It’s old hat by now, right? Constantly drilling down and down until you are at your most productive. Going further, continuously casting away, until you are a lean mean productivity machine.
A tad dramatic, yea – but that’s how I picture it.
Some days I’m zoned completely in and cranking out work like a machine. Other days, I have the attention span of a fly, zooming off to the nearest social channel or blog to kill some time.
Either way, in my good and bad days, these following apps help not only save me time, but they keep me organized; something that tends to be massively hard for me.
Here they are.
Mailbox is an app for email, more specifically Gmail. In case you missed the boat on this one, the app blew up early last year because of its ease of use and its core mission to keep you hovering at inbox zero.
The claims are true. They make it easy to keep, not only my main inboxes, but my multitude of other Gmail accounts empty. With the swipe of a message to the left or right, you can easily delete, archive, or even set the message to redeliver to you at another date.
In full transparency here, I do a LOT of stuff old school these days, meaning paper and pen. Post-It Notes to-do lists. Notecards to keep track of my ideas and thoughts. I still read physical books.
BUT – there are times that I feel like playing around a bit and trying something new and when that happens, I usually stumble upon something like Carrot.
Carrot is a to-do list app that snarkingly pushes you along and rewards you with points as you complete new items. Haven’t checked in for awhile? Carrot will remind you by calling you a “Dirtbag” or an “A-hole” or something.
Either way, it’s fun and when I’m not going old school, it keeps me engaged.
Ever heard of the Jerry Seinfeld Method of staying the course? He advises to grab a giant wall calendar and every day you complete a certain task, say writing or eating well or running; you mark a BIG RED X on the day you completed the task.
The idea is to do a little bit every day. To make short steps towards mastery by not breaking the chain of Xs.
This is what Streaks does, but on your phone instead of a giant wall calendar.
I use it to get in the writing groove, mostly. Currently, I’m using it to get back in the habit of eating well. Each day I hit my caloric or macro-nutrient goals, I mark an X.
I’m a podcast junkie. Stitcher helps me get my fix by making it easy to listen to podcasts on the go, whether I have an internet connection or not. No more needing to remember to download the latest episode – Stitcher does that for me.
Stitcher also makes it easy to generate playlists and favorites so you can keep up on your top shows without having to dig for them time and again.
Noise. That’s what the blogosphere is now. Mostly noise. In fact, by writing this article, I’m contributing to that noise, yea?
So, say you stumble upon this article and you want to see which apps I fancy, but you do not have the time or attention span to read it now.
That’s where Pocket comes in…with the click of a button, you save the article for later. Pocket doesn’t stop there either. If you like to share your articles once you’re finished, Pocket makes it easy to share straight from the app.
When you have multiple projects running side-by-side, it gets really easy to lose track and get off course. For me, that is where the Hours app comes to play. I should say that it does cost $3.99 or so (there are free ones like ATracker), but I thought the money was worth it because I love the user interface and some of the data tracking capabilities.
No one has ever said for sure or not, but I’d say I have some ADHD tendencies. I’ll get working on something and SQUIRREL…something will pop into my head and I’m off to the races over there now. Focus At Will helps keep me dialed in with trancy-ish background music. I was originally turned on to this by Phone Surgeons® CEO/Founder Chris Jourdan long before I ever even started working for the company. Been using it every since. Give it a shot. You can use it for FREE for limited hours per day.
Like I said, I still do a lot old-school. But, overall, Trello is my master. Without Trello I would be completely lost. Trello is a digital version of those super fun sticky-note project boards that you’ve probably made before.
In Trello, you make different boards, boards are filled with lists, and lists are filled with cards. I organize my boards and lists based on my workflow going from original idea (spark file list), clear through completion. Trello is free and has both a desktop and mobile app.
There you have it. My top apps that help me stay productive. Have any favorites you’d like to share?