Productivity- 5 tools to conquer distractions at work!

Productivity can be measured as the rate of output per unit of input. Put simply how would you measure the result against the energy used to deliver it? In the age of distraction, it has become increasingly difficult to stay productive at work. There is a booming industry that seeks to help individuals stay focused- late nights and burnouts are becoming synonymous with work life- and there is no denying the fact that we need help.

How can we measure productivity?

  • Projects undertaken are finished on time
  • Do not exceed work time to finish tasks (or kept to a minimum)
  • Number of hours spent on unproductive sites/activities are kept to minimum

#01: Trello for task management as individuals or teams

Trello has been my go-to tool for task management for years. The dashboard can be customised based on the way you go about project management. Do you work in Agile? Trello can manage it! Are you freelancer who works on multiple projects with clients and want to break down tasks for each project separately and still need to know what deadlines are looming per project? Trello to the rescue!

trello inspo
pic credit: trello

Trello has beautifully shared on how to get started here. You can make it as simple or complicated as you need it to be.

How I use it to manage my projects-

  • Set up: Start a project & break it down it big components
  • Chunk each component into the smallest unit of work
    • Use checklist
    • Set deadlines so it shows up on your cal
    • Tag team mates who are involved in delivery
  • Once I have the entire project set up, I update it daily. I like to check on it once in morning & once in evening.

#02: Bullet Journalling for gratification

Search #BulletJournal on instagram and you will be bombarded with pages and pages worth of images of carefully curated calendars that are hand drawn & stylised to perfection. While beautiful, they defeat the purpose of being productive. If we go back to the source, this form of journalling was created for rapid logging & to see how you carried over projects from one day to the next.


I have a weekly log that I create from my tasks on Trello.

Each day I review my tasks based on the icons, and if I need to carry over a project, I change the icon for the next day. Watch video to get started here

By the end of the week, it gives me a good indication which project I have been procrastinating on & how many times I have shifted it. (Refer to “to do”icon vs “migrated”icon on gif)

#03: Reality check on how much time you spend on your mobile

Sometimes I catch myself on instagram or facebook! I tell myself it’s a few seconds of relaxation. But really, it is an addiction. When you start to use apps to measure how much time you spend on your mobile, it can be an eyeopener. The data doesn’t lie!

It can help you decide which times of the day are you online the most, which apps you use the most…and this can help you design ways to break away from mobile using habits and spend more time actually working.

Apps for iOS: Moment
Apps for Android: Antisocial 

#04: Pomodoro to get things done

The days are long but years are short

Before you know it, the year is spent and you will be left wondering why you haven’t achieved your KPIs even if it seemed like you were at work all the time. A good way of ensuring that you finish the tasks you have set out to do for the day is to use Pomodoro. The concept is simple.

Select a task. Start your time for 25mins. Focus on that task alone. Complete 25mins, take a 5 mins break. Repeat.

The beauty of this is that it trains your focus. Focus is like any other muscle in your body. The more you use it, the better it gets.

If you are easily distracted, it can be difficult to immediately start focusing for 50mins stretches. With pomodoro, you easily work your way up to the number of chunks of focused time in a day. Should you stick to this way of working, you might even find yourself in the coveted deep-flow state of working!

#05: Mindful practices so you are more aware of how you feel & act through the day

It’s also the best app of 2017!

The tools are only as good as the hands wielding them. You have access to all the solutions mentioned earlier, but if your mind isn’t ready to settle down and focus on the task at hand, your productivity level would still not reach its potential.

Mindfulness is NOT yoga. It is NOT just breathing exercises.

Mindfulness is about being aware of your thoughts and your body. It is about being connected to yourself so you understand why you are doing what you are doing.

I have been using Calm for over 2 months now to help take my mindfulness training to the next level. I like to start my day by listening to the “Focus at work” breathing exercises. I find that by being more aware of the noise in my head, I can guide my attention back to the task at hand.

It is inevitable to be distracted while at work. But we can equip ourselves with the tools and mindsets to train our focus so that we are able to accomplish more in the finite time we have.

After all, we have a life outside of work that we want to enjoy too!

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