Isn’t technology fun?
No, a lot of the time it’s a gargantuan pain in the rump but sometimes you get lucky.
These are the 3 apps that I recommend to everyone I meet. They have massively improved my own productivity and organisation and I hope they will help you too.
Let’s start with TODOIST.
This is an app and desktop based task manager that lets you create to-do lists and keep track of your upcoming activities.
You can create different projects and then organise your tasks into those projects. You can set them into a schedule of when they need to be completed and (on the paid software- a tiny investment) you can get automated reminders sent to you.
Getting tasks quickly out your head onto a list is a fantastic way of not burning up precious mental resources. You can set the task, forget the task and simply keep check when you need to.
You will receive emails letting you know what tasks you have coming up and they have compatibility with a lot of email providers (I use Gmail) so you can add an email directly to your tasks list (i.e: respond to Emily about the dinner reservation.)
It’s very simple and very intuitive to use.
Now let’s look at the beast that is Evernote.
Evernote is a digital note taking and organising software. Having poor organisation or relying too much on paper documentation and storage is a massive drain on resources and time. Not having access to the notes and documents you need when you need them will slow you down.
If you start using Evernote you will have all the key resources you need on your phone or desktop at all times.
To keep it simple: Evernote lets you create notes. These can include written text, audio recordings, images or file uploads (you get more storage space with the paid plans.) You can then add tags to your notes to organise them in the internal search.
You can create notebooks which are the larger storage units for collections of notes in similar categories. For example, I have a notebook WORK for my work based notes and a RECIPIES notebook for recipes etc.
It’s the tagging system that makes Evernote a slice of genius.
If I scan in my receipts and create a consistent tagging system then I can pull up a list of receipts for last march and even the kind of receipt just by searching for the tags I created.
You can also download an app called Scannable that allows you to scan documents straight into your Evernote from your phone (you can buy a large real scanner for your office too that scans directly to Evernote.)
You can also get a browser extension called Web Clipper that allows you to grab text and images from the screen and store them in Evernote. For example, if I go to a blog post I like I can open the Web Clipper and choose ‘save article’ and it will copy it to a predetermined notebook.
I use Evernote for all my ideas, notes and important document storage. I then switch to Todoist anytime I need to log an action I need to take.
The third app is not a groundbreaking behemoth like Todoist or Evernote but it’s very useful for actually completing tasks. It’s called Be Focused and it’s based on the Pomodoro technique.
This is a time management technique which states that the human brain can only do so much focused activity at any time so it recommends breaking down a large task into multiple 25 minute chunks with small 5 minute rest breaks.
If I have an article to write or a large project that requires my focus I will work flat out for 25 mins then have a cup of tea or a walk for 5 minutes and then repeat that cycle for as long as it takes (taking a larger break every 3 rounds.)
The Be Focused app just has an automatic timer set for the right times and allows you to track your activity on graphs.
So I store all information on Evernote, transfer tasks to Todoist and then track the time spent on tasks on Be Focused.
There are many, many other productivity apps and tools out there but these 3 are my go to favourites.
Which apps do you use? Let me know in the comments…