You may remember a time a while ago when I gave my sage advice on time management and productivity. At the time, I was going to school full-time as well as working three part-time freelance jobs. And I still managed to go to bed before midnight. Clearly I was doing something right.
While I no longer have extracirriculars tugging my in every direction, I thought I would share a little bit more on the topic for those of you who are still in that boat.
Computers and smartphones can be the best thing and the worst thing that can happen to productivity. On one hand, you no longer have to write correspondence by hand and mail it by carrier pigeon. On the other... those Buzzfeed articles aren't going to read themselves. Why not put your phone and computer to work for you again? Here are my top apps/tricks to find the time to plow through your to-do list:
StayFocused is an extension for your Chrome browser that you should install right now. You select the sites that you need to stay away from (Twitter, Pinterest, Bloglovin, Buzzfeed, etc.), set a time limit or block them between certain hours of the day. This last option would work great if you work from home and do not want to be tempted. They even give you the option to block the Chrome extension page so you can stop turning off StayFocused; think of this as disabling your alarm's snooze button.
A Master List
Whether you keep this on your computer, phone or the old fashioned way with pen and paper, keep one notebook or folder with all your to-do lists. Do not have sticky notes strewn everywhere with all manner of ideas you have ever had throughout the week. Something will inevitably get overlooked. Have your grocery list, errands, and reminders all together. Evernote is a great option if you want to keep your lists digital.
It syncs to your mac, iphone and ipad. My favorite feature is setting up multiple calendars. I have one for personal, one for work dates I may need to remember outside of the office, bills and blog posts. If you have several kids this is a lifesaver; give each kid a separate calendar and you can easily differentiate between Sally's soccer practice and David's dentist appointment.
Local Grocery Store App
I shop at Publix and can't get enough of their store app. My favorite function is selecting my regular store, entering my grocery list and getting a breakdown of what items are on each row. No more crisscrossing the store looking for flour or salsa. And if you shop at various locations across town, you won't feel lost. This can easily cut down 20 minutes or more walking up and down every aisle making sure you haven't missed an item.
I downloaded this app several weeks ago and am waiting for a weekend to calibrate the settings. The premise is based on your REM cycle. Most of us do not set our alarm based on when we are in a light sleep, instead we determine how long it takes to get ready and wake up accordingly. For this app, you set the latest you want to wake up. Through the morning, Sleep Cycle tracks your body movements in bed because you start to toss and turn more as you are coming out of deep sleep. The app's alarm will then go off at that point. There is a 30 minute window of when the alarm will go off. In theory, you will wake up more naturally and feel well-rested. I'll let you know how effective it is after I test it out.
Past time management topics include: