I’ve worked hard over the years to learn principles that govern good time management. It’s because I believe time is probably the most valuable resource we have. We better make the most of today because once it’s gone, it’s gone.
But principles mean nothing unless you have systems and tools to put them into action. Principles never change though tools may, and mine sure have over the years.
I’m often asked what I use to implement the principles I teach on time management so I’d thought I’d share a few of the top ones. There are, of course, many tools in the toolbox but for my day-in/day-out, this is what I rely on.
These devices may be a bit obvious but I don’t take them for granted. My life spins around what they allow me to do. Apps mean nothing without the equipment.
- Wristwatch. I don’t mean any device that gives the time. I mean wearing a wristwatch. Old school, I know—but there’s good reason for it. Productive people have an awareness of time and nothing beats the timepiece worn on your wrist for accessibility. I now own—and love—an Apple Watch. It provides a lot of time saving features. But my $10 Casio works just as well for what I need it to do most—keeping me conscious of the time.
Macbook Air. I’m an Apple guy but you could simply say a laptop computer. I still love using a legal pad and pencil for brainstorming, but basically everything else I do is digital. My laptop is the center of all that.
iPhone. Again, you can read “smartphone”, but I don’t want to think about what my life would be like without my iPhone. Everything important I do productivity-wise on my laptop is synced and accessible on my iPhone for maximum portability.
These serve as the sacred triad of running my world. Although I have many apps on them, there are only a few that are my daily go-to for making the most of my day.
4 Essential Apps
- Calendar. I prefer an electronic calendar today over my paper Day-Timer of yesteryear. For me, that means Apple Calendar. But, whether paper or digital, the calendar should be the center of your planning. It serves as first point of entry of all appointments and recurring dates like birthdays, anniversaries, etc. However, the real power isn’t in just reminding me of what to do—it’s in helping me become. I block out time for regularly weekly activities that will help me become the follower of Jesus, husband, dad, Papa, leader that I want to become. My master weekly template of such activities is what keeps me on target—to keep priorities happening and becoming a better version of me every week.
Things. Things is a task management app for managing simple to-do’s and complex projects. I don’t like to clutter my mind with endless lists of things to remember to do—I write down everything, organize, and build in reminders for time-sensitive and repetitive tasks. There are many great apps available today that accommodate varying needs and preferences. Things has been my favorite for years now. And, of course, it syncs across all my devices seamlessly. It is a paid app but is well worth it in my opinion.
Evernote. Evernote is my digital filing cabinet. I was slow to get on board with Evernote but I don’t know how I would function as productively as I do today without it. It allows you to create your own notes, scan any document or photo, save photos of anything, save audio files and bookmarks, clip any information from the web—you get the point. Not only is it where I gather all information but it allows me access to it wherever I am. Its powerful search function makes it extremely easy to find anything you’ve stored. Its flexibility is so powerful that it’s easy to get a bit overwhelmed at first. My recommendation is to read Evernote Essentials: The Definitive Guide for New Evernote Users by Brett Kelly before you dive in. It will give you a major head start in your organization.
Kindle app. I don’t own a Kindle but I do have the free Kindle app on my Macbook and iPhone (available for virtually all tablets, computers, and smartphones). I’ve described why I do most of my reading on my iPhone previously. Bottom line: I want to read more and having my books available to me wherever I am is a huge advantage.
This list is ever-changing due to new technologies continually emerging. But the principles remain the same as does the importance of making the most of our todays to hit our marks.
Question: What are your top non-negotiable go-to daily productivity tools? Share your answer in the comments below.