Like many people, I spend a lot of time checking off items on my to-do list. While finishing a task offers a temporary sense of accomplishment, another job always crops up to take its place. Tending to your career, home, family, friends, and, in my case, a rambunctious boxer mix can keep a person busy! The challenge becomes, how can you meet your productivity goals without letting a to-do list rule your life?
Avoiding the Productivity Trap
As a writer, I had to make peace with deadlines a long time ago. Whether at home or at work, likely you too have many daily duties to fulfill and people who depend on you. But hidden among all those urgent tasks is an insidious productivity trap. You know, the one where you're constantly busy but get the sense you're putting what's most important on the backburner.
Defining Productivity for Yourself
If this all sounds familiar, it might be time to reconsider your productivity strategy. For me, that shift occurred when I began setting clear priorities. Defining my priorities allowed me to acknowledge my limitations and put a more realistic system in place that ensures I get the most important stuff done. Building in enough room to enjoy the process is key. After all, it doesn't make sense to constantly strive toward your future at the expense of enjoying the moment you're in. While my productivity strategies are a work in progress, I've found that changing my focus has helped put the never-ending to-do list in perspective. As it turns out, it feels OK to fall short of your goals as long as you do what you've identified as most important.
Letting Your iPhone Help You
At iPhone Life, part of our job is to test out all of the best apps out there and report back to you with our top recommendations. During this process, we've discovered so many amazing tools that can help you organize your life, no matter your approach to productivity. In this issue, we've put together a special section of our favorite productivity picks that can help you in whatever endeavors you undertake this summer. Whether you're launching a new product line at work or you simply would like to keep better track of events on your calendar, we have app recommendations that can help you.
We've tested out calendars, mail clients, to-do lists, and notetaking apps that can help you manage the day-to-day tasks in the most efficient manner (page 31). For those longer-term goals that can be difficult to grapple with, we've included a roundup of time-tracking apps that can help you focus long enough to get your project off the ground (page 38). Popular social media apps can also make powerful productivity tools. On page 44, you can get a crash course in Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and on page 53, you'll find stories of four amazing women who have built businesses using Instagram as their primary marketing tool. After reading this issue, you may just feel a renewed inspiration to pick up a hobby or start a business yourself. With your iPhone in hand, the possibilities are endless.