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With the rapid advancement of technology nowadays, our smartphones are becoming more general-purposed. It has replaced a lot of technology, such as the camera, mp3 player, handheld game console and etc. Take a look at your smartphone, does it consists of mostly social media apps or games? The usage of a smartphone isn’t just limited to entertainment. With the right apps installed, a smartphone is also a great tool to improve your daily productivity and keep you on track.
Undeniably, there are plenty of productivity apps on the market, not to mention a few common ones such as Evernote, Dropbox and Todoist. However, today I’m going to recommend you two of the apps I use in my daily life to boost my productivity.
1. Toggl Timer
If you have read my previous article on how to track your time to maximise your productivity, you might have come across this application. Toggl Timer is a time tracker and employee spreadsheet software (The app is available for almost all platforms for both desktop and mobile devices). Basically, you can ignore the last part of the description. We are going to use it as a normal time tracker app.
How can a time tracker app improve my productivity? For me, I use it to track my time, analyze how I spent my time, and adjust my activities accordingly. The basic concept is to track, analyze and improve. By tracking how we spend our time, we can find out how much time we have overspent (wasted) on certain tasks or how much time we have spent productively. With the feedback, we will adjust our time usage accordingly to utilize our time more wisely.
There are two approaches on how you can use this time tracking software: track beneficial or non-beneficial activities. Since most of the time we have to track our time manually, it’s mostly impossible to track every single activity we do every single day, it’s too troublesome. So, we can either track how much time was wasted or how much time was well spent.
If you’re tracking beneficial activities, you can know how productivity you are by looking at the numbers at the end of the day. For example, at the end of the day, my goal is to hit the 3 hours mark on Toggl Timer, which also means that I have spent my time productively that day. In this case, to increase our productivity, we need to set a higher mark for ourselves. We increase our goal difficulty gradually, perhaps from 3 hours to 3 hours 15 minutes.
If you’re tracking how much time you have wasted per day, you can also find out how unproductive you are by looking at the numbers at the end of the day. Track the time you have spent on social media and games, you’ll be surprise how much time you spent on those activities. The goal, of course, is to decrease the time spent on these tasks gradually. Perhaps, reduce your time spent on social media by 15 minutes each day.
It doesn’t matter if you are tracking beneficial or non-beneficial activities, there will always be a limit for the margin of improvement. You can’t increase/improve the time you spent on beneficial activities after a certain mark, since we only have 24 hours per day. Subtracting the time spent on regular activities such as sleep, commute, work and other miscellaneous tasks, the most time we can have a day for other things is really limited and varied according to our lifestyles.
Swipes is an elegant to-do list app. I got to know this amazing app through a friend of mine. The main reason I recommend this app is because of its design. A single tap is all you need to add tasks. A single swipe to the right and the task is crossed off from the list. Another swipe to the left and the task is postponed to the future according to your needs. Not to mention how Swipes greet me every morning and remind me to schedule my day or how Swipes remind me of how many tasks was left after a hectic day.
There is always a different way of doing things for different people. It’s the same for scheduling a to-do list. Everyone will have a different approach.
Some schedule their to-do list by adding in Most Important Tasks (MIT) of the day every morning.
Others might add in all sorts of tasks. Big or small, urgent or non-urgent, it doesn’t matter to them, these people just need a list to keep track of what needs to be done every day. Either approach is totally fine as long as you’re comfortable with it. If you’re tracking every task you need to get done every day, keep in mind that you can always swipe to the left to postpone your tasks. Don’t overwork yourself.
My personal approach is to use it to remind me of my daily routines. Instead of having different tasks to cross off, I have the same list of activities to get done every day. I use Swipes to schedule my routine. By tracking my routine, I receive feedback for my habit-forming progress. For example, by ticking off ‘reading’ from the list every day for a consecutive week, I know that I have already formed the habit of reading every day, be it just 20 minutes a day. In short, I use Swipes to help out with my habit formation process. Of course, when there are urgent or important tasks that need to be done within the day/week, I will also add it onto the list to act as a reminder (you can schedule your to-do list ahead in Swipes).
There are a lot of applications out there with similar features. If you don’t like either of my recommendations, you can always try out the other similar apps.
You can always take advantage of technology to improve your daily productivity. Can’t remember what’s your password? Find a password manager app to handle it for you.
There are always some apps out there that make your life easier. Don’t know what productivity apps are available in the market? Google it, an extra productivity tip for you!