Gain an hour a day and take back your life

By Tramayne Monaghan CA(SA), Innovator at tramayne.co.za

People are frugal in guarding their personal property; but as soon as comes to squandering time, they are true most wasteful of the one thing in which it is right to be stingy. – Seneca

The world has changed. We are suffering fatigue and frustration as we continue our journeys of untangling our work and personal lives. Through this chaos, an opportunity arises.

Being in technology has led me to begin thinking about the term lifehacking.

The tools below are just an idea of how I have endeavoured to declutter my life through means. My goal remains to produce high-quality work in the fastest possible time.

From meditating in 5-degree water or waking up at 05:00 to waking up at 04:00 every day − I will try it all!

My life for the last few years is riddled with experiments and attempts to hack life. My entire life is a productivity experiment. And I have learnt a few nuggets, but these tools probably save me an hour a day. A whole hour, 12,5% of my day! And these tools are all free!

OneTab

I consume a ton of content. A ton. I abuse multiple browsers, Chrome for work, Safari for personal. OneTab is my constant. OneTab is a dream.

OneTab is a browser extension that allows all one million tabs I have opened to be collapsed into a single page view. The real kicker is the ability to group tabs by subject. I have tabs set for work, for blogs and for writing research.

I know I am not the only person who desperately needs to clean up their browser windows regularly. OneTab can help.

Krisp.ai

Working from home has led to many new noises being introduced onto conference calls. Doorbells, barking dogs and babies.

But, when you work remotely, you don’t have complete control over the noises around you. Krisp is AI-powered noise-cancelling software for your microphone. Krisp’s suppresses background noise during calls by creating an AI-powered virtual filter between your microphone and your calling app. It is easy to set up and allows a one-button switch on and off, and you get 120 minutes a week free.

Now you can eat those crisps in peace.

Trello

I like the visuals. I love lists, and I adore the satisfaction of moving a Trello card to do! A Trello board can be used in the simplest of fashions.

My board has four columns: Todo, In Progress, Blocked and Done. I spend a few minutes on a Sunday night updating and moving around my Trello. I prioritise the big-ticket items for the week and see where tasks are blocked. I plan the week this way.

Trello has due dates, beautifully designed colours for classification and the ability to move cards seamlessly. By seeing everything visually on a Trello board, I could set due dates and see red for overdue items.

Spoiler alert, I use Trello for work and my personal life. Think about having a to-do list like Renew drivers, call mom or buy that pair of limited edition Nikes!

Engross: Focus Timer App

I’ve always been a big fan of the Pomodoro method, where you work for some period before taking a short break. This is a free app available for Apple and Android. It allows you to schedule multiple consecutive rounds of the Pomodoro method, all the way up to an entire workday. The Pomodoro method is well known for deep work cycles.

When the timer starts, I do not read emails; I do not check Slack or answer calls. I am in deep work mode, and it only ceases when the timer goes off.

With no distractions, I feel as though I am operating at a capacity exceeding 100%. But beware, this only works if you are focused and disciplined.

Notes (Apple)

All Apple devices come standard with the Notes App (pretty sure Android has its own one). The latest upgrades are unbelievable.

I work remotely − a lot. Even before the pandemic, I would love to go sit in coffee shops or work from home. This means I operate on different devices, iPad, MacBook or iMac. Sometimes even on my phone. Thoughts occur everywhere. The synch between devices is the thing I love most. The pace is crucial because when you’re desperate to not lose a thought, you don’t want syncing or app updates to spoil your day and rob you of a good idea.

At any point in time, all my thoughts are close to me. The app is seamless, fast and most important, simple.

Call me a geek for not wanting to carry my laptop around all day.

Final idea

I have been using these tools extensively for a while now. With the right productivity tools, you can produce the best work of your life in the least amount of time. Don’t we all want to be able to do a five-day work week in four?