KBB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Dec 19 2012

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Best Apps to Increase Productivity

Do you wear one or more (or most likely 25+) hats? Between our business, personal, family and other interests and obligations, the number of details that pass through any given day would probably be surprising, much less, countable. Distractions pop up constantly, yet we assume that we can remember to follow through with the important issues of the day. Some days we do better than others in terms of being focused and sticking to our responsibilities. Add a creative and/or entrepreneurial personality to this everyday challenge and chaos, disorganization and procrastination can be unwelcome companions. Add a busy schedule to that combination? Paralysis can come along for the ride.

All of these details and responsibilities, big and small, take up space in our heads. The best way I know of to de-stress from all that information is to do what many productivity experts call a “brain dump”—deposit to-do items into a trusted system, preferably one that has multiple ways to access it in the office as well as on the road. I’m always on the lookout for new apps that will tweak my productivity in a small but meaningful way. Here are some of my favorite apps as we look forward to a super-productive (and busy) 2013.

Project Management
There are so many project management apps, but primarily they are grouped into apps for one or apps for teams. Some team apps can be used effectively by one person. In the past two years, I’ve moved toward a GTD philosophy (Getting Things Done, a book by David Allen) but have made some adjustments to best meet my work needs. Here are some excellent apps:

Todoist (http://todoist.com/): Looks simple, but this is one powerful app. Email and web urls are captured quickly to turn into tasks and achieve “inbox zero.”
Nirvanahq (https://www.nirvanahq.com/): A simple, elegant project management system for GTD.
Producteev (http://www.producteev.com/): Great for one or a team and integrates with gmail.
Wrike (http://www.wrike.com/): A convenient hierarchical folder system good for one or a team.
Basecamp (http://basecamp.com/): A good app to work with clients remotely.
If you want to get obsessive, visit Priacta (http://www.priacta.com/Articles/Comparison_of_GTD_Software.php).

Phone to Text (http://www.phonetag.com/): PhoneTag is a great service which transcribes voicemail messages into text and then emails the transcription to you immediately. This service is invaluable to me personally, first, if my cell phone is not nearby and a call comes in and second, to bypass listening to long phone messages.

Evernote (http://evernote.com/): Most of you are surely aware of Evernote. It’s the perfect reference app and its web clipper feature instantly captures and files websites for client projects or for any purpose, which can be tagged at the time it is captured. Evernote also just came out with a collaboration with Moleskine—a physical notebook where you take manual notes, take a picture of it with the Evernote app, and the notes are then searchable! Evernote’s mobile app has all your information accessible.

Post-It Notes (http://www.post-it.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/Post_It/Global/Products/Product-Catalog/?N=6406323&rt=rud):
I’m currently comparing Post-It Notes and Notezilla, two apps that create sticky notes which can serve as reminders on your monitor. I like reminders in different forms and I need them!

Gmail Mobile App (http://www.google.com/mobile/mail) /Google Maps:
If you have not downloaded these apps on your smart phone, do it! They are smart, visually beautiful, have many options the built in phone email client does not have and a delight to use.

Sanebox (https://www.sanebox.com/home): I think it was 15 minutes after I downloaded Sanebox, I felt that I’d use it forever. It does an inexplicably near-perfect job of separating emails into appropriate categories. It places the most important emails in the inbox and all others in categories you specify. Any email can be deferred to the next day, to 2 hours, 15 minutes, to any time span desired and the email will pop back up in the inbox at the designated time.

Email This Page (https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/email-this-page-by-google/dbeoemfhkdniadbojeencpkgmobndpai?hl=en): I use this app quite frequently, as it sits in my Chrome toolbar, ready to email a link to myself, a client, a friend or family member. So useful and it saves several steps.

Find My iphone (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/find-my-iphone/id376101648?mt=8): A must-have app which tracks your phone’s location and allows information to be deleted or otherwise protect your data.

Snagit (http://www.techsmith.com/snagit.html): Snagit is awesome—It captures any part of a web page, your own pages or images from your hard drive. It files away your captures for future reference but most importantly, it allows notes, arrows and other notations to be placed on the captured page in a professional style. I keep it active as a one click bar at the top of my monitor and use it frequently.

Hootsuite (http://hootsuite.com/):
The best app to manage your multiple social accounts. It makes engaging in social media easy and efficient.

Productivity is where it’s at, especially with all the responsibilities we have. A diverse selection of tools can make the work day better and more efficient. What are your favorite apps? For endless tips on apps, sign up for updates from web appstorm (http://web.appstorm.net/).

Susan Serra

This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 19th, 2012 at 1:08 PM and is filed under Business, Products. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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