There’s no doubt about it; one of the biggest struggles I have as a location independent worker is trying to manage my time more efficiently.
Working online is full of distractions. One minute you open up a new tab to check Facebook, and twenty minutes later, you emerge from a deep vortex of distractions, only to forget how it all began! At least that’s how it is for me.
Thankfully, for those of us working online, we also have many tools to help us stay focused, be more productive and more effectively manage our time and work.
These are my personal favourite plugins, tools and software programs that I use when I really need to stay focused and get a job done. If you’re also finding it difficult to stay focused, give them a try and let me know how they go for you:
I think RescueTime is my favourite find of the last few months. This amazing time tracking software allows you to completely track your online time, measuring how you spend it, where you spend it, and helping you to discover things that distract you.
Monitor your daily, weekly and monthly productivity with the ‘productivity pulse’, pie-charts, graphs and more geeky goodness! This program is really addictive as it makes you try to beat your personal best, achieve your daily pre-set goals and minimize time in the ‘red zone’ (distracting sites like social media). You can also categorize every website you use into ‘Very Productive’, ‘Productive’, ‘Neutral’, ‘Distracting’ and ‘Very Distracting’, so if you’re a social media manager, your time on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ can actually be categorized in the Productive categories.
The most valuable part of using RescueTime is really understanding where your online time is going. I was shocked to see how much time I spend on social media sites in reality, when it was much less in my head.
I use the free version of RescueTime, but there is also a premium version with more features.
Concentrate is a Chrome Web Store add-on/plugin with a simple concept. It allows you to block any number of websites for a designated period of time, so you can get some work done. This is actually a feature of the premium version of RescueTime, but I use Concentrate instead as its free and simple to use.
Just type in the web domains of sites that you find distracting and set the amount of time you would like to block these sites for. Once you click start, there’s no going back…unless you uninstall the app of course….or use a different browser.
But the point is, whenever you subconsciously open a new tab to check Twitter, during a concentration lapse, you’ll be quickly reminded that it’s blocked and you have to get back to work!
Basecamp is the best project management software I’ve ever used. It’s just beautiful; so easy to use, so simple looking (meaning it’s really very complicated under the skin), and extremely useful. I use Basecamp in my everyday life too, not just for work.
In Basecamp, you can set up projects, add people, create to-do lists, discussions, events, and more.
Basically, Basecamp has got it all, and it really makes my working life more efficient, organized, and streamlined.
Basecamp is by 37signals, the same company behind Highrise, which I also use to manage my email contacts, and send myself reminders for follow-ups, tasks and more. There is both a free and ‘plus’ version of Highrise.
Basecamp has a free 30-day trial so you can see what you think of it, but it is a monthly subscription model thereafter.
Do you use any other useful tools for more efficient time management, when working online? Have you got any tips to help make location independent working easier? I’d love to hear your recommendations in the comments below!Photo Credit: s.yume