I have a love-hate relationship with productivity. I love to get things done, but I'm also a horrible procrastinator. I'm constantly having to play games with myself and rotate the productivity tools I use to keep myself from slacking off.
I'm also a big list maker, so one of my main tools has always been some sort of to do list. For a long time I kept a daily written to do list, and then I switched to apps for a few years. I had a hard time finding an app that worked well for me for very long though, so I switched back to written lists, except I started keeping it on an LCD writing tablet. There's always been something I liked about physically writing out a list, and I liked the eco-friendly tablet, but after a while that stopped working as well, too.
And then I discovered that Google Calendar gives me the ability to add tasks. So far this is working for me better than anything else has, because I can see my tasks on the calendar and schedule them around events. The visual tool also helps me to hold myself accountable, and the fact that I can drag and drop the tasks on the desktop view makes it easy to reschedule when I overschedule myself (which I do often).
I'm great at making lists of what I have to do, but not so great about actually doing it. I'm terrible about putting things off, but my biggest downfall is really that I just get distracted. Being on the computer it part of my job, so it's inevitable that I get distracted while I'm supposed to be working. I spend a lot of time on social media due to my other business, personal projects, and hobbies, and it's easy to get sucked into that when I intended to work on something else. Not to mention I'm so easily distractible that I can start out doing research for something for a client, and end up following Google down the rabbit hole for 40 minutes instead.
Sometimes I do all right reminding myself to get back to work when I catch myself getting distracted, but when I think of it, I try to set a timer and work for 20 or 30 minutes at a time before taking a break. Recently when I opened the timer on my computer, I discovered it now offered "focus sessions," where I can dial up how long I want to work, and it'll schedule breaks for me. Or I can dial up a shorter focus session and do the breaks manually. Even more useful to me, I can now minimize the timer and keep it on top of my other windows wherever I want on the screen, so that I have that visual reminder that I'm supposed to be focusing and for how much longer.
Unfortunately, it seems like for me, whatever method or trick or app I use, it doesn't last long before it loses its power. I feel like I have to rotate productivity tools often, otherwise I get used to them or learn to "outsmart" them, and they stop being as useful anymore. Sometimes it takes a while for me to realize something isn't working well anymore, too.
For now, my current system seems to be working pretty well. I'm getting a lot done and I'm pleased with that. It's only a matter of time before I need to change it up again, though, I fear. When that time comes, hopefully I'll be able to find some new productivity trick or method to jump start me again for a little while.
What about you? What productivity tools do you use to keep your momentum going?