Productivity Tools

Productivity Tools

Ahh, what’s that saying about good intentions and the road to someplace hot? I feel like that’s the story of my life, so when I saw this subject on the Cool Tools schedule back in November, I thought I might finally be able to move from thinking to actually accomplishing some of those intentions.

Sadly, this has not been the case. I tried 3 of the tools listed, Dropbox, IDoneThis, and Remember the Milk. Of the three, only dropbox has done anything to improve my productivity. I use my phone a LOT to take pictures of things happening in my library because, frankly, the image quality is so much better and my phone is small enough that it’s easy to keep in my pocket to capture those spontaneous moments. Prior to dropbox I had to either email pictures to myself or download the pictures from my phone directly to my school computer. That also meant that pictures were here, there, and everywhere and I would waste time searching when I wanted a specific image. With the dropbox app on my phone, the pictures are automatically transferred and are all in one place.

It would have been a shame if this hadn't made it into the yearbook!
It would have been a shame if this hadn’t made it into the yearbook!

This was especially helpful 2 weeks ago when I received a frantic email from the yearbook coordinator on a Saturday evening looking for pictures from our Battle of the Books.

He and I both thought I had sent photos immediately after the event but he didn’t have them and the layout was due Monday morning. No problem, I opened dropbox and shared the BoB folder with him from the comfort of my recliner and I didn’t miss a minute of the gripping Lifetime Saturday night movie.

So, dropbox was a success. But it didn’t really solve my problem of failing to follow through on my intentions, nor did I expect it to. For that, I had turned to IDoneThis and Remember the Milk. I signed up for both services way back when Thing 21 was first published. Since that time I receive a daily email asking me to list what I accomplished that day. I have replied exactly twice. When I signed up I had visions of documenting each days small victories and developing a nice selection of topics for the school newsletter and any other PR opportunity that came along. The email arrives around 3:00 when my class has left and my groupies begin to trickle in. I thought it would be the perfect time to quickly reflect on the day while it was all fresh. Yeah. No. The groupies take all of my attention and when they leave I’m focused on getting set for the next day.

Remember the Milk is supposed to act as an online task manager. I thought it would be helpful for those little things that slip through the cracks, like actually mailing the cards that I have collected for friends and getting my newsletter article in on time. I can’t blame the tool, though I wish I could. The thing is, you have to actually USE a tool for it to be effective, and in the case of these tools, they just added another ‘thing’ to my mental clutter.  I still like both tools in theory. I revisited them for the purpose of writing this blog post, and, again thought, “Wow, these are great! Why don’t I use these?” but I know myself well enough to doubt that I will ever actually use them.  The task list feature in my gmail account serves as a subtle (read often overlooked) reminder of things I need to accomplish in my work, and sticky notes accomplish the job at home.


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