Finding the time each day to see every errand, family obligation, and professional responsibility through to completion is increasingly difficult. We tend to run ourselves into the ground in an effort to fit everything in, and our efforts are not always met with success. The fact is, we are all spread a little thin these days. No matter the commitments we make to prioritize accordingly, important items inevitably fall through the cracks.
If there is a solution to this perennial dilemma, it may well be found in tech sector. Specifically, there may be a solution in the form of a helpful application (app). Just as there exist apps for nearly every other facet of human experience, there are dozens available for the purpose of helping individuals streamline their days and maximize their waking hours as effectively as possible. The concept is as simple as it is marvelous: A technological aid there to ensure you forfeit as few moments to unproductive behaviors each day as is possible.
Best To-Do-List Apps
No two to-do-list or productivity apps are quite alike, and not all are equal. Understanding which of the best productivity apps of 2017 is most suited to your needs requires a close look at what some of the major names in the space have to offer. Below is an overview of the some of the best options in the marketplace.
1. Cisco Spark
Cisco Spark provides a cloud-based digital meeting space in which your professional activities can be scheduled, tracked, and generally managed. It is essentially an efficiency enhancer geared towards encouraging collaborative momentum, regardless of geographical and time zone differences. How many business meetings and team-centric operations have suffered for lack of a reliable digital gathering point? Surely too many to be accurately counted. Cisco Spark exists to render those challenges entirely prologue.
Simply put, the system allows for a linking of network devices within one cloud space, thereby promoting connectivity and affording users a shared history of meeting and collaborative interaction. Many of Spark’s individual facets have long been known to the business community. It is in their aggregate (combined with enhanced functionality) that efficiency and ease-of-use are able to achieve firm footing. Spark is characterized by security of data and by usage simplicity.
Predicated in large part on the Pomodoro Technique, FocusList is a planning application designed to help you both organize your day and extract as much time efficiency from it as possible. The Pomodoro Technique (conceived of by Franceso Cirillo) dates back approximately thirty years and requires its adherents complete their daily work in 25-minute segments which are themselves followed by 5-minute breaks. The technique is believed to maximize productivity by keeping the worker on schedule while reducing the likelihood of their becoming burned out.
FocusList, which ranks among the best to-do-list apps on the market, allows you to structure your day in accordance with that principle. You simply plan and prioritize your daily tasks using a built-in Timebox. Providing accurate completion-time estimates will ensure your day is segmented accordingly.
Twenty-five minutes on, 5 minutes off—that’s likely a sensible work/rest ratio by anyone’s measure.
The ability to remain focused for any length of topic in the modern world is increasingly imperiled by myriad distractions. Our media is either a source or a symptom (take your pick: chicken or egg) of this tragedy, as video clips are continually designed to steal our attention for the briefest of moments until the next clip can be made to materialize. We simply cannot be troubled to keep our minds trained on a single thought or image for more than a heartbeat’s time.
Forest is in the business of reversing that trend and is in partnership with an equally worthy operation. In effect, Forest invites its users to plant a digital sapling when they are in need of focus. As time passes, a full tree comes into its own. However, if it is ignored (read: if you leave the app), the tree will eventually die. Most interesting of all, Forest collaborates with a real-world tree-planting operation knows as Trees for the Future. The partnership sees actual trees planted as app users invest virtual coinage towards that end.
Re-gain your focus and contribute to a noble mission, at once. Forest is difficult to surpass functionally or ideologically.
People lose track of time. It’s a part of the human condition. Hours provides a means of monitoring time’s passage in a way that allows you to understand and contextualize where and how you and your team are spending their, well, their hours.
Designed with aesthetic appeal and easy to understand reporting in mind, Hours will help you make the most of all 24.
Best Productivity Books
Apps are terrific tools, but books stand alone as conveyors of complex ideas. Explore these titles when next you find yourself wondering how best to improve your productivity.
- Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked, Adam Alter
- The Productivity Project: Accomplishing More by Managing Your Time, Attention, and Energy, Chris Bailey