Personal Productivity 101: The Ultimate Guide to the Resources You Need To Improve Productivity

by | October 12, 2020


We define personal productivity as the rate of completing actions that move you closer to accomplishing your task in a manner that brings balance to your life.

Your team’s success, or the lack of it, depends on whether you or your team is busy or productive. What many people, about 42% of Americans, consider work mostly involves working nine-to-five, rush-hour traffic, waking up before sunrise, and sacrificing time with family. Sadly, all this trouble only qualifies them as busy people and not productive ones.  

Gallup poll finds that only 38% of America’s workforce is engaged in their work, which is even more shocking considering this is the highest since 2000. This leaves another 49% of America’s workforce which is psychologically disengaged from their work or companies.

Why Your Personal Productivity Is Worth Fighting For

Whether you are part of that 49 or 38% of the American workforce, there’s always room for improvement in terms of your personal and employee productivity.

Improving your personal productivity will not go unrewarded. Your business, career, and life, in general, will see instant benefits the moment you improve on your productivity. Some of these include:

A Reduction In Workplace Stress

According to the American Institute of Stress, workplace stress causes 120,000 deaths each year and leads to $300 billion in associated healthcare costs. Improving your personal productivity will go a long way to reducing the chances of workplace stress.

A Reduction In Distractions

Increasing productivity through tools such as Virtual Assistants goes a long way in helping you reduce distractions. A global outplacement agency report shows that fantasy football alone costs employees about $14 billion in lost productivity.

Less Burnout And Exhaustion

Burnout and exhaustion are some of the effects of staying in an unproductive workplace. A report shows that one in five employees sleep at work, which is a sign of lack of rest, exhaustion, and burnout. Increasing your efficiency and productivity goes a long way to reducing burnout.

Improved Personal Well-Being

The feeling that the 24 hours in a day are insufficient to lead a career and raise a family is universal in America and around the world. With appropriate planning, one can efficiently manage both their job and other needs and still maintain growth and progress. This leads to a healthier and happier you. 

Top Tools For Personal Productivity

Now that we have gone over the importance of improving your personal productivity, where do you start? Luckily for us, this century is awash with tools and channels that can help you improve on our personal productivity. These include:

1. Freshbooks

Freshbooks is a staple in the toolbox of all non-accountants who have to do some accounting once in a while. Freshbooks becomes a worthy companion, especially in bookkeeping and creating invoices that may become redundant tasks that take a lot of time. For all basic accounting features, Freshbooks is the app for you.

2. Evernote

Evernote is one of the best things to ever happen to productive people. Have you ever had a good idea in the subway and can’t remember it when you get home; Evernote was built for people like you. It enables you to share, capture, and organize notes anywhere, anytime. It also enables scanning and searching for information and adding links and audio recordings.

3. 1 Password

Cramming and memorizing passwords is hard enough before you start to imagine the amount of time it takes to reset a lost password. Many people hence revert to using one password on all accounts, which compromises security.1 password enables you to put all your passwords on a single encrypted database which you secure with one password. This software enables you to have multiple passwords while reducing the chances of losing them.

4. SaneBox

You may find yourself spending most of your productive time parsing through and sorting out e-mails. For many folks, there’s no way to gauge the importance of an e-mail is important apart from opening it. SaneBox saves you this trouble. This app analyzes your previous e-mail activities hence separating e-mails that may be important from those of less importance.

5. Beeminder

Beeminder is a must-have tool if you want to stay focused and motivated in achieving your tasks. This app enables you to set attainable goals and visualize them. It will help you in your workplace and has extensive application in day-to-day life, such as keeping fit or maintaining a diet.

6. Mindnode

With Mindnode, mind mapping has never been easier. Mindnode enables you to visualize and organize your thoughts using tags and templates. This gives clarity to your workflow hence saving you time.


It’s impossible to discuss productivity tools without mentioning integration. That’s where IFTT comes in. It stands for If This Then That, and it enables you to integrate software and issue commands. For example, IFTT can help you send pictures on Instagram at a specific time or when a client responds.

8. Pocket

Surfing the internet at work requires a lot of focus to prevent being swayed into other topics that have nothing to do with work. Pocket allows you to save enticing topics that you may find while browsing the net for later viewing. This hence reduces unnecessary distractions.

9. Spark

Your e-mail campaign is simultaneously one of the most crucial aspects of your business and one of the most complex and redundant tasks. Not with Spark. This app, founded in 2007, has won several awards for helping small and medium businesses organize their e-mails. Among its capabilities are analyzing e-mails in order of priority, noise reduction, and overcoming your e-mail overload.

Top Books For Personal Productivity

10. The 4-Hour Workweek

The 4-Hour workweek is a Tim Ferris bestseller that started a global movement to work less and earn more after he published it in 2017. This book will give you insight into organizing your priorities and efforts to get more value from working less.

11. Atomic Habits

This James Clear masterpiece is a staple for all people pursuing growth and progress. It is an in-depth explanation of what good habits are and a step-by-step guide on how to change and improve your habits. It will give you an entirely new spectrum of viewing success and how habits are created and changed.

12. Eat That Frog!

You may have heard the saying that if you eat a frog each morning, you’ll go on with your day knowing the worst part is already over. In this book, Brian Tracy teaches how to avoid procrastination by dealing with the most complex and most important tasks first.

13. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

This timeless classic will make reading lists for centuries to come. In this 25-year-old piece of art, Stephen R.Covey explores the habits that separate successful people from ones who are not successful.

14. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit Of Less

A common saying goes that productivity can only be achieved in two steps; knowing the essential and forgetting the rest. In this book, Greg McKeon encourages you to be more productive by zeroing-in on what is crucial while leaving out the rest.

15. How to Stop Procrastinating

 Its title best describes this all-time classic. It is a simple guide to mastering difficult tasks and breaking the procrastination Habit” by S.J. Scott. A significant percentage of productive people have this on their shelves.

16. Organize Tomorrow Today

We are all familiar with the saying failure to plan is planning to fail. Nobody expands on this wisdom better than Dr.Jason Selk and Tom Bartow in their book Organize Tomorrow Today. This book will leave you with a wealth of knowledge in planning and organization you can’t find anywhere else.

Top Podcasts For Personal Productivity

17. The 5 AM Miracle

Start your mornings motivated by joining Jeff Sanders and millions of like-minded people for life-changing tips and discussions. This podcast will help you create the long-lasting habits you require to be successful.

18. Getting Things Done

Best-selling author David Allen takes on an amazing journey that will help you understand the obstacles that stand before your productivity and how best to defeat them. Allen does this by inviting exciting guests from all walks of life.

 19. Productivityist

This all-time-favourite covers everything productivity and time management. You get to join host Mike Vardy and go in-depth on how to improve your time management and productivity using practical and attainable goals.

20. Beyond the To-Do List

Nothing beats starting your day on Erik Fishers’ podcast. Here you learn that there’s more to success than achieving things on a to-do list as Fisher and his guests break down the very facet of productivity.

21. Back to Work

The magic of the Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin is what will have you hooked to this podcast. The duo goes in-depth in dissecting work, identity, and expectations as the foundations of improved productivity,

22. The Tim Ferris Show

This is the second time Tim Ferris makes this list, and it’s for a good reason. In this podcast, Tim Ferris gets into the intricacies of prioritizing work and effort to achieve the most results with the least effort. 

23. How I Built This

In this podcast, you get to join Guy Raz as he dives into the stories of the most successful companies. You also get to learn their foundation, development, and eventual collapse.

Top Systems And Trackers For Personal Productivity

24. Momentum

Once in a time, you may need visualization of your progress and how far you’ve come in your productivity. Momentum is a productivity software that helps you track and manage your time as you build good habits. It visualizes a chain that grows longer each day you keep your commitment hence motivating you on how far you’ve come whenever you feel weak.

25. TimeCamp

TimeCamp is a time tracking tool that goes the extra mile to give you insights about your productivity. It collects information over time to show you your inefficiencies and weaknesses, together with ongoing tasks and billable hours. Another exciting feature is its compatibility with other project management tools to give you an all-round view of your productivity.

26. DeskTime

DeskTime is an all-in-one time tracking app that is a sure way to boost your productivity. It combines employee monitoring, time tracking, and productive analysis to put your productivity in context. Moreover, it also has productivity and efficiency calculations to keep you in track of your time and progress.

27. RescueTime

Do you know how much time you spend on your favorite sites on the internet? RescueTime is a web-based platform that enables you to monitor how much time you spend on internet sites. It not only shows you the time but also when you were most/least productive. It is compatible with android, iOS, Linux, and several other platforms. This tracking enables you to prioritize and plan your time.

28. Toggl

Toggl is one of the simplest time tracking tools out there. All you have to do to start tracking your time is pressing the toggle button, and there you go. It allows you to see the time you spend on different projects and gives you reports on your performance.

29. Todoist

With Todoist, you no longer have to stick your plans or schedules on your fridge. Todoist is a cross-platform project planner that helps you organize and plan your projects. It also has features that enable you to view your progress and share tasks.

30. Beesy

Beesy is a one-stop-shop task organization and planning tool that helps you keep your productivity and efficiency in check. Among its features are collaboration capabilities that enable you to set goals, share them, analyze their completion, and your efficiency and productivity.

The Key Take-Away

Improving your personal productivity is more of a journey than a destination. Moreover, there are several resources that can help you follow this path.

If interested in personal efficiency and productivity, Zirtual is the place for you. We enable many companies to improve productivity through virtual assistants. For more information, contact us today and let us be part of your story.