I’m always trying to learn how to be more productive at life. I have an obsession with productivity, not because I’m so organized, but because I value my time. I am constantly looking for ways to maximize results by doing the right things according to Pareto’s 80/20 rule. Call me lazy if you will–people are inherently a little lazy. I just want to keep everything as simple as possible and do things effectively and efficiently.
How to Be More Productive at Life
Win the morning and you win the day. ~Tim Ferriss
As part of my morning success routine, I meditate. Because meditation is so difficult to practice, at least initially, I follow guided meditation using Headspace. I’ve installed the app on my Android phone. It’s also online if I prefer to use my laptop instead.
It’s so easy to use because I’m guided through each session. Before I know it, the session has ended. It’s that easy. Meditation helps to clear up my mind so that I can focus on the day ahead. Give it a try.
2. Google Calendar
Most of us use calendars to track appointments and events. I use Google Calendar to do so much more:
- Track all my bills and expenses
- Receive a daily agenda of events
- Receive reminders of events via email/notification
- Invite others to events I’ve created
Google Calendar organizes my day. I prefer it over Microsoft Outlook because it’s easier to use and allows access on any device.
Email has all but replaced snail mail as the official means of communication. I seriously hate getting junk mail which seems to be 99 percent of what’s in my physical mailbox these days. I use Gmail because, once again, it’s easier to use than Microsoft Outlook and I can access it via smart phone or computer.
Most people know how to use email so I’m going to list how I use Gmail differently:
- Create folders to organize emails from people/companies
- Create filters to automatically send emails to folders and keep the inbox uncluttered
- Manage ALL my different emails by creating folders and filters. I manage my emails for learntobegreat.com in the same Gmail account (see picture above).
4. Audio Books
The most successful people read. A lot. Period!
But who has time to read everything these days? I don’t, especially since starting this blog!
This is why I listen to audio books. On my commutes to and from work, I can finish audio books in a matter of days rather than my usual time of weeks or months. If the books are so good that I want them, I’ll buy them on Amazon Prime, Kindle or at a book store (at Half-Price Books because they’re so ridiculously cheap!)
You could buy audio books on audible.com but I recommend you check them out at your local library instead. That’s right … check out audio books from your library. You might as well because you’re probably paying a lot of taxes locally to keep your library operational. If you haven’t looked into it, you might be surprised.
If you haven’t yet discovered the world of podcasts, where have you been and you’re welcome! 😉 I’ve listened to thousands of hours of podcasts to learn about investing, health, productivity, education, etc…
These are my favorite podcasts:
You can listen to them on iTunes, Stitcher, or many other online sources. I prefer to download them as MP4 files to my Android phone and use VLC to listen to them while working out or commuting.
Waze is a navigation app that works for iPhone, Android, and even Windows phones. It is powered by users who can contribute by posting updates as well as editing the map.
This is why I love Waze:
- Finds the quickest or shortest route to my destination depending on my preference
- Estimates my arrival time and updates it so I can predict when I’ll get where I need to go
- Users can add or edit destinations using the map editor
Do you know what my favorite benefit of using Waze is? Did you see the police icon before starting the video above? Waze users report locations of police (hidden or visible) to let the community know the whereabouts of our favorite ticket-writing law enforcement friends. 🙂 I know we’re all law-abiding citizens and we don’t need this but I WANT it!
If you don’t know what Evernote is please watch the video above because there aren’t enough pages in one blog to describe how awesome it is. I’d heard of Evernote but didn’t start using it until just a few years ago.
I use Evernote to keep track of all my notes, drafts, and articles that are worth keeping or reading later. I have an extension on my Chrome browser so I can easily save or clip articles. It’s also on my Android phone and syncs across devices.
I start my morning with Headspace for meditation. Google Calendar keeps me organized and on track. Gmail is one of my primary and preferred means of communication. Audiobooks and podcasts keep pushing knowledge into my head even when I’m doing something else, like working out or driving. I get where I need to go on time and without tickets using the Waze app. Finally, Evernote is where I capture all my thoughts, ideas, and rough drafts to improve my life.
What productivity tools and hacks do you use? Please share your tips and join the conversation below. I’d love to hear your thoughts!