Ask the Readers: What Is Your Favorite Productivity Tool?

By Ashley Jacobs on 23 September 2014 52 comments

Editor's Note: Congratulations to Laura, Carmen, and Liz for winning this week's contest!

So much to do, so little time! Even after we prioritize the important stuff, actually getting things done is a whole other mountain that we need to climb. Luckily, there are tools to help us do just that, from pen-and-paper to-do lists to fancy time management apps!

What is your favorite productivity tool? Do you prefer high-tech or low-tech tools? How well is your current productivity system working for you — do you see any area that needs to be improved?

Tell us about your favorite productivity tool and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards

We're doing three giveaways — here's how you can win!

Mandatory Entry:

  • Post your answer in the comments below. One commenter will be randomly selected to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

For Extra Entries:

  • You can tweet about our giveaway for an extra entry. Also, our Facebook fans can get an extra entry too! Use our Rafflecopter widget for your chance to win one of the other two Amazon Gift Cards:

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If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.

Giveaway Rules:

  • Contest ends Monday, September 29th at 11:59 p.m. Pacific. Winners will be announced after September 29th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.
  • You can enter all three drawings — once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.
  • This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.
  • You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.

Good Luck!

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Guest's picture
Tina in NJ

I make a weekly menu and shopping list. A to-do list also helps, but I'm not as diligent with that. The "off" button on the TV remote is also helpful.

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Ernest S.

My favorite tool is You Need a Budget (YNAB). I've used it since 2009, and it's really helped me to manage my budget and meet my financial goals. They also have an iPhone and iPad app, which really help with recording transactions and checking to see how much money I have left to spend in my budget.

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Holly Marie

Nothing still beats the old-fashioned paper month-by-month calendar. It's easy to see everything in context. And it's way faster than looking up something on a digital calendar. And digitally, nothing beats online banking. If you aren't doing auto-pay and/or online bill pay, don't wait any longer to try it. It's awesome.

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Rachael

I love Todoist app! So helpful to create lists for multiple projects and itemize each step.

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Amanda

I'm a big fan of ToDoist. It integrates with a multitude of platforms which makes it very convenient.

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I have two favorites, one high-tech and one low-tech. For high-tech, I love Toodledo. It keeps track of my tasks, and I can tell it when to bring a task to my attention (by setting a start date). I use it for work, for wedding planning, and for general personal stuff.

For low-tech, I use the bullet journal system using a plain notebook. I prefer writing things down and crossing things off, so this system works well for me. I also like that I can have special pages to keep track of things like ideas for gifts, books I'd like to read, etc.

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Nicole

I keep my calendar synced across all my devices - which helps me plan my days in advance and minimize driving.

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Gina

A handwritten to-do list that I can cross items off on. Works better than electronics.

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Guest

My favorite productivity tool is my planner. It is something that I have kept doing since I was in school and needed to keep all of my assignments straight. Writing everything that I need to do down at the beginning of the week helps me plan out my week and then I can write additional things that come up as I go. Also writing them down makes me more likely to remember them.

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Mary Happymommy

I'm definitely low tech on this. I prefer an old fashioned notebook and pen.

Guest's picture

Even though I'm a fan of technology, I still use a planner that I write in, and I also love sticky notes everywhere!

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Betty

So many tools keep me productive! I got a lot of work done on my iPad. I make lists, print coupons, pay bills, etc. I also am a fan of binders. I have a small one to organize my grocery coupons, that I carry in my purse. I have a large A-Z accordion file to keep all my manuals, receipts, instructions, etc. I even keep an extra vacuum belt under V! At work I'm queen of the post-it notes. I leave myself reminders all over.

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Nicole

My favorite productivity tool is my calendar on my phone and tablet.

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Jessie

I'm a big fan of Evernote -- organize notes into "notebooks", and easily grab online content to access offline. But even more often I reach for a pen and an index card -- an unlined 4x6 card flipped on its side is perfect for daily to-do lists.

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Elena

I just use pen and paper to make to do lists, and it works for me

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MELISSA HANSSON

My favorite tools are my iPhone and my Moleskine quad ruled journal. I'd be lost without them!

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Terri H

I am a post-it note junkie. Each day, I put my to-do list for day on a post-it note. I use a daytimer for my weekly goals/to-dos. But its my daily post-it notes that keep me on track.

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Jennifer Marie

Sticky notes are my productivity tools!

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Luciel

MINT is my favorite.

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lisa

i am old school on this. i find that nothing helps me organize better than good old fashioned post-it notes. i use red ones for most time-sensitive stuff otherwise, whatever color i like for the current season...right now i use orange.

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lostAnnfound

Very low tech - a little notepad and pen I carry in my bag. I use it to write my to-do list for the day, reminders, items to be added to grocery list, etc. I don't have to worry about the batteries dying and it helps me to stay organized.

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Matthew

While it took me awhile to see its value, I would say Evernote is tops when it comes to productivity. Some of the ways I use it include quick reminders to myself, project management and organization, paperless document storage, a place to log ideas, resource list building, saving interesting and informative articles, sharing information with other Evernote users, and business card storage. I always have my phone, so I can access anything from pretty much anywhere with a quick search. And I know that I don't use it to its fullest potential. A great tool; you just need to take the time to commit to it.

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D D

I love the Google Keep app on my phone. It's a great for to-do lists and writing down random notes.

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Happy Love

A shopping list. I use my grocery store's online ad where I can click on items to add to my shopping list, and then the list includes the sale price as well.

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Christie

I'm still an "old school/basic pen and paper/ making a checklist" kind of girl. I find that it helps me keep my thoughts and priorities in order and helps me not forget anything!

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Louly

I love my Moto X for productivity... I can give it voice commands and it integrates with my Google calendar which I use religiously!

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Nancy

I'm pretty low tech in general, but like a few other commenters, I swear by Evernote as a place for keeping information of all kinds in a way that's searchable and easy to find. I also appreciate iCal with appointment reminders. And a basket by the door for my keys and sun glasses is saving me heaps of time looking for these items.

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Susan P.

I love my iPhone and iPad but I still write lists on paper. If I write it down I remember what I wrote - better than typing it out.

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Mary W

I like to use a pen with old fashioned calendars strategically placed around my house and office. Definitely low tech. I also use Siri to remind me of important events and use my iCalendar. alarms and all the other goodies cell phones offer.

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Starla M

I love using Write Monkey when I need to crank out some writing and am on a deadline. Clears up distractions and offers me a larger screen to type.

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I find Feedly makes me very productive. I scan the blogs I follow so I can post helpful into on my social media accounts. It would take me much longer to dig everything out on my own.

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Liisa

It used to be my planner when I had 48+ appointments to keep each week; now that life has slowed down it is the white board in my kitchen! Low-tech all the way!!! :)

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Diane

I love lists on an Excel spreadsheet~ And my iphone... I use it for alarms, reminders, lists, pretty much everything!

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Suz_Glo

I have yet to find a method better than my old-fashioned desk calendar. I can easily see what each week looks like at a glance and checking each item off as it's completed seems to motivate me! More high tech but still very simple, I also like the Note feature on my iPhone. I can keep a separate lists for many "need to remember" things. For instance, right now I have a list of movies I want to see since I invariably forget when in the movie store or looking at the streaming site.

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An G

I use my gmail calendar on my iphone to keep me up to date

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Bethany M

My calendar keeps me straight!

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Rachel

Out of Milk for grocery shopping (simple, and easy to share with my partner), Mint for finances (invaluable!), and ToodleDo for todo lists and lists of other things like gift ideas, blog ideas, stuff to check out.

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J. Pario

Scratch paper and a pen for a low-tech To Do list.

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Laura J

Oh I am more low tech for sure!!! The one thing that keeps me on track is my wall calendar that I hang on my wall the first of every year! I love that all appointments and birthdays are on the wall at quick glance every time I walk by!

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Susan Smith

My favorite productivity tool is my calendar on my phone and tablet

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Lynda

my favorite productivity tool is still the old fashioned pen/pencil and paper

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Rebecca B. A. R.

Plain old pen and paper to-do lists are what I use to get things done.

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Paula R

ToDoist is the best task management app I've found. I got my team at work to adapt to it. I not only have all my to dos in front of me but I can prioritize them.

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Jenna Fenstermacher

The notepad feature on my phone - keeps me on track!

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Thrifty Writer

Having an "accountabilibuddy" or accountability partner for a weekly check in. Mine lives in another state, and we check in once a week, either via Skype or email, going over what we accomplished the previous week and our goals for the following week.
I also like having a log book in which I go over what I've done for the day.

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Karthigeyan R

Hi,

My favorite productivity tool is Trello, I am able to manage tasks using cards and able to move it thru various stages like in progress, pending, waiting etc.

It also has a iPhone app that makes it easy to manage things anytime.

Thanks,
KG

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Amanda Sakovitz

Old fashioned pen and paper work for me

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SerenityNow

A co-worker introduced me to HabitRPG, a daily checklist tool. Basically, whenever you complete items on your to-do list, you're rewarded with virtual gold coins that you can use to "purchase" costumes and accessories for your avatar. If you think it sounds ridiculous (as I initially did), you should give it a shot! Seeing all of those nagging items on my to-do list every day really motivated me to get them done. I swear, I've never been so on top of things. And i like that it's a paperless to-do list!

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Holly S

I use an 5X8 calendar book and sticky notes. I've tried to use various apps and for some reason it turns out the old fashioned way of carrying this book around works best for me.

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Tabathia B

I use my calendar which is synced between computer and phone

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Carmen

My smartphone - it has my contacts, my calendar(s) and a couple email accounts. Plus I have apps that keep me motivated to lose weight.

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Thomas Murphy

I like Evernote