We all know that arriving back at your desk to a long list of to-dos can be a daunting task.
Luckily there are a number of apps which can help. Here are our top 5 tools to help break up large tasks into manageable to-dos, allowing you to keep track of time and remain happy and healthy, throughout your working week:
1. KEEP TRACK OF YOUR TIME WITH TOGGL
When you’re not feeling focused, getting down to a demanding task can feel impossible.
In order to ensure you’re not spending disproportionate amounts of time on less important tasks, it’s useful to keep track of the time you spend on each. Tools like Toggl can help you to keep tabs on this, allowing you to categorize projects and then turn on a stop-watch when you begin work on each area.
Time-tracking boosts your productivity by giving you a push when you’re procrastinating, or spending too much time on a simple task. When you’re tracking for content writing for example, then start swerving towards a completely different task, time-tracking offers you that little ping of guilt to get you back on track.
It will also provide a good understanding of how long each task will take, making your schedule realistic and efficient.
2. SCHEDULE EVERYTHING WITH MEISTERTASK
Once you have a better understanding of the kinds of tasks which require time and which can be ticked-off quickly, you can begin to schedule your to-dos.
You’ll avoid counter-productive stress by packing-out your timetable too tight, and will be able to organize your work depending on how you work best. This could be by getting the small tasks done first thing, or by cracking on with the largest task at hand.
With task management tool, MeisterTask, you can use the calendar and due date features to schedule all of your meetings, dates and deadlines in one place. This will make it easier for you and your team to keep track of what needs to be done by when and by who, preventing the usual tangle of online calendars and personal diaries.
Designed to be used either individually or preferably within a team, the tool allows designated members to view both their personal and shared tasks, leave comments and attach files, improving cooperation and communication within the team.
3. COLLABORATE WITH GOOGLE DOCS
Collaboration has been found to increase creativity, so to boost your productivity look for online tools which enable teamwork with your colleagues, and those located remotely.
Tools like Google Docs allow for real-time updates on shared documents as you work, improving communication and reducing time spent following endless email threads and offline versions of documents.
Documents are automatically saved as you work, meaning that as long as you have an internet connection, you won’t lose that last hour’s hard work.
4. STAY FIT WITH RUNTASTIC
It’s hugely important that you set aside time to relax, exercise and completely switch-off from work.
The opportunity to exercise at work has been found to increase productivity, concentration and problem-solving abilities. Exercise has also been found to decrease feelings of anxiety or nerves. As a result, scheduling in time to exercise, or to just take a 30 minute lunchtime walk, can help to increase your output.
Try using the Runtastic app to track your runs, remain motivated and stay fit. The exercise will not only boost your productivity that day but will benefit your emotional and physical wellbeing longer term.
5. REMAIN FOCUSED WITH HEADSPACE
Studies have found that meditation can actually result in physical changes to the brain, leading to growth within the parts associated with learning, and shrinking in those associated with stress. Mindfulness was similarly found to improve focus, sleep and the ability to listen and feel present – all of which are essential for a productive day’s work.
A recent randomized controlled trial found that using the Headspace mindfulness app for a short period of time every day for 10 days resulted in an improved mood and fewer symptoms of depression.
Headspace offers a free course in 10-minute meditation exercises for beginners and if you find, as the statistics suggest, that it boosts your positivity and ability to focus, you can sign up for a paid account from there.
For those of us often on the move, our smartphones and tablets have provided a great way to make the most of a spare 30 minutes in transit. Fortunately, all of the above online tools are available as apps for iOS and Android, enabling you to fully utilize those spare minutes.
If you have a hectic week ahead, having a structured and organized start on a Monday morning can make all the difference to your productivity levels. So if you’re feeling under pressure, try using these apps for 10 minutes on a Sunday from home, blocking out in a calendar how you plan to spend your week in order to meet your commitments, ensuring you have time reserved for your physical and emotional wellbeing.
This will help you to start your week with a clear mind, reassured that you’ll be able to get things done, while remaining positive, healthy and focused.
So those are five of our favorite tools for boosting productivity. Let us know yours in the comments below!