Here at Quotefish, we’re a very self-motivated bunch, and we imagine a lot of the people who will use our site after the launch are as well. Freelancers, tradesmen, creative types, contract workers, interns, some unholy combination of the above– we’re not working the usual steady 9-5. To make life harder, a lot of what we do is on the Internet, with all its shiny distractions. It can seem like every social media platform and startup blog is out to prevent productivity. Think how bad we digital marketers have it– checking Twitter and Facebook is part of my job. So many witty comments to make, updates to retweet, and links to check out. It’s easy to pretend I’m being productive when what I’m really doing is mindlessly skimming the feed.
So sometimes we need something to help keep us on track, when self-discipline isn’t cutting it and the time-management skills we told everyone about on our CV aren’t quite working. Here are my two favorite productivity boosters.
- The Pomodoro Focus Booster: Live Online Version
Also available as a desktop app, the Pomodoro technique works on the idea that the human brain can only really focus properly for short bursts of time, about 25 minutes. So the app gives you a 25-minute clock, with a color-coded visual countdown, followed by a 5-minute break. Set a doable task for each work period, hit “start” and then focus until the time is up. Then take the break. Seriously. Those five minutes let you recharge and get you set up for the next session.
I’ve had hours fly by using this tool. Two sessions and an hour is gone. 25 minutes isn’t that long, especially when you’re really geared up and focused on your project. It’s not ideal for multi-tasking or anything where your time is not your own, but if there’s a series of small projects to get through, it’s perfect.
Proving that the internet really does revolve around cats. For the bloggers, writers, and content creators among us. Put 100 words into the text box and get a picture of a kitten. Put in another 100 words and you get a new kitten. Simples. The creators describe it as a cuter, fuzzier version of writeordie. Positive reinforcement is the word of the day. I find it useful if I’m just stuck and need some encouragement to get something on the page. If you’re doing lots of small things, like Twitter posts, it can feel rewarding to get a kitten every few Tweets.
Of course, there’s no replacement for efficient time management and self-discipline. Shutting off distractions and streamlining your to-do list will go a long way in increasing productivity. Sometimes, though, we need an outside source to help us along.