The Five Key Items in Your Productivity Toolbox

By Ali Luke

September 25, 2009   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

When you want to get something done around the house, you might use a number of different tools – hammer, nails, superglue, detailed instructions, etc. It depends on the job, right? Choosing the wrong tool means you’ll end up wasting time, grabbing the right one means you’ll finish sooner and be able to move on to other tasks.

When it comes to getting things done during your workday, you need to choose the right tool too. So what are the key items in your productivity toolkit – and how can you use them?

    • Tool #1: Superglue
      One of the fastest ways to improve your productivity is to superglue your butt to your chair. I’m a writer, and I know how very easy it is to do the dishes, clean the bathroom, get a snack, wander around…anything but sit down and write!

      If you’re struggling to make progress on a task, if you keep getting distracted: sit down at your desk and imagine you’re “superglued” in your chair for the next 30 minutes. Get on with that task you’ve been putting off – no excuses!


    • Tool #2: Hammer
      Have you ever tried to establish a new habit? Perhaps you want to wake up earlier, batch-process your emails, take some exercise at lunchtime, or find the time for professional development. Whatever the habit you’re trying to develop, you need your hammer.

      The hammer is all about repetition – each time you succeed in acting according to your new habit, you’re knocking it in like a nail, making sure that it sticks! Keep swinging!


    • Tool #3: Blueprints
      If you’ve ever put together a flat-packed piece of furniture, you’ll know how useful good instructions can be (or how useless poor ones are!) Having a blueprint is vital in any major construction task – imagine trying to build a house without one!

      When it comes to a big project in your life, you need blueprints. Your blueprint might be a business plan, or a detailed vision of how you want your life to look in five years’ time. It could be a map that someone else has drawn up for you: perhaps you’ll be following the advice in a how-to book or guide.


    • Tool #4: Screwdriver
      When you’re building something to last, you don’t cobble it together with glue and tape – you take your time to make sure every nut and bolt is firmly in place. Your screwdriver is a crucial tool in your productivity toolbox: it lets you create things that are made to last.

      Using your screwdriver well means being willing to take your time. It means paying attention to detail, and getting things right now so that you won’t have all your plans and projects collapsing around you as soon as they have to bear the weight of real life! Using a screwdriver requires patience: painstakingly getting every screw, nut and bolt into place isn’t going to be the most exciting bit of a project – but if you rush onto the more interesting parts, you’ll be setting yourself up for failure.


  • Tool #5: Scotch-tape
    The final tool you’ll need is a roll of productivity scotch tape. This is for those situations that are urgent but unimportant. It’s for times when you just need a quick fix to an annoying problem – when you don’t want to waste time on implementing a perfect solution.

    Scotch tape can also hold things together in a pinch: you might know that more work’s needed, but you’re implementing a quick-fix to make sure the problem doesn’t get worse. Just make sure you go back and use your screwdriver at some stage!

What tools do you have in your productivity toolbox? Are any of the above ones your favorites – or do you have some suggestions of your own to add?

Written on 9/25/2009 by Ali Hale. Ali is a professional writer and blogger, and a part-time postgraduate student of creative writing. If you need a hand with any sort of written project, drop her a line ([email protected]) or check out her website at Aliventures. Photo Credit: Matt Reinbold
Ali Luke

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