Now that we’re into the first full work week of 2014, I thought it would be fun to talk about our favorite tools for getting stuff done in the new year. I’ve got a few that I absolutely love, but I’d love to hear some of your favorites, too.
So how about this. I’ll share my three favorites. Then it’s your turn. Sound good? Together, we will make the ultimate list of awesome apps.
I really only use three productivity apps in all. I’ve got one for to-do lists, one for notes, and for building good habits.
And here they are…
WUNDERLIST | For your to-do lists.
I love that it syncs across all of my devices. And I really love the way it lets me organize my to-do’s with multiple lists for every area of my life and sub-tasks for those big tasks that need to broken up a little bit. Its system for recurring tasks is really great, too. And, seriously, it’s surprisingly difficult to find an app that does all three of those things well.
I use Wunderlist for just about everything. My personal life, SHINE!, Orange, Stuff You Can Use… I’ve got a list for all of my goals and projects – both short-term and long-term. I also use it for quick things like shopping lists, packing lists, or “do this today” lists.
There is a free version and a pro version. Personally, I am pretty happy with the free version.
DEVICES: Desktop (Mac and Windows), Mobile (iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows), Web
PRICE: FREE or $4.99/month for Pro version
FEATURES: Syncing across multiple platforms. Recurring tasks. Sub-tasks. Notifications and reminders. Smart Lists, like “Due Today” and “Due This Week.” List-sharing with anyone.
PRO FEATURES: Attach files. Assign to-do’s to coworkers. Have conversations.
EVERNOTE | For your notes.
Michael Hyatt calls Evernote his “digital brain.” I think that’s a pretty good description.
I keep just about everything of importance in Evernote. I used to keep all of my important documents on my laptop. But since I got serious about Evernote, I’ve began housing everything there. Because Evernote is available on all my devices, I can access anything at any time.
I have notebooks for my personal stuff, for my writing, for each of my major projects or areas of focus, and for anything I might want to reference later (like notes from the books I’ve read or conferences I’ve attended). I even keep my personal journal in Evernote.
The tagging system is incredible, the ability to email notes and even share entire notebooks is really convenient, and the Stacks (tiered Notebooks) help me keep everything neat and tidy and under control. The Evernote web-clipper for your browser is also really cool – it gives you a simple way to save and organize cool things you’ve found on the internet.
Seriously, Evernote is perfect. You’re crazy if you don’t use it.
The free version of Evernote is really great, but I pay for the monthly Pro version.
DEVICES: Desktop (Mac and Windows), Mobile (iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows, Blackberry), Web
PRICE: FREE or $4.99/month for Pro version
FEATURES: Syncing across multiple platforms. Tiered notebooks. A tagging system. Notifications and reminders. A free web-clipper. Searching.
PRO FEATURES: Offline notebooks. Shared and collaborative notebooks. Password protection. Extra storage space. Smarter searching. Presentation mode.
HABIT LIST | For building good habits.
For my tasks and to-do’s, Habit List has been a really great addition to Wunderlist for me. I use Habit List solely for tasks that I want to complete on a daily (or almost daily) basis. Habit List keeps track of your “streaks.”
You tell it something you want to do regularly, like work out, or read for 30 minutes, or drink a lot of water. Then you tell it how often you want to do it – maybe it’s every day, or every Tuesday and Thursday, or 5 times a week if the specific days don’t matter. Then, every day, you simply tap the things you completed that day and it will track your progress.
It’s really simple and really effective. I love checking off my habits each day. And the horrifying prospect of breaking one of my streaks really does keep me on track.
It’s really, really pretty, too.
FEATURES: Flexible scheduling. Progress tracking. Notifications and reminders. Charts revealing your trends over time. The ability to skip, miss, or complete your habits each day.
Ok, and a little bonus…
FOCUS TIME | For staying on task.
This app is just a little bonus because I haven’t used it very much yet, so I’m not sure if I love it or not. But I do like the premise, and I think it looks promising. Focus Time is a time-management tool for the times you really need to sit down, focus, and get stuff done.
It’s a timer (based on the Pomodoro Technique) that’s designed to help you work in short bursts, with short, strategic breaks, so you can stay focused and be more productive.