Tools and resources for smart work

Over the past 6 months I’ve been making a concerted effort to maximise my productivity.  

Working smarter, rather than harder, as cliched as it sounds.  

Along the way I’ve found some useful resources to help me focus, eliminate distractions, and get more quality work done in less time.

This post on How to configure your iPhone to work for you, not against you is the single most useful piece of information I have found on making your smartphone into a tool for productivity rather than distraction.  I must have read it at least 10 times over.  Thanks to Tim Ferriss for pointing it out. provides background music, but not just any music.  The US National Science Foundation awarded a $225,000 grant to demonstrate that the algorithmically produced music their app makes is effective for treating inattention and brain wandering. I put on headphones with this on and do work in 30-60 minute chunks. It is amazing how well it works.

Evernote is my most used tool.  I use it for all kinds of lists and it has facilitated me getting into the habit of interstitial journalling each day.  It’s been a worthwhile upgrade from the built-in Notes app in MacOS, for me at least.

Waking Up, by Sam Harris.  Although it’s not specifically a productivity tool, this is the app that has finally allowed me to acquire the daily habit of meditation.  

There are a lot of meditation apps out there and I’ve used most of them, but this is the one that has worked for me.  Sam is a great teacher, so if you have not only an interest in taking up meditation but also learning about why it’s a good thing to incorporate into your life, then I highly recommend it.