I am a little bit obsessed with productivity. I tend to read almost every blog posts that comes across my dashboard that even remotely hints about how to be more productive. I love diving into how people use lists or technology to help them get more stuff done. At the same time reading all about that can also make me feel like an unproductive slug at times. But because I love productivity so much and I spend a lot of time learning about what works for me I thought it would be helpful for me to share the tools I use.

Now as a reminder, what works for me might not work for you. And that's all okay. I'm not telling you there's one way to do things, only what's worked for me. Honestly the best way I found to be more productive as a whole was through a lot of trial and error with learning about how I work and about what works with and for me. Now without further ado here are some of my favorite productivity tools.

1. Forest

I am a little bit obsessed with this app. It's simple and effective. You select the amount of time you want to go without using your phone and then you select a bush or tree that represent that amount of time. You plant the tree or bush and then the timer starts. If you navigate away from the screen where your plant is growing, it will die. The only way to let your plants grow all the way to adulthood and let it populate your beautiful forest is to leave your phone alone.

It also has the option to have background noise which I really love to. I didn't to use it a lot as a timer to keep me on track for how long I want to stay focused on something. It's really great and it's by far my favorite app that I have consistently kept using. Recently they have added an update where you can now plant trees with friends. (I don't have any friends on the forest app yet so I can't speak to how well that works but it sounds super fun.) 

2. Isolation

So lately I've actually found going low-tech helps a lot of ways with getting things done. Since I picked up dictating I've been spending a lot of time locked in my closet. And honestly that isolation has helped tremendously but keeping me focused. In my closet there's not much to distract me or interrupt me. Aside from the occasional kitty cat paw or region under the door to slap me. But I can turn on the forest app, Open up whatever project I'm working on and get to work. I haven't gotten very good at using dictation to be able to browse the Internet's or do much else besides write, which is exactly how I want (so please don't tell me how). The isolation, quiet and focused area help me get a whole lot more done than I would normally.

3. Pen and paper

As much as I love list tracking apps like wonder list, nothing has yet replaced my beloved pen and paper. I keep a daily journal to track everything I want to get done that day and I've done that for quite a few years now. Sometimes I do it in tandem with an electronic list that helps you remember it. I've bullet journaled for a long time so currently I'm using a pre-printed journal but when that runs out I'll probably return to bullet journaling. It's one of my favorite parts of the day when I sip my coffee and put together my list of things to accomplish for that day. It's sort of the ritual that starts every day. Even on the weekends I do it. I'm not particular about what journal or notebook it has to be but I prefer something with a hardcover to survive being in my bag. I'm much more likely to care about what kinds of pens or pencils I'm using the actual notebook itself.

So those are the three main things they're helping me be productive right now. And sometimes not even that works. There are some mornings where I don't put together a to-do list, where I feel too overwhelmed to write anything down, and there are mornings where I will just sit in silence and stare into space in the closet. And there are definitely days that I have killed my poor little tree in the forest app.

Productivity isn't a contest, even though it's really easy to feel like it is, productivity is personal and about what finding what works for you and how you want to work. Lately the world has been a little stressful for me so my productivity has taken a nosedive and the main thing I've learned as of the most important part of productivity is forgiving yourself when you have a bad day. So what are some of the ways that you keep productive or some of the things that really haven't worked for you? I'm always curious to hear about what other people are doing.

Source: Photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash
AuthorAndrea Judy
CategoriesWriting Life