As Americans, growing more organized is one of the most common goals we share. Another is increasing our productivity levels. These are frequent resolutions as each new year begins and particularly hot topics when each new season rolls around. As a result, thousands of experts share tips on how to best achieve these aspirations, too.
One major reason for our obsession with organization? Our closely related obsession with stuff. A typical American home houses hundreds of thousands of items - clothing, books, paper materials, knick-knacks, electronics, memorabilia - you name it. Offices and desks frequently follow suit. At the same time, we know that clutter actually fights for your attention, which has been proven to affect your ability to focus and thus hinders productivity.
Given so much of the clutter around us tends to be paper, our favorite way to kick off any organization journey is to go paperless. Once you adopt a healthy digitization habit, you can also take advantage of a number of helpful, easy-to-use apps that will help you get across the finish line.
This powerful tool allows you to manage personal and professional projects, organize notes, research and to-dos and save important photos, videos, voice recordings, audio files and screenshots - all in one place. The app is available across desktop, tablets and mobile and integrates seamlessly with several tools you already use, including the ScanSnap line, enabling you to create the perfect digital organization system.
Whether you’re already a self-proclaimed list-maker or you’re looking to uplevel your organization game, Wunderlist is the app for you. It creates a digital to-do list synced between your devices with phone, wearable, tablet and desktop versions. The app also includes intuitive reminders and group syncing of shared lists across devices, making it the perfect solution to share to-dos with friends, family members or colleagues.
Trello is a frontrunner when it comes to project management within an organization. Teams can create user-friendly digital boards to help organize and prioritize tasks and deadlines, and owners can be assigned for each action item. It allows for more extensive lists and notetaking, too. One of its best features is effortless integration with a number of other platforms - such as Evernote, Box and Slack - allowing easy team collaboration.
Another top pick for team collaboration, this platform offers instant team communications along with helpful notifications and to-do reminders. What’s especially helpful is the tool’s flexible interface. With a number of customizable options depending on team size and preference, various project tasks can easily be tackled and checked off simultaneously by several team members.
One of the tricks that many expert swear by is embracing “deep work”. Designate time slots for this by disabling popup notifications on your phone and desktop. It’s better to focus on one task at a time, rather than trying - and most often, failing - to multitask. Tools like Pocket can help you clip and reserve articles and other distracting but valuable content that arises so you can successfully complete the task at hand. You can then return to the content afterward anytime at your leisure.
Apps likeStrict Workflow and MultiTimer support you in forming and adhering to a clear schedule each day. Rather than only scheduling meetings, many people find it helpful to block out time on the calendar for every task rather than haphazardly working without set time limits. Both apps are based on the Pomodoro Method; Strict Workflow enforces a 25-minute, distraction-free task timeline followed by a five-minute break, both of which repeat as needed.
What apps help you get organized, increase productivity and stay focused? Any other recommendations we should consider?