“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.”–Paul J. Meyer
Work hard..and don’t play. Or just plain work but how much have you done? Between surfing the internet for work, checking email, reading the news or whatever you spend your time online doing. What have you really done? If you’re looking for a job this is super important to know. If you are a small business owner you definitely need to know if you are spending more time on activities that make you money or not.
Three tools to help you figure out what you are actually doing:
1) RescueTime is a web-based time management and analytics tool. It’s automated to track how you spend your time, so that means no actual data entry is necessary.
One of my favorite features is the RescueTime Focus Mode; it allows you to selectively block the distracting parts of the internet..(Email, Facebook, Twitter…or whatever site you spend too much time on) for a period of time you specify.
Fear not if you want to give this a try Mac and PC versions are available.
View the Intro to RescueTime below:
2) iDoneThis is frankly the easiest tool there is. You sign up for an account and you get an email everyday to find out what you’ve done. You just respond to the email. No logging into the site to update. Just type and send. No complicated settings to deal with. It’s a simple way to stay on track and see what you’ve done to motivate you to keep going. No operating system issues to worry about this tool lives on the web. Nothing to download.
3) If you can’t get anything done and money motivates you I would recommend giving StickK.com a try. Here you create a contract with yourself to achieve a goal/task. There are predefined goals or you can create a custom task. You can ask for support and have a referee who makes sure you stay on task (you can pick a friend you trust for this role or you can do it yourself but if you’re at this point outside assistance might be a great idea).
Here’s what I love about StickK, you can tie success to a dollar amount each week. If you are successfully you get to keep your cash. If you aren’t you will give that amount to charity. Some people have found picking an organization they hate motivating…they have zero desire to give their money to them; so they make sure they complete their tasks and submit reports on time.
There are certainly other tools out there – more complex, etc; anyone with a iPhone, iPod touch or iPad can start using the new Reminder app where your to-do list shows up in your iCal calendar. Tools are only good if you are consistent and actually use them. Don’t switch to something new if your old method already works. Try something new if you aren’t getting the results you want and need to stay motivated.
My system involves multiple apps, sites and plain ole paper…too complicated for some but it works for me. I’ve adapted methods, tools and tips from a variety of sources and take what works for me and forget the rest. Productivity tools are only useful if they help not hinder your process.