Over the past three years, I’ve tried and tested hundreds of apps, Chrome extensions, and productivity hacks to make myself become more effective and efficient.
I found most of these through podcasts or reading other productivity-tools lists, but I wanted to write a single list that listed all the ones I love and use.
This article is the product of that, and this should be the best list of productivity tools and hacks currently on the web.
So if you want to double your effectiveness and efficiency every day, here is a list of 30 productivity hacks you can use:
Part 1: Google Chrome Extensions
Google Chrome extensions are the easiest to set up and use, so some of my favorite tips come from this section. If you’re not currently using Chrome, you should switch to it so you can use all these extensions (even if Chrome uses more RAM). Here are the extensions I love:
- Facebook News Feed Eradicator — It does what it advertises: it eradicates your news feed and replaces it with nice quotes. Everyone should be using this!
- Momentum —With this, every time you open up a new tab, it shows you a beautiful picture of nature. Momentum is incredibly relaxing and calming, and you’ll wow others whenever you open a new tab.
- Video Speed Controller — This extensions lets you speed up or slow down any video you watch online, at 0.1 increments, using simple keyboard shortcuts. Perfect for speeding up those YouTube videos or Netflix shows quickly on desktop.
- Video Blocker — Video Blocker lets you type down specific YouTube Channels and Video Keywords, so those types of videos won’t pop up anymore on YouTube, whether in Recommended or while searching! I usually enter here “NBA” or “Chris Smoove” so I don’t see any NBA highlight videos on YouTube desktop, which I watch too many of.
- Block Site — This helps you block specific sites that distract you, so you won’t be allowed to access them. A similar Chrome extension is Forest.
- Adblock Plus — Lets you remove ads, which should help remove clutter and save you time.
- Rapportive — This is perfect for confirming if you have someone’s correct email address and for finding their LinkedIn profile. It checks if the contact is on Linkedin and shows a short bio and photo beside your email.
- HubSpot Sales — This lets you track who opens your emails, which is super useful! MailTracker is another good alternative too.
- Evernote Web Clipper — This lets you save anything on the internet to your Evernote for future reading. It’s 10x better for me than Facebook’s Saved Feature (Who ever reads articles they saved there? I don’t.)
- WhatFont and ColorZilla —These let you find out the font used of an element on a website or its specific color. These are useful for designers and web developers!
Part 2: Desktop/Mobile Apps
- Jumpcut — This is by far my favorite tool here. Jumpcut is a Mac app that lets you keep track of everything you Command-C/Copy, and you can cycle through 40 past things you’ve copied. Perfect for copy pasting things around while coding or emailing. All Mac users should download this! For Windows users, Ditto is a good alternative to use.
- F.lux — Flux turns your screen slightly orange so you can fall asleep easier. Less time taken to go to sleep + better sleep = more time & energy for you.
- Alfred — Alfred lets you shut down your computer in 2 seconds — By pressing option-spacebar, then typing “sh” and enter. It’s a better version of the Mac’s spotlight too, and lets you open files really easily.
- Speechify — Speechify is a desktop app for Mac that lets you highlight any text online (or on PDFs) and has it read it aloud for you, with adjustable speeds and accents. It’s created by my friend Cliff Weitzman, mainly for those who are dyslexic (like himself!), and the story of Cliff and this app is pretty inspiring. I’ve used Speechify to let it read out readings too me, to save time from having to read long readings for school.
- Google Photos — Google Photos lets you upload all your photos to save space on your phone, and you can search keywords like “paper” or specific dates to find photos easily. I use their search feature a lot.
- App Detox — For Android users, App Detox lets you limit the time you spend on any app, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can set a time limit per day, or set specific time ranges only that you can open the app. It’s pretty cool.
- Todoist — Todoist is my go-to task manager since I love the design, and I use both the desktop and mobile app. Learn more about how I categorize tasks on Todoist later below.
- Evernote — This is where I take notes for everything. I’m a fan of Evernote, and I particularly love the search functionality, the Web Clipper extension, and the overall design.
- Google Calendar — Everyone should already be using this. Make sure to sync your calendar on your laptop and on your phone
- Dropbox and Google Drive — to let you access your files from anywhere. Everyone should already be using these too.
Part 3: General Productivity Hacks
- Raise Your Trackpad Sensitivity to the Highest/Fastest — This one I learned through noah kagan, and it’s one of the hacks I recommend the most. If you use your computer all day to work, making your mouse move faster will definitely make you work faster. Just go to your computer’s settings to raise the sensitivity to the highest. I’d say this would make you work 2x faster, and anyone can get used to it. You just need a few days.
- Learn to Type Faster — After your trackpad, the next most important thing to optimize is your typing speed, for typing out emails or papers. I used a typing tutorial app such as this to learn to type faster (I now type in the 90–100 WPMs, from being a 40WPM typer before!) You can test and improve your typing speed on 10FastFingers.
- Journal Every Morning and Night — This doesn’t help me be efficient, but it helps me be more effective. Currently I use a version of the journaling practice of Tim Ferriss, which you can find in his newest book Tools of Titans. What I do is I list things I’m grateful for and things I want to get done in the morning, then I list things I achieved and things I could have improved on that day at night.
- Meditate every morning (or when you are feeling overwhelmed) — This is another practice I do to make myself relax better and have a clearer head. According to Tim Ferriss, 80% of the successful people he’s interviewed have a mindfulness/meditation practice. So it’s definitely worth trying to integrate into your life. I recommend using the Headspace or Waking Up mobile apps to try out meditation!
- Use a Kanban/Getting Things Done productivity framework to manage your tasks on your to-do list — This one is a bit hard to implement, but it’s been very helpful to me. Basically, I create 4 projects/categories on my Todoist where I classify tasks, from “Today’s Tasks”, to “On Hold”, to “Tasks for the Week”, and to “Backlog of Tasks”. This helps me segment tasks and help me focus on what I need to do for today on “Today’s Tasks”, which helps lessen overwhelm.
- Loop songs to help yourself focus — This is something I do on my own that a lot of other high-performers do as well, like Matt Mullenweg, the creator of Wordpress. I have songs that I’ve looped a thousand times already. The Electronic Study Music playlist on Spotify is something I’ve used before to help me focus.
- Eat healthy food, and eat the right number of calories per day — This will help you be more energized throughout the day. For instance, consuming too much sugar can make you feel sleepier or less energized after a few hours. Make sure you’re not eating too little or too many calories too. You can find out the right number of calories to eat at this site, then you can use MyFitnessPal to make sure you’re hitting your calorie goals (whether it’s to lose, maintain, or gain weight!).
- Optimize your sleep — Some tips include sleeping with the right cold temperature, only staying on your bed when it’s time to sleep, and using a nice, thick blanket. These can help you improve your quality of sleep, so you feel more well-rested for the next day. A hack I do too is I set an alarm 7 hours and 45 minutes from the time I sleep, so I can get five sleep cycles, and have 15 minutes to fall asleep. This works wonders for me.
- Listen to podcasts or audiobooks while eating, walking, or commuting — This lets you be productive even during idle time. My favorite podcast is the Tim Ferriss Show, and I also love Masters of Scale.
- Work out at least 2–3x a week — preferably by doing strength training. Strength training has a lot of health benefits, and it improves your immune system and fitness. I’ve been working out 2–3x a week since last year, and it’s helped me have more energy and be less tired a lot (aside from looking a bit buffer!).
So that’s it! Those are all my productivity hacks that I’ve read about and use myself. What I want to push is that you should always be looking at how to optimize yourself and your productivity. If you want to do more work, achieve more things, help more people, and add value to the world, then you might as well optimize how you work and how to keep yourself healthy.
Just make sure you always stay happy and grateful in the process, and don’t overdo it. There are times in life where you’ll also need to take a break, and taking breaks can be a productivity hack too.
Anyway, I hope you guys liked this list! You should try out the extensions, apps, and hacks above. I promise you, you won’t regret trying them.
If you liked this article, click that clap button or leave a comment below! Feel free to comment any productivity tools or hacks you use that I missed out. :)
Brian Tan is a 21-year-old UI/UX Designer and Writer from Manila. You can view his portfolio at briantan.xyz and other articles he’s written at blog.briantan.xyz. Follow him on Medium to read future articles of his.