What’s the #1 excuse people have for not taking care of their health? It’s usually: “I don’t that they don’t have time.” Today, I want to share with you 5 productivity apps that will help you get more work done in less time. This will give you more time to do the important things in life, such as taking care of your health, spending time with your friends and family, hobbies etc.
We all have the same 24 hours in a day. Why is it that some people get so much work done in a short period of time? The most successful people realize the value of time. Your time, energy and health are limited resources.
Of the 24 hours, we spend roughly 8 of those hours sleeping, 8 hours at work and we have 8 hours to do everything else. This includes getting ready, commuting, eating, chores etc. What if we could find ways of getting more work done in a shorter time? What if you could get 8 hours of work done in 7 hours? You would get 1 extra hour a day to do some of the most important things.
Technology is like a double edged sword. We can either get distracted by it or we can use these productivity apps to get better.
Watch The Video
Productivity App #1: StayFocused
Do you know how much time we spend in front of a screen? According to research compiled in this article, we spend about 5 hours on our cell phones alone. That equals more than half the work day!
Today, we have more distractions than ever. Every time we get a notification, our focus is disrupted. There are a few paid apps such as Forest but I couldn’t find any free productivity apps that I really liked. That’s why I suggest putting your phone in airplane mode while working.
I use StayFocused on my browser to block distracting websites such as Facebook, YouTube, and other social media sites. Did you know that on average, we spend 50 minutes on Facebook and Instagram alone? If you want to keep track of where you’re spending time, check out another productivity app called Rescue Time.
You can choose the websites and the hours at which you wish to block them. For instance, if you work 9AM-5PM, you can block these sites during work hours.
Productivity App #2: Focus Keeper
Multitasking is often thought of as a valuable skill, but it is actually one of the worst things you can do for your productivity. The reality is that our brains can only focus on one task at a time. When we multitask, were simply switching back and forth between 2 or more tasks. Not only is this more demanding in terms of mental energy but it is also inefficient.
When you start focusing on one thing at a time, you will find that not only does your work quality improve but you will also be able to do more work done in a shorter period of time. If you want to learn more about this concept, I highly recommend the book: The One Thing.
I use time-blocking techniques such as the Pomodoro technique. In this time block, I focus on doing one thing until the time runs out or I’m done with the work before moving on to the next task. The Pomodoro technique uses time blocks of 25 minutes of work followed by a short 5-minute break. This is a good starting point for most people. Over time, you can adjust this and see what works best for you. Some people like to work in time blocks of 30 minutes and some like to work for an hour straight.
The timer I used is called Focus Keeper but you can use any timer you like. A simple google search on the Pomodoro Timer will help you find some good timers.
Productivity App #3: Week Plan
One of the common traits of the most productive people is that they plan ahead. They estimate how much time a project is going to take and they put it on their calendar. This is different than a to-do list that we’re used to having. Since our time and energy are limited, we have to identify, what matters the most. This is where time management comes in.
In one of my favorite books, The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People, the Author Stephen Covey shares the Time management matrix/quadrant. All of our daily activities can be classified into the following categories:
Quadrant 4: Not Important – Not Urgent (Time Wasters)
You must have already identified that avoiding and eliminating the quadrant 4 activities is the first step in freeing up time. These activities are obvious time-wasters but we do them because they give us short-term pleasure, not long-term happiness. Let’s face it, we all do it and there’s nothing wrong with it as long it does not affect your main priorities. If you want to make more time, these are the first to eliminate from your daily activities.
Quadrant 3: Not Important – Urgent (Deceptive)
Quadrant 3 is the quadrant of deception. These are a bit tricky as these are activities that keep us busy but are not important. They give an illusion of being urgent but are really only urgent. While these may seem urgent, you should try to avoid these as much as possible. After eliminating quadrant 4 activities, eliminate as many quadrant 3 activities as possible. Ask yourself “Is this really important or is it just urgent?” If you can’t avoid these activities, delegating them to others who can do it for you.
Quadrant 1: Important – Urgent (Necessities)
Quadrant 1 activities are activities which are urgent and important. They are tasks which require immediate attention and have deadlines. Even though these activities are high on the priority list, they don’t really add value to our lives and are not conducive to reaching our goals. The best thing you can do is to use time management techniques to manage these activities to the best of your abilities.
Quadrant 2: Important – Not Urgent (Focus)
This leaves us with quadrant 2, the most important quadrant. This is where our focus should be. These are activities which will ultimately lead to achieving your goals and happiness in life. These have to be done proactively.
Week Plan is a productivity app that allows you to plan your day and week using this time management matrix. This app also features a Pomodoro timer to help you with focused time blocking.
If you’re like me and you prefer to write down your goals on paper, you can use something like the Productivity Planner, which also encourages you to focus on the most important tasks first and set aside time blocks.
Also, check out:
Productivity App #4: Focus Music
This might be surprising to you but Music plays an important role in determining our mood, focus and emotional state. Playing the right type of music has been shown to improve productivity and focus. It’s probably not the best idea to listen to your favorite songs while you work. Apps such as Focus Music give you 4 genre’s to choose from Electronic, Classical, Downtempo and Ambient sounds such as Rainfall.
I personally use the default, electronic music option. You don’t even need to download the app to be able to use it. You can simply go to Focusmusic.fm and hit the play button.
Productivity App #5: Sleep Cycle
We all know the importance of quality sleep to reach our fitness goals. Sleep also plays an important role when it comes to cognition, working memory and the rate at which we process information. Sleep deprivation can cause impaired cognition, which leads to reduced productivity.
That is why I recommend using Sleep Cycle. Sleep tracks the quality and quantity of your sleep. You may think you get good sleep until you start monitoring it.
One of my favorite features of this app is the Smart Alarm feature. Have you set an alarm to wake up in the morning, only to find yourself hitting the snooze button over and over again? You may also have felt tired and groggy throughout the day. This is because the alarm woke you up from deep sleep.
The Smart Alarm feature senses when you are in the lightest stages of your sleep and wakes you up at that time.
Summary: My Top 5 productivity apps:
- Focus Keeper/Timer
- Week Plan
- Focus Music
- Sleep Cycle
Try these out and take your results to the next level!