Just like with social media, this is most likely your experience exploring the world of productivity apps available for download. From remembering due dates to your to-dos, there’s an abundance of project management resources for the productivity lover (or aspirer) out there to try. Storage apps like Google Drive and Dropbox are useful, but when it comes to your to-do list, you need productivity apps.
Getting overwhelmed can be quite easy for anyone, let alone someone who’s new to the scene. But the payoff of discovering a new productivity app that works can be well worth it.
So, I wanted to share my love for productivity apps with some suggestions that I use across my day and cover on my YouTube channel.
Productivity Apps For The Morning
Starting the day normally consists of reviewing my to-do list after a spot of meditation.
Trello and Todoist are my go-to personal task management and project management apps. These project management software packages offer a free app and have a free version. Of course, there are also paid plans for added features and benefits.
These apps make my productivity so much better. A quick 5-10 minute overview at the start of the day allows me to manage the most important tasks I need to tackle.
Key features that I enjoy inside of Todoist and Trello are their offline functionality, which allows me to work without connection anytime—a saving grace living in rural England.
Trello’s built-in visual approach (that reminds me of social media) makes it perfect for checking in on mobile while out and about!
Other features, like Todoist’s smart schedule (which is AI-powered) and Trello Card Snooze, help organize any overdue tasks that I want to complete in the week but need to find the time for.
Conquering morning emails is important to my daily routine.
Newton* comes to the rescue here. It’s a great option because Newton aggregates all of my email clients in one place, which helps my productivity with all the remote work roles I’m holding at the moment. The range of features allows me to send emails with email tracking abilities, which is perfect for checking whether the email has been read by the recipient.
Another bonus is being able to clip any work related tasks or notes to Trello using the plugin.
Productivity Resources To Power Through The Day
As I start work, my productivity is pretty high. One way I manage this is by making sure I know the time zone for all of the people I’m working with. It helps me organize the projects I’m collaborating on in the right order.
I use an app called Timezone.io to keep an eye on the time. Working with teams in India, the US, and Germany forces me to keep an eye on workday schedules around the world.
After a quick check of Timezone, I’ll jump into my day-to-day work. There are a host of resources I use throughout the day for various situations that I’d recommend to any like-minded productivity fan:
Despite being a huge Google Calendar user, I also use another Slack bot that helps me to keep an eye on my daily meetings. The productivity software, Cisco Spark Meeting Notes, plugin on Slack allows you to get a direct message every morning with a layout of your day’s meetings, pulling in data from your calendar.
You can even include your team members. It’s very easy to setup and it works great for getting the day ready and preparing agendas to keep your meetings productive.
For Staying Focused
When things get really hectic, it can feel like all the days in a week merge into one where nothing specific gets accomplished. Age-old methods like the Pomodoro technique, in which you set a timer and work within a 25-minute intense session and a 5-minute break, are proven to help stay focused.
But why not refine this project management practice? Resources like FocusList allow you to set these timers along with tasks to complete. This simple to-do list and timer mash-up provides a great way to keep focused on both the task and the big picture. Another more interactive focus resource is Forest, which is great for students thanks to its playful nature.
For Tracking Habits
- Being able to keep track of all the habits you have in your routine is important. Whether you’ve just started running or you’ve just stopped smoking, tracking all of these touch points will help you be consistent and spot weak areas. Strides is one that I find very helpful for keeping an eye on all of the habits or targets I need to achieve.
For Logging Hours
Auditing hours in the day, especially when it comes to client work, is something I’ve been doing for over a year now with a lot of success. Being able to see what I’ve worked on (and for who) helps to establish the value of my time.
Hours is a great time tracking resource (with iOS and web apps) to easily capture the hours you spend on each project. Reports allow you to audit how often you spend on items and with what client. Hours is perfect for contractors or freelancers, but it’s really for anyone looking to audit their work time. I’ve known a few others to use Toggl, though I can’t personally vouch for it. However, it is one of the mobile apps that is easy-to-use and lets you log in hours.
For Organizing Documents
Scanning in documents can be a pain, often leading to a massive pile of paper documents taking up space in your office or workspace. Scanbot is something I found very valuable for scanning in documents to my Evernote and other services. One simple scan and it’ll capture the document and have it ready to convert to PDF or ping into a notebook on Evernote or Google Drive. I also use a note-taking app for when I need to write something simple on the go.
Winding Down In A Productive Way
As we all know, zoning out on social media won’t help your productivity. There are other apps that I use to take a break, have some quiet time, and keep up on important news during my downtime and commutes:
For Commuting Home
Whether it’s lunchtime or time to head home, grabbing a few minutes to learn new things is something I thoroughly enjoy. Sometimes, we have to push aside all the due dates and productivity for some educational downtime.
Using podcasting mobile apps, like Overcast, helps me to keep updated with all the latest startup and wellness podcasts. The app will actually speed up the podcast, shaving up to 5 minutes off the average 30-minute podcast. Another resource that has been extremely useful for fast learning is Blinkist*. The app summarizes popular nonfiction books and reads them to you in 15 minutes or less. Impressive, right?
For Zenning Out
Making sure you get a moment to yourself on a daily basis, whether in the morning or evening is important for decreasing your chances of burning out on the job.
An app like Mindfulness will provide you with seamless meditation on-the-go, and a statistics feature will keep track of your progress. Across the app universe, there are plenty of guided and non-guided meditation resources to help you get started.
Noisli is another way to keep relaxed at work, playing “productive” tones from environments like a coffee shop or forest, allowing you to have some distraction-free, lyric-free music or background noise to help you get things done.
Find Your Purpose With The Help Of Productivity Apps
I love to use all of these productivity apps and resources throughout my day. Your lineup might be different, but the most important thing is to regularly review how you’re using them in your daily routine to make sure they are still helping you reach your goals.
In my case, these productivity apps help me productively manage my life as a student, aspiring YouTuber, and remote worker for a few awesome startups.
Do you use other productivity tools? What does your productivity app lineup look like? Let us know by reaching out on Twitter @trello.
*The author is professionally affiliated with the apps Newton and Blinkist.