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11 Free Apps That Will Guarantee An Increase In Your Productivity

11 Free Apps That Will Guarantee An Increase In Your Productivity

Everyone wants to do more in less time, and luckily in this day where technology is stapled to our hands – using apps to stay productive has become easy.

But before we get started, let’s define what productivity means. These are a few points that it should help you with:

  1. It will save you time, and cut out extra steps needed for similar tasks you do daily.
  2. It has the potential to be on multiple platforms allowing you to sync your apps together.
  3. It should make your life easier to manage and improve it in some way.

Here are 11 completely free apps in no particular order, that will increase your productivity, keep you on track, and help you achieve more.

Ink Flow

INKFLOW1

    Inkflow is for the personal artist or visual thinker. This is a personal favorite for me as it allows me to capture my ideas normally as I would with a pen, but also re-arrange them towards my liking and them upload the pictures so I can have my own personal idea as a picture. It’s also a great way to doodle your ideas and getting a better picture when you don’t have then pen and paper nearby. I use it sometimes to scratch little ideas, and pictures that I like for when I paint, or write. It also makes me feel like a child sometimes who gets to doodle. And doodling is proven to help make you focus. (Click here for the study and to learn more about the benefits of doodling)

    Ink Flow is available for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch – You can download it here.

    RescueTime

    RescueTime

      RescueTime is one of my favorite apps that happens to be free, but also has a paid option. I highly recommend this, so you can sign up for free and track how you spend your time. Each week you will receive a report of how you spend your time via the internet – which sites you browse, how frequently and for how long? You can also set personal productivity goals, and RescueTime will track it for you. You can see your progress in your dashboard, in your weekly report or the goals report section. The premium plan ($9 a month or $72 a year) gives you the option to block certain website if you want to get something done. For example, when I spend 6 hours a day on Facebook, I could definitely benefit from this and get Facebook blocked so I can move along with actually important matters (not liking strangers photos). I love it because I can start it and just let it track how I use my time without actually having to track my time. It’s a easy way for me to see where I spend most of my time, and from that point on I begin to cut out websites/and applications that I use too often. It’s a great way to find out how you’re using your time, or if you’re just on social media 80% of the day.

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      RescueTime is available for Mac, PC, Android and Linux. You can sign up here for free.

      Evernote

      evernote

        Evernote is a core app. By this, I mean it is the central housing for productivity, at least in my case – I put everything on it. I list everything I need to do on it, and Evernote has the ability to use it across all of your devices, which is helpful if you have different types of devices (like I do). It helps me stay organized with my daily schedule, and save any ideas I get when I’m out for a walk or I have a burst of creativity. Some really cool features that Evernote has: create to-do lists, record voice reminders, take notes, take pictures and add them to your notes. A really cool feature that evernote just got was the ability to record and take notes at the same time (a personal favorite!).

        Evernote is free, but also has pricing plans which include a premium ($5 per month) and business plan ($10 per month). By paying a monthly or yearly fee, you can have access to many more features such as: added security, working offline, creating videos by using a full screen layout of your notes, and sharing and editing your notes between friends which can make it easier to work together and collaborate on projects with fellow students, classmates or even your boss(es).

        Evernote is available for everything. You can sign up here, or you can click here to download the app.

         

        Any.do

        324752-any-do-for-iphone

           

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          Any.do is the on-the-go to do list. It’s perfect for keeping up with your busy schedule and knowing what you need to do, whether its today, tomorrow or something upcoming. The reason I use this app is because it let’s me clear my head of the things I don’t need to remember. It also lets me put the tasks, reminders and things that I need to do in one location, which lets me focus on the bigger tasks throughout my day. It’s great for list-making and managing your tasks. Any.do has a unique feature called the Any.do moment that encourages making a habit of reviewing your daily tasks, which is why it is one of my favorites. Ever since I got this app I’ve started getting in the habit of checking what I need to do daily, and then going through an elimination process and cutting out what I don’t really need to do, and focusing on the tasks that really matter.

          Any.do is available for your Android, iPhone, Chrome and Web. You can also click here to sign up.

           

          Focusbooster

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            Focusbooster focuses on the Pomodoro Technique (which alternates 25-minute long working blocks with short breaks) in order to maintain sustainable, long-term productivity. What is the Pomodoro Technique? The Pomodoro Technique® is a simple way to boost your productivity when performing mind-consuming tasks. It helps you keep yourself focused while reducing mental exhaustion. Read more about it at the official website. And while there are plenty of different Pomodoro timers out there, one of my favorites is the Focusbooster App. The reason being is it is free, has a very clean and simple to understand user interface, and it works.

             Focusbooster is available for the iphone, Ipad, Mac and Windows. You can download the app here, or sign up by clicking here.

            An alternative to Focusbooster that I’ve started to use recently is Tomighty. It works in the same way, and is also completely free. And even though Focusbooster is simple and clean to use, I have found Tomighty to be easier to use, and it’s open source (meaning you can edit it and use anything to your liking). To find out more, click here.

             

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            Mailbox

            mailbox

              Mailbox is your mailbox redesigned in a simple format to save you more time, and allow you to be more productive. It’s light, fast, on the go and mobile-friendly. It works like a messaging system where you swipe your e-mails to archive them, trash them. And it’s designed for you to be able to scan and understand the entire message as if it were a text message. This app falls under my mission statement of simplifying your lifestyle, which is why I use it. I really believe in decluttering, and living with less in order to do more. This is how I keep a clean inbox at all times and never have to worry if I’m ever late for a response. And here’s another reason if you’re not convinced. There has been a report from the McKinsey Global Institute, that said the average person spends 13 hours (a total of 28 percent of our workweek) dedicated towards reading, deleting, sorting and sending emails.

              Mailbox is available for iPhone/iPad, Android, Gmail/iCloud. There is also a desktop beta going on. To download or signup – click here.

               

              Lift

              Lift

                Lift is an app that helps you turn your goals into action. There are expert-led plans, community habits, and you can also add your own custom goals. Lift is check-in system which allows you to track, and record your progress. The reason this app works so well is because of the support. If you’re having troubles sticking to a new habit, or a new goal that you have in mind; when you have someone there to encourage you it makes it so much easier. With lift you will get peer coaching, support from friends, or family and as well as reminders to keep you going. It’s the perfect app for setting new goals and actually making them happen. One of the simplest, yet innovative apps that allow personal growth as well as productivity.

                Lift is available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch and Android. Click here to sign up.

                 

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                Honorable Mentions:

                These are some bonus apps that deserve a mention as they have been great for keeping things organized, simple and allowed me to boost my productivity.

                Dropbox:

                It shouldn’t be a surprise to see Dropbox on a list of recommended productivity apps. I’m sure everyone has heard of this, but it’s awesome for sharing, free, and easy to use. If you’re wondering what to use it for click here for a list of 62 ways to increase your productivity using by using Dropbox.

                Instapaper:

                There are great articles on the Internet and that can be both a good and bad thing for our productivity. To still be productive, and not have to read the new articles, posts as soon as they are live, try Instapaper. Instapaper allows you to save them to your account, and then read them at a time convenient for you.

                Quip:

                Quip allows you to edit and discuss in one place. This means you have both messages and documents together which allow you to work faster and be more productive. What I personally like about Quip is that the interface is almost identical across the mobile and desktop application, making the workflow and use of the app quite easy.

                Wunderlist:

                Wunderlist is available on almost everything (on iPhone, iPad, Mac, Windows, Android, Kindle Fire and the Web) which is why It’s so great to use. It allows for multipurpose use. It’s exactly as what the name states. It’s a wonderful list, that allows you to manage and share your to-do lists with friends, family or co-workers. It has a simple design that allows you to get the hang of it right away. You can also add reoccurring to-dos, create subtasks, print your to-dos, sync to other devices, and set due deadlines.

                Productivity isn’t just about doing this in the quickest amount of time. It’s about managing your time, and using it to benefit yourself. Your life is short and time is precious, so it only makes sense that you would want to use your time wisely and efficiently. For the sake of productivity and your time, don’t overwhelm yourself by getting all of these apps and just making to-do lists and not getting anything done. Instead, try and give each one of these apps a fair trial (a week or so), and see which one works for you and allows you to become more productive.

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                Last Updated on April 22, 2021

                How to Work Hard the Smart Way: 4 Daily Rituals to Follow

                How to Work Hard the Smart Way: 4 Daily Rituals to Follow

                Habits are what sets an average leader apart from a great leader. We can argue that talent is the biggest factor; we may debate how the amount of charisma sets the two apart. Yet, if you were to show me what you believed to be a great leader, I can show you the habits that made her/him great. Great leaders have great habits and know how to work hard the smart way.

                Developing Great Habits Is Hard Work

                In my early college days, I had spent a lot of time learning how to play the trumpet. Playing the trumpet took time and discipline. I had some natural talent, but not enough to hide my lack of ability. My trumpet teacher was a man of discipline, and there was no doubt he had talent. What stood to me was his work ethic. He had to be one of the hardest working mentors that I had the privilege of working with.

                One afternoon, I was in his office getting ready for my weekly trumpet lesson. As I was preparing, my eyes scanned the room and saw that there were quotes all over his office. My eyes rested on one quote that forever changed my thinking about my playing. It was a quote from my high school basketball coach Tim Notke that would become popular through professional athletes Kevin Durant and Tim Tebow:

                “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.”

                Hard work trumps talent. The key to success is not found in your talent or ability. Talent and ability are necessary, but they are not the primary factors. They are supporting roles in the story you are writing.

                Ultimately, hard work is the key to your success. A good work ethic creates the momentum that propels you forward towards your goals.

                Motivation Is Not the Answer

                How many times have you seen someone go to a conference, get inspired, and then come home and do nothing?

                If motivation were the answer, the world would have transformed hundreds of times over. Yet, when we look out our doors or turn on the news, we do not see a utopian society.

                We have thousands of people who become inspired but lack the work ethic to apply anything they have learned. Time and time again frustration creeps in. We are so motivated and inspired by what we see but fail to put in place the things that would change our lives.

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                Frustration happens when the gap between what you expect to be true and what is true gets bigger. Motivation tends to create an expectation that is not rooted in reality. We want to take on the world but cannot get off Netflix long enough to do so.

                Motivation is not the answer, but working hard is. Good habits and routines that produce success are the byproducts of a strong work ethic. The habits and routines we create and follow are the foundation on which we build a winning life.

                How to Work Hard by Working Smarter

                Here are 4 routines that will help you learn how to work hard and achieve your short term and long term goals.

                1. Define What a Win Looks Like

                In football, a player that crosses into the end zone gain points. In soccer, a player kicks the ball into the net to score. Hockey, lacrosse, and basketball are all the same. The player takes the object and moves it into the designated area to gain points. The team with the most points wins the game.

                Why is it that we can define what a win looks like in sports, but we fail to do so in our leadership, our businesses, or our homes?

                Learning how to work hard without setting a target is futile. It is insanity to work hard without having a clear direction to place your energy. I would argue that defining a win is one of the most important routines that a leader can have. Defining a win separates superficial activity from meaningful activity.

                When I define a win, I know the goal line I have to cross[1]. Knowing where the goal line is informs me of the activity I have to engage in to cross it. Without a clear direction, I am spinning my wheels hoping that I will get to a destination I haven’t defined. It is like asking a GPS for directions but failing to input the destination.

                4 Steps to Define a Win
                • Know the outcome you desire.
                • Declare the outcome in specific, meaningful terms.
                • Write the outcome down.
                • Set your activity list to only do that which will complete your goals.

                Let me give you an example. 15 years ago, I started speaking professionally. As a young and naïve speaker, I thought winning meant that I had to get a reaction from the audience. If they cheered, smiled, or cried, I considered myself a winner. The problem was my lack of understanding of what a win looked like. As a seasoned speaker, my wins look different.

                As of today, when I speak, I am not looking for any emotional reactions from the audience. I win if, and only if, I clearly communicated my point so that anyone hearing the talk can take it and apply it to their lives that day. That is how I define a win when I speak now.

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                Create a habit of declaring a win. When you do, you will see your productivity soar and your encouragement increase. Pairing a hard work ethic with wise decisions creates victory. Stop being a mouse on a wheel that goes nowhere, and start being the captain of your fleet.

                2. Evaluate Your Activity

                Not all activity is equal. There are things you must do, things you need to do, and things we can either give away or delete. The greatest challenge of a leader is understanding the difference. Understanding what activity is busywork and what activity is mission work is pivotal.

                Not only do we need to learn how to evaluate our activity, but we must make this a core routine in our arsenal of success. Stop working so hard on everything and start learning how to work hard on the right things.

                Not every activity will move the needle forward for you. In fact, you were never meant to do everything yourself! Once we stop trying to be a martyr in our leadership, we can start looking at how to take things off our plates through delegation.

                Based on the Eisenhower box, there are 4 things that we look at when deciding on which activities are important:

                • Do now
                • Plan to do it later
                • Delegate to someone else
                • Delete it

                Powerful questions are the way you discover if the activity is right or not:

                • Does this activity move me towards or away from my goals?
                • Do I have to do this activity or can I give this activity away to someone else?
                • Does this activity have to be now right now or can it be scheduled for later dates?
                • Does this activity have to be done at all?

                Evaluating the type of activity you engage in should be a routine that you do daily. Learning how to work hard should create progress. Having a system of evaluation and a routine to do it will help.

                3. Prioritize Your Calendar

                If you were to show me your calendar, I could show you why you are not further along. When you lack the routine of placing things on your calendar, two things happen.

                First, what does not make it on your calendar does not get done.

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                It is a simple truth that is often overlooked. Your calendar contains the power to change your life. Yet, we don’t use our calendars to their fullest potential.

                “You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” -John C. Maxwell

                Also, if you don’t mark you activities on your calendar, you are leaving it open to other’s priorities.

                “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” -Stephen Covey

                Having a routine in your life where you place things on your calendar is pivotal to your success. This is not a routine one should overlook.

                It’s time to take your leadership and business to the next level. It’s time to start putting your daily routines on your calendar, along with your priorities.

                4. Reflect on Your Day and Plan the Next

                We are all about the morning routine. Whatever that looks like for you, there should be a routine in the morning that sets you up for success.

                Hard work starts when your feet hit the ground in the morning. Creating the habit of winning starts with the first thing you accomplish that morning. If you win your morning, you will win your day.

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                Best Morning Routine to Prepare to Work Hard

                  But how often have you heard people talk about an evening routine? Tomorrow is won the day before it happens. When you fail to plan your day, you may put your effort toward in the wrong things. Route replaces routine. Indecision replaces decisiveness. Losses replace wins. The discouragement will deflate your momentum and increases the chances of procrastination. That is why we set our schedule the night before.

                  “Every battle is won or lost before it is ever fought.” -Sun Tzu

                  Working hard doesn’t have to be hard work. It shouldn’t take much out of you learn how to work hard as long as you work smart. Having a time where you reflect on the day and set your priorities is the difference-maker.

                  Use these questions to reflect on your day:

                  • What went well?
                  • What didn’t go well?
                  • What can I change?
                  • What do I need to start doing?
                  • What do I need to stop doing?

                  The Bottom Line

                  Navigating through life is hard work. Yet, the work doesn’t have to be hard when you work smarter. When you create routines that support your mission, you create wins. Working hard, the smart way will tip the balance in our favor.

                  Boxing legend Joe Frazier said:

                  “Champions aren’t made in the ring; they are merely recognized there.”

                  Champions put in the hard work behind the scenes. The world recognized them as a champion when they saw the results of the hard work. Right now, you are doing the work of creating a champion in yourself.

                  That work is setting your routines in order because you now know that success flows from your daily routines. If you are not experiencing the success you desire, then it is time to change things up.

                  More on Creating Healthy Routines

                  Featured photo credit: Zan via unsplash.com

                  Reference

                  [1] The Balance Careers: Interview Question: “How Do You Define Success?”

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