12 Thoughtful Productivity Tools to Help You Get Things Done

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12 Thoughtful Productivity Tools to Help You Get Things Done

Do you want to be more productive in your daily life?

Are you ready to take a break from technology-based productivity tools, such as apps, computer programs, and digital devices?

While technology can be helpful when it comes to getting things done, there’s something to be said about analog productivity tools.

In this post, I offer a collection of twelve thoughtful productivity tools to help you gain some perspective, be more focused, and inspire you to take action, today.

Keep in mind, these tips aren’t your typical productivity tools.

They offer a completely different way of looking at the productivity puzzle.

We’re going to take a look at how your productivity levels are influenced by your perspective, focus, environment, and inspiration.

Get ready to give your productivity levels a boost with these thoughtful tools!




A large wall calendar.

An easy way to gain some much-needed perspective in your work and long-term goals is to use a large wall calendar.  Having a large wall calendar nearby allows you to see “the big picture” when it comes to your work today, and on a monthly and yearly basis. All you have to do is mark down key milestones and dates for your upcoming goals, dreams, and future accomplishments.

You can use a monthly calendar to keep track of big dates, or you can even use a full-sized wall calendar with all of the months of the year laid out, one by one. Want to create your own printable calendars with ease? Take a look at my calendar printable collection here.

View your workspace objectively.

We’re all familiar with our workspaces, be they a kitchen table, a corner office, or a cubicle. Yet, when’s the last time you viewed your workspace as an objective area? This eye-opening exercise allows you to see a space as it truly is; without personal judgments, emotions, or biases clouding your vision.

To view your workspace objectively, physically remove yourself from your workspace; you can stand directly outside of your office or in the doorway, or take three to five large steps back from your workspace. Now, give yourself a few moments to really look and take the scene in, just as you would if you were admiring the view from a mountain.

What items, tools, materials, furniture, and office supplies are present? Likewise, what’s visibly absent? Is there anything in your workspace that doesn’t belongings the workspace? Once you’ve identified what belongs, and what doesn’t, you can take steps to declutter or rearrange items so they work better for your needs.

Make a timeline.

This tool can be used to give you perspective on a situation, such as your professional career, academic career, a relationship with someone, a hobby or project, personal concerns, and more.

To begin, round-up a piece of paper and a pencil. Write the title of your timeline at the top of the page, and then think about how far back you’d like to go back in time. Depending on what situation you’re evaluating, this could a couple of days, weeks, months, or even years. Once your clear, write down the different days of the week, months, or years as necessary. Then, begin to fill in all the different events, activities, and milestones in chronologic order.

You may find it slow going at first trying to remember things, but keep at it. Once you get on a roll, your memories will become clearer, and clearer. In fact, realizations may start to leap out at you, and you might have a lightbulb “aha” moment of perspective of which you were previously unaware.

Keep a productivity diary.

Being productive is one thing, but making marked progress is entirely another. One way to track your progress in your work is to keep a productivity diary. This journal contains key information surrounding your work, including personal and professional projects, different tools, systems, and completed tasks.

It’s easy to create a diary (all you need is a notebook and a pen), but you’ll get the most out of it if you update your notes on a daily basis, and make regular improvements in your work style. Want to create your own productivity diary? Learn more about creating a productivity diary in my post here.


Write in a notebook.

Notebooks are handy for containing information in a single place. Not only that, but you can really dive in with your favorite writing implements and simply focus on the task at hand. There’s no computers, phones, apps, programs, or alerts to distract you from what you’re doing.

Try writing in a notebook when you need to focus, plan, or manage items related to a specific subject or situation. Need to switch gears to a different subject? Simply use a different notebook! Want help organizing your own notebook? You can get started with my notebook organizing post here.

Wear a wristwatch.

Wearing a wristwatch literally keeps a timekeeping device at your fingertips. Plus, you don’t have to worry about being distracted by a phone text or message, or dropping or losing your phone when you’re out and about.

So, select your favorite brand or style, and tell time the fashionable and productive way!

Use earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones.

Sometimes, an office, household, or classroom becomes too noisy in which to work. That’s why it can be a great idea to have a pair of noise-cancelling headphones or earplugs on hand to use in a pinch.

No longer do you have to let conversations, background noise, music, or other annoyances bother you. You can just pull out your earplugs or headphones, and continue on with your work.

Create white space.

We’re constantly being bombarded by colors, images, ads, messages, in our daily lives. Why not give your eyes (and mind) a well-deserved break?

This is as easy as working in a room or area where there’s little to no decorations on the walls, such as a conference room, empty office, or unused spare room. Likewise, you can also take steps to remove flashy or otherwise bothersome visual distractions from your line of sight at your desk or workstation.


Make a dedicated workstation.

Tired of setting up your workstation…and then taking it down again? Why not create a dedicated workstation for your needs?

This can be as simple as setting up a table for writing, designating the side of a counter for your hobbies, or a setting up a temporary tray for sorting. And before you get started, be sure to put all your items in order like a chef’s mise en place so you can begin your work in earnest, with ease.

Beautify your workspace.

Make your workspace a beautiful space…and you just might want to spend more time working in it! If you’ve got some cash to spare, you can purchase stylish, beautiful, uplifting, or art-worthy office supplies.

Likewise, you can hang up or unpack those office supplies or space decorations you’ve been meaning to put up, or remove items that offend your senses. It really is as easy as that.

Play soothing or relaxing soundtracks.

Create a soothing work environment with sound. You can play relaxing soundtracks from classical music, to more nature-inspired sounds like whale songs or bird calls, to soft instrumental music, or even spoken word tracks.

Any sound that allows you to relax or calm down is a good idea.

Make your space comfortable.

Could your space benefit from a serious comfort upgrade? How about switching out that lumpy desk chair for a firm one, getting a desk that allows your legs to fully stretch out underneath, or adding a desk lamp to your office or workspace?

The sky’s the limit here. Take time to think about which functional or practical items could be updated in your room, office, or area.


Collect productivity quotes.

Need a productivity pick-me up? Start collecting productivity quotes! You can find quotes online, in books, magazines, interviews, podcasts, videos, and more.

You might even want to take note of your own personal productivity sayings, or jot down time-tested and well-worn sayings from your mentors, family, and friends, to motivate you to take action.

Read inspirational books.

Get inspired by someone else’s accomplishments. Read inspirational books about people who have built, created, conquered, or overcome tremendous difficulties.

These books can be directly related to your productivity concern, or they can be completely unrelated (a great way to gain some much-needed perspective). Once you finish reading a book, you’ll be duly inspired to take action!

Talk with a trusted friend or colleague.

It’s always refreshing to get someone else’s perspective or take on a situation. A quick conversation or chat with a friend or colleague can offer a perspective and viewpoint that’s completely different from your own.

Be sure to describe your goals, the steps you’ve taken in past, and the challenges you’re currently facing. What’s the next step? Sit back and listen to what your friend has to say.

Use your imagination.

There’s no limit to how you can boost or improve your productivity levels. Get creative! Unleash your imagination and flair for creativity to find unconventional solutions to your productivity problems.

Let your mind wander, sing a song, meditate, doodle on a notepad, or consider how a famous historical figure would approach your productivity concern.

How about you? Which productivity tool subject (perspective, focus, environment, or inspiration) resonates the most with you and your current productivity challenges? Which of the above tips are you going to try? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!

Follow Rashelle:
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.

2 Responses

  1. Paul Towers

    One thing that I found really boosted my productivity was having “everything on one page”. Just being able to see what I had to work on and when really helped me clarify my thoughts and set key prioritizes.

    Unfortunately when I tried to find a task management tool that really met these needs nothing really suited. I have tried everything from Trello to Asana to spreadsheets and pen and paper, but nothing really stuck. In the end I just bit the bullet and actually built my own task management application to solve this problem.

    • Rashelle

      Thanks for your comment, Paul. I also love having “everything on one page.” Sometimes, it’s just easier to process information when you can see it right there in front of you. I’ve been known to write down plans on a large artist’s sketch pad; it’s great as a visual reminder.