We all have apps and services we use every day to get things done. I don’t mean things like Facebook or Twitter. I mean things that really do help achieve a goal, not distract from it. So I wanted to share with you the apps and services that I depend on most. One of the biggest criterion for me is the accessibility of the app or service – it needs to be available just about everywhere and at any time. So here they are, my 7 most loved apps.
In past posts I’ve shared how to get in control of your money and how to plan your money for the future and hinted at the best system to help you get there is YNAB. Here I will share with you exactly what YNAB is, how it works and why I love it so much. The name YNAB stands for You Need A Budget and unless you’re already living the dream you probably need to manage your money some how. Many people (myself included) look to productivity blogs such as this typically don’t have amazing money handling skills. I’m a spender. I love technology, video games and gadgets, these are normally expensive items so handling my money was always a problem. I had tried budgeting before, but I could never get it to stick. I would spend an evening creating some average looking spreadsheet with expenses and then allocate an amount to each, but three things wouldn’t work for me:
- I would never open the spreadsheet up again
- The spreadsheet was never accurate
- I hate spreadsheets
Since I started blogging on productivity and technology and all that fun stuff I’ve been reading other blogs more and more. I’ve tried a couple of different tools to help me stay on top of the articles that I want to read, and at the moment I am very happy using Readability.
Readability is a bit like Pocket or Instapaper. You find an article you want to save for later and click the “Readability” button in the toolbar of the web browser. This captures the article and copies it to the Readability service so you can read it later from the Readability site, or from your mobile device.
There are three main ways I add articles Readability.
If you work for a company then chances are that you’re going to need to travel somewhere, some day, for something. And when you do you will typically be able to claim back work-related expenses that you’ve incurred.
So often you see people getting back into the office after coming back from a meeting, with a taxi receipt in their hand and then stash the receipt somewhere in the back of their desk drawer. Then, when the accounts people start hounding everyone to submit their expense claims this same person is floundering around digging through piles of notes, junk, cables, dust and a half-eaten Vegemite sandwich from last week looking for any old and faded receipt they can find. And it’s normally a bonus if they can find all of them.
With the crazy amount of iPhone apps around today, and app categories becoming crowded with apps that offer very similar functionality, I thought it was time to share with you exactly what apps are on my iPhone and how I use them. Obviously, there are the default apps that can’t be removed (Messages, Calendar, Photos, Camera, Contacts, Phone, Maps, etc) so there’s no need to go in how they’re used – hopefully it’s fairly obvious. However, I will go through some of the main apps I use.
There is a huge selection of new productivity applications being released these days and each one has its own unique approach to target a specific audience. There are tools such as OmniFocus that cater to the high-end GTD adepts and then there’s things like Moredays.
While OmniFocus uses contexts, tags, projects and priorities to help you manage your day to day activities, Moredays takes a much more relaxed approach and spans not only tasks, but contacts, events and notes too.
Moredays aims to be a single resource for the everyday human that is looking for a place to manage the day to day. It is not, and doesn’t intend to be, a fully fledged GTD application. Moredays takes a user-friendly, image rich, approach to ensure the user experience is what matters most. So many GTD apps focus so much on the process that they forget about the user and what they’ll need to do in order to use the application properly.
There is now two clear leaders in the market for smart phones – Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android. Both are amazing platforms. Their strength comes from their ability to have any number of additional applications (apps) intalled. This is made incredibly easy with the iPhone App Store and the Android Marketplace. It also helps that apps are mostly free or only a few dollars.
As it turns out, I’m an iPhone person. In fact, I’ve gone just about completely Apple with everything. I’d like to share with you my favourite iPhone apps and how and why I use them for productivity.
Evernote is a cross-platform application that helps me remember everything. Whether it’s a photo, a reminder, a place, a bill I need to pay, a diary entry, a tweet, a web page… anything. I use i a lot. For work, blogging, family and as a way to keep paperless. My friends and family are always being told how amazing it is and that they’re mad if they don’t go and set it up right away. I have an Evernote Premium account and use it on my Mac, iPhone and on the web from my netbook that is running Ubuntu.
I’d like to share five tips that I use to speed up my Evernote workflow. There are a lot more tricks than just the ones below, but they can wait for another post.
6Wunderkinder is the software development company behind the incredibly popular Wunderlist. 6Wunderkinder started to make themselves known at the end of 2010 by launching Wunderlist.
Wunderlist is a task management application that works on almost every device! There’s a web version, iPad/iPhone and Mac version, Android version, Windows version and even a linux version. There are two devices that are missing from this list – Blackberry and Windows Phone. Wunderlist was initially released on Windows, Mac and iPhone and it’s popularity grew phenomenally quickly. This was largely because:
- It’s free
- It looks amazing
- It keeps things simple
It also helped that no matter what device you were using, your tasks were always in sync. Wunderlist sync’s tasks up to the cloud and then keeps your other devices up to date seamlessly.
Evernote has changed my life. It’s such a simple thing, but it has had a massive impact on my day-to-day life. I have a really bad memory, so I use it to remember everything, so I don’t have to.
I remember first hearing about Evernote in mid 2010 and dismissed it pretty quickly, thinking “why would I need another note taking tool when I can use the Notes app on my iPhone or a text editor on my computer, or Google Docs?”. A few months later, I thought it might give it another go as a way to write down and keep notes from meetings and be able to easily reference them again later.
And that was just the beginning…