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Productivity is one of the things I am very keen on. I love making my life easier with significantly less effort; it really explains the reason that I decided to major in engineering. Anyways, I’ve always read articles called “101 Productivity Applications,” for example. Yeah, sure, there is always something in there, but it’s such a waste of my time. I don’t have the time to try every single one of those applications, and frankly, I even used to hate some of my now-favorite productivity applications.

Let us establish some criteria that make a good productivity application, just in case you refuse to use any of my favorites that I use, and I do recommend using your own that you love, because it becomes a part of your life. Some applications don’t work well for others, and you have the right find what works best for you.

CRITERIA TO BE A USEFUL PRODUCTIVITY APPLICATION

  1. Sync Between Devices

This is so important. My computer is my main tool, since it is so easy to use. But, what happens when I am on the road and I need to access something on my phone? Well, look no further, you have access to everything

  1. Simple

It must be simple, if there is too much clutter, you become overwhelmed and it becomes counter-productive

  1. Customizable

I am always changing my productivity techniques, and having a simple and customizable application allows me to adapt

 

Well, that is my simple criteria. I only care about a couple things that is easily describable. Now let’s get into my favorite applications.

 

Wunderlist

Category: ToDo List

Usage: At least once per day

Wunderlist is probably one of my favorite applications now. I was introduced to it in 2015 by a co-worker and I tried using it, but couldn’t get used to it for at least 4 months. It took a whole 4 months debating whether I liked it more than my traditional way of writing ToDo lists (pen and paper) and now I cannot live without it.

I separate each of my tasks into categories by urgency and location, so I can easily sort through tasks I wish to do depending how I am feeling. For example, I do more urgent, important tasks first thing in the morning and do less important tasks, such as sending off an email at night.
Trello

Category: Productivity application (customizable)

Usage: At least once per day

Trello is another application I was introduced to by a co-worker in 2014, and it took me over a year to get used to it. I use it primarily for group efforts since it is so easy to collaborate. I also use it for simple things such as book lists. I separate my book list into Backlog, Next, Reading, and Read. This way I can refer back to what I’ve read or what I tell myself I need to read next.

 

Notes (Mac OS X/iOS Default)

Category: Note-taking application

Usage: At least once per day

I have had a love/hate relationship with Notes in the past. I used to use Evernote since it was so much more powerful than notes before and I could do everything I needed to accomplish. Notes was completely redesigned in iOS 9 and it is the best thing ever. Instead of carrying a notebook and pen around, I can just have my iPhone, iPad, or Macbook (I am a Mac user obviously, so this won’t be the best tool for everybody). I create my notes in the primary iCloud category and then file them away at a later point for organization purposes. With notes, I get everything out of my head and onto “paper.” My favorite thing to write down on notes is my list of at least 10 daily ideas. I file these ideas away and bold the ones I really like.

 

iCal / Outlook

Category: Calendar

Usage: At least once per day

Calendars are by far the most productive tool you can use, since you can use it to plan out your entire day. ToDo lists don’t work for everyone, especially when you get bogged down on tasks, it can be so overwhelming. With a calendar, you can plan out each minute of your day from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed. Assume anything that is NOT on your calendar will not be done. I use the calendar to put blocks of times where I have to work on some specific task. The reason I have iCal and Outlook on there is because I use Outlook for work and iCal for personal endeavors; which can be very chaotic and not the most productive thing. I recommend sticking to one calendar, if work allows it.

 

Keychain

Category: Password Application

Usage: At least once per day

Okay, so I don’t physically use keychain, but it is always running in the background. I know a lot of places mention 1Password to store your passwords. I’ve used it and I am not a big fan. Keychain is so much simpler, and anytime you forget a password you can always search for it. There is also awesome integration with Safari to autofill credit cards and passwords which makes surfing so much easier.

 

Nike Running

Category: Run tracker

Usage: At least once per week

Now I’m getting into additional applications which are more fun. Running is so great for your health and mind, and it makes you so much more creative and active. I used to run without tracking anything, which is completely fine, but I found out that I was not improving my times and I wasn’t competitive. With the Nike Running application I can look back to how far I ran and always improve my distance or times, which has made all of the difference. I don’t want to be average and not push myself. (P.S. if you’re a biker, or just don’t like the Nike Running app, I recommend using Strava. I use it for mountain and road biking.)

 

Spotify

Category: Music

Usage: At least once per day

Streaming music is awesome. I’ve tried them all: Apple Music, Spotify, Soundcloud, Tidal, Pandora, Slacker Radio, and Sirius XM. They all are different and appeal to different people, but the best is Spotify in my opinion. They have all the libraries of music I could ever need, and the premade playlists make my life so much easier. I get so bored of music and it takes me way too much time to customize them, and I always get a little nervous when I play my music and am scared if my friends with like it. Instead, I just throw on a pre-made playlist and let it run. I am introduced to new music every day and it acts as white noise for me.

 

APPLICATIONS I WANT TO USE MORE OF

Now that I’ve told you about some of my favorite applications, let me get into some of the applications I have, but I want to use more of because they’re so great.

Headspace

Category: Meditation

Usage: Once per day

I work out every single morning, it has become a routine and fuels my day. The one thing I’m missing from my morning routine is meditation. I’ve started using Headspace, and I felt great, but I cannot get into a routine. 10 minutes each morning is NOTHING, and so worth it. In the future, I plan on using this application more. It guides you through the meditation so you just relax, and listen.

 

Day One

Category: Journal

Usage: Once per day

A physical journal is too much effort for me. I don’t really like physical things because it enables clutter, for this reason I found a virtual journal. Instead of using notes, Day One is a virtual journal. Whenever I use it, I get everything out of my head from the day, but I need to get into a solid routine. Releasing your mind at night is so relieving and allows you to get much better sleep.

 

Slack

Category: Team Messaging

Usage: At least once per day

Okay, I haven’t used Slack ever, but I know I am going to love it based off of what I’ve read. It is like a collaborate team messaging system that combines texting, AIM, and AOL chatrooms. I will definitely be using this for all my team projects, since I’ve relied on combinations of email, Trello, and texting—which never seemed to work well. Also, Trello can be plugged in directly to Slack!

 

So, there you have it; some of my favorite productivity applications and the basics of how and what I use them for. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out. Also please comment on some of the productivity applications that you use and what you use them for!