7 Tools to Be More Productive at Life

7 Tools to Be More Productive at Life

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

1. Headspace

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.

3. Gmail

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.

5. Podcasts

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:

  • https://tim.blog/podcast/
  • http://podcasts.joerogan.net/
  • https://www.smartpassiveincome.com/podcasts/
  • http://mywifequitherjob.com/category/podcast/
  • https://theartofcharm.com/podcast/
  • http://veteranresourcepodcast.com/

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.

6. Waze

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!

7. Evernote

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!

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  1. Smart passive income is on my podcast list but i don’t listen to it as much. Since you mentioned it, I’ll give it a listen this week. Stacking Benjamins is a good podcast that i recommend, give it a listen if you haven’t yet.
    I need to watch that Evernote video you have on here. I signed up with them a couple weeks but didn’t really get the concept of their planning. Thanks for this Darren!

    1. We truly underestimate how much valuable information Pat Flynn provides on his website and podcasts. I’ve only listened to a couple Stacking Benjamins episodes. Will look into them some more. Thanks.

      I know you’ve heard people tout Evernote this and that. I was stubborn and have slowly given them a chance. I basically tried everything else and have come to the realization that Evernote is the greatest, ever, note-taking productivity app…EVER! 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by to comment. I appreciate it!

  2. I absolutely LOVE My Wife Quit Her Job! I started reading his blog almost 10 years ago. I was a college student and didn’t know anything about the possibility of quitting your job and starting a small business on the side that could replace your own salary, it was amazing to read about. Still an old favorite of mine, and probably the blog that planted the seed of financial independence all those years ago. 🙂

    I do want to give Headspace a try some time, I heard the app is great!

    1. Hi Jing,

      I really like Headspace but I’m interested in trying a bunch of other apps too. I might have an updated list in the near future.

      Steve has it going on with MWQHJ, Create a Profitable Online Store, and Bumblebee Linens. I don’t know how he does it but he only puts in part-time hours and makes millions in revenue annually now. Crazy!

  3. Agree 100% on Headspace. How long do you do your sessions? 10, 15, 20 minutes? I was doing the 20s but found that towards the end I would start to get antsy, so now I do the 15s. It seems to work better, but I still don’t do it as often as I should…

    1. Hi Miguel,

      10 mins for me. Anything more and I’ll start itching all over. I’m weird like that. I’d like to be able to do 15 to 20 minutes but I really can’t afford to. I seriously don’t have enough time to get everything I need to get done before work but I like how I feel when the meditation session ends.

      Thanks for stopping by to comment! I appreciate it.

    1. Courtney,

      OMG, you don’t know what you’ve been missing!

      1. I check out audiobooks from the library and, while most are ok, few are worth buying so I’ve actually saved quite a bit of money this way. Also, a lot of books have nice short messages which are helpful but don’t need to be spread out over hundreds of pages.

      2. Podcasts are going to change your life! These are just some that I love but I haven’t even listed other great ones. You might as well do something while driving, working out, etc… It’s a great time-saver but what you’ll learn is unbelievable. Plus, a lot of really good podcasts are just fun to listen to.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I appreciate it!

    1. Waze is great! If you’re saying some on the list are better than others, I’ll bet you’re referring to either Gmail, Google Calendar, or both. I felt the same way until I decided to see how I could use them to actually be organized. I’ve found that while they don’t have the same functionality as Outlook, they’re easier to use and more importantly, can be used on a computer, a tablet (dying breed) or smart phone! I have to use a Windows phone for work and I really don’t like it.

      Thank you for your comments, Amy. I appreciate it!

  4. I love articles like this that simply teach you how to win at life.

    I’ve never used Google calendars, but I think I’m gonna give it a try. I find that right now all my appointments are stored in disparate locations and it would really be nice to consolidate into one place.

    Also, I’m always on the lookout for good stuff to listen to. So thanks for the podcast recommendations.

    1. Hi Dustin,

      Let me know if you ever need help setting up any of these applications. I’m a fan of all of them. Glad to have introduced you to some things that you WILL find useful.

      Thank you for visiting and commenting. I appreciate it!

    1. Hi Melanie!

      I used to complain about my Gmail and wished it was more like Outlook…[gasp!]. Finally, I decided to see what options and functionality Gmail had. I love that I can organize it the way it is now and actually prefer it over anything I’ve used.

      Thanks for stopping by to comment. I appreciate it!

    1. Tim,
      Oh yeah! I do listen to School of Greatness but not as often as I used to. Lewis Howes is pretty awesome. You’re right! Great minds do think alike. One day, I hope to join the ranks of them…;)

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