I’m currently working on my bachelor thesis and – unfortunately – I’m very good at procrastinating. So to overcome this disease I use a bunch of tools and I want to describe some of them here:
This tool does not increase your productivity in the first place, but it helps to measure the time you spend working. It is a two part application, one part is a little tool that, once installed, sits in your tray and monitors your open windows. The counterpart is the rescuetime.com website where the window data is collected, aggregated and can be filtered in various ways.
It is possible to automatically tag specific applications (say Visual Studio and the tag development for example) or to set goals (spending x hours in program y per day). It is always nice to evaluate past workdays to see if you have been as productive as you wanted to be.
THE most effective tool against procrastinating on sites like facebook, spiegel online, slashdot, etc. and even against constant email checking. Often when you are working on a particular boring task you surf to various sites simply to kill time, without thinking. That is the point where LeechBlock comes into play. It is a Firefox addon that – in general – allows to you to block specific sites from browsing. But the real important feature is to limit the time you are allowed to spend on specific sites. For example I allow myself about 15 minutes of facebook or other social networks for each 12h.
- Microsoft Office OneNote
In my opinion the best note-taking application on the PC. The search capabilities, the numerous ways of input, seamless office integration… whenever I’m writing or developing something I start with a braindump in OneNote to order my thoughts and to plan my actions. Very valuable.