Productivity isn’t doing more; it’s doing more of the right thing.
We’ve put together a list of our favorite productivity apps to help you conquer the to-do list and stay on top of your tasks. These applications help you automate, delegate, and get mindless duties off your plate. They make it easy to stay focused, take strategic breaks, and use your resources of time and energy wisely.
This app’s clever name is the best way to describe how it makes your life better. IFTTT stands for If This, Then That—the basic formula for automating tasks. With IFTTT, you can connect apps and services to do mindless jobs for you. For instance, IFTTT can text your spouse or roommate when you arrive at the grocery store (“Need anything?”), or automatically pin your most recent WordPress blog post to the correct Pinterest board. It can remind you to bring an umbrella when rain is in the forecast, automatically post updates to Slack about upcoming meetings, and pull data from your Fitbit into a spreadsheet. The possibilities are endless with this incredible app.
Productivity tip for IFTTT: When you find yourself spending time on repetitive chores or you forget to do something for the umpteenth time, turn to IFTTT. Build automation into your day and week to take things off your plate and out of your already full brain.
Slack is taking the business world by storm, and it’s no surprise. Slack is a better way to communicate with your team and eliminate the confusing, unproductive email strings. Slack connects professionals with an intuitive interface and allows for direct messaging, communicating over customizable channels, and document sharing.
Productivity tip for Slack: Use Slack to tackle the dreaded inbox clutter. Encourage your team to utilize Slack instead of email when appropriate, and take advantage of the many integrations (such as Google Drive and Calendar) to get the most out of the app.
There are plenty of project management tools out there, but Trello happens to be a Trusty Oak favorite. The intuitive functionality and layout make it easy for even beginners to get the most out of the app, and teams can effectively plan and coordinate large projects with Trello. Assigning tasks, checklists, and cards to individuals keeps everything straight.
Productivity tip for Trello: Use Trello as a way to record notes and make meetings more effective. After a meeting, create a card with action items, deadlines, reminders, and tasks, and assign items to team members for easy referral and improved follow-up.
Sometimes, you just need a place for lists, and Wunderlist delivers with a pleasant interface and smart functionality. Create any kind of list you can imagine, add notes to each item, share and sync lists with other users, and create deadlines for tasks.
Productivity tip for Wunderlist: Don’t trust yourself to remember the random to-do’s or the great idea you had at 1:00 AM; make a note of it, every time. Use Wunderlist to your advantage by getting everything out of your brain as soon as you think of it. For instance, if you remember you should get your mom a birthday gift next week, make it a task in Wunderlist and set a reminder. Don’t let your brain get cluttered!
Did you know you can hack your brain to get more done in less time? There’s a theory called the Pomodoro Technique, and there’s science to back up its effectiveness. The Pomodoro Technique forces you to stop multitasking and instead focus for short spurts of time (usually 25 minutes). When your time is up, you stop and take a short brain break—you get some coffee, stretch your legs, or respond to a text message from a friend. This technique is incredibly effective and can help you get in a work groove rather than getting distracted and spending all day accomplishing nothing.
Focus Keeper helps you use the Pomodoro Technique by setting a timer (complete with a tock clicking sound, if you like) and dictating your breaks and work time. You can set daily goals for focus sessions and program longer or shorter breaks into your day as needed.
Productivity tip for Focus Keeper: Experiment with this technique to see what works best for your brain. Do you need a five-minute break or a longer one? Do you have the most success focusing right after breakfast or later in the afternoon? While you’re in a timed focus session, write down distracting thoughts or tasks you remember: this way, they’re out of your mind, and you can stay on track.
The right tools and methods can be the difference between success and burnout. Here’s to your productivity!