Favorite Productivity Tools

Favorite Productivity Tools

If you look up Favorite Productivity Tools online these days, you’ll find thousands of lists of apps that boost your performance and productivity. 


What is a paper-loving person to do?

Come up with their own dang system, that’s what!

(I do use some helpful apps…I’ll share those at the end!)

The best way to be productive? Manage your time properly. 

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Seriously, though it’s a must!  That’s how to get things done!

You need to start by breaking down your time into weeks, days, hours & minutes!

And what’s the best tool for that?

My Everyday Life Week 13 of 2021- a photography series by Tracy Benjamin of Shutterbean.com

A timer!

Timing myself makes me so productive. If there’s a deadline/cutoff time, I am MOTIVATED. 

We have two timer cubes in our house. The pink one is for my desk and the white one lives in our family room. You just flip it to the timer you want to start and it tracks the time for you. I end up setting a lot of timers and have things going off on my phone a lot, so this makes time-keeping way more intentional. Way less distracting too! 

My Everyday Life Week 9 of 2021- a photography series by Tracy Benjamin of Shutterbean.com

I also use my watch (Fitbit Versa) to set quick timers when I’m not near my timer cube or any timer that is under 15 minutes. 

My Everyday Life Week 20 of 2021- a photography series by Tracy Benjamin of Shutterbean.com

Intentions for the Week Printable

One of my best productivity tools is wrapped up in an accountability practice. Every Sunday, I pull out a new Intentions for the Week template and fill it in and clip it on my clipboard.

I also type up my Intentions for the Week on this blog as a way to check in with myself and hold myself accountable. 

Writing things down and sharing them (while practicing my handwriting) has proven to help boost my productivity.  


My Everyday Life Week 17 of 2021- a photography series by Tracy Benjamin of Shutterbean.com


When I’m filling out my Intentions for the Week printable, I am also doing some meal planning and I do a sweep of the kitchen to see what I’m out of. I’ve been using these ALL OUT OF sheets for YEARS. It lives on my fridge and my boys will help remind me of what we need by filling stuff in too.  

A small notebook for Daily TO-DO Lists

In the past year or two, I’ve abandoned my bullet journal system and have written down my daily TO DO lists in my small Moleskine notebook. I chose pink because I can see it from across the room or buried at the bottom of my bag

My Everyday Life Week 11 of 2021- a photography series by Tracy Benjamin of Shutterbean.com

When I wake up in the morning and sit at the kitchen table with my coffee, I start the day with a TO DO list. I highlight whatever I’ve done in color so whatever is leftover and needs to be done the following day can be transferred onto the next day. It’s kind of like a bullet journal but simple and way more portable.

I like that it’s not TOO big because it helps make my lists manageable. 

My Everyday Life Week 19 of 2021- a photography series by Tracy Benjamin of Shutterbean.com


I love Post-Its. Who doesn’t?  I am a person who needs visual cues to keep me on track/motivated so I recently bought this stamp from Etsy and started making calendar post-its! 

The calendar tracker post-it follows me day to day in my small notebook.


Working in my Currently Workbook is one of my favorite ways to keep track of time. If you’ve been here for some time, you’re no stranger to my art practice. Since I share my workbook page spread on my website every month, I am able to make good use of my reflection time. 


List Making!

I started making lists of essential things I need to pack. You have seen some of my lists in my Carry-On Bag Essentials, and my  Day Pack Travel Gear posts. I have a whole binder filled with lists (with protective covers!) so I can easily be productive with packing. 

I also broke down what I need to do on a Sunday to have a smooth sailing week. 

Favorite Productivity Tools

Here are all of my binders! Most of them are from Staples. They definitely take a beating!

I carry them around in a vintage grocery shopping basket. 


When I want a list to carry around with me, my GO-TO is an index card.  The 5×8 index cards are my favorite for some reason.

I keep them in the car to write out last-minute grocery lists. 

You know what’s cute? I see my husband and son making lists on index cards now too.

The Food Journal- by Tracy Benjamin of Shutterbean.com & The Handwriting Club

Food Journal

Productivity increases when I am checking in with myself/my to do lists and taking good care of myself. That’s what I try to take moments out of my day to write down what I eat in my food journal.   Better fuel means better performance.  I can’t be a highly productive person if I’m not taking my health seriously.

Keep Going image 2


Words of encouragement help me stay productive. I’ll be spacing out at my desk and look over and be reminded to get back to work!  You can find this Keep Going print in my Etsy shop. If you need a reminder to Just Start, I have you covered too! 

I’m sure you’re wondering about what apps I use on my phone…

Favorite Productivity Phone Apps:

Trello – I use it to break down projects/share boards

Snapseed– One of my favorite photo editing tools. I can get a lot of editing done on my phone that would take me much longer on my computer. 

Google Calendar How we manage our family/school/baseball calendars. It’s simple 

Feedly- How I easily read blogs through RSS Feed

Well, that’s what I have for my current Favorite Productivity Tools!

I hope this inspires you to come up with your own productivity system if you haven’t already.  Don’t forget to keep an eye on the time! 

  • Shauna

    I’m feeling so meta reading your blog in feedly! It’s the best. I really hope RSS feeds don’t go away.

  • Kristen Lohse

    Inspired by you!!

  • Erica

    Thank you Tracy! This is so helpful!

    Do you have a list of things you try to do each day or only Sundays? Do you have a home maintenance/cleaning schedule you follow? (I’m working to follow a daily rhythm that repeats each week but it’s not working because unexpected things/life gets in the way).

    Also, any tips on making time for self care and handwriting/creative practice?

    Thank you!!!

  • Hilary

    This is so good. I took some time today and cleared out a caddy( of mostly useless stuff) and filled a caddy with markers, pens, stickers, washi tape that I always use.

  • Sina

    Oh this is great! As another paper-loving person I feel so seen.

    The timer cube is brilliant. I might have to get two of those.

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  • Kelly

    This is so helpful, thank you! Question – how do you “marry” the Intentions for the week list and the small to do list notebook? I’ve tried your Intentions sheet a few times and it works well for me, except I ended up using it more like a to do list and it would get messy/cluttered by week end. I was encouraged to see you actually have a to do list as well, but was wondering how you don’t forget about the intentions sheet each day? Thanks!

  • Vivian

    Thanks for sharing! My favourite productivity tool is kanbantool.com . I use it to manage my tasks, it works very well.

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  • Maria

    This is exactly what I needed today! Thank you Tracey

  • yvette

    My god woman. You are amazing. This post is everything. I wish you lived next door to yell at me to get shit done on Sunday nights.

  • Veronica

    What blogs do you follow?

  • Jess

    I love this post so much ❤️ I feel like I’m constantly refining/optimizing my productivity routines, so love to hear what works for others. Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your world!

  • Courtney

    I’ve been trying to be more productive too! I have many binders now of recipes, budgeting, housecleaning routines etc. I recently found the pocketmod website, it’s a customizable printable mini notebook for free. It’s amazing cause you can make a new one every day. I also have been using index cards. pocketmod.com

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