In this episode I outline a process for selecting the right productivity tools that will work for you. I have also created a free tool to help with this process and it is available below in the action plan.
This episode is the final episode of a four part series on improving your personal productivity. In episodes 002 and 003 we covered a 5-step system for improving your productivity that breaks down your work day into key phases and aligns a specific productivity approach to each phase.
In episode 004 we covered six key productivity tool categories and provided some recommendations and examples of how I use them. You will almost certainly benefit from selecting tools in those categories and maybe others from my epic list of productivity tools.
The process for selecting tools that I’m outlining in this episode is valuable because it applies to almost any technical tool, not just productivity tools.
If you follow the process for selecting tools outlined in this episode, within one to two weeks you will have selected the productivity tools that work for you. It won’t be based on who has the biggest spec sheet or best sales pitch, but rather on how well the tools meet your requirements.
Your choice will have been based on objective and subjective requirements specific to your needs, both functional and non-functional.
This structured process may take a bit longer, but in the end it will save significant time because you will not be jumping from choice to choice, spending time in a tool that you later find is missing critical features, and so on.
Productivity tools are usually free or pretty cheap but what about when it comes time for you to select a CRM or email marketing system in your business? Those are multi-thousand or tens-of-thousand dollar decisions that this exact same process can be used for. This process and it’s discipline will serve you well on larger decisions.
In this episode you’ll learn:
- How to decide if you even need a tool
- How to document your requirements
- How to find the options or choices
- How to compare the options or choices
- How to select the finalist?
- How do I evaluate the finalist
- How do I make the final decision
Now that you know the five-step productivity system, have seen the epic list of productivity tools , and now know how to select and evaluate tools, it is time to start putting together your tool box: the smallest set of tools that help you save the largest amount of time.
Here is your action plan:
- Using your habit and time tracking logs (don’t know what these are? see this post), find the activities that costing you the most amount of time for the least amount of results
- Using the Epic tools list, look for categories of tools that will help address your least productive activities
- Select one to two categories for tools to evaluate
- Use the process outlined in this episode to evaluate and select a tool
- Once selected, embed the tool in your daily habits and workflow
To help you implement the evaluation process outlined in this episode, I’ve created a free download for you: my Tool Requirement and Evaluation Template. This template will help you document, track, and score tools against your requirements.