5 Common Productivity Tools You Probably Haven’t Considered

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Do you want to be more productive on a regular basis?

Are you looking for common productivity tools you can use, right away?

Common productivity tools don’t necessarily have to be smart phone apps, computer programs, or the latest and greatest gadget.

Using common everyday tools with a focused and deliberate mindset can work wonders!

You simply pay attention to the little things and make a decision to take appropriate action…or not.

When you slow down your approach towards productivity, you’ll find it will give you a new outlook when it comes to getting things done.

You can accomplish a lot if you take your time and get things done one after the other.

In this post, I offer five common productivity tools you probably haven’t considered at home or the office.

If you keep an open mind, you’ll find countless tools and ways of being productive are available to you on any given day.


Let phone messages go to voicemail.

Once upon a time, cellphones and voicemail didn’t exist.

It’s no surprise things have drastically changed since those days of yore.

Even with all our newfangled devices and tech, a very basic productivity question remains: do you let phone calls dictate your time and energy when you’re trying to get things done?

You may not consciously realize it, but you always have a choice when it comes to picking up that phone.

This isn’t to say there aren’t times when you are expecting or need to pick up an urgent call.

But for all those countless times when you’re in the groove in a personal project on the weekend, attending an important meeting at work, or lifting weights at the gym, why not cut yourself some slack?

Why not use voicemail for the tool that it is? If you are busy or otherwise engaged, let that unexpected call go straight to voicemail.

If the caller leaves a message, you can always call them back later.

Go with the flow.

You experience a series of regular occurrences, every single day.  The postal mail arrives and you answer the door, you have to run off a series of photocopies in the print room, and the washing machine cycle finishes.

These aren’t new tasks, they’re just things that happen on a regular basis. However, you may let these actions get to you, leaving you frustrated and annoyed.

But what if you took a new approach?

Instead of putting up a wall, fighting the inevitable, and getting all hot and bothered, what if you embraced these types of actions as part of your day, and not as interruptions?

What if you just accepted these tasks for what they are, and nothing more?

Yes, this is certainly an interesting experiment in productivity, but what have you got to lose? You could choose to be tense, stressed, and chaotic in your reactions, or you could choose to be cool, calm, and collected.

Chances are, when you take the latter route, you’ll be ready to get back to whatever it was you were doing with a more patient and calm outlook.

Take on-the go notes.

Writing notes for yourself is a great way to stay organized and on track. This is especially the case when you’re out in the world running errands, traveling, or commuting.

Lots of little thoughts can run around your mind: you think about paying an upcoming household bill, ironing a dress shirt for tomorrow’s meeting, taking the dog for a walk, prepping dinner, and so on.

What’s a great way to catch all those ideas and quiet your mind? Why, take notes!

Jotting down a few simple notes may seem a bit over the top; especially when your to-dos are as simple as checking the weather for the afternoon or watering your plants.

Nevertheless, taking notes removes those ideas from your mind, and puts them squarely down in your to-do list app or scrap of paper.

Just try it. You can jot down notes on the built-in notes or to-do list app on your smart phone, or you can use a small notebook, planner, or piece of paper and a pen.

You’ll calm your mind, have a convenient reference, and immediately feel more in control of your thoughts.

Read a user manual.

We all know it’s a good idea to read user manuals whenever we purchase new items, like a blender for the kitchen counter, or a desktop printer for our home office.

But how many of us actually do it?

A few minutes spent learning about your new purchase, has the potential to save you tens of hours in frustration and headaches, not to mention time and money.

Whenever you purchase or start using a new tool or item, take a few moments to stop and read the user manual. There’s literally a wealth of information available to you!

What’s more, the process probably won’t take as long as you think.

Many guides appear longer than they actually are because they’re written in 27 different languages. You probably only need to read several pages, if even that.

If the thought of reading a manual makes your eyes glaze over, look for other solutions.

Now more than ever, manufacturers offer free how-to-use video tutorials on their website or social media channels. A complimentary hands-on training via phone or webinar session could also be a smart solution for you.

Schedule your vacation and personal time.

If you’re not taking all of your allocated vacation and personal days every year, you’re doing yourself a disservice.

You need time to rest and recharge your mind, body, and spirit.

What’s more, when you take regular breaks, you end up being more productive because your batteries are fully charged, instead of running on empty or quarter capacity.

Do yourself a favor and calculate how many hours of vacation and personal time you have for the rest of the year.

Propose several dates to your supervisor or boss, get those dates approved, and mark those dates in your calendar.

Plan your vacation trips and create a vacation itinerary.

Congratulations! You’re well on your way to a more productive you.

How about you? Which of these productivity tools surprised you the most? Can you think of any other productivity tools you use on a regular basis or should in your daily routine? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!

Do you want help managing your time and schedule? I offer personalized time management coaching. Click here to learn more.

Want to better manage your time? The Order Expert’s Guide to Time Management, is a hands-on eWorkbook that provides practical solutions to common, everyday time management problems. Click here to learn more.

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Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.