Wednesday, February 18, 2015

TOp Apps To Keep Your Life Organized And Increase Productivity

FEBRUARY 18, 2015

I get asked often which apps I use to stay productive. Today, I thought I would share my current productivity toolkit. It changes from time-to-time as I am always testing new tools. And of course, sharing them with you! 
  There are several things that make a productivity app attractive in my eyes:

·        Platform-less 

The app should be accessible no matter what device I am using. (Granted, I am referring to multiple devices here, not necessarily multiple OSs.)

·        Sync/Backup 

Data should be in sync and backed up at all times.

·       Simple 

Simplicity in experience and design goes a long when it comes to productivity. Bloated feature sets only serve to slow you down when you are trying to get work done. Apps should save time, not take time.



Here is my current list of productivity apps:
Todo List: Things
Things by Cultured Code has been my todo list for some time. It is a powerful mix of features and simplicity. It has many power-user options, but they stay out of your way until you need them. I can quickly capture todos on my iMac, via my iPad, and even via Siri on my iPhone.
Notes/Idea Capture: Drafts
I have gone almost entirely paperless when it comes to note taking. I still have a trusty Moleskine, but 99.9% of my notes are now taken on my iPad Mini via Drafts. I can then sync, save, and send them wherever I want… Evernote, Byword (see #8), and more.
Email: Sanebox
Before I even touch my email, I use Sanebox to filter and sort my email. Only the emails that I want to see, actually reach my inbox. (See my previous post on Sanebox here.)
Email Client: Mailbox
Mailbox for iOS is my email client of choice. It makes it quicker and simpler to process email than the standard iPhone email app. As well, it has powerful features to sort, file, and delay email for future use.
Social Media: Hootsuite
I keep up with my social accounts with Hootsuite. Often, I use social media instead of email, phone, and more to be more efficient with communication. (If you still think social media isn’t productive… see here.)
Personal Finance: YNAB
YNAB, or You Need a Budget, is how I track all of my personal finance transactions. I love the iPhone app that allows me to enter expenses in mere seconds. It even uses GPS to pre-populate payee fields. (Smart!)
Mindmapping: Mindmup
When I need to brainstorm an idea, I create a mindmap. Mindmup is my current mindmapping app of choice. It is web-based, saves to Google Drive, and best of all is FREE.
Writing: Byword
I do almost all of my creative writing in Byword. I haven’t found a writing app that matches the simplicity, and user experience of Byword. It presents a simple text editor that utilizes Markdown and has a minimal feature set.
Conference Calls: Speek
Speek has changed the way I conduct conference calls. I can launch calls instantly from the iPhone app. No dial-in numbers for participants. Speek turns the traditional conference call paradigm upside-down.
RSS Reader: Reeder
I minimize my time reading news by staying within my RSS reader. I use Reeder on my iPhone for 99% of my news. (Note: the iPad app has yet to be updated since the demise of Google Reader. I use the iPhone app with Feedly.)
Passwords: Lastpass
LastPass is my password manager. It provides a secure way to store and access my passwords no matter where I am or what device I am using. It even warns me if I am using duplicate passwords across accounts.
Project Management: Asana
I use Asana to manage projects with my Virtual Assistant. As well, I use it for collaboration with others. It is a simple and fast system to organize your projects and communicate progress with others.
As I mentioned, most of these apps sync across all my devices. I don’t want to have to think about where I saved a piece of information. It’s just there, no matter which device I am on.
These are my current productivity tools. (Make sure you choose your tools…)

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