Tools I Use to Streamline Screen Time

Over the past couple years, I’ve (finally) realized that time, not money, is my most valuable resource, so I started focusing on how I could maximize my time and effort in order to generate the most productive outcomes. I’ve picked up a number of new tools along the way, and while these are obviously not magic bullets that will do the work for you, they will help keep you focused, organized, and effective. Here’s a quick rundown of the ones I’ve found to be most useful:

Evernote is an electronic scrapbook for your adult life. You can snap photos of book pages (the text converts to being searchable – wow!), take notes, grab important clips from emails or websites, and more. It took me a little while to adapt to using Evernote but the more I use it, the more I love it. The best part is you get a ton of features and functionality for free!

Cost: Free; Upgrade for more storage and additional features

I stumbled upon this one thanks to Ramit Sethi, who saves all of the articles he’s read using this tool. It’s a bookmarking system on steroids, letting you grab an excerpt of the article and tag it so it’s grouped with similar topics. You can also choose whether you’d like to make your selection public or private. Check out my saved articles as well!

Cost: Free; Upgrade for an ad-free experience

Have you ever started to work on a legitimate project only to find that an hour has gone by and you haven’t even started? It’s so easy to procrastinate by playing around on Facebook instead of getting actual work done, and that’s why I love this tool. When you go to Facebook, your entire newsfeed is gone and they bless you with an inspirational quote instead, reminding you to get back to work. This feature has stopped me from going down the social media rabbit hole of cute kitten videos and click-bait articles plenty of times.

Cost: Free

Momentum was a recommendation from Matt Mullenweg (founder of WordPress) during his podcast interview on the Tim Ferriss Show, and it’s awesome! This productivity tool takes over your new tab page with everything you need: your main focus for that day, weather updates, a to-do list, an inspirational quote, and a gorgeous picture that will inevitably put a smile on your face. As an added bonus, the pictures will also give you motivation to plan your next trip to see all that this world has to offer!

Cost: Free

Before this free gem came out, I set rules in Outlook to spit out “JUST?!?!?!?” any time I typed “just” in my work emails. It helped me streamline my writing while not weakening my message or downplaying my abilities. Just Not Sorry does the same thing but takes it to the next level including words and phrases like “sorry” or “I’m no expert, but…” You’ll be surprised how often you use hesitant language or self-deprecating remarks to soften your message, and this tool highlights those tendencies. So instead of sending an email like this,

“Hi, so sorry to bother you and I know I’m no expert on X, but I just wanted to follow up on…”

say something along the lines of,

“Hi, I wanted to follow up on…”

Your message will be shorter, cleaner, and much less apologetic. I’m looking at you, ladies.

Cost: Free

RescueTime tracks your computer usage and let’s you know where you’re being productive or unproductive so you can adjust how you spend your time. The free version has limited features but is more than enough to get you started and highlight your weak spots (think email, Spotify, LinkedIn, etc.). You can also tweak how it records your usage so if Twitter is actually an important aspect of your job, that won’t count as unproductive time. What’s been my biggest takeaway? The amount of time spent on emails and coordinating schedules for meetings. Yikes!

Cost: Free; Upgrade for additional features

Ever wonder how much time you spend each day screwing around on your phone? Get Moment. The free version of the app runs in the background and tracks your screen time, while the paid version actually lets you schedule a daily time limit before you get hit with notifications telling you to put the phone down. Personally, I found myself killing too much time either perfecting my Candy Crush game or browsing social media, and I wanted to do something about it. This app is a great reminder that there’s more to life than my iPhone.

Cost: Free; Upgrade for additional features

I only recently started using this app, but I’m already a fan. If you’d like to start building good habits or kill off some bad ones, this app let’s you track your info in a matter of minutes each day. Way of Life provides a simple red/green tracking system that enables you to visualize your progress over time. If you’re feeling extra ambitious or want others to hold you accountable to your goals, you can also share updates via email, Facebook, or Twitter. Onward and upward!

Cost: Free for your 1st 3 habits; Upgrade to add more ($4.99)

This will change your browsing experience forever. It stops popups, banners, malware, and tracking. As of this writing, ABP has blocked 31K ads on my work computer and another 12K on my mac. That’s 43,000 distractions eliminated. Awesome!

Cost: Free

I picked this tool up from my previous IT department, and knowing I won’t accidentally load bugs onto my computer brings me peace of mind. An ounce of prevention, right? WOT lets you know which websites are safe and identifies potentially sketchy or downright dangerous ones. Once you have it running in your browser, it will also let you know the security rating of links sent to you via email, which is good for those of you who think you may have actually won $10m in the Nigerian lottery or if you’re my dad. 😉

Cost: Free

These are the big ones for me. Check them out and let me know your favorites! What other apps/tools do you use to maximize your productivity and stay focused on achieving your goals?

One thought on “Tools I Use to Streamline Screen Time

  1. I will definitely be checking out some of these tools to keep me more focused! Being on social media for work means I often do get distracted by kitten videos. Haha!

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