August 17

Your Best Focus Tools

You guys are brilliant! Monday I asked some of you what your best tools were for staying focused, and more than 100 people chimed in.

Here are three top categories of focus tools you’re using. I’ll be covering more in upcoming NerdWords.¬†ADD YOURS BELOW! Let’s keep the conversation going.

Music Tools

Many folks mentioned they use music to block out the world. I’m a big fan of Noisli for ambiance background noise, but I was surprised to see how many people find a tool called focus@will so helpful that they’re willing to pay $10 a month to use it.

Focus@will claims to be “scientifically engineered music proven to increase focus and reduce distractions.” Liz says, “It is music that helps me settle in and work on big projects. Sometimes I find everything distracting me. This music seems to hide the distractions so I can focus.” And Ann adds, “I stay on task, don’t get distracted, and it’s a whole lot easier to get ‘in the zone.'”

Task Tools

You guys love your to-do apps! These were mentioned the most:

  • Todoist
    This is one of our favorites at Nerd HQ. Crissy says, “I am just beginning to use it, but for the competitive in me, it has ‘karma’ levels that you can attain by completing tasks and also keeps a chart to show how many days in a row you have completed your target number of tasks. I can also share projects with my boss so he can see where I am on tasks.”
  • Wunderlist
    People ADORE Wunderlist. I was worried Microsoft was going to absorb it into their new app, Microsoft ToDo, but it seems to be surviving. Sarah says, “It helps me to track my to do list and sends me reminders. I can use on my computer and phone, and it syncs. It’s also free!”
  • Todobook
    Facebook addict? Sue says this might help. “I work in Facebook all day and it hides my personal feed and notifications. No more getting distracted and going down rabbit holes!”
  • TaskCracker
    If you live in Outlook like many of us, this works within your Outlook tasks. Shane explains, “It takes my Outlook task list and breaks it down so I can see my tasks day-by-day and it shows higher priority tasks versus lower priority tasks. I’ve used it for years and would be lost without it. My only complaint is they have not come with an app. It is strictly computer based.”

Project Management Tools

Project management tools are great for both tasks with teams and your own to-dos. These are the favorites you guys mentioned.

  • Trello
    Another Nerd HQ favorite. Lorrie says, “The ability to set up multiple boards and assign users to specific boards helps me tremendously with agendas. I keep up with at least 5 agendas at any given time. Trello allows me to add agenda items from my desktop or phone. It also allows my staff to add feedback on the appropriate board. We all love it. It is a great free tool for small associations.”
  • KanbanFlow
    Kind of a nerd’s project management tool. That’s why we love it.
  • Asana
    Asana is brilliant for bringing your teams together and has a robust free version.
  • Redbooth
    I used an earlier version of this for a long time. Robin says, “I LIKE it, not love it. It takes a lot of work to keep repetitive tasks updated, and most of our tasks are repetitive.”
  • Smartsheet
    Project management for the people who adore spreadsheets. “I can track projects, people, schedules, etc. I love that it is web-based and I can work with consultants and vendors and attach files and images,” Mikaela says.


business essentials, collaboration, communication, email, ergonomics, organization, productivity

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