Simplicity is the hallmark of genius. A case could be made that the only personal productivity tool you need is a notebook and a pen. Devices have become a constant source of distraction for some people. Such people may find it easier and more productive to plan their days using a simple leatherbound diary instead of a device. I, on the other hand disagree. This is the 21st century and technology can make your daily planning easier. If you are always unlocking your phone to check the latest popup notification, you probably need to work on developing a healthy digital lifestyle for you.
I use some apps for different functions such as note taking, to-do lists and task management. Today, in no particular order, I will present some of my favourite personal productivity apps and how I use them.
Evernote is the first notetaking app I used to help me come up with prioritised to-do lists at work. It has a great interface and is easy to use. Best of all, in my opinion, it comes with free templates you can use for taking notes on different varieties of tasks such as planning a novel, planning a project or taking minutes of a meeting. This was my favourite app in 2017. Unfortunately, the free version of evernote only allows you to use the app on two devices. This was the reason I looked to another app for my note taking. I needed to be able to access my notes and lists on more than two devices and wasn’t willing to spend money on the paid version. I’m sure this device limitation won’t be a problem for most people. If you only need to synchronise notes between two devices: your laptop and a mobile phone, for example, then the free version of evernote will work great for you.
Quip is the golden app I discovered last year. Rather than being just a notetaking app, quip is a fully integrated task management system that you can use to collaborate with your team, assign tasks, chat and send messages. I use Quip for its note taking versality and to-do list feature which is only a small part of what the full app could be used for. The free app can be used across more than 2 devices, which was the reason I ditched evernote in favour of this app. So far, I have not had any issues and synchronisation across devices has been seamless. A bonus feature is Quip can also open Microsoft office documents, spreadsheets and presentations so you won’t need a separate app on your phone for this.
Freedcamp is a great software for setting up team projects, managing tasks and monitoring progress. It is perfect for teams who need a single place where they can monitor all their projects and always stay on top of latest developments. It comes with the ability to assign task owners, project start and finish dates as well as track progress on tasks. The app also comes with different views such as list view and Kanban that can let you have a quick overview of which processes are taking up the most resources and prevent projects from getting stalled.
Calendar by Google is one of the easiest to use apps for setting reminders, sending out invitations to events and meetings, and keeping an eye on what’s keeping you busy. Calendar is part of the apps in Google technologies that comes free with your gmail account. You probably have a gmail account already so if you have not used calendar before be sure to check it out.
Honorary Mention: Simplenote
Simplenote is one of those apps that seems to have taken the concept of simplicity to the extreme. I used it awhile back and even though I still wish it had more features, I will say this: simplenote is an app that does only one thing and it does it well. If you want an app that provides only notetaking functionality with no extra frills attached, this one might be for you. Just install, open and start typing. Synchronisation is automatic.
There are tonnes of great apps out there and I’m always on the lookout for something that makes planning projects easier. If you don’t already use an app for improved productivity, why don’t you try some of the above and let me know what you think. If you already use any of these or have been using a great app that you would like to share, drop a comment below.