We promise this post won’t be an oxymoron as so often we ourselves have wasted time online reading about how to increase productivity and curb procrastination.
But if you feel like you’re wasting time and not getting enough done online, here are essential tips for creative content producers and YouTubers to be more productive.
In the 21st century, the secret to great work isn’t to work harder, it’s to work smarter. Efficiency and productivity go hand in hand, especially when you throw technology into the mix too. With the whole world at your fingertip from a device on your lap, in your pocket or even on your wrist, it’s easy to be sidetracked by constant notifications and the urge to scour social media.
Technology holds the monopoly on our attention spans, but turning this on its head means technology can be used to the advantage of creatives to boost productivity. Whether you want an easier way to take notes, apps to block distracting content and refocus your attention or ways to mobilise devices into different uses, consider some of these handy productivity apps and hacks.
1. Limit Browsing Time
Procrastination is a natural thing when you don’t want to commit to something you have to do, even when that deadline looms. Google Chrome offers the Stayfocusd extension, which allows you to set time limits for browsing specific websites.
This is especially useful if you’re mid-way through a project and taking a break to watch YouTube videos or chat on Facebook messenger, it will limit the amount of time you spend on those sites so you can then return to the work that needs to be done. It’s also a useful hack to encourage productivity for vloggers, Youtubers and content creators who live their lives online and feel pressure to be constantly connected to others.
2. Speak to Siri
Remember how futuristic Siri seemed for iPhone users? A voice assistant that interacts, remembers, reminds, schedules and obeys commands? Well, it seems Siri’s many uses have been forgotten or at least forgone. You can speak to Siri to schedule a meeting, set an alarm, pencil in a reminder to call someone back at a specific hour.
Play around with this incredible piece of smart technology and see your day maximised, prioritised and perfectly organised with your own virtual assistant, virtually!
3. Block the Online Noise Altogether
If you seriously lack self-control online - which we all do at times - you may just need to force yourself to focus in order to tick those important tasks off your to-do list.
Blocking your access to particular sites or apps makes procrastination more effort than it’s worth. Try free apps, extensions and add-ons like Cold Turkey, Focus, Freedom and Self Control, each of which have a free trial version and an enhanced, paid version.
4. Turn Unnecessary Notifications ‘OFF’
One quick, simple and refreshing way to not be a slave to your social media mentions or every single email that pings through. Simply do not let allow push notifications on your smartphone, which will ensure that you only need to check your email or social media accounts in one go when you choose to – not when you’re @-ed. This requires a change in your settings but for a quick and easy burst of quiet, simply put your smartphone on Airplane Mode or the ‘Do Not Disturb’ setting.
5. Schedule Gmail Emails
Isn’t it a wonder that Gmail doesn’t have a schedule send function for a specific time in the future, like MailChimp has for newsletters or Tweetdeck, Sprout Social and Buffer have for tweets?
Whether you want to wait for your important email to hit someone’s inbox right as they arrive at their desk tomorrow morning or you want to schedule sending a proposal for when a contact is back from annual leave, the Boomerang add-on for gmail is your friend. Now, you can ‘send later’ with a custom time and date function.
6. Hold Yourself Accountable
As the old adage advises: ‘failure to plan is planning to fail’. Setting goals, crossing off lists and judging your progress are all essential ways for creatives to increase productivity and track their personal success. Don’t just plan to do something in your head, by noting it down you’re answering to it and pushing yourself towards crossing it off. Apps like Streaks track progress, recount to-do lists and rewards good habits. Likewise Things and Omnifocus.
7. If This Then That
IFTTT might seem like the strangest acronym ever, lengthy and consonant-heavy which doesn’t really allude to the simple and straightforward magic that this programme can offer.
Basically, it’s a reactionary programme that works on chains of command so that you can specify to do one thing when another thing happens. It’s incredibly intuitive and you can connect lots of different platforms you have online and have them work together autonomously whenever a specific action takes place. Try it out and see how it can lighten your workload!
Go forth and focus.