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20 Online and App Resources to Help You Boost and Improve Productivity

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20 Online and App Resources to Help You Boost and Improve Productivity

You probably have a smartphone in your hand, or really close by, and somewhere near, your email client is open. You are constantly on the lookout for the newest email, tweet, like, invite or any other kind of notification that can give you the latest info on your current project. Being this busy comes with its own drawbacks, as it can be pretty tiresome which all can lead to a big decrease in productivity.

Because of this, true professionals are constantly trying to find the newest, most effective shortcut that will make their day a bit easier. There are so many different productivity apps that are already available on the market, both for Android, iOS and the still developing Windows Phone. It is important to know how to choose the app that is perfect for you and your needs, and that will suit your style the most. We’ve come up with 20 of the best apps that will definitely help you increase your workplace productivity and facilitate faster workflow.

1. 1Password (Android, iOS, Windows PC, Chrome Extension, Website)

1password

    First and foremost, it is your duty to protect your accounts with a strong password, and use different ones for each account. But this quickly becomes difficult, especially if you are using the internet on a daily basis, simply because there are so many websites, so many account names, and you can easily be fooled into using a single password, and once it is discovered, all your accounts are in danger. 1password is developed with this in mind, and it puts all your passwords into a single place and keeps them secure, furthermore, it offers the possibility of generating extremely difficult random passwords that you will not have to remember. It is available on every platform, making sure that you do not have to think about your passwords ever again. It will automatically sync with your smartphone, and your PC or Mac, so that you have access to your accounts everywhere you go.

    2. Pocket (Android, iOS)

    Pocket

      If you work with social networks, you are constantly intrigued with interesting headlines and funny videos, but it is simply impossible to dedicate your time to reading everything you come in contact with and get your work done at the same time. Because of this, it is best to simply bookmark everything you want to read to watch for later, and this is where Pocket comes into play. It is actually Read It Later which went under a complete service overhaul, which enables you even to save all the interesting stuff for a later viewing, even in offline mode.

      3. Buffer (Android, iOS, Website)

      Buffer

        If your job involves dealing with social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn, then you should really try taking advantage of apps like Buffer which will give you total control over when and what you post. You can schedule your future tweets, posts and any other content at a predetermined time, and this app will do the rest. Furthermore, this application will also provide you with detailed metrics on how a particular post is performing, how many clicks, likes, retweets or shares it is getting.  This app is quite simple to use, and you only need to setup your account by connecting it with your other social network profiles. If you want the Business plan, it will cost you $50 and up.

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        4. Google Keep (Android, Chrome Extension, Website)

        Google keep

          With so many note applications it is hard to choose the right one, but when in doubt – trust Google. While this app appeared without any hype, it is characterized by a simple user interface that, like every other Google app, has a deep integration with other services. You can easily create a whole note board and stick anything and everything you want, however you want it, from snippets, checklists but also photos and reminders. It will back everything up on Google Drive, so you don’t ever have to worry about using it.

          5. Mailbox (Android, iOS)

          mailbox

            Mailbox is a simple and minimalistic email client that will help you organize your overcrowded inbox with simple gestures. It currently supports Gmail and iCloud accounts and you can easily swipe messages to archive them or send them to trash, or simply snooze them until later when they will reappear at the top of the list – enabling you to focus on what is important right now. This application also learns about your frequent actions, learning to snooze unimportant conversations, or even automatically muting others.

            6. Quip (Android, iOS)

            Quip

              If you work in a big team that relies a lot on collaborative tools, then you must have heard about Quip. This app creates an interesting mix of integrated messaging and instant group editing of files. With this app you will be able to create, import and share different document types, notes, to-do lists and quickly edit them with everyone on your time. It works well with Dropbox, Google Drive and Evernote, and when you are done you can save your files as universal PDF and other Office formats.

              7. Basecamp (Android, iOS, Website)

              Basecamp

                While a basecamp could be used as a good solution for a whole company, it also offers a possibility for individual use where you can keep track of your current projects or to-do lists, with the possibility of adding documents directly from Google Drive. If you do not want to use Google Drive, it offers its own storage space where you can upload your own files, but for additional space you will need to buy a storage plan. Basecamp is free for individuals and small businesses, but it has a limit on how many active projects you can have at one time, but it offers many different plans that will suit everyone’s pocket.

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                8. Microsoft Office 365 (Android, iOS, Website)

                MS office 365

                  There are those among us that rely on the Microsoft ecosystem, especially you use Windows’ cloud capabilities. With these apps you will be able to access all your Office files on Android and iOS operating systems. While the baseline options are free, if you would like to use cloud capabilities you will need to pay a subscription fee, and even though it might not be the best file editing tool, it is good for heavy Microsoft users.

                  9. Asana (Android, iOS, Website)

                  Asana

                    If you need something to keep you organize, but you find Basecamp lacking, then Asana might just be the thing for you. Not only does it offer a better overview of all your current projects, but it also allow you much greater freedom when creating, editing and assigning tasks, diving them into projects and granulating to-do lists as much as you need. It can totally replace using emails inside your office, and because it is available on your smartphone you will stay in touch with everything you need to know, without missing out on a single update.

                    10. Expensify (Android, iOS, Website)

                    Expensify

                      Working in an environment where you constantly need to track expenses can sometimes be quite tiresome, and there is almost no room for errors. Apps like Expensify can track everything you need, and the best thing – it is completely free. It offers different features, so you can save receipts simply by taking picture of them and the software will automatically analyze them. It can even track mileage with your phone’s GPS so that you can later claim refunds at your office if it was a business trip. All of these things will also be accessible across all platforms and on their website, for your convenience.

                      11. Refresh (iOS, Website)

                      Refresh

                        This app currently available only for iOS, can help you remember who you are meeting, and give you a few insightful facts about them. It has the option of syncing with your Gmail, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and it even promises to incorporate new social networks in near future, so that whenever you have an upcoming meeting, it automatically searches for the people you are about to see, and prepares a detailed report about them. You will be able to see when their birthday is, when you first met, but it can also Google them, and display any latest news articles that they either published or were mentioned in.

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                        12. Google Hangouts (Android, iOS, Website)

                        Google Hangouts

                          With a plethora of different instant messaging services, it is hard to select a single one. You have WhatsApp, Viber and even Facebook’s Messenger app, but Google Hangouts combines all of this, with Google’s other services, video conference calls and other Skype-like capabilities. You are free to use the app free if you need it for simple messaging, and simple video calls but for other voice services you will need to pay per minute, which but at least you will not have to worry about different carriers and you will only need to have a decent internet access.

                          13. Sunrise (Android, iOS)

                          Sunrise

                            It is sometimes easy to forget how important calendar apps really are. Sunrise is one of those simple, yet elegant solutions to an everyday problem, and it was doing its job so efficiently that it was acquired by Microsoft for just $100 million. This app can seamlessly connect to all other major calendar services, making sure to combine all sources adequately so that you do not miss a meeting ever again. It also has social networks integration, meaning that it can look up a person on LinkedIn so that you see the picture and profile page of the people you are having a meeting with. It is simple, beautiful, and it does exactly what it says – and not to mention, it is totally free.

                            14. IFTTT (Android, iOS)

                            IFTTT

                              Repetitive tasks can be easily automatized by this app, which offers almost an endless amount of possibilities that can be done for you. You can create your own custom order, so that every time you open an email app, your Wi-Fi and data packets are turned on. The name might sound strange but it is actually a short for IF This Then That, so the next time you take a picture, it can automatically be uploaded to any cloud service you want, or to your Instagram account, and the amount of triggers and possible options grows every second, ranging from different devices, applications, and services.

                              15. Timeful (iOS, Website)

                              Timeful

                                If you ever wondered what you must do in order to make your schedule more efficient – look no further. Like most apps nowadays, Timeful is designed in such a way as to learn your behavior and offer better solutions that will not only improve your efficiency, but give you more room to relax. It is actually a mix of a calendar app and a to-do list, and based on your habits it suggest new routines that can help you do things faster.

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                                16. Any.DO (Android, iOS)

                                any.do

                                  Lists are all around us and it is only a matter of finding the right one. Any.DO is a solid, minimalistic solutions that is ready for all Android and iOS users to experience, offering everything from the simplest to-dos to lists that you can share with your co-workers and calendar alerts that can be synced with your Google services. It can even automatically turn all your missed calls into a to-do item that you will never forget about.

                                  17. Evernote (Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Website)

                                  Evernote

                                    This app is your next best friend, and your online notepad. It is used to collect everything you visit online, from photos, web pages, different files including PDF and audio clips. It offers quick indexing service, meaning that no matter how much stuff you keep adding to it, you can easily find on every device. With Evernote, you will never again have to make endless list of bookmarks in your browser and you will be able to quickly revisit all the important information. Use a Chrome extension in order to quickly save everything you need, and revisit it later on your smartphone.

                                    18. TripIt (Android, iOS, Website)

                                    Tripit

                                      This app is a must have for anyone who travels a lot. While the initial service is completely free, it also comes with a pro-version that costs $49 a year. You only need to send all travel related emails, such as your confirmations, reservations, and receipts to a special email address where all of this is automatically organized for you into a calendar-like schedule. With a pro version, you can track your plane to see whether it is late, what the weather is like, and it even offers a possibility of finding alternative routes if your primary one becomes cancelled.

                                      19. NotesPlus (iOS, Website)

                                      Notes Plus

                                        For those artistically inclined, having to write down memos on virtual keyboard must be quite a bore. If you prefer an old-fashioned pen and paper approach, this app is as close as it gets to having a real notebook in your hands. It comes with different functionality to automatically turn your writing into text. All actions can be done with a stylus, circling around notes, drawings and text can select it, the only downfall being that there is no free version, and it is currently not available on Android.

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                                        20. Google Docs (Android, iOS, Website)

                                        Google Docs

                                          While it is usually not necessary to mention anything made by Google, such as its next-to-perfect email client, or its file-storage service, Google Docs are a whole other story. While Google Docs app was mostly developed as an extension for Google Drive, it is actually a robust platform that not only allows you to seamlessly share files, edit them on different platforms and computers, it is also an excellent collaboration tool. If you find yourself frequently using Microsoft Office, you might want to try and switch to Google’s solution. Not only that it is completely free, but it offers standard integration with all other Google services, such as Google+ and Gmail. Furthermore, it offers the possibility of multiple users editing a single document at the same time, which can be an extremely efficient way of either brainstorming, or finishing up a project at the last minute.

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                                          Ivan Dimitrijevic

                                          Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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                                          Last Updated on October 21, 2021

                                          How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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                                          How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

                                          Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

                                          Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

                                          The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

                                          Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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                                          Program Your Own Algorithms

                                          Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

                                          Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

                                          By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

                                          How to Form a Ritual

                                          I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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                                          Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

                                          1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
                                          2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
                                          3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
                                          4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

                                          Ways to Use a Ritual

                                          Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

                                          1. Waking Up

                                          Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

                                          2. Web Usage

                                          How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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                                          3. Reading

                                          How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

                                          4. Friendliness

                                          Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

                                          5. Working

                                          One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

                                          6. Going to the gym

                                          If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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                                          7. Exercise

                                          Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

                                          8. Sleeping

                                          Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

                                          8. Weekly Reviews

                                          The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

                                          Final Thoughts

                                          We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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                                          Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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