The Simplest, Tech-y Way to Kick Yourself in the Butt

I started doing this over the course of this week, and it makes a crazy difference for me.

  • Step 1: Sign up for an account at IFTTT.
  • Step 2: Add your cell number to your account.
  • Step 3: Click “Create Recipe”.
  • Step 4: Click “This”.
  • Step 5: Click “Date & Time”.
  • Step 6: Choose a time interval. I chose weekdays and set up several recipes at different times.
  • Step 7: Click “That”.
  • Step 8: Click “SMS”.
  • Step 9: Choose to send you an SMS.
  • Step 10: Create your reminder message.
  • Step 11: Finish it up (you can label the recipe if you want).

Thanks to IFTTT, at various points in the day, I get these texts:

9:00am: “Are you focused, or are you wasting time? Get the day started right!”
1:30pm: “Don’t let the afternoon slip away – get back on the horse and get to work!”
3:30pm: “End the day strong – get one more thing done today!”

As a result, I’ve been more productive than usual this way.

Why It Works

It’s not an app that threatens me. It’s just a self-given reminder, akin to posting a sticky note or a sign next to my monitor. And just seeing that text come up instills in me just enough guilt that forces my brain to think about the big picture, which is exactly what I need.

It motivates me to get just one thing done. At worst, I’ll be motivated to get 3 things done in a day. That’s more than nothing.

Also, those times are not random. I know the weaknesses in my day. 9am is the middle of my morning, and if I’m not really into work by then, I lose the morning. 1:30pm is right after I get back from lunch, when I’m most susceptible to blog-surf instead of work. And 3:30pm is an hour and a half before I finish my work day, so I am trying to at least get one thing done in that span of time so the afternoon isn’t a total bust.

It’s easy, customizable, and can be tailored to exactly what you need. What’s your favorite productivity tip?

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