Tools You Can Use: Habits, AudioBooks, Checklists


One of the unexpected, but productive side topics that consistently emerge in my classes is the use of tools, apps, and technology to improve productivity.

The topic usually emerges innocently enough, with a participant asking if there is a way to do X or Y. In turn, I mention an app or article I heard of and the conversation goes from there.

This post and future posts like it are an extension of those conversations. I hope to share tools, apps, websites, and ideas that will give you an edge at work and at home. Once a month I’ll bring a handful of these to this blog, varying in length complexity.

So let’s get right to it.

Habit List

It can take 2-8 months to form a habit that sticks. I use this app to set goals or tasks that relate to a habit I’d like to adopt.

For example, in January I decided to reduce my sugar intake. Over the holidays I went a little crazy, and sweets became the norm rather than the exception. So I set up a habit in Habit List, where I’d refrain from desserts or sugary drinks every day for the month of January.

I did it, and now that I’ve made it into February I’ve reset the habit to refrain from desserts or sugary drinks six days a week. Hey, you have to have cake now and then right?

In the past, I’ve set up habits in all kinds of areas, including personal finance, reading, writing, and even some routine chores. This app works because every day you log your progress, and the app automatically calculates statistics and streaks based on how you do. As they old saying goes, that which gets measured gets done!

Learn more about Habit List here.


I recently found an article that said that in the time we spend on social media, we could read 200 books a year. That’s mind-boggling, especially considering the incredible benefits of reading MORE.

So in my neverending quest to read as much as possible, I use Audible to listen to books on my commute, or whenever I have a bit of time on my hands. Filling in idle moments with a good book in a medium that is portable and doesn’t necessarily require busting out a paperback or a tablet is a GREAT thing.

Learn more about Audible here.


Have you read The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Done Right? If not, perhaps add it to your wishlist on Audible, or better yet, add it to a “books to read” list you create in WunderList.

I love WunderList because it has a nice clean design, syncs across multiple formats, and is very easy to use on the go. You can make lists for all kinds of things, including checklists, which according to The Checklist Manifesto, are the key to mastering tasks in an age of ever-increasing complexity.

Give this app a try and stop using brain space with routine tasks and the mental clutter that makes it hard to focus.

If you want to go meta on this, download WunderList, Habit List and Audible, then set up a habit to read 30 minutes a day. Use Wunderlist to create a prioritized task list so you can make time to read. Then, download the Checklist Manifesto on Audible.

Learn more about WunderList here.

Have an idea for an app, tool, or website for a future article? Let me know and I’ll look into it!



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