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Making Productivity Happen: My 5 Favorite Tools to Get It All Done

“Productivity” is defined as “the rate at which goods are produced or work is completed.”

I’m convinced that productivity is at its highest in this day and age because of technology. Considering how much more professionals are able to produce today, versus 50 or 100 years ago, it is insane. We have technology that boosts organization, enhances communication, performs data storage… the list goes on and on. If you compare 2016’s work tools with the traditional 1970s desk housing only a telephone (and perhaps a typewriter), you see the reason for such marked differences in workday flow and expected output.

And that’s just the thing, isn’t it? The byproduct of it all: expected output.

The technology is awesome, but with each tech advancement there comes a higher expectation of output. The amount of work that I aim to get done in a day is bizarre. Sometimes I look at my to-do list and want to laugh (or cry!). I love my work, but the number of tasks I plan to fit into each hour would have been scoffed at by the marketers who came thirty years before me.

I’m not complaining about output expectations, though–not at all. There’s no other decade in which I’d rather be working. We’re in an age of innovation. Creativity is so highly rewarded because it means further productivity. Marketing is at its peak due to the magnitude and targeting abilities offered by the internet.

There’s no other decade in which I’d rather be working. We’re in an age of innovation. Click To Tweet

But, to keep up with the work output expectations in which I find myself (let’s be honest, I put those expectations on myself because that’s what small business owners have to do to survive!), I’ve developed a deep reliance on a few key productivity tools.

There are so many apps and tools out there–and more hit the market every minute–but these are my five favorites to get it all done and still have time to go home and be with my wife at the end of each day.

Gboard – This is a keyboard for iOS, released by Google just a few weeks ago. I’ve made it the default keyboard for my phone because it integrates so many elements, mainly search functions. There’s a “G” (“G” for Google!) icon on the top left corner that allows you to perform web searches right there, find images or gifs, and even access emojis without leaving the keyboard. The swipe feature (also called “glide type”) is incredible. It’s made texting and responding to quick emails even more efficient on my iPhone. Talk about saving time with everything at the tip of a finger!

Gboard

 

Email Assistant by EasilyDo – This email app is a game changer. It accesses your email accounts and pulls out the relevant information from each to keep your calendar, travel, receipts, etc. straight and clear. It’s like having an assistant organize your life, and all through email. The Smart Assistant feature, specifically, is super beneficial. Within the app, your emails are organized into five different types that are automatically filed and the info retrieved for easy access. There are different categories you can sign up for (Travel, Packages, Bills & Receipts, Entertainment), and within each category, information is pulled out of relevant emails and filed in one place to keep you organized. For example, I have an upcoming trip to Hawaii later this week. I can go to the travel section, and it organizes my flight itinerary with all the information in a straightforward manner with all the pertinent info. It even shows an epic photo of Hawaii.
easilydo

 

The Productivity Planner Notebook – Moving into the offline world… I am still a true believer in paper and a pen. There’s something about having a written calendar that continues to ground me. This is the exact calendar where I organize my key daily and weekly tasks. I’ve been doing this for a couple months now, and it’s been phenomenal for helping me prioritize. I tend to only write down the high-level tasks for the business, and having those items on paper on my desk is a brilliant way to remind myself of what’s important. I highly recommend everyone using this.

Prod Planner

 

Apple iPad Pro – When the iPad Pro came out, I purchased the 9.7-inch model immediately. The 12.9-inch model was too big for me as much as I travel, and it couldn’t replace my laptop. The device itself is great–but the true game changer is the Apple Pencil. I write most of my notes from books, podcasts, and meetings directly into an app called Penultimate, which syncs directly to Evernote. This has helped me digitize my note-taking while not losing the ability to handwrite, and I have everything available across all devices. (Below image from Toolsandtoys.net).

iPad Pro

 

Slack – If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: Slack is marking young, innovative companies and will continue to revolutionize communication in the workplace. It’s an instant messaging app for professionals that comes with invaluable benefits. My team lives all over the country and can communicate in real time, as if they’re face-to-face. Organization is easy. Information and documents are easily saved. My inbox is not nearly as disastrous as it used to be because all internal community (and increasingly, much of our communication with clients) is all in Slack.  I can’t imagine what productivity would look like for me or my team without it. (Below image from Techionix.com.)

Slack- Use this One

 

I’d love to hear from you! What productivity tools do you rely on for top performance, day in and day out? Comment below or tweet me up @ccannon!

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  • Hey Chad! Couldn’t agree more about the new iPad pro & Apple pencil. I bought one a few months ago after reading Michael Hyatt’s post & couldn’t be happier.

    I haven’t tried EasilyDo’s email assistant yet, but LOVE TripIt for travel. It also pulls relevant info from confirmation emails re: flights, rental cars, etc & organizes it beautifully.

    • Great to hear from you, Dawn. Yes, the iPad Pro/Apple Pencil has been a game changer for me.

      EasilyDo is much more than just an email assistant, it’s replaced the native mail app for me and is amazing! I highly recommend it. I also use TripIt, but this could end up replacing it. I’ve been a TripIt user from the beginning it seems.

  • What about project management? Are you doing that inside Slack or with another platform that integrates with Slack?

    • Chris, project management inside of Slack is difficult. It really can’t be done currently. There is a new tool called BusyBot that has been created to try and do this. I’ve used it with a couple teams and it’s pretty impressive: http://www.slacktasks.com/. Outside of this, we’ve toyed with Trello and Basecamp, but neither are perfect solutions, which is why I didn’t list out a project management system here.

  • i love the
    productivity planner!!