In our last productivity post we talked about all the ways you can automate your business. However, sometimes you just need to sit down and actually get the work done yourself. So, here are some of my favourite apps and programs to help me get in ‘the zone’ and tear through my to-do list.
My Favourite Productivity Apps
Productivity App: One
This is a really simple but effective app that goes into your web browser. Set the time you want it to run for and when the time expires it will pop up with a notification.
I use this when I head over to Twitter or Facebook. I mean you’ve got to go there to connect and reply to your messages but it’s so easy to end up drifting into social media land and ending up looking at funny corgi GIFs right? (Just me?)
I set the timer for twenty-five minutes, so if I have accidentally fallen off the wagon it’s a quick reminder to get back to work.
Productivity App: Two
If you end up sitting there at the end of the day, feeling unaccomplished and thinking what the hell have I been doing all day? This one is for you.
Rescue Time will track what websites you spend the most time on. It will also let you know what hours of the day and week you are most unproductive. This is super useful information because you can use your unproductive-ness to your advantage.
We all have to take breaks in the day right? So why not schedule your breaks in the hour where you wouldn’t be getting much done anyway?
Price: There is a free and paid version (the paid version actually blocks out the sites that are stealing your time) I’ve not used the paid version because, to be honest, the free version is just so useful by itself.
Productivity App: Three
One of my lovely followers Jen, over on Instagram, introduced this one to me. It is hands down the most adorable productivity app I’ve ever seen (if you know of a cuter one send it to me immediately!)
This beauty keeps you away from your smartphone. So, if you are someone like me, who has a slight compulsion to check your emails every thirty seconds, this might give you pause for thought.
It encourages you not to log back in prematurely to your smart phone because otherwise you end up killing your beautiful tree! Don’t kill the tree guys.
Productivity App: Four
This is less productivity based and more pure efficiency. Dropbox is my favourite cloud storage tool right know. You can access your files from any device you’ve linked up. It saves you the tedium of having to put stuff on USBs or email yourself files across devices.
Plus it keeps all your files backed up online in case of coffee or virus related accidents that might befall your laptop.
Also I find the feature that automatically saves your screenshots to a dedicated file really helpful but I’m odd like that.
Price: Dropbox if free! Woo! However if you want over 2GB of storage then you can pay a monthly free from $9.99
Productivity App: Five
I’ll be honest, I am not good at remembering passwords either but I actually downloaded this app for my mother to stop her ringing me up and asking me what her password was for her email (and her Tesco account and her TripAdvisor account and her online banking account…you get the idea)
Basically LastPass remembers all your passwords for you and stores them in the ‘vault’. It also has a handy feature that helps you to create better passwords. This is handy for WordPress and other important passwords that are a bijillion characters long and look this:
Because no one has time to memorize that.
If handing over all passwords sounds a little daunting I hear you but PC Magazine have blessed this app with a five star rating and it’s been recommended by The Economist and Lifehacker among others.
Price: Free and Paid Versions
Productivity App: Six
You know when you’ve got five blogs posts batched and you just need to get in the ‘writing zone’? This is the app for you (if you have Windows, Mac users might like to try WriteRoom which is similar).
Basically ZenWriter makes your screen, well, more ‘zen’ by removing all the distractions off your screen that might tempt you away from your work.
Price: Unfortunately no free version of this, but not unreasonable at $9.99. However, it does come with a free trial so if it’s not for you, then you can part ways with your wallet unscathed.
Productivity App: Seven
So, like many of you, I was aware that I was subscribed to a lot of newsletters. I have a separate email address to send these to so I keep my business email relatively clear but still, I was shocked at how many subscriptions I had.
Guess how many? Ready?
Yep – two hundred and forty nine.
(On a sidenote: I don’t get regular emails from all those people which just goes to show how many bloggers have a newsletter – and then never/infrequently send an email out)
Unroll.Me goes through your inbox and presents you with the newsletters that you are subscribed to. Honestly, some of them, I had no memory of signing up for. More importantly, Unroll.Me will let you unsubscribe from as many as you like, in one fell swoop.
Now, I know a few of you will be thinking, Sarah, why are you suggesting that people start unsubscribing from newsletters? We all have newsletters!
Fair point. Specifically, I’m saying unsubscribe from newsletters that you don’t want and you don’t read. I don’t know about you but I’d rather have ten happy subscribers on my list, loving my content, than a hundred subscribers who never open an email!
In any case, if you want to keep getting all these newsletters but want to switch to a digest version (ie stop your phone going off every ten seconds and letting you concentrate), then Unroll.Me will gather them all up into an email which you can open and look through as and when you want to dive into your newsletters. Ideal!