Got ideas and a plan? The right tools will help you get to where you’re going. There are lots of goodies to be had out there in the cloud, but only a select few rise to top of any productivity app aficionado’s list.
You’ve got the mindset and the dream— these productivity tools help you do more and achieve your goals.
Being free, feature-rich, and insanely easy to use, it’s not surprising that Google Drive is quickly replacing Microsoft Office the de facto productivity suite of choice at companies across the globe. Creating and collaborating is fool-proof in G-drive. ‘Nuff said.
Skitch, brought to us from the folks at Evernote, is the most intuitive screenshot and annotating app I’ve ever used. It’s easy to grab a screenshot of exactly the portion of the screen you need, app speed is snappy, and annotations are beautiful and easy to edit. And if you want to sync your screenshots between devices, Skitch makes it easy. (Plus it’s got significantly less bloat than what its forebear is infamous for.)
The best thing about Dropbox is how seamless its integrations are. With the Dropbox native app installed, I can decide exactly which files I have at my fingertips on each of my devices.
The ability to link your personal account to a work account is awesome for resolving that multi-login issue people who work in the cloud encounter, and Paper shows promise.
I discovered Workflowy at the suggestion of a colleague (plus a deal from AppSumo that was too good to resist). This is the ultimate note-taking software for brainstorming and organizing all your big ideas before finer planning and execution. It’s simple to use, and the UX is easy on the eyes. If you’re more productive when lists and bullet points are involved (and you probably are, even if you think you aren’t), then Workflowy’s for you.
Flow is like Trello’s prettier, fancier cousin. Don’t get me wrong— I love Trello for its simplicity and decided lack of anything bloat, but Flow nails so many project management needs right on the head. The ability to switch from list-view to kanban-esque columns makes it easy to evaluate what’s on everyone’s plate, and features like tags, recurring tasks, and subscriptions help teams and project managers keep on top of things.
If you apply kanban principles to planning out your personal life, Flow’s pretty perfect for that, too.
Binaural beats are pretty hip in the world of productivity right now— and I’m a believer. I’m not going to bore you with what little I know about the science behind binaural beat technology, but I will tell you that I’m a believe in its effects. If you regularly have trouble focusing, unwinding, or falling asleep, a binaural beats app like Brain.fm is worth a try.
There are weeks when I’m subsisting on very little sleep— not necessarily by choice, and not always due to mom-related duties— and when that happens, the effect on my focus and stress level during the day is marked. Using the automatically selected Sleep rotation on Brain.fm has helped me get some of the best nights of sleep since… well, since before I was an adult, basically.
As much as I love bulleted lists, I am a recent mindmap convert. MindMeister has opened my eyes to the beauty of flowcharts as a visual tool for better understanding the structures and relationships in almost anything you’re working on. Sometimes, only a flowchart will do if you want to get an accurate view of the big picture.
The last thing you need to be worrying about when you’re going about your day and trying to get stuff done is that you can’t get into a very important client proposal because you can’t remember your password. LastPass is amazing. The convenience and security of a password manager is well worth the ~$20/year per user for Enterprise accounts and the $12/year I pay for my personal LastPass Premium account.