire several times over by now… This is where Leech Block comes in handy. It’s a Firefox app that lets me “lock down” certain websites for a period of time I specify so that I can get down to business without the temptation of mindless internet surfing.
I’m way too embarrassed to share the list of sites I have blocked (just a hint – it involves a weirdly high number of US ladies figure skating sites and just about every site on memebase), but I definitely recommend giving the tool a try if you’re having trouble tuning out all of the adorable kitten pictures on the internet and actually getting work done.
Oh – and one super, “level-up” productivity hack you should try right away… Leech Block lets you specify the site that your browser redirects to once you’ve used up the time allotted to each block of sites. Can you see where I’m going here? Set it to Remember the Milk as a not-so-subtle reminder to get back to work.
(A confession – I didn’t come up with that trick on my own, but I can’t remember where I read about putting the two sites together. If it was your site, mad props to you – you’re a productivity genius! Let me know who you are so that I can attribute this tip correctly.)
3. Google Documents – For an internet business owner, I’m weirdly slow to adapt to technological changes. I still don’t have a smartphone (I know, right?!), and it took me years to figure out what “the cloud” is and why I should care. But now that I’ve discovered the power of Google Documents, I’m a total convert.
The reason I love Google Docs is that I always have the projects I’m working on with me. Whether I’m on my home computer, the computer at my day job or killing time at the library, all I have to do is log on to Google and start writing. There’s no waiting for MS Word to load and no wondering where I left the latest update of each document I’m working on. Brilliant!
Do you have any other great (preferably free) productivity tools or tricks to share? If so, share them in the comments – I’m always on the lookout for more ways to be efficient!