In the course of your work it may sometimes feel like the tail is wagging the dog. Your tools may be putting you through your paces rather than the other way around. Technology is only valuable when we apply it to real world challenges and tasks, so anything that doesn’t support that goal is inefficient. It’s unsustainable and can keep you from being your best.

We all have 24 hours in a day, and it’s up to us to take charge –design your time rather than just manage it. This was the gist of a great piece from Fast Company last month, which elaborates on a strategy for designing an efficient workweek. The idea is to take a wide view of the tasks with which we’re presented, and to divide them into quadrants. Being able to see work grouped in this way helps us to make sure that essential things are addressed, but also to build in tasks that are energizing or personally important to us. These last often get lost in the shuffle when we just swing at tasks as they come.

Doing things we love is great, but there are always necessary tasks that demand a share of our time. What’s going to change our industry will be the way not only companies - but individuals - find and master the tools that will make them more efficient and eliminate the minutiae.

Trimming even a small slice of time off of those tasks leaves room for more focus on higher impact and more enjoyable activities. And that can go a long way toward avoiding burnout and feeling satisfied. There is a wealth of apps out there that can do this for you, and help you design a week that’s productive and satisfying.

Last Pass

Is there any bigger time-waster than trying to resurrect a forgotten password? Different accounts have different requirements: you might get a verification code by text, have to answer security questions that you don’t remember setting up –the list goes on and they’re busy at work thinking up agonizing new procedures.

Lastpass locks up all of your passwords behind on Master password. So you can remember one. It’s free for a single device, and will sync on multiple devices for just $1 per month. A worthy investment in serenity.

Boomerang for Gmail

Managing- er- designing your email account can be another black hole. Boomerang is a gmail extension that simplifies and streamlines the task. You can set up reminders, keep track of time zones for your contacts, and prompt you to follow up on unanswered messages. Emails can be scheduled to be sent at a time of your choosing, and all of these functions are also mobile-friendly. It also supports Office 365.


This great, free tool is built to facilitate collaboration and teamwork.  It can be used on any device, and provides secure video calling, screen sharing, and more. It integrates with a lot of other tools, including Google Hangouts, GitHub, Zendesk, and nearly 200 others.

When I Work

This is a low-cost, smooth-functioning scheduling app that speeds up this routine task. It has features built in to ensure that scheduling is accurate and practical.

Its advantages include 24/7 availability, live updates, and mobile accessibility. It’s web-based, so there’s no installation or upkeep. It’s incredibly easy to see who’s available or qualified to fill in when someone has to be out. It automatically checks for conflicts and helps manage vacation time and other considerations.


This fantastic business tool allows you to manage tasks and projects from anywhere. With apps and extensions for 10+ platforms, your tasks are always there: on mobile devices, web browsers, inboxes, and more. And, the distraction-free design means less time “figuring it out” and more time to focus on projects and tasks that really matter.

Each of these tools is simple to use and offers hassle-free implementation. They don’t require an act of Congress: just create an account or download an app, and you’re on your way to making time for the work that gets you up in the morning.