2022 is here, and with it its share of good resolutions. First step for a more peaceful year, stop procrastinating.
The new year is here, and with it its share of good resolutions, which you will painfully stick to until the end of the month. To avoid getting overwhelmed with work, there are many tools that promise to increase your productivity. Here’s a quick overview of what’s best at the moment, to tackle 2022 in style.
Target your needs
Before you want to be productive, you have to define what you need. On computers and smartphones, there is no shortage of tools, but their multiplication on online stores can quickly have the opposite effect from that sought: by trying to find the perfect tool, you end up getting lost. It will therefore be necessary before you start, to precisely define your daily work habits. Rather a collaborative platform for your team, a versatile tool capable of centralizing all your projects, or a simple to-do list to organize your deadlines, it’s up to you to determine what you need.
Once your expectations have been defined, it is also necessary to know if you are – or not – ready to take the wallet to boost your productivity. Unsurprisingly, the most comprehensive tools often require checking out, either through a monthly subscription or a one-time purchase. For this selection, we will only focus on free solutions, so as not to combine productivity and bank overdraft. However, it should be noted that many of these tools also offer a more complete paid offer.
To be productive, start by not spending your time on social media. Establish work schedules, rewarded with a few breaks, and make sure you stick to them. It obviously takes some mental discipline, but the good news is, there are tools to encourage you to do so.
On iOS and Android, for example, you can opt for Forest, an app (free on Google, 2.99E on iOS) that rewards your concentration by planting trees in a virtual forest. Not enough to bury your procrastination, but the idea has the merit of being more motivating than a simple stopwatch.
More radical, Antisocial is another free application, which allows you to set up a blacklist of applications that may distract you, and block them. It is thus possible to define disconnection time slots in advance, or to improvise productivity sessions, where it will be impossible for you to open any third-party application. Obviously, if necessary, these can be unlocked with a simple gesture.
Finally on Spotify and YouTube, there are also many playlists dedicated to concentration. If your favorite music prompts you to sing more than to work, then opt for a working session with the Lofi Girl. In the same spirit, we also recommend Endel, an application that uses AI to generate musical sequences conducive to concentration, sport or relaxation.
Google Workspace, the most intuitive
We no longer present to you the Google G Suite, which later became Google Workspace. Complete, free (provided you do not exceed the storage limit imposed) and multiplatform, the American giant’s office solution has several advantages: not only is it accessible everywhere, both on computer and on mobile, but above all it allows users to access a large number of interconnected tools through a single interface. Provided you agree to offer your data to Google, Workspace gives access to several types of documents (Docs, Sheets, Slides, etc.), but also to a rather well-thought-out to-do-list, a very practical digital notepad on a daily basis, and on an agenda.
In addition to being particularly intuitive, Google’s office suite also has the luxury of being fully collaborative, and to authorize multitasking via the same work window. An almost perfect solution therefore, which nevertheless suffers from its lack of customization.
Trello, for team projects
If you are more used to working in a team, Trello is a platform that allows you to break down the different tasks of the same project, in the form of a to-do-list or objectives to be achieved. Ideal for group work and teleworking, the tool is accessible on computer and smartphone.
Very visual, Trello also allows share image and video files, which avoids having to go through third-party services. An all-in-one which is not perfect, but which deserves some attention, if only for its task list system which makes it easy to understand the priorities of the day.
Evernote, the organizer 2.0
Whether you are students or professionals, Evernote is a complete cross-platform solution, which could be essential if she weren’t so aggressive when it comes to selling you her paid offer. Available on computers and smartphones, the application allows you to take notes and organize them via labels or thematic files.
With its web application, Evernote also allows save any page as URL, text or pdf preview, in order to keep it, or to read it offline. A simple and intuitive tool, perfect for keeping press articles, or building a portfolio. Concretely, it is thus possible to organize everything, from his schedule to his classes, meetings and life goals. We simply regret that the tool is also limited in the free version, otherwise it could dethrone Google Workspace.
Zotero, the bibliographer
Whether you need to write a book, a dissertation, or just are a digital archiving control freak, Zotero is a bibliography tool that could revolutionize your work. Open source and free (up to a certain storage level), the application is accessible on any device, and allows you to store, classify and archive articles, books, digital documents or literary references. The perfect tool to avoid losing a crucial reference while working on a large project.
In addition to avoiding the tedious exercise of writing a bibliography, Zotero especially allows you toorganize your references, and find them by author, keywords, or theme. So a real time saver on a daily basis. In the same vein, you can also opt for EndNote, a little more complete, but also much more expensive.
Todoist, the simplest
Office tools that are too large scare you, and are you looking for an intuitive solution to manage your various projects? No need to make it complicated when it is possible to make it simple. In its free version which is largely sufficient for everyday use (a premium subscription is also available at $ 36 per year), Todoist is a cross-platform task manager which shines with its efficiency.
Operating in the form of a to-do-list, the application allows you to organize its various objectives in separate lists, to assign them a level of priority, and even labels. Each task and sub-task can be given a deadline, which again stands out for its simplicity: it is for example possible to define precise intervals, like “Every first Friday of the month”, or even “Every other week on Wednesday at 4.30 pm”. Todoist will then take care of converting your instructions into specific dates and reminding you of them in real time.
A real time saver on a daily basis for those who would like to organize their workspace a little. We also particularly appreciate the tab “My week”, which allows you to anticipate your deadlines over the next 7 days. Note that for users of the Office suite, a similar application called To do allows the same functionalities, while having the advantage of being integrated into the Microsoft office solution.
Notion, perfection or almost
New kid on the productivity market, Notion stands out for its versatility and potential. It’s quite simple, the platform accessible on PC and smartphone allows just about anything. Thanks to a system of “Bricks”, you can create task lists, databases, take notes or even organize your diary. All from a single interface, and yet unmatched in efficiency. It is also possible to share documents with other collaborators.
Another detail that should appeal to perfectionists, the freedom of layout offered by the application. In addition to the content, it is also possible to customize the appearance of each page, to the point that some opt for Notion when it comes to creating a book or a mini website.
If Notion seems so perfect, it is because it almost is. In the end, its only flaw is to be too complete, to the point of sometimes succeeding in losing ourselves. Reserved for perfectionists, the tool has lost us several times, to the point of spending hours trying to get the perfect worksheet … and ultimately wasting time. If Notion’s promises are big, opt – first – for pre-made templates, or get inspired by templates found on Pinterest and Instagram. As long as you give it a little time and investment, you won’t be disappointed with the trip.
Once you’ve chosen your software, keep in mind that productivity rhymes with organization. By spending a minimum of time anticipating your goals for the coming week, and setting yourself achievable goals, you will inevitably become more efficient.