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Sometimes I feel like I’m caught between Alice and The White Rabbit because I’m always running late or going down the dreaded rabbit hole. You know what I mean: you’re looking at an email that links to a website that links to a video that shows another suggested video that lists several links in the description. See how exhausting that was just to read? Your brain probably thought so too!
However, sometimes you actually needed that information but most of the time you don’t, and it was just a big waste of time. I do this more often than I care to admit. D: Luckily, it’s a problem I’m working on, and it’s getting better with the use of these 5 tools to stop wasting time and increase your productivity.
1. Toggl – I just found out about Toggl, and I love it! One of my biggest problems with time management is knowing how long it takes to accomplish the task. You can estimate on the front end how long something (a blog post, cooking, sweeping, picking the kids up, driving to the store, grocery shopping, practicing the piano, etc) will take then it will time it for you. Or you can just hit “play” and To stay organized, please name your project or task. If you are on the website, you can categorize what you time by projects. However, the app doesn’t have this option. (Yes, there’s a desktop and mobile app as well as webpage extensions.) The app and website quickly sync for ease of use. Don’t forget to hit “play” or start to allow the timer to start rolling. If you take a break or make lunch, make sure to stop it and start again. If you want to keep up with all of your tasks but forgot to time one, you can add it after the fact. Do you work at home? This site/app is for you! You can click the “$” to mark tasks and projects as billable and categorize and tag to easily sort them.
2. Day Planner – I didn’t want to have one at first, but they do come with fun stickers that make you feel like you’re five again! There’s that, and it really helps you know what you should be doing and on what days. When I use my planner correctly, I know when I’m hanging out with friends, visiting family, going to the doctor, paying bills, doing deep cleanings, cooking certain meals (only the special ones), and celebrating birthdays. I also use it for budgeting; this is BIG for me! You can even create your own style of cover now. Mine is a Me & My Big Ideas Happy Planner. I have one of the mini planners, so it fits perfectly in my purse. I suggest buying one that doesn’t have the dates pre-filled in case you buy it mid-year or stop and start. This helps you more than anything. Just make sure you look at the calendar correctly when marking the dates. 😉
3. Google Calendar – I know that despite my best efforts, some of you will not use a day planner. Hey, that’s okay. I suggest using Google Calendar or the calendar on your phone instead. For birthdays, you can put them in once, choose that it’s an all-day event, and mark that it’s recurring. I would suggest for birthdays that you actually choose to be notified the day of, two days beforehand, and a month out. You can add one further out if you prefer. This just reminds you to save up and will ultimately save you the time and hassle of trying to find a gift and card last minute. I do this for any big event as well. Don’t forget to add doctors’ appointments in the calendar. Some doctors are even tech-savvy enough to send you Google Calendar invites. If you have friends or colleagues with Google and you both have a meeting, event, or event lunch date, sent them a reminder via Google Calendar. I talked to one of my co-workers the other day who is pursuing his doctorates. (He is currently on the bachelor’s part but he is planning and is really dedicated.) He told me that his professor is using Google Calendar to sync calendars with their students. This way the students know if they have class, an upcoming test, etc. It also can work the reverse way. If the student needs to remind the professor he or she is going out of town or will be ill, he/she can just mark it on the calendar and share it with the professor.
4. Waze – I LOVE Waze. This is so much more than your average navigational app. The essence of Waze is based on the Google map system since it is a Google company. However, your route or route suggestions are based off users, or “Wazers.” These “Wazers” also report if there are accidents, slow traffic, bad weather, police, etc. You can have Waze notify you when you should leave for your destination. If you are not being dropped off, remember to add five to ten minutes to get parked, get your things, and go inside. Is someone meeting you? Send them your where you are via Waze.
5. Fiverr – Every time I ask someone if they’re using Fiverr, they tell me they don’t know what I’m talking about. Fiverr is a site where people offer to do a service or gig, or you can request for someone to do something for you (also called a gig) for $5 or more. Fiverr has almost everything. What if you needed to create programs for your church or child’s school? Just pay someone on Fiverr to do it. Tell them what you want. They’ll do it in 2 or 3 days and bam-o! It’s designed. You still have to print and fold them but that’s what Office Depot is for. What if you are working constantly, want your garage or bathroom to be refinished, and are attempting to be the best wifey you can be? You could get a home design studio software, plug in your photographs, dimensions, and try to figure out a mock draft to send to the contractor or designer. (You know, the pre-design for the designer?) Instead, you can purchase a gig where someone will redesign a mock bathroom or garage for you. They can send you either a 3D picture or a 2D picture. It will usually take them two to four days. Because you’re so busy, you may get to it two months from now which would have pushed back something you really wanted. Or you would have done it after staying up all day and may have missed key details that you really wanted in your project. Be Cautious! There are some dynamite people on Fiverr but there are some awful ones. Read the reviews, look at the gigs, and be very, very clear in your descriptions. (Note: There are other sites like Fiverr, such as Upwork, Guru, DesignCrowd, and others.)
Bonus: I don’t use this next one very often because with blogging, It Works, Modere, and writing, you really need to expand your network on social media and look up information on the web. However, these are very useful tools. (Also, if you are using social media, you need to be very task-oriented if you are doing it for business.) Leechblock NG (Firefox) or Stay Focused (Chrome) are both great browser add-ons to stop wasting time on sites or social media. I primarily use Firefox, so I use Leechblock NG, and it works like a charm. You can also use Freedom. It’s a paid service, but it is on desktop and ios.
Hopefully, with these 5+bonus tools, you will stop wasting time and will start being more productive in order to have a more fulfilled, prosperous life and/or business.