We’re all about productivity hacks when it comes to running a business, especially when you’re a solopreneur going at it alone. And while we’ve got plenty of blogs that outline all of our favorite tools when it comes to said productivity, today we’re going to focus on the underdogs: the things you didn’t realize would actually make you more successful and productive without even thinking about it. And even more importantly, most of these are pretty enjoyable, too.
Lastpass is our favorite way to store passwords, and man does it save time. Lastpass allows you to store your passwords in an organized method on your laptop, and has a masterpass to make sure that these passwords aren’t accessible to anyone but you. You can store sites in different folders so you don’t get work confused with personal logins. You can also store passwords for multiple logins on the same site. If you’re anything like me, you have 5 different gmail accounts, and those can all be saved separately on Lastpass.
The best part is that these logins and passwords just automatically fill in when you go to a site. You literally just have to click login to get started. No more attempts at wrong passwords…no more getting locked out of your account. Lastpass is your bouncer friend that lets you in the club for free even though there’s a $20 cover. Did I mention it’s free? It’s free.
Spotify is just the best. Period. This is another free app (or you can pay to get rid of those godawful commercials…the only thing we don’t like about Spotify) that lets you listen to ALL the music.
Ok, of course you know about Spotify. Everyone does. But did you know that Spotify has tailored playlists specifically for productivity? You can choose music created for writing, coding, writing a passive aggressive email to your coworker, impromptu dance parties…whatever you’re working on, they’ve got a playlist for it. You have access to both Spotify’s own lists, and any public playlists that other people have created, which are honestly pretty impressive.
Spotify also has a relatively new feature that has made Mondays actually worth waking up for: Discover Weekly. These playlists are cleverly curated based on your own listening habits over time. It updates with a brand new playlist every single week. It’s like having your ex-boyfriend make you a mixtape to win your heart back, but without the creepiness, and you don’t actually have to talk to your ex.
Have you noticed something in the grocery stores lately? There seems to be a bit of a holdup in grocery lines lately, and I blame it all on the chip reader.
Yes, the chip reader is safer and protects your identity, but does it take an extra two minutes to buy a bag of chips now? Also yes. So what’s the workaround? Apple Pay. It takes that same two minutes to hook up your card to your iPhone, and then you can use your phone to pay at pretty much any establishment that’s not still in the dark ages. And while you may have to wait in line, you’ll get through that line 10x faster by paying with your phone. Bonus: you don’t have to carry your wallet or purse on you at all times now, just your phone.
We might be cheating on this one, since you may already assume that a cloud based notebook would most definitely help your productivity, but we absolutely need to highlight it for those of you who aren’t using it yet.
Look, I spent the last 6 years of my life using my iPhone’s little notebook app. It was okay at best, and then I found Evernote. Evernote lets you organize your notes in folders, save images and web pages, share with anyone, and stays in the cloud so it’s on all of your devices. Honestly, it’s so action-packed that I probably don’t do it justice trying to describe its features to you.
I got you here, right? How in the world can Pinterest actually improve productivity? I’ll tell you right now. If you’re anything like me, you’ve gone down a 2am Pinterest hole consisting of cute outfits, dream website designs, and cake recipes. You can certainly waste hours on Pinterest, this is true. However, used correctly, Pinterest is seriously SO helpful.
Do you need a quick recipe for dinner? Pinterest. Do you need a list of productivity hacks like this one? Pinterest. Do you need lightning-quick inspiration? Pinterest.
Quora is a website where people can ask questions, and anyone can answer them. Those answers get upvoted until a winner is chosen. It’s like Yahoo answers, but for smart people. Even Hillary Clinton has answered questions on Quora.
This is another tricky one, though. You can spend hours reading Quora questions, answering them, learning everything you can. If you’re not careful, it can be a time-suck, but used correctly, Quora can be another tool in your arsenal of knowledge.
Go ahead, ask a question. You’ll get hundreds of answers from people that are more knowledgeable than you within a day. Instead of searching on Google, reading hundreds of blogs, or testing without knowing, you’ll have an answer waiting for you from experienced professionals. Now that is not a time-suck.
Headspace is an app that takes you through ten minutes a day (or more if you so choose) of meditation. If you’re thinking you couldn’t possible have a free ten minutes each day, or that there’s no way meditating is a productive use of time, well, you’re just plain wrong (sorry). Meditation has not only been proven to reduce stress and anxiety, it’s also shown to increase productivity and focus.
So if you could exchange thirty minutes of slow, distracted work for twenty minutes of quick, inspired work and ten minutes of meditation, wouldn’t you? Practice every day and you’ll find that you become even more focused, clear-headed, and inspired. I’ll be honest, I used Headspace right before writing this blog. How do you think I came up with this idea?
Guess what? Most of these apps are free forever, and the ones that don’t are minimal costs at best. So go and download these babies, and realize that productivity can actually be enjoyable.