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Taming the To-Do List: My 3 Favorite Workday Productivity Tools

WRITTEN by: Jess Link |
categories: Business Growth

Jul 2014

ALL INSIGHTS

As an Account Manager, my normal workday consists of keeping several projects rolling forward in tandem. As a result, I’ve become a connoisseur of time-saving techniques and task-management tools that help me draw more productivity out of each workday. Here are my top three favorites:

Wunderlist

I would be lost without the Wunderlist app. Offered both as a desktop tool, as well as an app for your phone or tablet, I keep all my to-do lists here. For example, when I’m driving to and from client meetings, I take a look at my “Calls” list on my Wunderlist app, so that I can use my drive time to touch base with people by phone. I also keep a “Projects in Motion” list that I review as often as I need. For me, that’s every Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 10 a.m. I leave a status note on each project to remind myself of next steps or items I’m waiting for. For more adventurous users, there’s a Wunderlist Pro version, which allows you to share lists with other Wunderlist users and assign To-Do’s to others, but the regular version is free!

Howler Timer

This is a strange one, I’ll admit, but I often use the Holwer Timer Desktop App to keep myself on track. Before I start a task, I’ll estimate how long it’s going to take. Then, I set my timer for that amount of time and race to beat the clock. I’ve found that it’s really helpful to stay focused and helps me avoid getting distracted by a new email that may have just popped into my inbox. I’ve found this is especially helpful if I have a few 15-minute tasks that I need to conquer. Using the timer helps me avoid letting short tasks turn into longer ones, because the pressure of the countdown helps me stay focused and power through. (And yes, I’m timing myself right now).

Boomerang Plugin for Gmail

Boomerang is a free plugin for Gmail, and I use it to do two things:

  • Schedule an email to send at a later time or date. This is a great feature for when you’re working late but don’t want the recipient of your email to know that! This way, you can finish your email at midnight, but queue it for 8 a.m. the next morning. Or, perhaps you want to send a reminder email to someone at a certain time of day. Boomerang allows you to specify the exact time & day of the send. You can also cancel or change the send date after you schedule the message.
  • Remind someone if I don’t hear back. True to its name, Boomerang will “Boomerang” a sent message back to the top of your inbox at a specified time. For example, if you send a message on Monday, you can set the Boomerang feature to drop the sent message back into your inbox on Wednesday at 10 a.m. if nobody has responded. I love this feature, because it helps minimize items that might slip through the cracks.

These are just a few of my favorite productivity tools. Would love to know what your favorites are. Please share!

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