Productivity Tools

19 Jun

Earlier this week I wrote about HabitRPG, which is currently kicking my arse due to my inability to avoid sugar and exercise which contributing to my lack of work this week. But on the plus side I’ve written a blog post every day this week, done my reading (perhaps a bit too much) and kept up with my own projects (improving my handwriting – I’ve just started to learn to write some cursive upper case letters!). So as I’ve been so poor at keeping up my work, I’m hoping listing all the stuff that I do will help me keep on track tomorrow.


Get out of bed

May seem obvious: to do stuff I need to get out of bed. Yeah, I like lying in bed. I’ll wake up and think “oh only 10 minutes, I’ll get up when my next alarm goes off”. And then I’m like “Well my alarm hasn’t gone off yet, lets read my RSS feeds”. Then my alarm goes off, “Let me just read my RSS feeds”. Now it has been a whole hour and my sugar levels are gone and I don’t feel like going to the gym any more.


It provides that nice contrast between sleeping and working. Blood gets flowing and I nearly always settle down into work after a decent workout.

No news sites in the morning

The morning is for work. Besides, if you really like your work, why would you be reading about your friend’s cat or news events that won’t change your life if you read them later in the afternoon. Get in and get focused


Pomodoro is a productivity techniques that works on the principle that you can’t really do hard work for more than 25 minutes at a time. So it breaks down work into lots of 25 minutes followed by a 5 minute break. Repeat 4 times and you get a 30 minute break. The real pomodoro technique is more nuanced and says you should predict how long tasks should take and keep track of what tasks you do. That is too much fuss for me. I just have impetus set on my phone, set up a pomodoro schedule and let it go. Often all I really need is a kick start to get started. In fact, this blog is being done in one 25 minute block as I haven’t managed to achieve any meaningful work today.

Don’t rely on mood

Don’t delay something because you don’t feel in the mood for it. Chances are you are procrastinating. Just set up one pomodoro and get something done on it. This is normally enough to get me into it and I’ll happily spend the rest of the morning on it.

Write a to do list

I know intellectually what I have to do each day, but seeing it written out on a list in front of me gives me the satisfaction of crossing it off. I don’t like electronic today lists as it means I have to open up a program that I may not want to open up and clicking a box doesn’t give anywhere near the same satisfaction.


RescueTime is software the tracks what you are looking at. The nice thing is that it classifies all your tasks and you can set aims and goals. Actually  just while writing this it told me that I have reached my daily goal of 1 hour of design and composition (which it means writing). It presents all your data as wonderful graphs and gives you a good idea about when you work and how to structure your time.


Most of what I listed is just getting into the habit of it. And HabitRPG has helped me do it, at least for the fun ones I can fit in before I go to sleep when I realise how much my character may hurt the next morning. Now I hope I follow my own advice and get out of bed tomorrow.





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