Productivity Tools and Tips

Productivity Tools

Time Tracker and Productivity



  1. At the beginning of the day, create one goal that I have to accomplish that day. The goal needs to be specific enough that I can definitively say when its done, and it needs to be completely realistic for me to finish it that day, so that I can say "Yes, I can definitely do this. No excuses". It also needs to be significant enough that at the end of the week, even if I only did those goals, I would still feel like Im making some consistent progress. Typically the goals I choose are things that might take one to two hours of focused effort.
  2. Only do one thing at a time, and log what I'm doing as I go. Before I start a task, I write down what Im about to do. When I finish the task, I check it off and write the next bullet point. If something comes up while executing the task, like realizing I have a question I need to ask someone, instead of asking them right away, I will write down a "TODO" in-line in my log and box it to come back to later. So if the task is "Check email", I write down "Check email", open my email, read it and execute only small tangential tasks (so, e.g., I dont see an email about a code review and then get distracted and go do the code review), and when Im done, I quit my email and check off my task. I do the same for Slack, which means I dont leave it open in the background. If I take a break, I write "Break" and check it off when I'm done and come back to my desk. I write my big goal at the top of the page and when I finish it, I box it and check it off for some extra satisfaction. At the end of the day I write DONE and box it, to get some closure. Note: I find if I write down 5 tasks and cross them off one by one, I will gravitate to the short easy ones first for instant gratification.
  3. Leave my phone in the other room while I'm working. It seems that I really do have to be physically separated from it by a significant distance to keep from being distracted by it.