Five Apps That I Use Every Day to Be More Productive
This week I decided to throw in a bonus blog. This is something way off topic and unlike most of what I write about on a regular basis. This is all about technology and the way it can be used as a tool to impact the way I work.
And before we go any further, I need to admit something to you: I am addicted to productivity. I desire to be productive in every aspect of my life, and the only time I am okay with wasting time is when I’m wasting time on purpose (which my wife calls procrastination).
I use apps as a way to be productive, I find apps, and I enjoy integrating apps into my life. This is almost a hobby for me, and while I talk to a lot of people about apps this is the first time I’ve ever done any writing on the topic.
I hope you find the list helpful, and if you have any apps that I should try I would love to hear about them!
1. Evernote. I should be on the Evernote payroll. I am a self-confessed Evernote evangelist. I use Evernote for everything. First and foremost, Evernote is a place where I store content. Things I write, things I’ve read, and things I want to remember. Evernote is a digital filing cabinet with the best search function that I’ve ever seen. Aside from a place to store my documents, Evernote has three things that really help me stay productive:
a. The email address. Evernote comes with an email address and I have set it up to dump into a folder that I call my @inbox. This function allows me to send all blogs, devotionals, and anything that is a regularly occurring, no-response-needed email to Evernote. This function keeps me from having to sort through stuff that doesn’t need my immediate attention.
b. Tags. I tag every note, and among those tags are the scriptures that I preach from. So, with one simple search I can discover exactly how many times I’ve decided to preach on 1 John 4:12.
c. Content curation. One of the hardest parts about wanting to be a high-level communicator is that in order to do it well you have to be willing to read lots of content. I use Evernote to capture information, specifically, to clip things using Google Chrome. It is a fantastic way to hold onto great information.
2. Slack. Slack is a communication app that helps teams work on projects seamlessly. Within the context of Slack there are these things called “channels” and each channel represents a project that the team is working on together. For example, in our context we have a channel for the weekly bulletin. Everyone on the team puts information into the channel and now we have a great way to stay current. I estimate Slack saves me around twenty emails per week.
3. Dropbox. If you exchange any type of file that has any size on it Dropbox is a must-have. We use it for sermon slides and other types of pictures. We aren’t to the size where we need to use the premium edition yet, but I suspect in the next two years we will need to upgrade.
4. Wunderlist. This is great for the list maker inside all of us. This app is designed to help put things on the list and then to have the sweet satisfaction of checking them off (complete with a wonderful sounding “ding”). We use them in the work place for assigning tasks and in my home life for the grocery list. What I appreciate most about this app is that it makes it fun to make lists.
5. Mile IQ. This is a new app in my arsenal. I use it to track mileage (which I did haphazardly in 2015) and this app has made my life 10 times easier in this department. The beautiful part about this app is that it runs in the background of the phone, and it knows when I’m done driving!!! Truly, it feels like magic. At the end of the day I simply swipe to the left or the right to classify drives as business or personal. I fell so in love with this app that I went ahead and paid for the premium version, and it has already paid for itself.
Of course, productivity isn’t really based on apps, it’s based on how you use the app in your everyday life. The trick is to find what you like and let it work for you.
One of the unique things about these apps is that they enable our team to work almost completely virtually. We don’t have to be around each other forty hours a week in order to keep the operation moving. Now, we can work when we need to, and more importantly where we need to without missing a beat.
What apps do you use?