There’s a whole industry built around our desire to be more productive--tools and resources to help us manage our time, energy, commitments, etc. We can spend a lot of money buying tools and taking courses, many of which are excellent and helpful. But there are free alternatives as well and I'll talk about those today.
There are many free (or low-cost) productivity tools to help you focus and make time for what's most important
I’ve been thinking a lot about what it would take to simplify my life, which includes thoughts about simplifying my budget. I spent some time thinking about and researching tools and resources we can use for free, which can help us to be more productive and focus on what really matters.
Managing our tasks
I love OmniFocus and have paid for it for years. There are other good paid apps too, such as Todoist and Nozbe. But after doing some research I discovered some alternatives to these apps that are free.
Paper and pen, of course. Literally a notepad and pen, or paper planners (not totally free, of course, but can be quite inexpensive).
There are free versions of Todoist and other paid apps (which may have limited features).
Google products, such Google Docs, which is a simple list in a word processor document (you could do the same in a Word document if you already have MS Office.) There is also Google Keep (this link explains How to use it), which lets you create notes, reminders, and more and is available on Android, computers, iPhone, and iPad.
Apple products--apps that come preinstalled on your Apple devices, such as Notes and Reminder.
Notion--a very versatile new-ish (or new to me) software that can become a hub for your life--to-do lists, notes, planning, etc. This app is free for individual use and there are apps for Windows, Mac, mobile devices, which will all sync.
There are free versions of shared tools like Asana and Trello, which use a very visual approach to task and project management.
Managing our commitments
To keep track of where we need to be and at what time, we need a calendar of some type, whether paper or electronic. If it is an electronic calendar, preferably it will come with alerts and reminders. I use Fantastical, which I love, to sync all my various calendars (personal, TPW calendar, calendars I share with Mike). Fantastical is a paid calendar and although for me it's worth the cost, there are also free alternatives.
Paper calendar -- wall or desk/paper planner (not totally free unless you receive one as a freebie from a business)
If you have/use Apple devices, iCal
Learning new productivity skills
There are lots of sources of paid trainings, sponsored by various apps and productivity experts. I receive,