Free Productivity Tools to Get More Done when You Work from Home
Working from home definitely has its perks: A ten-second commute, thousands of dollars saved each year, a cat officemate, ability to work anywhere there’s WiFi, and being home to sign for UPS packages — just to name a few 🙂
But when your home is your office and your office is your home, distractions abound at every corner. As I sit here typing this, I can’t help but eyeball a smudge on the sliding glass door while wondering if I should throw in a load of laundry.
Even opening a new tab in Google Chrome can easily lead me down the internet rabbit hole where I will likely exit two hours later and then decide to break for lunch.
Fortunately, there are no shortage of free productivity tools that help the easily-distracted work-from-home worker stay motivated, maximize time, and get more done.
Could you use a little help making the most of your valuable time? Check out these free productivity tools to help cut through your to-do list and stay on task (even when you work from home).
RescueTime is a good place to start if you’re looking to develop better productivity habits at home. Why? RescueTime runs in the background of your computer or mobile device and tracks all the time spent using apps and websites.
This gives you a really good idea of where exactly it is your time goes every day. At the end of each week, you’ll get an email summarizing your activities — you also get a Productivity Score. You might be surprised to learn how much time you actually spend answering emails, checking Facebook, or Googling various things.
I like that RescueTime lets you set daily goals and easily view your progress. For the longest time, I felt like I spent too many hours in front of my computer — and I was, but on the wrong things. RescueTime let me spot inefficiencies in my day and become better at time management.
All these features (and more!) come with the free version. You can also upgrade to RescueTime Premium which comes with some added productivity-boosting tools like being able to block certain websites during the workday and setting custom time alerts.
You know when you’re on Twitter for a legitimate work reason, like sending a direct message to a contact, when you see a tweet with a link to a story you just have to read? Well, when you use Pocket, you can save that link and plug along with your workday knowing that your good-read is safely stored for later.
This free productivity tool keeps you from clicking through time-sapping links, helping you stay focused on the task at hand. Once your workday is over, you can see all of the items you put in your Pocket (articles, videos, GIFs, memes) you name it, you can probably put it in your Pocket.
I love Pocket because it makes it easy to view things later on (when I actually have time to spare!) Plus, you can access your Pocket through your computer, phone or tablet — you don’t even need an internet connection.
When you work from home, it can be a little too easy to blur the lines between work time and free time. If you have kids and/or a significant other, then you’ve got family thrown in the equation too.
How on earth do you manage all these different things that happen under one roof?
Simply put, Wunderlist helps you keep your entire life in sync. If you’re a list maker, like me, you’ll love Wunderlist for its features and how easy it is to get things done when you can organize and share your to-do list with others.
As a remote worker, you know that you don’t have someone constantly looming over you reminding you of important due dates. With Wunderlist on your side, you’ll never miss an important deadline ever again. One of my favorite features is forwarding emails to Wunderlist and having it show up in my to-do list so I can tackle it
There’s also a spot to take notes, organize thoughts in folders, and even use hashtags to add a little something extra to all your daily to-dos. If you prefer hardcopies of things — no problem! You can easily print your lists in just one click.
You can access this free productivity tool just about anywhere since Wunderlist works seamlessly across just about all major devices — it’s never been easier to keep your life in sync!
Any.do is similar to Wunderlist in that you can easily create lists and tasks and share them with others. However, Any.do has some pretty amazing integrations that really take your productivity to the next level!
Cal, the Any.do calendar feature, beautifully displays your daily agenda so you can see, at a glance, what’s going on and what needs to get done — whether you have to pay a bill or attend a Skype meeting, Cal has got you covered (and yes, you can see your Any.do lists directly in Cal!)
Any.do is also unique in that its Moment feature is a fun and easy way to develop healthy productivity habits by encouraging you to set aside time every morning to plan out your day.
Plus, you can break large and seemingly overwhelming tasks into manageable subtasks, set recurring tasks, and custom notifications.
You can manage your tasks and to-dos just about anywhere — Any.do is a free productivity tool available on most devices.
5. Time Doctor
Time Doctor is an accurate productivity software on the market, and offers time management apps on all the most popular platforms. It lets you harvest time tracking data on your company’s work habits and then provides analytics to show key areas where improvements can be made.
With Time Doctor on your side, you can stay super productive by getting more done in less time — even when working from home. How so? Time Doctor has built-in features that helps get you back on track when distracted and monitors how your time is really spent so you can easily see where you can make improvements to your workday routine.
And with optional integrations and a screen monitoring feature, you can seamlessly demonstrate your day’s work to others — especially helpful features for the remote freelancer. By using Time Doctor, you can conquer working from home and feel confident knowing you’re making the most of your time each and every day.
If you like the Pomodoro Technique of working, you’ll love the free productivity tool, Strict Workflow. This is a Google Chrome extension that follows the 25 minutes of work followed by a 5-minute break (what the Pomodoro Technique is based on) approach to getting more done.
The idea is, when you give a task your all for 25 uninterrupted minutes followed by a short break, you avoid mental fatigue and are able to get more done. You follow this pattern over and over until your task is done.
I like Strict Workflow since it really does help me focus intensely on a task in manageable blocks of time. It’s amazing what I can get done in a three-hour period, even though I’m taking a five-minute breather every 25 minutes. If you’ve never tried this method of working — it’s a must! You’ll be surprised by just how much you can get done in just 25 distraction-free minutes.
Get More Done
Working from home is great, but it can present a number of daily distractions just trying to keep you off-task. Fortunately, you can fight back against all the online time-sappers and daily distractions with these free productivity tools that make it easy to get more done in any given day.
What are your favorite work from home productivity tools you use? Share them in the comments below!
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