You only need these 3 tools to be productive (and they are free)

When it comes to productivity, there is an abundance of tools, hacks, processes, and ideas to try next. Everyday, there is a new productivity app out there trying to sell the idea of: You can be productive, if you can just use our tool.

But, is this true? Do we really need those over-engineered tools with hundred features and slick designs?

I don’t think so. I’m sure you can be productive with just these 3 free tools. And anyone trying to tell you something else is trying to sell you a new product.

The way I’m separating concerns here comes from the Entrepreneur, Manager, Technician mindset. But the TLDR is: In order to live a productive life, and achieve your goals, you need to be 3 persons in 1:

  • An entrepreneur: Keeps the vision and a bird’s view of the work in order to achieve a goal while adapting to the market.
  • A manager: Takes the vision and the projects and creates chunks of work to achieve the outcome.
  • A technician: Takes a chunk of work and work on it.

If we continue with this mindset, each persona has a favorite tool to do their work:

Entrepreneur: A kanban board

Being an entrepreneur is keeping an eye on your goals, and choosing what to tackle next. The best tool to get this view is a simple kanban board.

The most known tool for kanban boards is Trello, but I personally prefer Notion. The fact that Notion cards are full documents makes it easier to write project details, updates, and attach useful resources.

Manager: A calendar

Manager’s favorite tool is a calendar. Managing time and tasks is easier when you can see things in a timeline.

You can pick any calendar app you want, or even go physical. Personally, I use Google Calendar.

Technician: A to-do list

Planning is good, but unless you do the work, you aren’t moving from your spot. That’s why a technician needs a list of tasks to-do. Or what we call, a to-do list.

I personally use TickTick, but Todoist is also a good option. Otherwise, you can also use a physical notebook or tasks list.

Next time you’re evaluating a new tool, ask yourself: Is this really useful? Or are they trying to sell me something I don’t need?

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