What productivity tools are in your toolkit?
Are you constantly adding new ones or do you stick with the tried and true?
Better yet, how do you pick your productivity tools in the first place?
What Productivity Tools Are You Using?
One of the most often asked questions I receive is:
Which productivity tools should I use?
Sometimes people are asking for a particular tool recommendation. (The Best Todo List…)
Other times, they are asking for the best way to set up their productivity system as a whole.
Today, I want to provide a few simple guidelines to help you select the best productivity tools to get more done.
Here are 10 Simple Rules for Choosing Your Productivity Tools:
- Choose Tools You’ll Use – The most important rule in choosing your productivity tools is, “Choose tools you’ll use.” In other words, pick tools that you like and will continue to use. If you are a paper-person, then don’t pick the latest smartphone, and vice versa. You have to like your solutions or they will end up unused in a drawer somewhere.
- Define Your System – Make sure you are deliberate in choosing your tools. Name what is “IN” and what is “OUTSIDE” of your toolkit. This will prevent you from picking up that random pad of paper or extra calendar.
- Simplest Is Best – The simplest solution is always the best. Bloated, complex productivity tools only serve to slow you down. (i.e. How many steps does your todo app require to capture a task?) Additionally, complex solutions require more maintenance to be sustainable day-to-day.
- Your Tools Must Be With You – It is easier than ever to carry your tools and information with you. Make sure that the productivity tools you select are with you at all times. You can’t record appointments if that desk calendar is back in the office. You can’t look at your todo list if it is written on the Post-It at home.
- Gadgets Won’t Save You – Don’t assume that the latest shiny gadget is going to suddenly change your productivity. Gadgets get work done, but they only serve to amplify the habits you already have. (See #1 and 3.)
- Cost Doesn’t Make Them More Effective – The cost of your productivity tools doesn’t determine their effectiveness. Some people are more effective with a $1 pack of notecards than with an $800 smartphone.
- Stick With Your Tools – When you find tools that work, stick with them. Those who constantly hop to the latest new tool, usually end up wasting more time in the switch than they end up saving.
- The Right Tool for the Job – Always choose productivity tools that are suited to the task at hand. Don’t write appointments in your notebook when they should go directly on your calendar.
- Have a Complete Set – Ensure that your toolkit is complete. Do you have a tool for each type of task that you might encounter? (Hint: The tool most often missing from individual’s toolsets is a single place to keep notes.)
- The Power of 1 – The corollary of Rule #9 is that you only need one of each type of tool for a particular task. Follow the Power of 1, and avoid multiple calendars, todo lists, and notebooks. This will avoid searching several locations when you need to find a piece of information.
Choose Your productivity Tools
Choosing your productivity tools is an important task in itself.
Your productivity toolkit is the foundation that helps you get your work done.
Make sure you follow these 10 rules to have the most effective set of solutions at your fingertips.
And of course, always choose tools you’ll use.
Question: How do you choose your productivity tools?