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

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.

                                        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 March 21, 2019

                                          11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

                                          11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

                                          Most gurus talk about habits in a way that doesn’t help you:

                                          You need to push yourself more. You can’t be lazy. You need to wake up at 5 am. You need more motivation. You can never fail…blah blah “insert more gibberish here.”

                                          But let me share with you the unconventional truths I found out:

                                          To build and change habits, you don’t need motivation or wake up at 5 am. Heck, you can fail multiple times, be lazy, have no motivation and still pull it off with ease.

                                          It’s quite simple and easy to do, especially with the following list I’m going to show to you. But remember, Jim Rohn used to say,

                                          “What is simple and easy to do is also simple and easy not to do.”

                                          The important things to remember when changing your habits are both simple and easy, just don’t think that they don’t make any difference because they do.

                                          In fact, they are the only things that make a difference.

                                          Let’s see what those small things are, shall we?

                                          1. Start Small

                                          The biggest mistake I see people doing with habits is by going big. You don’t go big…ever. You start small with your habits.

                                          Want to grow a book reading habit? Don’t start reading a book a day. Start with 10 pages a day.

                                          Want to become a writer? Don’t start writing 10,000 words a day. Start with 300 words.

                                          Want to lose weight? Don’t stop eating ice cream. Eat one less ball of it.

                                          Whatever it is, you need to start small. Starting big always leads to failure. It has to, because it’s not sustainable.

                                          Start small. How small? The amount needs to be in your comfort zone. So if you think that reading 20 pages of a book is a bit too much, start with 10 or 5.

                                          It needs to appear easy and be easy to do.

                                          Do less today to do more in a year.

                                          2. Stay Small

                                          There is a notion of Kaizen which means continuous improvement. They use this notion in habits where they tell you to start with reading 1 page of a book a day and then gradually increase the amount you do over time.

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                                          But the problem with this approach is the end line — where the “improvement” stops.

                                          If I go from reading 1 page of a book a day and gradually reach 75 and 100, when do I stop? When I reach 1 book a day? That is just absurd.

                                          When you start a habit, stay at it in the intensity you have decided. Don’t push yourself for more.

                                          I started reading 20 pages of a book a day. It’s been more than 2 years now and I’ve read 101 books in that period. There is no way I will increase the number in the future.

                                          Why?

                                          Because reading 40 to 50 books a year is enough.

                                          The same thing applies to every other habit out there.

                                          Pick a (small) number and stay at it.

                                          3. Bad Days Are 100 Percent Occurrence

                                          No matter how great you are, you will have bad days where you won’t do your habit. Period.

                                          There is no way of going around this. So it’s better to prepare yourself for when that happens instead of thinking that it won’t ever happen.

                                          What I do when I miss a day of my habit(s) is that I try to bounce back the next day while trying to do habits for both of those days.

                                          Example for that is if I read 20 pages of a book a day and I miss a day, the next day I will have to read 40 pages of a book. If I miss writing 500 words, the next day I need to write 1000.

                                          This is a really important point we will discuss later on rewards and punishments.

                                          This is how I prepare for the bad days when I skip my habit(s) and it’s a model you should take as well.

                                          4. Those Who Track It, Hack It

                                          When you track an activity, you can objectively tell what you did in the past days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t track, you will for sure forget everything you did.

                                          There are many different ways you can track your activities today, from Habitica to a simple Excel sheet that I use, to even a Whatsapp Tracker.

                                          Peter Drucker said,

                                          “What you track is what you do.”

                                          So track it to do it — it really helps.

                                          But tracking is accompanied by one more easy activity — measuring.

                                          5. Measure Once, Do Twice

                                          Peter Drucker also said,

                                          “What you measure is what you improve.”

                                          So alongside my tracker, I have numbers with which I measure doses of daily activities:

                                          For reading, it’s 20 pages.
                                          For writing, it’s 500 words.
                                          For the gym, it’s 1 (I went) or 0 (didn’t go).
                                          For budgeting, it’s writing down the incomes and expenses.

                                          Tracking and measuring go hand in hand, they take less than 20 seconds a day but they create so much momentum that it’s unbelievable.

                                          6. All Days Make a Difference

                                          Will one day in the gym make you fit? It won’t.

                                          Will two? They won’t.

                                          Will three? They won’t.

                                          Which means that a single gym session won’t make you fit. But after 100 gym sessions, you will look and feel fit.

                                          What happened? Which one made you fit?

                                          The answer to this (Sorites paradox)[1] is that no single gym session made you fit, they all did.

                                          No single day makes a difference, but when combined, they all do. So trust the process and keep on going (small).

                                          7. They Are Never Fully Automated

                                          Gurus tell you that habits become automatic. And yes, some of them do, like showering a certain way of brushing your teeth.

                                          But some habits don’t become automatic, they become a lifestyle.

                                          What I mean by that is that you won’t automatically “wake up” in the gym and wonder how you got there.

                                          It will just become a part of your lifestyle.

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                                          The difference is that you do the first one automatically, without conscious thought, while the other is a part of how you live your life.

                                          It’s not automatic, but it’s a decision you don’t ponder on or think about — you simply do it.

                                          It will become easy at a certain point, but they will never become fully automated.

                                          8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

                                          Marshall Goldsmith has a great book with the same title to it. The phrase means that sometimes, you will need to ditch certain habits to make room for other ones which will bring you to the next step.

                                          Don’t be afraid to evolve your habits when you sense that they don’t bring you where you want to go.

                                          When I started reading, it was about reading business and tactic books. But two years into it, I switched to philosophy books which don’t teach me anything “applicable,” but instead teach me how to think.

                                          The most important ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The strongest tree is the willow tree – not because it has the strongest root or biggest trunk, but because it is flexible enough to endure and sustain anything.

                                          Be like a willow, adapting to the new ways of doing things.

                                          9. Set a Goal and Then Forget It

                                          The most successful of us know what they want to achieve, but they don’t focus on it.

                                          Sounds paradoxical? You’re right, it does. But here is the logic behind it.

                                          You need to have a goal of doing something – “I want to become a healthy individual” – and then, you need to reverse engineer how to get there with your habits- “I will go to the gym four times a week.”

                                          But once you have your goal, you need to “forget” about it and only focus on the process. Because you are working on the process of becoming healthy and it’s always in the making. You will only be as healthy as you take care of your body.

                                          So you have a goal which isn’t static but keeps on moving.

                                          If you went to the gym 150 times year and you hit your goal, what would you do then? You would stop going to the gym.

                                          This is why goal-oriented people experience yo-yo effect[2] and why process-oriented people don’t.

                                          The difference between process-oriented and goal-oriented people is that the first focus on daily actions while others only focus on the reward at the finish line.

                                          Set a goal but then forget about it and reap massive awards.

                                          10. Punish Yourself

                                          Last two sections are pure Pavlovian – you need to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. You are the only person who decides what is good and what is bad for you, but when you do, you need to rigorously follow that.

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                                          I’ve told you in point #3 about bad days and how after one occurs, I do double the work on the next day. That is one of my forms of punishments.

                                          It’s the need to tell your brain that certain behaviors are unacceptable and that they lead to bad outcomes. That’s what punishments are for.

                                          You want to tell your brain that there are real consequences to missing your daily habits.[3]

                                          No favorite food to eat or favorite show to watch or going to the cinema for a new Marvel movie- none, zero, zilch.

                                          The brain will remember these bad feelings and will try to avoid the behaviors that led to them as much as possible.

                                          But don’t forget the other side of the same coin.

                                          11. Reward Yourself

                                          When you follow and execute on your plan, reward yourself. It’s how the brain knows that you did something good.

                                          Whenever I finish one of my habits for the day, I open my tracker (who am I kidding, I always keep it open on my desktop) and fill it with a number. As soon as I finish reading 20 pages of a book a day (or a bit more), I open the tracker and write the number down.

                                          The cell becomes green and gives me an instant boost of endorphin – a great success for the day. Then, it becomes all about not breaking the chain and having as many green fields as possible.

                                          After 100 days, I crunch some numbers and see how I did.

                                          If I have less than 10 cheat days, I reward myself with a great meal in a restaurant. You can create your own rewards and they can be daily, weekly, monthly or any arbitrary time table that you create.

                                          Primoz Bozic, a productivity coach, has gold, silver, and bronze medals as his reward system.[4]

                                          If you’re having problems creating a system which works for you, contact me via email and we can discuss specifics.

                                          In the End, It Matters

                                          What you do matters not only to you but to the people around you.

                                          When you increase the quality of your life, you indirectly increase the quality of life of people around you. And sometimes, that is all the “motivation” we need to start.

                                          And that’s the best quote for the end of this article:

                                          “Motivation gets you started, but habits keep you going.”

                                          Keep going.

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                                          More Resources to Help You Build Habits

                                          Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

                                          Reference

                                          [1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites paradox
                                          [2] Muscle Zone: What causes yo-yo effect and how to avoid it?
                                          [3] Growth Habits: 5 Missteps That Cause You To Quit Building A Habit
                                          [4] Primoz Bozic: The Lean Review: How to Plan Your 2019 in 20 Minutes

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