Productivity philosophies are subjective. But a few of them take off and become popular because many people seem to find them easy to implement. Laterbox is a new to-do list web app that bases itself on basic productivity principles, combining the best ideas for a workflow to get things done.
Laterbox (beta) tackles some of the common problems and questions we all face in being productive:
- How to stop procrastinating
- How to prioritize your to-do list
- How to track your progress
Prioritize Your To-Do List With The 1-3-5 Rule
If you never get through the tasks that need to be done, you need to learn how to prioritize to-do lists. Alex Cavoulacos, founder of career and productivity blog The Daily Muse, came up with the 1-3-5 Rule, which Laterbox uses for its to-do list. Here’s how it works:
On any given day, assume that you can only accomplish one big thing, three medium things, and five small things. Yes, I know it can be tough to narrow your list of to-dos down to 1-3-5—but it’s important to prioritize. Like it or not, you only have so many hours in the day and you’re only going to get a finite number of things done. Forcing yourself to choose a 1-3-5 list means the things you get done will be the things you chose to do — rather than what just happened to get done.
Cavoulacos recommends making the list at the end of the work day to plan the next day, but there’s no harm in doing it the first thing in the morning. Laterbox will actually email you every morning asking you to make this to-do list, and throw in an inspirational quote to kickstart your day.
You can also opt to make a simple to-do list, but it’s going to be more helpful to use the 1-3-5 rule.
Dump Distracting Thoughts With A Procrastination Pad
We all need to learn how to stop procrastinating, but it’s easier said than done. One effective method is to use a “procrastination pad” as the Dumb Little Man blog calls it. Basically, the idea here is to get a distracting thought out of your system by writing it down and getting to it later.
All you need is a small and unserious notepad onto which you will jot down every tiny thing you think of that could potentially distract you from the task at hand. When you have a spare moment, and ONLY when you have a spare moment, allow yourself to review the list on your notepad and do the things you have time for. Whether it is reading that article, checking phone messages, or ‘quickly’ visiting that website – whatever it is, put that naughty little distraction safely to bed on the Procrastination Pad.
Laterbox takes this concept and takes it to the next level. The “Laterbox” section is actually this procrastination pad, where you dump a thought and move on. But the real utility of this shows up if you install the Chrome extension. Laterbox now starts whenever you open a new tab, with the cursor ready to take down your distracting thought. So Ctrl+T -> Type your thought -> Enter — just like that, you’re back to concentrating on your work. It’s one of those great ways to make Chrome more productive.
That’s not all. Laterbox will take all these thoughts and send you a daily email after work hours (you can choose what time the email lands in your inbox). This way, you know that you won’t forget to check anything and your mind dump is successful.
Track Your Progress To Motivate Yourself
Most of us skip the simplest part of the productivity cycle: actually tracking our successes and failures. How do you know whether you are being productive or not if you don’t actually have statistics to tell you that your methods are working? Laterbox keeps a record of your daily progress.
Often, to-do apps put together so much information and so much emphasis on improvements that you forget their base purpose: getting things done. You need to stop organizing and start working, which is why Laterbox keeps it simple.
At any time, you can see a graph of your productivity over the last 30 days. No complicated numbers or information overload here. Laterbox has two lines, orange and grey. The orange line is the number of tasks you entered in your to-do list that day, the grey line is the number you crossed off. In one glance, you can tell whether you are overloading your to-do list or whether you need to change your work ways. Like we said, simple.
Can Laterbox Ease Your Day?
Laterbox is very new. There are a few kinks as it is in beta. But expect it to get better as the web app matures. Tell us about your first look at the tool and the 1-3-5 productivity system.
Do you have a productivity trick for Laterbox? Maybe you’d like to see a Pomodoro timer, for instance? Jot down your random ideas below, you never know when the developers will read it!