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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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                                          Published on May 20, 2019

                                          How to Prevent Inaction from Leading to Regret

                                          How to Prevent Inaction from Leading to Regret

                                          Time.

                                          When you think of this construct, where do you see your time being spent?

                                          As William Shakespeare famously wrote “I wasted time, and now doth time waste me…”

                                          Have you used your time wisely? Are you where you want to be?

                                          Or do you have unfinished goals to attain… places you want to be, things you still need to do?

                                          The hard truth is, that time once passed cannot be replaced–which is why it is common to hear people say that one should not squander time doing nothing, or delay certain decisions for later. More often than not, the biggest blocker from reaching our goals is often inaction – which is essentially doing nothing, rather than doing something. 

                                          There are many reasons why we may not do something. Most often it boils down to adequate time. We may feel we don’t have enough time, or that it’s never quite the right time to pursue our goals.

                                          Maybe next month, or maybe next year…

                                          And, before you know it, the time has passed and you’re still no where near achieving those goals you dream about. This inaction often leads to strong regret once we look at the situation through hindsight. So, take some time now to reflect on any goal(s) you may have in mind, or hidden at the back of your mind; and, think about how you can truly start working on them now, and not later.

                                          So, how do you start?

                                          Figure Out Your Purpose (Your Main Goal)


                                          The first important step is to figure out your purpose, or your main goal.

                                          What is it that you’re after in life? And, are there any barriers preventing you from reaching your goal? These are good questions to ask when it comes to figuring out how (and for what purpose) you are spending your time.

                                          Your purpose will guide you, and it will ensure your time spent is within the bounds of what you actually want to accomplish.

                                          A good amount of research has been done on how we as humans develop and embrace long-term and highly meaningful goals in our lives. So much so, that having a purpose has connections to reduced stroke, and heart attack. It turns out, our desire to accomplish goals actually has an evolutionary connection–especially goals with a greater purpose to them. This is because a greater purpose often helps both the individual, and our species as a whole, survive.

                                          Knowing why it is you’re doing something is important; and, when you do, it will be easier to budget your time and effort into pursuing after those milestones or tasks that will lead to the accomplishment of your main goal.

                                          Assess Your Current Time Spent

                                          Next comes the actual time usage. Once you know what your main goal is, you’ll want to make the most of the time you have now. It’s good to know how you’re currently spending your time, so that you can start making improvements and easily assess what can stay and what can go in your day to day routine.

                                          For just one day, ideally on a day when you’d like to be more productive, I encourage you to record a time journal, down to the quarter hour if you can manage. You may be quite surprised at how little things—such as checking social media, answering emails that could wait, or idling at the water cooler or office pantry —can add up to a lot of wasted time.

                                          To get you started, I recommend you check out this quick self assessment to assess your current productivity: Want To Know How Much You’re Getting Done In A Day?

                                          Tricks to Tackle Distractions

                                          Once you’ve assessed how you’re currently spending your time, I hope you won’t be in for too big of a shock when you see just how big of an impact distractions and time wasters are in your life.

                                          Every time your mind wanders from your work, it takes an average of 25 minutes and 26 seconds to get into focus again. That’s almost half an hour of precious time every time you entertain a distraction!

                                          Which is why it’s important to learn how to focus, and tackle distractions effectively. Here’s how to do it:

                                          1. Set Time Aside for Focusing

                                          One way to stay focused is to set focused sessions for yourself. During a focused session, you should let people know that you won’t be responding unless it’s a real emergency.

                                          Set your messaging apps and shared calendars as “busy” to reduce interruptions. Think of these sessions as one on one time with yourself so that you can truly focus on what’s important, without external distractions coming your way.

                                          2. Beware of Emails

                                          Emails may sound harmless, but they can come into our inbox continuously throughout the day, and it’s tempting to respond to them as we receive them. Especially if you’re one to check your notifications frequently.

                                          Instead of checking them every time a new notification sounds, set a specific time to deal with your emails at one go. This will no doubt increase your productivity as you’re dealing with emails one after the other, rather than interrupting your focus on another project each time an email comes in.

                                          Besides switching off your email notifications so as not to get distracted, you could also install a Chrome extension called Block Site that helps to stop Gmail notifications coming through at specific times, making it easier for you to manage these subtle daily distractions.

                                          3. Let Technology Help

                                          As much as we are getting increasingly distracted because of technology, we can’t deny it’s many advantages. So instead of feeling controlled by technology, why not make use of disabling options that the devices offer?

                                          Turn off email alerts, app notifications, or set your phone to go straight to voicemail and even create auto-responses to incoming text messages. There are also apps like Forrest that help to increase your productivity by rewarding you each time you focus well, which encourages you to ignore your phone.

                                          4. Schedule Time to Get Distracted

                                          Just as important as scheduling focus time, is scheduling break times. Balance is always key, so when you start scheduling focused sessions, you should also intentionally pen down some break time slots for your mind to relax.

                                          This is because the brain isn’t created to sustain long periods of focus and concentration. The average attention span for an adult is between 15 and 40 minutes. After this time, your likelihood of distractions get stronger and you’ll become less motivated.

                                          So while taking a mental break might seem unproductive, in the long run it makes your brain work more efficiently, and you’ll end up getting more work done overall.

                                          Time is in Your Hands

                                          At the end of the day, we all have a certain amount of time to go all out to pursue our heart’s desires. Whatever your goals are, the time you have now, is in your hands to make them come true.

                                          You simply need to start somewhere, instead of allowing inaction waste your time away, leaving you with regret later on. With a main goal or purpose in mind, you can be on the right track to attaining your desired outcomes.

                                          Being aware of how you spend your time and learning how to tackle common distractions can help boost you forward in completing what’s necessary to reach your most desired goals.

                                          So what are you waiting for? 

                                          Featured photo credit: Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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