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37 Tips, Tricks and Tools to Boost Your Productivity Online

April 11, 2018
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30 minutes read
37 Tips, Tricks and Tools to Boost Your Productivity Online

If you’re anything like me, you strive to get things done in the most efficient and fastest way possible.

And I always measure the impact of my day by looking at what I’ve produced at the end of it.

As Tony Robbins puts it…

The best performers are focused on outcomes and not activities

Sure, that’s an obvious statement to most of us…

But are you really getting the most out of the time you put in?

I hope you enjoy this HUGE list of digital marketing tips for the most actionable ways to boost your productivity online :)

1

Effective Time Management with the Pomodoro Technique

 Pomorado is the Italian word for tomato.

W​hat does that have to do with anything?

Well, ​the Pomodoro technique uses a timer to break your work into short intervals.

The technique was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 80’s using a cooking timer like this:

The idea is to set the timer for 25 minutes and focus entirely on one task for the duration.

When the timer goes off, take a 5 minute break and repeat.

If you’re on a Mac, I recommend using this application.

Or if you use Windows, this looks decent.

2

Get Your Act Together with Asana

Asana is the ultimate, team based to-do list.
It lets you manage your work load and check your teams progress at a glance.

Assigning tasks to a team member notifies them by email, and they can add notes and update the status at any time.

It’s great if you’re managing people or working in a partnership.

The best part about Asana is the generous pricing.

The free plan allows up to 15 users!

3

How to Build a Hut in Less Than 6 Minutes

Bare with me on this one…

The other day I was watching this amazing video, where a guy builds a hut from scratch:

The video is 11 minutes long, and although I was keen to see how he did it… It was dragging out.

I decided to see if I could speed it up somehow, and then I found this Chrome extension:

The Video Speed Controller plugin adds this new control option to every video:

Not only did I watch the guy build a hut in half the time, but I started using the speed controller for informational videos too.

In most cases it’s pretty easy to understand someone talking at 1.5x to 2x speed.

 

4

Consume Information Anywhere with Podcasts

In late 2014, I discovered the power of podcasts.

For those who don’t know…

A podcast is essentially an audio recording, where the host and expert guest discuss a specific topic.

(Sometimes it’s just the host, which works better for some topics)

Podcasts can be the perfect medium for learning new information, especially when used in scenarios that would otherwise be difficult.

I find podcasts are great for…

  • Walking or jogging
  • Commuting
  • Taking a bath
  • Washing up
  • Cooking dinner
  • Walking the dog

You’ll find podcasts on almost any topic imaginable through iTunes.

5

Podcast Listening on Steroids with Playback Speed

If you could read twice as fast without affecting your ability to process the information, would you?

Of course you would.

​When it comes to podcasts, there’s a cool trick you can use to achieve the EXACT same effect.

It’s called playback speed.​

To do this you’ll need to use a player that supports this feature. Don’t worry I got you covered…

I recommend using a free Android app called Podcast Addict.

Just add your favourite podcast feed using the feed search:

And when you play an episode, you’ll see a speed control:

Or if you’re using an iPhone, you can do this with the podcasts app.

I can normally get through an episode 50%-100% faster without having any negative effects on my ability to take it in.

This can easily shave off 30 minutes of a 1 hour episode. HUGE!!

6

Speak a Thousand Words with Awesome Screenshot

I need to be straight with you… I’m a screenshot junkie.

For a while now, I’ve seen the massive benefits of using annotated screenshots to explain things online.

Let’s say I was hiring someone to change a couple things on my blog.

Instead of explaining, it’s often better to send a screenshot like this:

It’s a basic example, but one that illustrates my point…

A picture really does speak a thousand words.​

To do this, I recommend using a free browser extension called Awesome Screenshot.

You can capture the entire page (or just the visible part) and make edits like cropping or adding annotations.

Finally, you can upload it their system and use the share URL or just save it to your computer.

7

Never Forget Your Password Again with LastPass

Nominated as one of the most annoying error messages in the history of the internet…

“How could it be wrong? This is the password I always use!”

Forgetting your password is a huge time suck…

That’s why LastPass was created.

It works like this:

When you register to anything online, the software will generate a random password and store it in their vault.

The trick is that you use a single master password for LastPass and it will automatically fill in the real password from their vault.

8

Arguably a More Effecient Way to Read Books

I’m not going to lie, I really HATE reading books.

Seriously, I can read blog posts until the end of time, but when it comes to reading a physical book, I just can’t stay focused.

But here’s the thing:

Books hold the key to some of the best information in the world.

The solution?

I signed up to Audible.com (owned by Amazon) and opted for a monthly membership.

(You get your first month free, then it’s £8 / $15 for 1 book each following month)

I find that audio is so much quicker and easier to consume than a physical book.

Since switching to audio, I look forward to choosing a new book each month and it often works out cheaper than buying the physical version anyway!

Much like with podcasts, you can also get through a book in situations otherwise difficult:

  • Walking or jogging
  • Commuting
  • Taking a bath
  • Washing up
  • Cooking dinner
  • Walking the dog

AND…

If all that isn’t convincing enough, you can also adjust the playback speed to get through it that little bit faster.

9

3 Ninja Tools to Find Anyones Email Address

Finding someones email can sometimes be a pain.

People generally avoid being too public with their email address because of spam.

It’s understandable, but it does make it harder for those of us seeking a genuine point of contact.

If you have the website and can’t find an email address, there’s a few quick ways to find it..

And do a search for the word “email” or “contact”

If all fails, then you can probably bet they don’t want anyone contacting them :)

10

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Up until 4 months ago, my laptop was a Lenovo Thinkpad E530.

This was the tool that held the keys to my income and allowed me to stay location independent.

So what’s my gripe?

The thing just couldn’t keep up with me…

Lagging, freezing and constant errors.

I couldn’t take it anymore, it was having a massive impact on the amount of work I was able to pump out every day.

I reluctantly dipped into my savings and spent around $1500 on a brand new Macbook Pro 13 inch.

I can tell you right now…

It was easily the best investment I have ever made in my life.

Finally, a computer that works with me and not against me, and as a result my productivity has gone through the ROOF!

Get a reliable laptop and it will pay for itself quicker than you think.

11

There’s a Gig for That

Fiverr is a magical place where people will do just about anything but have sex with you for $5.

No, really…

You’ll find people offering anything from logos, to video testimonials and voice overs for your at the cost of a burger.

($5 = 3.45 British Pounds)

Here’s an amazing post from Authority Hacker outlining some useful Fiverr Gigs for online marketers.

The quality of work isn’t the best as you’d expect, but Fiverr should definitely secure a place in your arsenal for certain tasks.

12

Super Charge Your Writing with the Hemmingway Editor

The Hemmingway Editor is a free web application to automatically proofread your writing.

You can write from within the app…

…or paste your article in, and you’ll get an overall readability grade:

It actually represents the minimum education level required to understand your writing.

In other words, the lower your grade, the better.

Hemmingway also offers specific suggestions on how to make improvements.

Pure gold!

Before I publish any blog post, I now make sure to run it through this software first.

13

Boomerang Your Emails for Effective Reminders

Boomerang is a free gmail addon that allows you to set follow up reminders on any emails you send out.

It’s really simple, just craft a new message and tick the little “Boomerang this” box:

If you don’t hear back in the time specified, your email will appear at the top of your inbox to remind you to follow up.

Not only does this save you time, but it will certainly increase your response rate.

14

Use Professional Templates from the Envato Marketplace

The Envato Marketplace is a goldmine of over 3 million digital templates.

They’ve got everything from intro videos, audio clips, images and 3D model templates.

These are high quality, customisable and low cost project files.

Just look at some of the stunning logos available for $29.

If you’re even a little bit technical, this can often be a great alternative to outsourcing.
15

Access Your Files Anywhere with Google Drive

Google Drive is Google’s version of Dropbox.

This handy ​application creates a folder on your computer, and anything inside it is stored in the cloud.

The benefits?

  • No matter what happens to your laptop, your files will always be safe and accessible.
  • You can access your files on any device by logging into your Google account.
  • You can give other people access to your files or specific folders.

It’s free to use up to 15GB, which is very reasonable.

If you’re not using a cloud storage provider then you’re really missing out. This one of the few things on this list that I couldn’t live without.

16

Outsource Low Grade or Boring Tasks on Upwork

Upwork is a platform that I use myself to secure some writing work, but I also hire freelancers myself from time to time.

When it comes to certain low grade tasks like data entry, I find not only does it bore me to tears, but others are willing to do it for pennies.

Hiring someone in the Philippines for $3/hour is an incredibly easy way to skyrocket your productivity.

Since I value my time, it’s an easy decision.

In the past, I’ve had a part-time virtual assistant who was always on standby to carry out all the monotonous tasks for me.

If you’ve got the money, it’s a no brainer.

 

17

Manage Relationships Like Never Before With Streak

Streak is a Gmail addon that helps you manage relationship stages with your contacts.

You can create customised pipelines to move your contacts through specific stages.

As a blogger, I’m always engaging with other bloggers and Streak is a great free tool to keep track of where I am with people.

It’s also tracks your emails among other cool features. The free plan is extremely generous too:

If you’re looking for something a bit more powerful, I recommend a more advanced solution such as Ninja Outreach.

18

Avoid Musical Distractions with YouTube Mixes & Playlists

Do you listen to music while you work?

Personally, I find listening to music increases my productivity, but only when I use mixes or playlists.

Not long ago, I would scroll through YouTube to find another track to play after each one ended.

It was a MASSIVE time suck.

When I started using mixes, it was like I had my own personal DJ who just knew what I wanted to hear.

To find a mix​ on YouTube, search:

“music genre + mix”

And for playlists, you guessed it…

“​music genre + playlists”

19

Create Beautiful Content with Thrive Content Builder

In my last post, I wrote the ultimate guide to starting a blog.

As I mention in the guide, WordPress is the best platform for any blog or website.

Thrive Content Builder is a premium Wordpress plugin (by Thrive Themes) that adds an intuitive drag n’ drop editor to WordPress.

Here’s a video by Perrin Carrell from NichePursuits.com, showing the content builder in action:

I used to spend hours playing around with code, trying to make things look the way I wanted.

As a HUGE fan of the plugin, I can honestly say it’s the biggest time saver on this list.

If you use WordPress, it’s a must have.

20

Leverage Video Sharing as a Communication Tool

I mentioned how useful screenshot annotations are when communicating with people online.

Sometimes though, you need to take it a step further.

Screencasts allow you to do a quick recording of your screen and send a link for others to watch.

Quickcast for Mac is easily the best free screencast software available right now.

Click record and drag the cursor to select the recording area.

It will start a countdown and begin recording for up to 3 minutes.

Then it will automatically upload to your account and you can copy a link for sharing.

Super easy

For Windows, I recommend using Jing, which is very similar.

Spend Less Time on Music Selection with Spotifiy

 

 

Spotify is perfect for music management.

With thousands of playlists at your fingertips, you can search for your favourite album or artist and play the entire thing with the click of a button.

One cool feature…

You can see what your friends are listening to and jump on the bandwagon :)

The free version is supported by ads, but they don’t interrupt you too often which is nice.

Save Valuable Time with Adblock Plus

I almost didn’t want to include this one because blocking ads are a mixed bag.

Many websites exist on the back of income generated by ads, and they have the right to show you them in exchange for free content.

But some sites abuse it and we don’t have time for that.

The free browser extension, Adblock Plus, is the best way to block all those annoying popups and ads.

This thing even blocks YouTube’s pre-roll ads!

(Just don’t forget to unblock the sites you do support)

Create a Home for All Your Favourite Blogs

I’m a serial blog reader.

I follow roughly a dozen blogs in the online business space religiously.

Not long ago, I’d bookmark them all and visit each one individually every single day. Damn.

Now?

Tools like Feedly allow you to add all your favourite blogs across multiple categories:

And shows you blog posts from across the board, all on one page…

You can read articles inside Feedly or click through to the original.

 

Get a Handle on Your Social Media Addiction

If you find yourself constantly checking your favourite social media networks, this might scare you a little…

StayFocused is yet another browser extension created to improve productivity online.

Start by adding distracting sites to your blocked list…

And enter how much total time you want to allow each day for visiting these sites.

If you really don’t trust yourself…

Desktop based applications like SelfControl will continue to block sites even if you attempt to remove it.

Either way, this is a great way to keep you focused on things that make a real difference.

 

The Crazy Effecient, Browser-Based Word Count Tool

If you’re a writer, you know the importance of a word count.

The length of your article is often a strong signal of quality, and I personally aim for at least 3,000 words for each piece of content I produce.

Because of this, I’m always checking the length of other peoples articles as well as my own.

This free, handy little browser extension counts words in your address bar as you highlight…

That’s efficiency right there.

You can even check the word count of an entire page…

“Command + A” on a Mac or “Ctrl + A” on a Windows.

Put Distracting Content in Your Pocket for Later

This is one for those of us who are easily distracted by new articles or videos that grab our attention.

Meet Pocket.

This beauty lets you store such content for viewing at a later date, at the click of a button:

I know what you’re thinking…

How is that any different to bookmarks?​

Well, Pocket magically syncs with your other devices and allows for offline viewing.

Oh yeah… It’s also free :)

Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning

The Miracle Morning is a book, written by Hal Elrod.

One of my biggest challenges right now is waking up early, so naturally I was drawn to this book.

The idea is to follow a proven morning routine for more energy, motivation and focus.

And it seems to be working for people…

I will be buying the audio version when I finish my current book and hope to write a full review.

If you’ve already read this, please let me know your thoughts in the comments :)

Recommended for You…

It’s easy to spend hours on YouTube.

We’ve all done it, clicking related videos until we end up on that “weird” part of the internet…

Distraction Free Youtube is a free browser plugin that solves this problem.

The quick access options panel lets you tailor how aggressive this app behaves.

I love that you can hide video comments — I spend far too much time reading those :)

Start Your Day with a Dose of Pure Motiviation

This tip is a little controversial.

Many experts claim motivational speeches don’t work and are a complete waste of time.

And to some extent, I agree.

They provide a short burst of energy and excitement and rarely give you actionable advice on what to do.

But here’s the thing:

That small burst can often be enough to make big difference on your overall output.

I’ve found that when I start my day with a short motivational speech, it has a HUGE positive impact on my mental state.

As a result… I get significantly more done.

Here’s some of the speeches I listen to:

  • Change
  • Mindshift
  • Unbroken
  • Impossible is Nothing
  • Dream

The Handy Little Password Plugin for Serial Savers

Remembering passwords is annoying – especially if you’re not using LastPass.

So when your browser asks to save your password, it’s usually a no-brainer, right?

But after a while, it’s easy to forget what the password actually was without digging through your saved password history.

There’s a much quicker way…

Using a free browser extension called Show Password, you can place your cursor in the password field and press the “Ctrl” key to reveal it.

Simple, but efficient :)

Fix Unlinked URL’s on the Fly

Unlinked URL’s are annoying.

Text URL Linker is a free Chrome extension that automatically hyperlinks plain text URL’s on a page.

Here’s an example:

I’ve been using this for a long time now and it works well.

This is an obvious one, but I still notice people not using it.

I’m talking about the bookmarks toolbar.

Whether you use Firefox, Chrome or Safari they all have an integrated toolbar for your popular bookmarks.

Just go to View > Bookmarks toolbar

And when you add a bookmark, you can choose to add it straight to the toolbar.

Scheduling That Works for You with Calendly

Calendly is the holy grail for people with busy schedules.

In a nutshell, this web app lets you define your availability using public time slots.

It makes scheduling interviews, meetings and events a breeze.

The free version has some limitations but they do they have a 14 day free trial for the premium version.

Convenient Messaging with the WhatsApp Web App

Did you know you can use WhatsApp on your laptop?

I always find it faster typing on a real keyboard when responding to people on WhatsApp.

First, head over to the web app, and you’ll see a QR code like this:

(The code will be unique to your account)

Now go to WhatsApp on your phone and select “WhatsApp Web App” from the menu.

The camera will activate and it will ask you to scan your QR code.

And you should now be taken to your Web App screen:

Quick note, you will need an active WiFi or 4G connection for this to work

Use Data to Understand Your Daily Habits Online

Rescue Time is a popular service that helps you understand where your time is being allocated.

It works by running in the background and keeping tabs on what windows or tabs are active.

At the end of the day, you can check detailed reports like this:​

Rescue Time also gives you a productivity score based on your results.

The free plan is pretty good on it’s own if you want to try it out.

Automate Your Social Scheduling with Twittimer

There’s a bunch of tools out there to help with automating your social media updates.

Many of them are on the pricy side though.

On the hunt for a cheaper alternative, I found Twittimer.

Despite the name, you can schedule updates to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

In particular, I love the bulk CSV feature…

The free plan is too limited in my opinion, so I upgraded for a very reasonable $4.99 / month.

Learn to Leverage the Pareto Principle

The Pareto Principle, otherwise known as the 80/20 rule, states that approximately 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

Vilfredo Pareto showed that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the country’s population.

Soon after, he began seeing it everywhere…

  • ​80% of customers only use 20% of software features
  • 80% of sales come from 20% of your products
  • 20% of clothes in a wardrobe are worn 80% of the time
  • 20% of the carpet gets 80% of the wear

And perhaps the most important takeaway:

80% of the outcome is a result of 20% of the input.

In other words…

Find out what you’re doing in your daily work routine that produces the most results, and double down on that.