Productivity Tools

Over the last year and a half I have been exploring how to manage my productivity. It started with mostly talking with the kind folks in Dave Seah's Discord server. By the start of this year, I have found what I believe works well for me. This post is to, hopefully, give folks some ideas that they can use to increase their own level of productivity.

The first tool that I started using more often is Google Calendar. I put all my one off events in here, such as meetup events or dates with my partner. I have set it up to send a notification to my phone and email one hour before the event starts. This gives me a chance to freshen up if needed or to finish whatever task I am working on and be able to leave the house in time to make it to the event on time.

The second tool I have been using since late December of 2018 is a simple text file for my TODO list. Each day I start with the date, then all the things I want to get done that day that are not on my calendar. I leave a space to check off items as I finish them. At the end of the day, I mark how many items in the day's TODO list I completed over how many items I had listed as I wanted to get done that day. I can then move the items I did not complete to the next day and mark them as being copied over from the last day. I also break down larger tasks into smaller, more manageable, pieces. This way I don't feel as overwhelmed. This is what it might look like:

2019-01-18 (3/8)
[] Setup blog
      [x] Create subdomain
      [] Create posts
            [x] Introduction
            [] Productivity
      [] Have posts reviewed
            [] Productivity
      [x] Get Nikola working

2019-01-19 (/8)
[] *** Setup blog
       [] *** Create posts
            [] *** Productivity
       [] *** Have posts reviewed
            [] *** Productivity
[] Take out trash
      [] Kitchen
      [] Bathroom

I have found two advantages to this method. The first is that I don't have to remember what needs doing each day. I have a hard time with remembering things, so a list like this helps a ton. The second is that I can copy part of the list to paper if I have a lot of things to do away from the computer, then mark completed tasks when I get home and have some free time.

Last, I saw a blog post by Ali Yahya on his habit tracking. I found it interesting and after a week trial starting on January 1st, 2019, I found it quite useful for habits I wanted to improve on, such as getting out for a walk each day, reading a physical book every day, and cooking at least two meals a day. I also added some algorithms to show how many of the habits I did each day and the ratio of how many days I did to days I did not do a task. Some habits I have found easier than others.

I hope this gives you some ideas you may want to try. If you would like to know more about anything I mentioned, please comment below! And new folks to Dave Seah's Discord server are always welcome.

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