Many people tend not to refer to themselves as minimalists. We simply buy, use, and collect too many things to think otherwise. Yet with all our gadgets, trinkets, and supplies, we usually find the most value in minimalist tools and methods that help increase our productivity.
Despite the appeal of multi-featured products and multitasking, I’ve found that having fewer tasks and options to focus on at a time makes getting things done a whole lot faster and easier. Here we’ll talk about three incredible tools you can use to simplify your business life, home life, and possible even your social life.
They are simple tools that focus your attention on very little at a time, and yet make sure that you excel at the little you set out to do. You’ll be able to accomplish what you need to do first, finally making time to do what you enjoy as well.
Evernote has grown significantly since it was launched back in 2008. Reaching more than 11 million users last year, it has easily become one of the most popular productivity tools of our time.
Evernote is an organization tool for iPhones, iPads, and other mobile devices. The application can also run on Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and various Internet browsers. On your computer Evernote can copy selected windows on the screen, including web pages if your browser supports it. You can then mark these copies with titles and organize them into notebook, archiving them in a number of ways.
On mobile devices, items you’ve copied can be synced directly to the Evernote cloud service, so you’ll never lose any of the information that you’re organizing. You can also take pictures from your smartphone or tablet and save them directly onto your Evernote account. You can also add GPS tagging and audio comments to each of the pictures you save.
There are hundreds of ways you can use this tool to your advantage. Many companies have switched to Evernote as their central filing system, abandoning physical paperwork altogether. Students use it as a great way to take written notes and keep track of their school work. Families use it as a cheap way to store their photos through a cloud service, versus an unsecure hard drive.
As you begin to use it, you’ll notice other little ways you can be more productive with this tool. For example, let’s say you’re going to a major mall, airport or other commercial area. Before you leave the parking lot, take a picture of your car, GPS tag it, and then you can use the GPS on your mobile device to walk right back to it later.
Evernote can be a valuable productivity tool if used correctly and consistently. Give it a try for a week and see how it works. There’s no downside and its basic service is completely free.
Developed back in the late 1980s, the Pomodoro technique is an incredible time management system that involves working in short focused waves. The basic idea is to use a timer and work on a single task for 25 minutes without any interruption, and then take a short break for 5 minutes. This takes a lot of pressure off a particular task while discouraging unnecessary multitasking.
The Pomodoro technique allows you to make calculated progress on all of your tasks by encouraging deep concentration without distractions instead of tackling it all at once and feeling overwhelmed. It’s simple, but very effective, and keeps you focused on what’s most important.
- Select a take you need to accomplish today.
- Set a timer for 25 minutes and begin working on that task.
- When time is up, take a short 5 minute break.
Every 4 cycles, take a 25 minute break.
You’ll notice after trying it that the Pomodoro technique is very easy to remember and follow. It doesn’t require any special software, lists, or other medium. You can practice it with anything.
Zendone is complementary software to Evernote. It further explores the organization and productivity features that Evernote offers by creating a task management system for you.
When you connect Zendone to Evernote, you’ll choose one of your Evernote folders as your main task inbox. In the future, anything that you upload to that Evernote folder will also pop up in your Zendone inbox as a task. So with Evernote you have a fantastic way to collect and organize vast amounts of content on one digital interface using text, pictures, and audio recordings.
With Zendone, you can now designate what you want to do with this information and prioritize it in the form of daily tasks. If it’s just information for the file then you can archive it for reference, but if it something you need to get done at a later date, like paying a bill or taxes, then you can title it and organize it as a task in your Zendone inbox.
Try utilizing each of these three productivity tools to your advantage. Collect and store information on Evernote while using Zendone to organize it into tasks. Then use the Pomodoro technique to accomplish those tasks. Rinse and repeat. It’s a simple way to maximize your productivity while lowering your stress. Give it a try and let us know how it worked for you in the comments below.
Vincent H. Clarke is a Marketing Analyst for USB Memory Direct, a wholesaler of promotional USB drives. While he mostly writes about marketing and branding, he also enjoys writing about personal improvement, productivity, and start-up culture.