The apps and tools you need to keep you productive
Here are the apps and tools that I use to keep myself productive and on-track each day. I’m a self-confessed Apple fanboy, so I can’t be sure which of these work on Android or Windows. However, I believe that most of these are cross-platform. I’ve referenced the devices on which I use the tool or app rather than the devices on which they are available.
For all of these apps, the notifications are turned off and so is the button, which counts the number of actions or unread message you have. Do yourselves a favour and do the same, so that you don't get constantly interrupted.
Todoist (Web, iPhone, iPad & Mac) – It's my task manager of choice and where I hold all of my work in progress covering all aspects of my life. I have my tasks grouped into projects with priorities and contexts, so I know what needs handling and in what situation, e.g., P1 = priority one task needs to be completed today, 5_mins – a quick task to complete. I have used many other task managers in the past including Things & Wunderlist but I like Todoist because of its clean user interface, ability to filter tasks and is cross platform, which enables me to add tasks from any device.
OneNote (iPhone, iPad & Mac) – Evernote used to be a note-taking app that I used every day and around 12 months ago, I shifted across to Onenote. I did this for a few reasons: 1) Onenote is free 2) I wasn’t a fan of how Evernote groups information together 3) Onenote works much better with the Apple Pencil.
Dropbox (iPhone, iPad & Mac) – All of my files, documents and videos are on Dropbox and I like the ability to easily share the documents with others and know that the security has everythingbacked-up.
Text Expander (Mac) – Text Expander enables me to take blocks of text or single words, which can be activated by typing a small abbreviation. For example:
xMob = my mobile number
xZoom = my Zoom video conference detail
xProof = email to my Virtual Assistant service to proofread a document
Airmail (iPhone & iPad) – Airmail is the email client I use and it quickly enables me to process email using the GTD method. It also enables me to send emails to Todoist for action at a later date.
Sanebox (Web) – I use Sanebox to help manage sort my email. It learns which email is a priority and which isn’t, so when I check my email I focus on what needs attention. It seems like an expensive option at the first glance but it saves me many hours every week. Sanebox also has a feature where you can drop emails into a ”Blackhole” and they are automatically deleted – a great way to manage spam.
Overcast (iPhone) – It is a great Podcast player, which not only organises the podcasts in a neat way but also enables you to cut any gaps in sound and speed up the podcast so that you can listen to it faster.
Audible (iPhone) – It is a great way to consume books while on the go. If you subscribe to a yearly plan of 12 books, it’s a cost effective way to consume content.
Acemoney (Mac) – I’ve struggled for many years to find an app that enables me to manage my personal finances online, so I’m still using AceMoney which is a thick client application installed on my Mac. It has no automatic bank synchronisation but I really like the way you can categorise and analyse spend. For me, it’s the best application for managing personal finances.
FreeAgent (Web) – This has saved me hundreds of hours of work by automating much of the admin that it takes to run a Limited Company in the UK. It automatically imports my bank statement, calculates profit and loss in real time, tracks my time and manages my invoicing. I’d highly recommend working with an Accountant who uses FreeAgent.
Zoom (MAC) – I use Zoom for screen-sharing, web conferencing, coaching and group audio calls. I find it to be incredibly stable and easy to use from both my perspective and that of the clients whom I ask to use it. I have used join.me in the past but I find Zoom to be functionally richer.
Caffeine (Mac) – It is a neat little app for Mac, which prevents it from going into sleep mode.
Waze (iPhone) – Never get lost again or stuck in traffic again. Waze works by plotting the fastest route and uses other travellers to work out the speed of traffic and where the jams are present.
Amazon Prime (Web) – Literally 90% of everything I buy comes from Amazon. It saves me so much time as I don’t need to visit shops and waste time travelling, comparing prices, etc. With Amazon Prime, it delivers the item the next day and it’s cost-effective.
Headspace (iPhone) – It is my 20 minutes of calm in an otherwise hectic world. When I use headspace to meditate for 20 minutes each day, my day always goes better.
WhatsApp (iPhone, Mac) – It is quickly becoming my messaging app of choice over and above iMessage. The ability to have all/most of my contacts messaging me in the same place means that I’m not switching between apps.
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