Productivity Apps

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while, now.

I am all about productivity. All about it. In my youth, I was all about the latest and greatest gadgets; now, I’m all about efficiency and getting it done with the bare minimum. In this day and age, you could try a new “productivity” app for every day of the week, so in this post I’ll direct you to what has been tested, tried, and true for me. With minimum effort.

Disclaimer: I’m not the the most in-demand individual around. Hell, I’m not in a demand anywhere! But that’s besides the point. I’m a mother of two. I’m the only driver in the house. I have bills to pay. I work part-time. I get commissioned for my art. I write. Enough said? Where is the time for myself? I’m lucky if I can make it to this blog at least once or twice a week. But if it weren’t for these tools and apps that I use on a daily basis, I wouldn’t be anywhere at all, ever.

microsoft-outlook-comOutlook

Well that’s a given, right? I’ve used Microsoft products for as long as I can remember. Remember that paperclip? I actually preferred the robot. But they were both my buddies for a long time. With the Microsoft 365 subscription, I get a “free” 1TB of storage space on Onedrive, fully equipped with automatic backup and uploading. This is perfect for my 20GB writing laptop (which equates to about 19GB worth of programs, and 1 GB of leftover space for all my pictures, documents, pdfs, files, etc. Onedrive is a necessity at this point). Onedrive has been working out great for my client work as well. “Great” doesn’t even cover how convenient it’s been for me.

But as far as email clients go, I’ve tried Thunderbird. I’ve tried the web-based email. I grew up on Outlook, I can’t help but let it work for me. It keeps me organized, and I don’t use it for nearly a third of its potential for handling RSS feeds (I gave up on those a long time ago), and Microsoft knows what else. But the calendar keeps my bills paid on time, and my communications organized and clutter-free. It’s indispensable and unbelievably worth that $10 a month I pay for it.

TodoistTodoist

I’ve been using this app for over a year now. In in the past, I’ve used Wunderlist, the Ipod’s native Reminders app, and a great many other to-do list apps. So I used to swear by pen and paper. But nowadays, I find myself rated a Master of checking things off that virtual list. Todoist is just that: a to-do list that works on a Karma system. Because of my self-deprecating personality trait, I felt I didn’t need any kind of “personal booster” to motivate me, and in essence, I don’t, tt2because the satisfaction of the to-do list comes from checking off tasks. But Todoist takes it a step further by having the ability to prioritize tasks, create items for future dates, label items for specific projects, and my favorite: cascading items.

This free app is available on every platform, is even a Windows program, as well as web-based. I have it on my Ipod and consistently check off items on it multiple times a day. Since I’ve been using it, my bills are always on time, the garbage is always taken out, I’m reminded of what to take out for dinner, deadlines are always met (or easily moved to the next day), and I feel mostly satisfied with a full day’s work. It’s intuitive enough that all I have to type is “review blog post tomorrow” and it will make that task for tomorrow. Technology at its finest.

HoursIconHours

This is a new app I’ve been using for over the past month now. And let me tell you, it’s really amazing to see where all the hours of my day goes. I’ve got trackers in this app for client work, writing, research, critiqueing, running errands, blogging, hoursscreen322x572reading — everything “productive” that I do throughout the day. No, I haven’t gone so crazy as to track how much time I spend eating or sleeping, but I do have a homemaking timer in there. The greatest thing about this app is the reports you can run. I like to run a weekly report that automatically breaks down everything by how much time I’ve spent doing what. And it’s truly enlightening when you realize you’ve spent only 34 minutes last week blogging, but 9 hours on social media. Really makes you buckle down and be useful rather than wasteful.

The hardest part about this app is remembering to start and stop the timer. But no worries, you can always go back and edit what you have (or haven’t) been doing. They’ve just upgraded the free app to being web-based, as well. Meaning, you can just log in to the website and work your timers from there as well. The only downside to this app is that it’s strictly Apple or web-based. No support for Android, yet.

So there my tablet still sits, useless except for my reading endeavors.

tweetdeck_logo2Tweetdeck

tweetdeck

yes, that’s my Tweetdeck desktop, if you want to snoop!

This may be an outdated program to some, but it’s so essential to me. I’ve tried Hootsuite. I’ve tried to like it. I’ve tried IFTTT. I’ve tried them all. And Tweetdeck has yet to fail me. Because it can schedule tweets. It shows me a live feed automatically. It can show me a feed on tag words. It can show me personally specified tweets that automatically pop up on my desktop, whatever I may be doing (this can be distracting at times). I can interact with all my tweeps. It even has list capabilities, and all that jazz that makes Twitter my good friend. Supposedly, you can add more than one twitter account to it. But in essence, it is my one-stop Twitter program. I don’t have to go on the website anymore, or use any of the minimal apps offered for twitter. I use the native Apple Twitter app for a quick fix, but it’s so severely limiting compared to what Tweetdeck can do.

And of course, it’s free and takes up hardly any space on your system.

facebook_messenger_featured_smallOink and Stuff’s FB Messenger

All my betaers and commissioners operate through Facebook. That terrible evil timesuck that exists on the internet. Only a timesuck if you lack self-discipline. The reason I love this downloadable program app for your dekstop is because it cuts the crap. I don’t have to open the facebook website to talk to my clients. I won’t get distracted by the neverending feed or what Suzy Q is complaining about now. It has the messenger option that is, let’s face it, the most important aspect of facebook. Because how else can we interact with our writerly-oriented friends and folks that are actually essential to our lives through FB messenger? I hate chatting on my iPod. Email was so yesterday. You can send files through this desktop app and take care of business like you’re supposed to. And links still show a tiny preview because you’re not really meant to click on that link anyway. Succeed in ignoring that feed tab, and feel good about it.fbmess

The only disclaimer here: this program works only through Chrome. You don’t have to leave Chrome open to run it (though it will open when you do. Just close Chrome and this app will stay open). But for the small inconvenience of closing Chrome every time you open this app (I’m a Firefox diehard), you can effectively communicate with your clients and resourceful friends without the added burden of seeing everybody else’s problems. And there are notification pop-ups, so you don’t miss a thing. And yes, if you must, your feed, friend suggestions, searching for random people, live notifications, and all things facebook-related, are there for the snooping. Except Candy Crush. You have to go on your device for that.


So that’s how I function and get things done on a daily basis.

If you try any of them, let me know how it works for you!

Also, I would LOVE to hear what apps and programs work for you and your workflow!

Because as you know, that addiction to gadgets and apps never dies, so I would really love to know what apps you use on a daily basis that help you be more productive and effective in your work!

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8 responses to “Productivity Apps

  1. I used to hate Outlook because I tend to dislike things with too many features or too much of a learning curve, but then I was forced to use Outlook at work, and now I love it. Can’t live without it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I noticed a lot of people have an aversion to Microsoft products, but I really can’t understand why. The learning curve isn’t steep, and if needed, it can do so much more. I suppose it’s the same personal reasons some people loathe Apple?

      Like

      • I think so. It’s a big faceless corporation, and people don’t like that, but they feel like they have no choice because Microsoft is pretty much inescapable. Then there’s the whole Apple vs. PC rivalry… that’s another blog post in itself!

        Like

    • Awesome! Do let me know. I don’t often promote products, so these apps are something special to me. Some people look down on having to-do lists, but I can’t function without them!

      Liked by 1 person

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