After an entire early morning (I’m talking midnight to 4 a.m.) of working diligently on a project that I just couldn’t lay to rest with, I’m finding it’s time to talk and share about productivity helpers so that you’re NOT staying awake all night just to get something done.
There are 3 main tools that I use DAILY to keep my productivity moving. Even then, it’s sometimes hard for me, especially when I run out of coffee.
This is a web app meant for sharing on social media, sort of like Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, etc. Why I include it is because it does a lot more for me than just share my posts, and I think you’d appreciate it too.
What Buffer does beyond share your posts to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn is what makes it unique. It offers a really streamlined approach to analytics, letting you know how posts compare to each other and highlighting your most popular post of the day for each network.
It allows you to schedule across platforms or individually, so I typically schedule my Twitter post separately, then my Facebook & Google+ posts are the same thing. What’s unique about buffer though is that it’s preset to schedule your posts to be published at certain, high visibility times and you can customize them if you wish. Then after you’ve scheduled a post, it goes into a queue (or you can just choose “Share Now”) for that network only and it’s posted at the next update time. So while I may only have 2 unique links being posted in one day, across the 3 networks I’m reaching people at 6 different, directly targeted times but only click “Add to Queue” 2-4 times.
It’s basically just a huge time-saver. It also offers suggestions of links to articles to post so if I want to share additional content but I don’t want to scour the internet for hours I can use this feature and spend just a few minutes reviewing content before adding it to my queue.
This is my #1 recommendation for social network post scheduling. Try it, you’re going to love it.
This is also a web app or desktop app that is used to track your TIME. It’s much like a timesheet or timeclock, but it lets you set it to record specific tasks in addition to being able to just use it to track time spent working.
I love it because it lets me see what areas I’m spending the most time in, including wasting time on Facebook and Pinterest (if I tell it that’s what I’m doing.) You can evaluate your personal productivity and view your improvements easily using this tool.
Also, this is helpful if you are a serious blogger and your business plan is set up for you to receive labor pay separate from your company profits.
My Productivity Notebook
I keep a little, (seriously, tiny) notepad (like this one*) on my nightstand with a pen. It has a traditional metal spiral binding that has it’s own unique feature and it’s probably the most boring looking productivity tracker ever. But trust me, this is probably the single most valuable $1.80 thing I’ve invested in. What happens is, at night I have this crazy urge to do things and I get all kinds of ideas. I get project ideas, blog ideas, household ideas, parenting ideas, etc. I think of things I have to do tomorrow and next week and I remember things I forgot to do that day. I think about it forever and ever and ever and it takes all those forever and evers of time to get to sleep. It’s excruciating most of the time. What helps is, as soon as I think of an idea/task/etc. I write it down. I use as few words as possible to help me remember and then it call it done.
And the spirals? They help me save paper and space. I keep my finger on the side of the spirals as I’m writing then count the spirals to the top to know how far down the page I’ve gone. If I then lay in bed for five minutes and think of something else to write, because it’s dark, I can’t see where I’ve already written. But I can count 9 spirals down and start writing more on the same page. It’s genius, I know, you’re welcome.
This notepad is a great addition to my work time because it allows me to brainstorm without forgetting my excellent ideas during my sleep. It also reminds me that I forgot to put the check for our trash bill in the mail and not forget to do that tomorrow.
Occasionally my notepad fails me in a spectacular way. For instance, last night I had an idea so big and I became so energized that I couldn’t prevent myself from getting up and writing out plans for it right then. This only happens on weekend days (Fri/Sat nights) though, I swear I have been self control on days where I have to get up the next day with the the kids.
What tricks or tools do you help yourself stay productive? (Besides your blog calendar, because I sincerely hope everyone is using one!)
*I got my notepad at Walgreens for about $1.80. The memo pad link is an Amazon affiliate link where memo pads are currently on sale for just $1.29 with free shipping with Prime. Don’t have a prime account? Get a free membership trial here. It’s active immediately and can be cancelled easily if you’re not satisfied.