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Working from home or another remote location has become the norm for many employees. This can make it even more challenging to stay on track and maintain adequate levels of productivity.
If you’re constantly distracted, poorly organized, and unfocused, the amount of work you’re able to do in a particular frame of time will tank.
Sean Connery with Las Vegas IT Services company Orbis Solutions offers ten excellent time management and productivity apps for 2021 and how making organization and productivity a priority can benefit you.
Few things bog down your overall productivity than time-wasting websites. Stayfocusd is a web extension for the Google Chrome browser that limits the time you can spend on certain websites like games and social media. The extension is highly customizable, allowing you to tailor website limits according to your specific needs. You can block entire websites, in-page content, and set daily timers that revoke your access to sites when you’ve spent a certain amount of time on them.
Trello is a simple project management application that is well-suited to visual learners. The app allows you to create “cards” for tasks or other important items, which you can drag and drop into lists you’ve created. For example, you can add the details of a task to a card and place it on a To-Do list. Move it to “In Progress” as you work on it, and then to “Complete” when it’s finished. Lists and cards are entirely customizable.
Google Calendar has long been the go-to cloud calendar for professionals, however, this year you may want to switch gears and use Calendar.com. Also just called Calendar, this application syncs calendars from multiple places like Google and Outlook and displays them in an easy-to-read format. Get overview reports on how you spend your time, view maps of meeting locations, and use smart scheduling to coordinate with others instead of emailing back and forth to figure out when everyone who needs to meet is available.
Keeping track of your time spent working — or your employees’ time if you own or manage a business — can be difficult. This is particularly true in a remote workforce, where it’s often impossible to tell if an employee really is engaged and spending the necessary amount of time on their work tasks. Toggl offers easy time tracking for agencies and individuals, with full-transparency time logs, billable hours, and customized reports. This allows you to always keep a finger on the pulse of your most important resource — your time.
Loop is a unique application that puts just about everything you need for work in a single place. Connect your social platforms, email, calendar, and other project management tools, so you can have your most-used apps at your fingertips. Have immediate access to meetings, tasks, messages, files, and contacts across multiple platforms, so you can see the relationships between your work in context. Loop is designed for use by businesses and independent contractors and can be customized to your preferred tools and platforms.
One of the biggest distractions for people who work remotely is their smartphone or another mobile device. It’s easy to tune out on a Zoom meeting while doing crosswords on your phone, but this can lead to you missing critical information needed to do your job. Forest is a gamified app that while installed on your smartphone, helps you stay away from it. You can plant “trees” that grow more the longer you are away from your phone. You’ll also earn coins that you can use to plant real trees to help combat deforestation.
Managing your email inbox can be a huge time-suck. In between sorting through low-priority meeting notes and deleting junk mail, you can miss critical messages. Spark is a downloadable application that helps manage your emails through various automation tools. The app intelligently analyzes and prioritizes your emails in order of importance, with messages from individual users at the top and company emails at the bottom. Spark also offers noise reduction by only notifying you of emails from people you identify.
Waking up for work when you’re working from home can be even more challenging than waking up for work and dragging your feet into the office. It’s tempting to press the snooze alarm and get that extra fifteen or twenty minutes in, but this can put a damper on your productivity for the entire day. The Kiwake alarm app engages you in games, body movements, and other activities that require you to really wake up before the alarm can be silenced.
Serene is a macOS app that takes productivity planning to the next level. The program allows you to first plan your day, then creates timed sessions for you to focus while distractions are kept at a minimum. Focus enhancers like countdown timers and gentle music help you work quickly, and the app prompts you to take regular breaks. Serene helps macOS users create blocks of laser-focused time when productivity soars, giving you more free time outside of work.
RescueTime allows you to track your work time automatically, without having to manually log your hours. Offline time tracking can be done in a single click, and data logged during work periods are aggregated into easy-to-read reports for later analysis. RescueTime is one of the few time tracking apps that allows you to obtain visibility into how you spend your time both on and offline.
How Staying Productive Helps You Maintain a Better Work/Life Balance
It’s easy to spend too much time working without actually making much progress when you work remotely. This can lead to feeling like you’re always at the computer working with very little time to spend on the things you want to do.
Maintaining productivity during your dedicated work hours helps you maintain a better work/life balance by maximizing your work time and freeing up more of your personal time.
Will you work harder or smarter in 2021? Here are two additional IT firms that can support your IT strategies in 2021.