You shouldn’t wonder why you aren’t more successful if you haven’t mastered the art of getting things done. And that’s not easy. Being productive is one of the biggest struggles for all of us.
From not knowing what to do to not knowing when to do it, it is all too easy to let the most important things not get done in a day.
And that is crippling. Because days turn into months and months turn into decades. If you’re not careful you can live a lifetime and not do more than just survive.
So what can you do?
Being productive starts with knowing what you want and then taking steps each day to get you there. You don’t have to do everything all at one time. Frankly, that isn’t possible. Even if it were, it’s clearly not practical.
By equipping yourself with tools that keep you focused, you increase your chances of getting the most value from the time that you have. Remember, getting things done is not about how many hours you work but about the amount of focus and effort you apply in the hours that you do work.
Here are a few tools that can help you take back control of your busy schedule. From web apps to mobile apps, you should be able to take your priorities with you wherever you happen to be.
- Action Method (www.actionmethod.com) — A series of web, mobile, and pen-and-paper tools provide focus on what you need to do. It’s easy to use and beautiful. Great for designers.
- Asaana (www.asana.com) — The best free team project management platform on the web right now. Mobile apps and synchronization to your calendar are a few of the many powerful features available.
- Astrid (www.astrid.com) — Best task tracking app ever for Android. Newly added iPhone and web platforms make it easy to use anywhere. Looks great.
- Coolendar (www.coolendar.com) — The most unique calendar and todo tracking app in the list. Use every day language and hash tags to make use of the most powerful reminder tool you’ve ever used.
- Do (www.do.com) — This is Salesforce’s completely free team project management platform. Easy to use with basic features. A great way to take notes and then create tasks from what you need to do.
- Do It Tomorrow (www.tomorrow.do) — A quick way to keep track of what you want to do tomorrow. It’s one of the easiest tools on this list. There are only two options — do it now or do it tomorrow. Looks cool too.
- DoIt.im (www.doit.im) — Focused on the GTD methodology, there are a zillion mobile tools to use. A key feature is your ability to search by voice and add locations for where tasks need to be done.
- Evernote (www.evernote.com) — Folders, tags, location tracking, and almost endless storage make it easy to keep track of every part of life. Take notes. Create tasks. Upload documents. Incredible easy.
- Flow (www.getflow.com) — The best set of tools for managing repeating events of any project management platform ever. Their newly added concierge service provides you your own virtual assistant for free. Very cool.
- GetItDone (www.getitdoneapp.com) — Basic features and functions for tracking tasks. What makes it special is how it integrates with Evernotes and imports your notes so you can turn ideas into finished tasks
- Google Tasks (www.gmail.com/tasks) — One of the least capable task tracking applications on the web, but it does integrate nicely with their online calendar. And it’s from Google.
- HiTask (www.hitask.com) — Simple and easy to use platform that has plugins for just about any browser and mobile apps. Not overly sexy, but extremely useful.
- Nirvana (www.nirvanahq.com) — A good looking web application that allows you to track projects and assign tasks to key team members. Allows you to add contexts and tags to each project. Very cool.
- Nozbe (www.nozbe.com) — These dudes take execution seriously. A nice looking set of tools at a great price, all geared around helping you manage complex tasks.
- Orchestra (www.orchestra.com) — The coolest looking task app ever. Part instant messaging. Part to-do list. It replaces your email as the key way of communicating with the people you need to work with.
- Producteev (www.producteev.com) — Desktop apps, web apps, and mobile apps — they’ve got them. And they look good. This tool is the only one that automatically syncs with Google Tasks too. And you can use it for free to get started.
- Remember the Milk (www.rememberthemilk.com) — The de facto standard for task lists. You can use natural language to add tags and deadlines. It’s a great platform to use especially if you don’t know what you want.
- ReQall (www.reqall.com) — Great mobile apps that allow you to speak to your phone and add notes, tasks, and reminders. When you happen to be in the general location where you recorded a reminder earlier, your phone sends you a reminder to get that task done.
- SpringPad (www.springpadit.com) — More than just a task tracking application. It’s the smartest platform ever for keeping track of everything that you want to remember. Take notes. The platform will create reminders automatically for you.
- Ta-Da Lists (www.tadalist.com) — Easy and free task lists from the 37 Signals team. It’s basic. But that’s why it’s used by more than 4 million users.
- TeuxDeux (www.teuxdeux.com) — There isn’t another platform like this one. Simple and super-sexy. It is mind-blowingly powerful. You just drag-and-drop tasks in between days of the week. Incredible.
- ToDo (www.appigo.com/todoonline) — A useful set of tools to manage basic projects. Not extra good-looking and lacking the best features of other platforms. But all around useful.
- Todo.txt (www.todotxt.com) — Minimalist is an understatement. Basically just a text editor. But the simplicity and focus forces you to stay on point and get things done.
- Todoist (www.todoist.com) — Very easy to use, but powerful. Their Chrome plugin allows you to create tasks from Gmail or any other page on the web. Lacking mobile apps, but the best of the free platforms.
- Toodledo (www.toodledo.com) — Their latest platform redesign makes this platform a leading choice. Useful mobile apps and their “hotlist” filters allows you to focus on what is important right now.
- Vitalist (www.vitalist.com) — Sharing files and the low $5 per month price makes this a beginner platform for team collaboration and project management. It’s basic. But useful.
- Wunderkit (www.wunderkit.com) — Brand new. And incredibly powerful. Sleek mobile apps, tags, and team collaboration make this one of the best ways ever to get things done in style.
Getting things done doesn’t need to be based on how you feel that day.
Being accountable is key to long-term success.
You execute most consistently when you have tools that remind you of what is most important.
So try a few of these. Use the ones that help you get things done. And keep looking for tools that work the way you like to work.
Don’t sacrifice results because you let the details fall through the cracks.
Getting things done is what you want to do. Make it a priority again.
You’ll be glad tomorrow.