3 delightful productivity tools to help you focus

Written by

Richard Palmer

Published

8th February 2022

You only have to look at Product Hunt to find someone has launched a new productivity tool. There's such an abundance in fact, that people get caught up in productivity porn. Changing their system on a regular basis in an attempt to find the “perfect system”. While there is no “perfect system”, we know it can be a pain to try all of the tools to find the one that fits your needs.

In an effort to shortcut your search for the ideal tool, here’s a breakdown of the favourite tools I’ve tried with some guidance on who should use what and when.

Llama Life

I've been following Llama Life for a while now, and it's a fresh take on the age-old problem of todo lists. It forces you to focus on one todo at a time, blocking time out as you go in order to maximise efficiency.

Llama life is fantastic if you've got a laundry list of tasks to do, and need some help getting through the most important ones. If you've tried time blocking or are a fan of pomodoro, Llama Life is going to be a welcome addition to your toolkit.

What it won't do is help you bill your clients. It's not a great tool for tracking your time, nor if you're managing multiple projects across many clients.

Rize.io

Rize is the new kid on the block when it comes to productivity insights. It's a fantastically well designed app, which gives you all sorts of insight into where you spend your time, and how effectively you're managing it.

It's got your best interests at heart and can be configured to send notifications every so often to remind you to take a break. Though honestly, I found them more annoying than helpful—usually breaking my flow. It’s not a big drawback as you can turn them from the Notification Settings screen, under “Smart Breaks”.

Rize is fantastic if you're looking for insights into how you spend your time, broken down by the app/webpage/activity you're doing. Prefect if you're a “quantified self” geek.

It is not a todo list or time tracker! You won't be managing your todos here, nor will you be able to use the data to invoice your clients.

Akiflow

I mentioned time blocking with Llama Life, but if you really want to go to town with it, then Akiflow is a great choice. Pull in your tasks from most of the major todo list apps, project management software & more, and schedule them into your time as you see fit.

Akiflow gives you a first class todo list experience in a powerful scheduling tool; your calendar. Great if you've got deadlines to hit and meetings to manage as well. It’s focused on making you as productive as possible with the time you have. It does however fall short on the time tracking front.

If you live by your calendar and don’t need accurate time tracking, then Akiflow is worth a go.

Honorable mentions

Kaizen Flow

Every once in a while there’s a need for a short, focused work session. You know what you need to do. You know it needs a fixed amount of time. Kaizen Flow comes to the rescue. A play on the pomodoro technique, Kaizen flow plays lo-fi beats for 25 minutes while you smash out your work. I find it works great for a concentrated writing session.

Kaizen Flow does have a todo list built-in, though it does leave something to be desired and isn’t well suited for serious time tracking.

Notion

More than just a todo list or time tracker, Notion is a one-stop-shop for task and knowledge management. It’s a fantastic tool for putting (almost) everything in as you can tailor it to your specific needs. It’s great for managing big backlogs of tasks, as it has powerful sorting features (we use it to automatically prioritise Timo’s backlog) and it’s fantastic where you need to work collaboratively.

Note that Notion doesn’t do native time tracking at all, though it does have an API to integrate with other tools.

Need to track your time?

All the tools I’ve mentioned are great for helping you get shit done. Though none give you the accurate time tracking you need to fill in your invoices. If time tracking is what you need, and you’re done with using multiple tools, try Timo and put your todo list and time tracking in one place.

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