Tools I use to Be Productive—And Maintain My Sanity

I’ve gotten more than a few comments lately on how much I am on-top of things. However, I haven’t always been this way. It’s taken years of hard work after constantly letting things slip through the cracks and not pursuing my goals as rigorously as I could or should. I was tired of it, so I focused my efforts on figuring out the systems and tools that worked for me.

I should preface by saying that these tools may not work for you. I am a 99% digital person, but I know plenty of people who are mostly analog1. The point is that you need to spend the time figuring out what works best for you.

1. Todoist

I often tell people that Todoist is my brain. I dump everything into it. Every task goes into Todoist and they go into Todoist as soon as the task comes to me. Minds are fallible and I would rather spent my mental energy creating new ideas than trying to remember what I said I would do in my previous meeting. Todoist is on all of my devices and is always open. In fact, on my Android phone I can just swipe down my notification bar and I always have an “Add Task” option. I have no excuse to ever forget a task. I will mention that I do pay for the Premium features like task labels and reminders, task comments and file uploads, productivity tracking, and more. Keep your eyes out for future blogs on how I use Todoist to manage my projects and tasks!

2. HubSpot Sales and CRM

Have you ever sent an email and wondered if the recipient read it? With HubSpot Sales, you’ll never need to wonder again. The software has an option to “Track Emails” so you can be notified if and when someone has read the email. This has been really helpful for important and/or time-sensitive emails, especially to individuals who get so many emails that many slip through the cracks. This feature is not unique to HubSpot, but I am also trying to get into using a customer relationship management (CRM) system. I tried Insightly and Streak but I just couldn’t get used to them. When I found out HubSpot also had a CRM, I went back to it. We’ll see if this one sticks!

3. SaneBox

Do you get a lot of emails? Do you want to ever reach Inbox Zero? Then I highly recommend SaneBox. SaneBox is an email management system that smartly sorts your emails so your inbox is only filled with the important stuff. Perhaps the Gmail “Categories” did this, but I never liked those. This software filters emails so that unimportant emails go to your “SaneLater” box. There’s a “SaneNoReplies” box that keeps track of emails you sent but have been replied to yet. There’s a “SaneNews” box that saves newsletter type emails for later reading (*cough* AEA365 emails *cough*). This has made managing my personal email so much more manageable. (p.s. use this link to purchase SaneBox so we each get $5 your subscription!)

4. Dropbox

This might be a no-brainer to many of you, but I felt compelled to add it nonetheless. I put everything on my Dropbox. All my files go there. I have Dropbox installed on all my devices. I have two computers (a laptop and a desktop), a phone, and I’m at a public computer enough to want to have access to my files whenever and wherever I am. I don’t want to be the individual who says they saved the document onto their other computer. This is also probably why I am completely digital; could you imagine carrying around all the documents I have in my computer on my person?! The one potential drawback to Dropbox that I have not looked into personally, however, is that you should use it cautiously with highly sensitive data.

Have you used any of these tools? Do you have any other productivity tools you use? Mention them below! I am always on the lookout for new apps and software to try and figure out if it would work for me.

Footnotes

  1. Dr. Raul Pacheco-Vega’s Everything Notebook is a fantastic analog method of maintain productivity. I know for a fact I could never use it as a system personally, but it seems to work well for a lot of people (that or similar systems like the Bullet Journal). I like to think of my computer as my Everything Notebook, but I have thought about using OneNote or something similar as a notebook, but I currently prefer saving notes from conferences, classes, meetings, projects, etc. in their own respective folders.

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