I’m a mom, an entrepreneur, a wife and a volunteer. The list of daily tasks I attack is daunting, so I need all the help I can get to make sure I’m the most productive version of myself. The apps I use need to give me an edge. They need to make soar, or at the least not slow me down.
Every year I take inventory of my productivity. That includes the apps I use on my phone and my laptop. After doing my annual review and cleaning house, I’ve whittled the list down to the most awesome apps I use every day to keep winning.
Fitness: Runkeeper (Phone)
Price: FREE, $9.99 Upgrade
My morning routine involves a five mile run at around 7:00 AM. I set my podcasts to play and start up my Runkeeper app on my phone. It tracks how many miles I have run and prompts me every five minutes to let me know where I am in my mileage and my pace. It also tracks the amount of calories I have burned, which for me is a big motivator. A five mile run at a 12 mile per hour pace earns me an extra 600-ish calories for that guiltless glass of wine in the evenings when I’m ready to unwind and be unproductive.
Staying Focused: Focuslist (iPhone, Mac, iWatch)
Staying focused is a big struggle for me. I’m either all over the place or hyper focused. I’ve been working on using the Pomodoro technique, where you work in 25 minute sessions and take a 5 minute break in between. It’s supposed to help you stay focused until you complete your tasks. There are a ton of Pomodoro apps on the market, but FocusList is so simplistic that it makes it easy to jump right in. The app lets you enter your tasks for the day with time estimates and then you work on them with the timer until they are complete. It doesn’t get much simpler and I need simple.
Notes: OneNote by Microsoft (PC and Phone)
I am a notes person. My ADD brain needs to be able to dump all of the racing thoughts in my head so that as I jump around I can always come back to something later, when I’m ready to focus. OneNote lets you grab anything from any webpage and save it, annotate it, highlight it, whatever. It also syncs all of your notes between your pc, web version and phone, which is huge! My favorite feature is the ability to dictate so that I can add notes for review later no matter where I am or what I’m doing, like when I’m running.
Twitter Follower Management: Crowdfire (Web and Phone)
Price: FREE, $9.99 and up
I’m very active on Twitter and I like to follow a lot of accounts who follow me. However, there are many accounts who use bots to auto follow and then unfollow once they get that coveted follow. I’m not interested in those accounts, and Crowdfire lets me see exactly who unfollowed me so I can clean out my account, which I do weekly. It also lets me blacklist accounts who continuously play the game so that I don’t have to keep dealing with them. It’s a huge time saver.
Social Media Management: Hootsuite (PC and Phone)
Price: FREE, $9.99 and up for more features.
I’ve been a Hootsuite customer forever! I’ve tried every social media management platform as well. Hootsuite is the best tool for me to check all of my campaigns as well as those of my clients, check on the teams we have assigned to clients and everything in between. It’s extremely affordable with a free version that lets you learn the ins and outs. My favorite feature is the bulk upload and scheduling.
Messaging Apps: Franz on my PC only
I use most messaging apps for one reason or another. Mostly I use what a specific client uses. I hate having all of those apps open on my pc at one time. The best solution I have recently discovered is Franz. Franz enables you to open up multiple messaging apps all within the same window. I can have my Skype, Slack and WhatsApp all in one view. The time I save being able to have them all at-a-glance is priceless.
Graphics: Canva (PC and phone)
Price: FREE or $12.95 for Teams
I create a lot of my own images for my personal brand on social channels. I also work with teams on client branding. Canva enables us to share and work together with ready-made templates that make creating social ready images child’s play. There are templates for Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn and just about anything else you can think of. My favorite feature is the folders where you can store a set of graphics for a specific client or campaign.
Project Management: Basecamp (PC and Phone)
Price: $99 per month
I have used just about every project management application on this planet, starting with the whale that is Microsoft Project when it first came out. The problem with project management apps is that they can become monsters and counterproductive due to the sheer amount of features.
While I love to geek out over features, I know many of my team members and clients need simplicity. Basecamp is by far the easiest project management app that I have ever tried and the easiest to train users on. It has the basics of project management and team coordination like multiple projects, tasks, lists, chat and file sharing and storage. It also features a Clientside tool so that you can communicate with both teams and clients while keeping internal items separate and only accessible to the team.
Repetitive Tasks: IFTTT (PC and Phone)
IFTTT stands for “If That, Then This”. It enables you to connect many of your online services, so that when something happens with one service, you can create a trigger to do something with another by creating rules or “applets”. For example, I can set an applet to save all of the images I post on Instagram to my Dropbox or Google Drive. I can set an applet to save all tweets I like to a Google spreadsheet or one that backs up all of my text messages to OneNote. The list is endless. It takes a little learning, but this is one of those apps that is totally worth the time to learn how to use it.
Cloud Drive: Google Drive (PC and Phone)
I’ve been using Google Drive since it was first introduced and I haven’t moved off the platform because it gives me everything I need and more. With 15GB of free cloud storage, most folks will never have to upgrade from the free account that comes with your gmail. You can also backup any folder on your PC onto your Google Drive. My favorite is the ability to integrate with other apps and the collaboration functionality.
Thanks to these apps, I’m able to keep my days productive without being overwhelmed by the magnitude of tasks I have to tackle on a daily basis. Frankly, I can’t remember what it was like before I started to use them.