Category Archives: productivity

A simple trick if you want to use pomodoro but find it hard to stick with it

The pomodoro approach to work seems smart. You set a timer for 25 to focus on a task. When the timer goes off, you take a 5 minute break. Then you repeat this process.

When I first heard of it, I thought: what a great idea! I tried it a number of times and failed. The reason I failed, and why you may be failing, is that I cannot focus for 25 minutes. It’s sad, but true.

The simple trick that works for me is to adjust the times from 25:5 to 15:5. I find I can focus for 15, and a 5 minute break is just enough.

I find that even though I take more breaks, I also have more focus time throughout the day, which means I still benefit. Plus, once I get on a roll, I skip some of the breaks.

If you want to get on and stay on the pomodoro bandwagon, adjust your focus time until you find your sweet spot. Your overall productivity will go up, I’m sure.

Two tools to help you be more productive at work


You can use Spotify to listen to music while you work. But sometime music can be distracting. Sometime all you want is to drown out the sounds in your work environment. During those times, a good alternative to music is rain sounds. Spotify has a lot of different rain sounds to choose from. Well worth trying for those noisy work spaces that you need to be productive in.


Another good way to be productive is to use the Flow desktop app for the Mac. I’ve tried many a timer app and I like this one best. It is simple to get started with. It reminds you when to take a break and when to work, but let’s you chose if you want to get back into the flow. It can block out certain apps that might prevent you from being productive, like your browser. Also worth a look.
(Image from

If you are looking for a todo list app, read this

According to this piece:

Some to-do list tools are better than others. Check out 10 of the best to-do list tools to determine which may be right for you in 2018.
— Read on

I’ve used a number of these and it makes me vouch for this list. That said, there are lots of apps you can get for to do lists that are free, so don’t think you have to pay money to get a good app to do this work.

Also consider other tools, like Evernote. Evernote is more than a todo list app, but it does that well.

Finally consider using Excel or Google sheets.

Whatever works best for you is the best app.

My new productivity tool: Timer – a simple countdown timer

My new favorite productivity tool is this site: Timer – a simple countdown timer. Whenever I am procrastinating, I will use it to get myself to focus by starting it for 5, 10, or more minutes and telling myself: I will focus until the timer goes off. I have found this approach very effective, and this site helps me. It also helps because if I find myself going to my browser to mindlessly go on some time wasting site (hello, Twitter!) I will see this and I will remember to focus.

Fans of the pomodoro technique will see there is a special timer just for it.

As a bonus, you can use it to do a high intensity tabata workout.

Great tool. Highly recommended.

How to be more efficient online: the very big list

The folks at Buffer have put together a very big list of 100 tools, tips and tricks to work more efficiently online. I have gone over it and there are lots and lots of good tools and tips and other advice to help you be more productive and get the most out of being online. Stop wasting time on social media** and start being more productive by clicking on that link now.

** Reading this blog does not count as wasting time on social media. 🙂

How to run all your office functionality off the web

If you think, wouldn’t it be great to do all my work off the web, rather than having to do it from my personal computer, then you want to visit Office 2.0 Database – My Office 2.0 Setup and see how it could be done.

Focus on maximizing your time instead of worrying about the time you waste

Sprint has an interesting site called about fast-forwarding through the boring parts of your life. It’s kinda silly. I mean, I may spend 15 minutes a day doing the dishes, but there’s not much of an alternative.

However, I thought of flipping the site and showing how even a little bit of time spent every day can yield results. For example, if I were to spend 15 minutes / day reading Shakespeare, over the length of my life I could spend over 9 months reading Shakespeare! 15 minutes seems hardly worthwhile, but if you were to add it up, it may not be scholarly, but it is not insignifigant.

Check out: Sprint Waitless

Have the Internet Nag You!

Need help with something you are putting off? Are your friends, family, co-workers sick of reminding you about it? No problem. Get the
HassleMe to help you do it instead! And if you get mad about being nagged, well, the Internet has heard it all before….so vent away. 🙂

How to Prioritize Quickly and Easily

While this is on a site for software development, it is not a bad approach to anyone of us — developer or not — who has alot of projects and can’t seem to decide which one to do next.

See: How to prioritize quickly and easily

Get (back) your life

I saw Tim Ferriss talk recently . Now he’s featured in the web site:

The Hectic Chronicles – New York Times

He has lots of great advice on his web site and in his book: The 4-Hour Workweek.

I recommend you check them both out now (instead of continuing to plough through your email. Go on…the email will be there when you get back 🙂 ).

Make LinkedIn work for you

Like alot of IT workers, I use LinkedIn, but pretty passively. However, the Web Worker Daily blog has a article outlining 20 Ways to Use LinkedIn Productively that I need to take a look at.

As Lotus Software used to advise: work the web. 🙂

How to (successfully) get the most out of life

Time is money. In fact, it is more valuable. And since you want to get the most out of your time, read this article while eating a health snack and doing some isometric exercises. Ok, at least read:
Time is All We Have: 3 Ways to Increase Return on Investment