The 5 tools I use daily to smash my to-do list

Like many, I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time trying out new devices and apps that are apparently designed to make me more productive.

In reality, very few do, because I seem to spend more time setting them up than actually getting stuff done.

Then, there are the tools I’ve found that just work. They’re effortless to use, require minimal setup and work their way into my daily life so surreptitiously that I often forget they exist. I simply benefit from them – constantly.

I’d like to share these tools with you today:

1. Omnifocus

This is a powerhouse of a to-do list app, but I only scratch its surface.

Omnifocus has been designed to work with the GTD (Get Things Done) philosophy made famous by a chap called David Allen. It’s packed to the rafters with functionality, from basic to-do list management to projects, contexts and all manner of detailed settings that can be configured for each task.

Without Omnifocus, I simply wouldn’t get anything done, nor would I follow up on the promises I make; it has become indispensable.

2. Online video

A rather broad topic, this, but I use online video nearly every day to raise my productivity.

Whether it be a hunt through YouTube to find research material or using live video in the form of conferencing, I find it consistently useful.

3. Toggl

This is actually a work timer used most commonly by freelancers who charge by the hour.

While some of my work is indeed linked to that model, I use Toggl mainly to track how many hours I work – for my own benefit. It’s something I’ve only started doing recently, but it has provided an invaluable insight into how productive I am versus the number of hours I work.

My working days neither start nor finish at consistent times, but with Toggl, I can quickly look at my timer and immediately see where I stand. It enables me to adjust outstanding tasks if I appear to be overworking myself or make headway on tomorrow’s to-dos if I’m ahead.

4. Skitch

Although something of a black sheep in the Evernote family, Skitch is a tool I use every day and without which I’d have to spend considerably more time on certain tasks.

Although I write for a living, a great deal of my work also involves working with images. Specifically, I often need to grab graphical elements from web pages in order to use them on social media, email marketing campaigns and blog posts.

Skitch is ridiculously simple; you just click a button and use the tool to mark the area of the screen you want to convert into an image. The resulting image can then be dragged into applications or folders on your computer, directly from Skitch.

There really is genius inherent in simplicity.

5. Dropbox

We now live in a world where cloud file storage is the norm, and while there are plenty of platforms to choose from, I’m yet to find one as widely supported or reliable (touch wood) as Dropbox.

I store practically everything on the cloud, and the effect it has had on my productivity levels is profound. If I need something, I find it – instantly, on any device.

How did we live without Dropbox?

Have I missed something?

Have I neglected above to mention a tool that is your daily productivity saviour? Add your faves in the comments section, below!

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