The internet has created an entire world of distractions for us to get lost (and to lose our productivity) in. Everything from articles about travel destinations we want to see, to our social media profiles, our favourite music, or our grocery shopping. It’s all there online a click away.
Luckily, however, for all the distractions the internet has introduced to our lives, there’s also a good number of tools which can help us overcome them and attain peak performance. These range all the way from advances software solutions like drink-it.com to simple browser-based timers.
Here’s a look at some of the best tools for mastering your work-life balance.
Keep a tight rein on your time
When our jobs are computer-based, as they often are, distraction is always there, hovering over us. That’s why it’s more important now than ever to use tools and tricks to monitor our time and to understand where it’s being spent and why.
Many bits of software exist which allow us to monitor how we’re spending our days, as well as to encourage us to get back onto the path of productivity.
RescueTime is an example of a program which runs quietly in the background and collects data on the sites we visit and programs we use, and then sends us reports to feel guilty about. It can also be used to block certain distracting sites and programs.
Time Doctor is a program with a similar purpose, which prompts us periodically to declare what activity we’re busy working on and when we’re taking a break. It then uses this information to compile a “total hours worked” number for the day.
Track projects and tasks
Traditional to-do lists tend to be a bit of a mess, as people often tend to just throw everything they can think of onto those lists and hope to get around to them eventually. Many things are overlooked, forgotten, or left undone on such lists — and rather than boost productivity, they just fuel feelings of guilt.
The web contains many more carefully-structured versions of the traditional to-do list, including programs such as Remember the Milk, where task reminders can be emailed or texted to you, as well as organised by various metrics, and Nozbe, a system based on David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” method which groups tasks by project and category.
Establish positive habits
Much of our success in life and business comes down to having the right habits in place. It can often be tricky working out just how to implement such habits. That’s where external help from various apps and tools can come in.
One of the key issues with establishing new habits is accountability. Beeminder is a program which deftly resolves this issue, by having you pledge your own money to stay “on track” with certain tasks. You’ll be given a bit of leeway at the beginning, but the more times you fail to perform a certain routine, the more money you’ll be charged.
Habitica is a popular habit-forming system based on gamification principles. In short, it helps you to treat your life and habits as a videogame, and to “level up” by sticking to your routine.