We live in a busy, digital world. A world that’s full of distractions and ways to procrastinate, making it harder to concentrate on the task at hand. We’re all to often caught up in an endless cycle of scrolling through our phones instead of making our way through our to-do lists, so here are five of our favourite free productivity tools that will hopefully help you stay organised and keep distraction at bay.
Knowing exactly what needs to be done is the first step in being organised, and having a to-do list is a simple way of keeping on top of things. A classic pen and paper list is great, but if you prefer something a bit more high tech then we recommend giving a tool like Asana or Trello a go.
These tools allow you to set out your to-do lists and map your tasks in a clear, visual way. You can use calendars and timelines to keep up to date with deadlines, helping you to see how everything fits together and spot any overlaps or gaps.
If you work in a team, both Trello and Asana allow you to bring your team together in one place to keep everyone on track. You can assign tasks and get an overview of where everyone is at with their work, making collaborative working simple.
Continuing on the theme of collaborative working, Google Drive is another great tool for collaborating with a team or just keeping your own work organised. Google Drive is completely free to use and acts as a cloud-based file sharing system with built-in word processors, spreadsheets, presentations and more.
Work in tandem with your team on projects with the real-time editors, and share files for approval in a couple of clicks. You can access your Google Drive on any device, making it great for working on the go, too.
If This, Then That (or IFTTT for short) is full of brilliant automation to keep your life ticking by with ease. Choose from countless recipes to streamline your life, be that tracking your hours in your Google Calendar, backing up photos or cross-posting content to your social media platforms. IFTTT is great for saving you precious time on your daily tasks.
Are you wasting time by reading “interesting” articles and ending up down a rabbit hole learning all about something that’s definitely not related to what you’re supposed to be doing? You need Pocket. Instead of losing an hour of your day right at your most productive points, you can save all of those must-reads for later in the day instead.
Once it’s in your “Pocket”, you can catch up whenever suits you best. You don’t even need to have an internet connection, so it’s ideal for filling your commute.
Sometimes, no matter how good your intentions may be, you might find yourself straying in the direction of Facebook. If you use Chrome, the free Stay Focusd extension is great for blocking the sites you know you shouldn’t be wasting your time on. It’s super customisable so you can set it up to block specific sites, pages, subdomains or even content types. You can give yourself an allotted time for time wasting, then when it’s up the sites are blocked again and it’s time to knuckle down.