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Productivity is the foundation of profitability and I’m going to share a list of the apps and tools I use to keep me organised and on task. Everyone has their own favorites but these are the tools I depend on and spend my days in.
I’ve had my fair share of disasters over the years so this suite of tools has been put together in such a way that I could drop my laptop in a volcano and pick up where I left off on another machine within a few minutes.
Overall I’ve avoided dedicated desktop software. I work across laptop, desktop, iPad, and mobile and I need everything, everywhere.. With a couple of oddball exceptions – the list below is completely disaster proof.
I also have a deep dislike of bloated software. These tools are mostly minimal and great at what they do.
Notion – FREE
Notion is a fairly new addition to my productivity suite. I love ( like, ‘really’ love ) this app because for a long time there’s been a Notion shaped hole in my heart. Apps like Trello, Onenote, Sticky Notes, Evernote and so forth were just a little one dimensional, ugly or bloaty. Notion is hard to explain and has elements of all the tools I described above and so much more. Right now it’s my main writing and content organisation tool but I think it might become a lot more than that. It’s like a web app equivalent of the Room of Requirement 👈 Harry Potter Reference.
Adios – FREE
Adios is easier to explain. If you ask anyone about productivity they’ll tell you the number one distraction is the arrival of email. Most productivity books will tell you to turn off your email or only check it three times a day. With web based email this is easier said than done.
This is where Adios comes in. This free web app takes moments to set up and will prevent email delivery for Gmail and then deliver it on a schedule you set. Currently my email arrives at 9am, 12pm and 4pm. If I need to I can flush email through to my inbox any time. But most of the time I’m distraction free.
Tickey – FREE
Tickey is an odd ball app which I really like. It simply makes the sound of an old school mechanical type writer with every keystroke. Now I know this wounds silly but it’s strangely satisfying. It’s more than that as well. If you’re like me then you’re typing isn;t as accurate as you’d like. Most of us watch the keyboard when we type and don’t notice typing errors on the screen. With Tickey you’ll hear them before you see them and you’ll type more confidently and more quickly.
Canva – FREE
I use Adobe Illustrator a lot for graphics work but it slow and bloated. What I find myself doing more and more is setting up a design in Adobe software and then recreating it in Canva for much more rapid deployment. This work flow might sound nasty to some designers but Canva’s come a long way and this work flow is saving me hours.
Mind Meister – FREE or from $4.99
I mind map everything. Every podcast interview, idea I have, product or project, event, blog post or video starts with a mind map. I used to use Mindjet Mindmanager, a desktop based tool I’ve been using for over a decade. I loved it because it was fast and intuitive. I could literally map at the speed of thought. Mindmanager is desktop based. There is a web version but it’s horrible to use and I really struggled with the idea of upgrading again. I enjoy the freedom and productivity I get from web based tools and really wanted to find something web based which allowed me to work as quickly as Mind Manager.
I don’t remember how I found Mindmeister but it was love at first sight. It has all the functionality I need and very little I don’t need. It’s fast, reliable, looks fantastic and it’s easy to use. It’s a full browser based app but it’s one of those rare web apps that just doesn’t;t feel like one.
Nozbe – From $8
My productivity workflow is loosely based on the process outlined in David Allen’s famous book Getting Things Done. It’s one of the most famous books on productivity of the last decade and most task management apps allow for some from of GTD workflow. For me a lot of them are either over complicated or simple and too restrictive.
Nozbe was another love at first sight apps. If an app is going to spend time on my desktop it better look good. Nozbe really delivers on the good looks. Not only that it’s easy to use, powerful and flexible enough to adapt as my workflow and world changes.
Where Notion is where I write and capture words, Mindmeister is where I brainstorm, Nozbe is where I capture task and things which need doing. One of the key principles of the GTD workflow is to capture everything. Nozbe allows me to do that without making a great big unwieldy mess.
I’m not opposed to Microsoft Office but I love the simplicity and speed of Google Docs and Google Drive. All my operational files live on Google Drive leaving pretty much nothing else on my local computer other than a hand-full of apps and the OS.
Book Like a Boss – From $9
I love this app. Organising meetings and appointments is a pain in the neck. Book like a boss integrates with my calendar and allows me to email people a link and lets them pick from available time slots for one of a number of predefined ( by me ) appointment types. I can even charge for those appointments if I want to. There are lot’s of other apps out there which do this but I love the flexibility and control of Book lIke a boss.
Zoom – FREE
Meetings suck. As someone who works mainly from home now If someone want’s a meeting it means I’m going to go and see them. That’s a lot of lost time. I’ve been using Zoom pro for just over a year now and it’s allows me to launch a high quality video conference any time I like. The guest doesn’t need to install software, they just click my link and they’re in. I can screen share or control their computer if they allow it. It allows me real presence, anywhere and any time.
Text Expander – $3.33
This is another odd ball bonus tool. Like Tickey it’s a desktop app which does something weird. I find I have to type the same things quite often. Directions to park at one of my events, instructions for setting up certain software, invitations to come on my podcast, rejections, responding to employment enquiries the list is endless. Text expander allows me to create an entry for each of these and then create a keyboard short cut. I even have quick shortcuts for emoji like 👊, ☝️and 😬.
Clockify – Free
Knowing where your time goes is pretty foundational but most time tracking apps are a pain in the ass to use. Clockify is 100% free and super easy to use on your own or as a team. I like it so much I’d pay them if I could but I don’t see how I’d ever use the paid features even if I wanted to.
These are the apps I spend my day in and which power my world. I’d love to know what yours looks like and I’m always looking for ways to be more productive so if you have a tool you think I should know about please let me know. Thanks for reading and see you online.