I want to share what productivity tools I'm using for 2020 and beyond.
These are the tools that I use every day and help keep me focused and successful.
Productivity tools can make your side hustle more profitable and fun to work in by making your business more streamlined.
Productivity is such a personal thing and really comes down to understanding what works best for you and your personality.
If you haven't done any type of personality testing, I recommend you check out 16personalities.com and get your free personality profile done. Then you can figure out where your strengths and weaknesses are and tailor your productivity tools to match those results.
For example, I am an ENFJ-A. That just basically means I'm hyper-organized and self-motivated. Those are probably two of my biggest strengths, so it allows me to utilize the tools that I'm about to share with you in a way that works for my personality. So make sure you identify your personality first and then come back here and check out what the productivity tools are.
Tool #1: 90X Goal Planner
My number one productivity tool would have to be the 90X Goal Planner. What the 90X planner does is allow me to follow a 90-day plan, which is something that I have been talking about for a very long time, and allows me to stay productive, get stuff done and pivot when necessary.
I super, super love being able to write down my goals and then the action steps I need to take to achieve those goals in my planner.
Tip: make sure that when you write your goals, write them down as if you have already achieved them.
So for example, I wrote, “I have an email list of 10,000 active, happy subscribers.” I'm talking as if that is actually the case, already done. That's how I write down my goals. Then I write the action steps that I need to take over the next seven day period to get to that goal or get closer to it.
You can plan out what the week ahead looks like and it also gives you some space for reflecting. How did the last week go and what are you thinking about for the week ahead? These are questions to ponder in the planner.
Another thing that makes the 90X one of my favorite productivity tools for 2019 is that there is a two-page spread per day. This is why the 90X planner is probably my favorite goal planner because it allows me to plan everything out and then make any notes that I need to.
You can really customize this for yourself and your business, that’s why I highly recommend it. You will need four of these per year, one for each quarter.
Tool #2: A 90-Day Plan
My second favorite productivity tool is a 90-day plan. Just like I was saying with the 90X planner, I follow a 90-day plan and have done for the past 3-4 years.
If you want to grab yourself a blank copy of my 90-day plan, here’s a link to it so you can grab your own copy of it and create your own.
Basically, a 90-day plan allows me to look at my overarching goals for the year and then break them down into 90-day blocks. I then break those down even further into 30-day and then two-week blocks. That way, I can plan how I'm actually going to get to my main overarching goals that I’ve set for the year.
Just like when you might set a New Year's resolution, you need to be intentional about how you're going to get to that point. Otherwise, nothing happens.
90-day plans allow me to focus in on goals and make sure that I'm tracking my progress as well. Because I'm reviewing my goals for the next 90 days at the end of each 30-day block.
It also allows me to pivot. So whilst I may set out my goals for the year, stuff happens. Life changes, so you need to be able to pivot and change direction with ease. So that's why I only ever plan 90 days out.
90-day plans allow me to be super productive, so they are easily one of my favorite productivity tools in 2019.
Tool #3: Trello and Butler for Trello Power Up
On top of the above tools, my number three productivity tool is using Trello, and the Butler for Trello Power-Up. I've talked about how I use Butler for Trello Power-Up in another video and post. It gives you a walkthrough about why Butler is amazing.
Basically, Trello is a project management tool and it's where my 90-day plan hangs out.
Some reasons why I love Trello are that I can color code, I can assign people to tasks, and I can set it out in a way that allows me to move cards along in a process. That's the visual part I love.
If Trello is something that you wanna check out, it's free.
Trello is one of the tools that I use in 2019 to keep track of my productivity. It helps me keep track of my tasks, my goals, all the things I'm working on, plus everything to do with my business. I plan everything inside Trello.
Tool #4: Focus at Will App
My number four productivity tool is an app. I've talked about focused time blocks and time batching and all of those types of things previously, where I'm focusing on one or two things at a time. To keep that focus, I use this app called Focus at Will. It allows me to choose different sounds and different intensities of those sounds based on what I'm doing. It uses neuroscience to help increase productivity using sound.
As an example, one of the most common tracks I use is one called ‘Uptempo'. It has three intensity levels. If I really need to focus and I don't want anything to distract me, then I would up that intensity to the highest. That just means that the music is louder and the tempo is more pronounced. The best way to understand how it works is to download the app and try it out for yourself. There is a free trial period so you can try it for risk-free.
Use it to track productivity
The other thing it does is tracks your productivity. You already learned that I work in two-hour time blocks. But I do a 60-minute time block with a break interspersed in that. I use the Focus at Will app to track that. I set the timer for 60 minutes, and then it dings at the start and end of that block.
It asks you at the end of that block, “How productive were you? Were you distracted? Did you go off and do something in the middle of that time block?” Since I've been using the Focus at Will app, which is coming up five years now, my productivity has improved because now I'm tracking when I'm actually distracted.
When I first started using the timer, I was probably at about 50 to 75% which meant I was going off and being distracted by something else. Now, I'm 100% productive. I only focus on doing one thing in that Focus at Will time period.
So if you need music, sounds, white noise or anything like that, try it out. There are so many different options and there are so many different channels, and it's all scientifically based. You can't go wrong!
Tool #5: Google Calendar
My fifth favorite of all the productivity tools for 2019 is Google Calendar. It is where everything feeds in so that I can keep on top of everything. Trello, my 90-day plan, overseas client meetings, all those types of things all feed into Google Calendar. I color code it so that I don't have to try to figure out where I need to be or what business I need to be focusing on because it's all color coded. I can quickly glance at it and take a look at that calendar and know what I’m supposed to be doing.
You could literally get rid of everything that I've talked about, bar the Focus at Will app, and just use a Google Calendar. But there are some limitations to it, which is why I haven't used it to do a 90-day plan or anything like that. There aren’t as many functions in there. But if you just want to keep everything simple, Google Calendar has got your back.
Your next action step is to choose one of these tools. Try it out for yourself for the next 30 days and see if it's a good fit. If it's not, try something else.
Sometimes it takes a bit of experimentation to find what works best for you and your personality. Block out some time to discover your own favorite productivity tools. And let me know if you try any of the ones I've mentioned in the comments below.