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Ask Arthur

Ask Arthur: How can I
become more productive?

A reader wants to know how to use technology to become more productive. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK offers a few tips.

Q: Dear Arthur 

It feels as if I can’t get anything done and I feel terribly unproductive, even though I’ve got a good laptop and uncapped broadband. What other technology tools do I need?


Busy but not busy 

A: Dear Busy but not busy

That’s a big question, and the answer could fill a book. It all really depends what line of work you are in, how much of your tech you can choose for yourself, and what you’re willing to spend. The one general piece of advice I can offer is that most tech tools are now about software, not hardware. The hardware is only a platform on which most productivity tools now run. Of course, the better the hardware, the faster it all runs, and the more you can run.

That said, there are few main categories of productivity tools you should look at. Run online searches using the names of the categories, plus the name of your industry or main activity. Start with these:

  • Project management tools like Asana, Trello, and can help you to organise your tasks, set deadlines, and track your progress.
  • Time tracking tools like Toggl, Rescue Time, and Clockify can help you to see how you are spending your time so that you can identify where you can be more efficient. 
  • Automation tools like Zapier, IFTTT, and  can help to automate repetitive tasks so that you can free up your time for more important things. 
  • Productivity apps like Evernote and Todoist can help you focus, stay organised, and get more done.

None of these, however, deal with the mindset of productivity. For that, there are 5 main tips I can offer:

  • Take breaks. It may seem counterintuitive, but taking breaks help you to be more productive by giving your mind and body a chance to recharge.
  • Choose the right tools for the job, meaning you should start by taking a little time to research the tools available and choose what sounds right for you.
  • Be intentional: don’t let technology control you, but use it to help you achieve your goals.
  • Be flexible and don’t be afraid to change things up if something isn’t working.
  • Ask for help, if you feel you need it, from a friend, colleague, or mentor, or in online communities.
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