My favorite productivity tools for 2014

I am sort of an app addict. One of my small talk questions is what new apps people are using. I love finding new apps that fit into my life and make it easier. These are few and far between. Most apps I download or use briefly I am iffy about. Those that don’t make a strong impression after a few days use get pushed aside.

Here are some of the tools I use regularly that help keep me on track and productive.

My interview with Matt Perman on Gospel Productivity.

whats-best-next

I recently read a book entitled What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done” By Matt Perman. Here is my review of the book I did a few weeks back. I loved the book how it tackled the whole issue of productivity from the standpoint the great commandment and the great commission. I often talk with my team and tell them we are not efficient with people we are efficient with problems so we can extend grace to people. That’s the heart beat of this book. After I finished reading this book I reached out to Matt to do a blog interview below is that interview.

1. You talk a lot about the need to eliminate and create larger chunks of time – Drucker starts time management by telling executives they need to “Know thy Time” You didn’t mention in your book to specifically track where your time goes. Was this on purpose?  

This is a great question, because originally I did have a section talking about the importance of tracking your time. Tracking your time is an important step because, as Drucker points out, you can’t manage your time unless you know where it actually goes. And, unfortunately, our memories are almost always wrong on this. The only way to truly know where your time goes is to track it. Once you track your time (for a period of about two weeks), then you identify the time wasters, cut them out, and consolidate the time that remains.

I cut those pages out in part due to the need to reduce page count and in part because tracking your time is just plain really hard to do. I wanted to develop a system that was as uncomplicated as possible and that people would actually do. I didn’t think most people would actually take the advice of tracking their time. If I had it to do over again, though, that is something I would probably update, or at least include in a footnote.

2. I loved your list of books to read at the end of each chapter. As a reader I found it exciting and also expensive. If you could recommend just one book as the next book to read after reading What’s Best Next what would that book be?

The one book I would recommend reading after What’s Best Next is Tim Sanders’s book Love is the Killer App. The reason is that it is all about the importance of generosity as the best way to succeed at work, which is one of the most important principles I emphasize in What’s Best Next.  

How I save 3 to 4 hours a week.

Google+ cover photo (8.292013)

I stumbled upon Sanebox a few weeks ago and it has been a game changer for me. I am by no means a super power email user but I get my fair share of emails every week. I would spend a few hours a week archiving old and information only emails. One of the common problems was important emails would get pushed off the important front page of my gmail account. Getting pushed of the front page would push it from my mind and many important emails would get lost or delayed because it was out of sight out of mind.

Hands down best productivity software program on the internet

I am a big mac fan. I have used Things because it was the best productivity software program I’ve found for my Mac to date.

Here is why I no longer use Things:

1. Doesn’t sync to a cloud. You have to manually sync via wifi. Frustrating
2. Price 50bucks for the desktop app. 14 bucks for the iphone app and 20 bucks for ipad app
3. There is no collaboration feature. You can’t send or receive to do’s from other members of your team.
4. No way to use things on a PC

So you are asking what do I use now? Producteev.com  Why do I like producteev more than things?

1. It’s a web-based so it works on a mac or a pc
2. It syncs to a cloud no matter where you add the task it updates everywhere (They offer desktop app, iphone app and are working on a iPad app)
3. It allows you to assign task to other team members.
4. It’s free
5. It integrates with gmail and ical
6. You can add tasks via email or Instant message.

I have used Producteev for over three weeks now. I love it. You need to try it.

 

 

 

 

5 simple ways to manage your email inbox and stay focused

I am not sure if you are like me and you get more email that you care to have. I get around 150 emails a day 60 are semi-junk, 20 are straight up junk the rest need my attention. I find email one of the most unproductive time killing, concentration breakers. I decided to do a few things to help me focus on what I am doing.

1. Unsubscribe from all those newsletters from the stores you shop at. To do this either find the unsubscribe link on the bottom of each email or head over to unsubscribe.com you can sign up and forward your unwanted emails to [email protected] or install a unsubscribe button.
2. Use Folders to sort your mail or use otherinbox.com to scan your email box and sorts it for you helping you focus on the emails that are most important first.
3. Schedule two or three times in a day to check your mail don’t constantly check your mail all day.
4. Add emails that need a followed up email to a to-do list and don’t feel that you have to respond at that moment.
5. Ultimately if you have more email than you have time you may need to enlist some help.  You can have your assistant do this if you have one or look into getting a digital assistant.