As someone who works from home, I have approximately one goal every day (besides making money), and that’s to be more productive. Being productive makes every day more fulfilling and exciting. It also keeps your clients happy as you continue churning out work each day, week, and month.
The key thing to remember, is that productivity isn’t the same for everyone. You’ll need to see what works for you to get the best results. It all starts with using tools that can boost your concentrating, keep you alert, and eliminate distractions. Join us as we look at seven tools you can use to boost your productivity.
7 Tools to Boost Your Productivity When You’re Working From Home
These seven tools cover a wide variety of different categories. Some of them are meant to keep you alert and prevent daily burnouts, while others are for staying organized and focused. Take a look and see which ones you can start using today.
The Pomodoro Technique is a classic time management method that breaks up your day into manageable chunks and keeps you from getting burned out on a daily basis. It involves working in 25-minute increments, and taking short breaks in between.
It moves through cycles, in groups of four at a time. Every four pomodoros, you stop for a longer break that can last anywhere from 10-15 minutes. After this, you start over with the five minute breaks between pomodoros until you reach the fourth increment and a longer break.
You can use your own timer, but I prefer the online tool called Tomato-Timer, which is set up for your pomodoros, your short breaks, and your long ones. I use this every day, and the quick breaks make it easy to get up and stretch throughout your day.
2. Google Calendar
Google Calendar is an excellent tool for people who work from home. It’s easy to get lost in your daily tasks and forget about some of the smaller things that need to be done. This free tool will connect to your other Google tools like email and keep you in check with automatic reminders.
You can set up appointments, countdowns, and structure your daily and weekly to-do-lists in this tool. It’s a great way to keep your goals in check and make sure your hitting your monthly quotas.
If you head into the notifications section of the settings, you’ll also find a checkbox that allows you to receive a daily agenda in your inbox, making it even easier to keep track of your goals. Features like this can be found throughout the tool, making it a must for productivity while working from home.
3. Self Control
While self control in general is a great thing to have as someone who works from home, I’m referring to a tool that’s actually called Self Control. This extension for Google Chrome allows you to monitor and even limit your navigation during work hours.
That’s one of the biggest problems that home workers face. We’re online all day, with billions of websites to distract us. Facebook alone is a big problem, for example. If you could literally stop yourself from access social media, or simply limiting it to like ten minutes per day, you would gain back countless hours each month.
If you’d rather build habits yourself, you’ll find that this tool can also track how much time you spend on any given site, thus showing you which ones are draining your productivity.
Trello uses a concept called the kanban paradigm to manage projects. Whether you work alone, or you're part of a bigger team, this tool can help you visualize your tasks by creating boards. These boards are broken down into lists and cards.
Everything is done with drag-and-drop tools, so it’s very easy to use. You can assign these cards to specific users as well. If you spring for the premium version of the tool, you can take advantage of cross-compatibility with other tools like Slack GitHub, and Salesforce.
This goes beyond a simple to-do-list, and instead gives you the power to collaborate with others and create more visually appealing methods of managing and tracking your projects.
5. Hemingway App
Whether you’re a writer by trade or you do it as part of your work, no one likes editing. Furthermore, trying to figure out how to simplify your work can be a daunting task. Thankfully, the Hemingway App is here to save the day.
This tool allows you to write in it, or just paste your text into the window. Either way, it will show you specific instances of over complicated phrasing, passive voice, and all those other things our editors hate to see.
There’s a free version on the website, and a downloadable version for a one-time fee. It’s a great way to write more effectively and with more polish.
For many of us, the go-to word processor is Microsoft Word, but have you ever noticed how many features it has that you simply don’t need? Furthermore, it’s complicated trying to get simple tasks done unless you know the keyboard shortcuts.
FocusWriter comes to the rescue with a simple and lightweight program that takes all the distractions out of writing. Put it in fullscreen mode and enjoy a screen free of toolbars or any desktop icons. It’s just you, a background, and your writing.
You can even add your own background image to make your writing more interesting, or give yourself an inspiring view to keep the creativity going. The only downside here, is the lack of spell check, but our next tool will fix that.
7. Google Drive
Google Drive is one of my favorite tools. Not only does it give you access to all of your documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and more through the magic of the cloud, but it also syncs everything as you write.
You never have to worry about a power outage or a hard drive failure costing you precious work. Everything is stored online in your Google account. This also makes it easy to share your work with others. If you’re using a tool like FocusWriter, you can simply cut/paste your work into a Google doc and use the built in spellcheck there, while also saving it to a cloud backup.
Productivity is the elusive goal that everyone who works from home is always chasing. With these tools, you can take your next steps to a more productive work day, as you look for ways to improve your focus and organization.
Which tools do you use for productivity? Let us know in the comments!