When you’re at work, does your mind wander to the hundred other things you have to do?
When thoughts and worries about the future distract you from the present moment, you’ll feel overwhelmed. Finding time to run errands, remembering to do something when you get home, or even shopping for essentials or gifts can all make you feel overwhelmed. It’s a sign that you’re not managing your time well.
With the right tools, you can stay focused and productive at work, while still taking care of personal tasks.
1. Manage Your Time Wisely
One important aspect of being productive is managing your time well.
Instead of struggling to figure out when you can go to the bank, visit the post office, or gas up your vehicle, make a plan and stick to it. Viewing your week or even just the current day can help you stay on track with what you need to do and by when.
Using a calendar is one of the most logical ways to view and manage your days and weeks. Google Calendar not only allows you to do this easily, but provides additional, helpful features.
When you pop open Google Calendar on the web or your mobile device, you will get a fast glance at your agenda. View the current day, week, month, or four-day period. You can then quickly add errands and include reminders for them.
A nice feature is that you can share your calendar. So, when you add time to take the dog to the vet or hit the supermarket, your family will know. Another terrific option is to create Appointment Slots that let you block time for others to fill. This is convenient when you have limited time available, but must distribute that time. Then, those that you share your Appointment Page with can book one of those slots.
Additional Google Calendar features for better time management include daily agendas emailed to you, countdowns to your next appointment, color-coded events, and a repeating appointment option.
For planning out a full list of errands, Wunderlist is a great task management tool. You can add activities quickly via the Web, desktop, or mobile application. You can easily fill your day with all of your errands and set reminders if needed.
View your whole day or week at a glance and just mark off your errands as you complete them. You can even print or email a list to share the running around with someone else. For scheduling time to complete all of your activities, Wunderlist is a wonderful tool.
Wunderlist integrates with Cortana in Windows 10.
2. Use Location-Based Reminders
How many times have you thought, “I have to remember to [task] when I get home”? With terrific advances in technology over the years, to-do lists and other simple tools provide location-based reminders. You can receive an alert to take out the trash when you get home or set up a meeting when you arrive at work.
Just create a new note and tap the reminder icon. You can then type in a street address and save it to the note.
With the app on your mobile device, you will receive a notification when you are at your desired location. Since Google Keep is also accessible on the Web, you can quickly add a location-based tasks from there as well.
Reminders and Siri for iOS
If you own an iPhone, then you can use the built-in Reminders app or Siri to create a location-based reminder.
To use the Reminders app, just tap the Plus icon to add a new reminder, enable the Remind me at a location option, and then add the address. To use Siri, just hold down your Home button, tell Siri what to remind you of and when, and you are set.
Cortana for Android and iOS
Open your Cortana app and then type or say what you want her to remind you of and where. Cortana will then confirm your request. You will then tap the Place button to enter your location and select between the Arrive and Depart options.
3. Save Time With Price Alerts
Whether you are shopping online for a birthday, holiday, or items for the home, you do not have to spend time searching for the lowest prices. Simple browser extensions and mobile apps can alert you when costs go down. These tools let you stay productive at work without being distracted by comparison shopping.
Shoptimate is a browser extension that pops right into the top of the window when you are on a product page. Shoptimate will make you aware of a lower price elsewhere, what that cost is, and a count of other prices available. If you sign up for a free account, you can add a price alert, which will notify you when the price drops.
The extension is available for major browsers so that you can access it from any computer. It also provides details on products in the United States as well as many European countries.
Another convenient browser shopping extension is Shoptagr. When you find a product online that you like, click the Shoptagr button to add it to your Wishlist. Then, if your saved item goes on sale or is about to sell out, you will receive a notification.
Create a free account with Shoptagr to keep track of your saved products. You can also click to buy, browse the stores, and create multiple lists. The application covers over 500 different stores from Amazon to Zulily. Similar to Shoptimate, Shoptagr saves you time checking on items and lets you get back to business.
4. Don’t Forget the Short Term
For temporary tasks or reminders, consider using a simple timer. Say you have to leave for an appointment in 10 minutes or call the school in an hour. Setting a timer ensures that you will remember. You can use a browser extension if you work online or a mobile app if it is more convenient.
1-click-timer for Chrome is a simple and useful tool. Click the button on your toolbar and move your mouse over the displayed clock to set the countdown. You can set the alert sound to low or high, see a small countdown of remaining time on the button, and set the clock to full-screen mode. You will also receive a visual desktop alert, meaning you can disable sound and still catch the notification.
TimerFox [No Longer Available]
TimerFox for Firefox is a very basic timer, but gets the job done. Just click the button on your toolbar and a tiny window will pop open. Then, set the countdown time in hours, minutes, and seconds. You can also add a message for when the timer goes off if you like. When time is up, a pop-up box and system sound will alert you.
You do not have to search or pay for mobile apps, both Android and iOS phones have built-in timers that are convenient. On either device, just pop open the default Clock app and use the Timer for a countdown or set the Alarm for a certain time.
What Tools Do You Use?
With as busy as everyone’s lives are nowadays, it can be easy to forget things or become distracted. When you are at work it is important to focus, but it can be difficult if you have a full plate outside of the office.
What types of tools do you use to protect yourself from feeling overwhelmed? Share your suggestions in the comments below!
Image Credits: Ronnarong Thanuthattaphong/Shutterstock