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

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

Keeping your life on track to meet certain goals can be hard. If you have kids, are in a relationship, have a demanding work schedule, elderly family member whom you have to take care of, or just about anything else, it can be hard and give you the excuse not to pursue your goals and be productive. As a writer, I know that I sometimes need help with things like attempting to be creative (I get writers block), sticking to a writing schedule, finding articles of interest for myself and being self disciplined. Here are some web and app resources that I use to help me daily to improve productivity.

1. Wunderlist: Web & App (Free)

Wunderlist-Screenshot1

    Wunderlist

    is the best list app and web resource that I know and use. I can share certain lists with group of people like my family and another list with, let’s say, my boss. The best part is neither of them see any other list I am sharing.

    A great feature of Wunderlist is the reminder and due date. If it is on your phone or tablet, it will send you reminders (push notifications or emails) as well as have the due date next to the item. It frees up your mind so you are not worrying about what has been completed or not and lets you move on to more important things you want to do.

    Wunderlist is cross platform and synced not only for your devices, but also the others you share lists with. I seriously suggest and highly recommend using this tool.

    There are some pay features – including adding a background, unlimited assigning, unlimited files and unlimited sub-tasks. But I have not had any issues with the free version for the amount that I use it on a personal level.

    2. Trello: Web and App (Free)

    Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 10.48.10 AM

      My second favorite all time web resource and app is Trello. A simple to use layout helps set clear goals and you can create lists to achieve these goals. Trello is like Evernote and Google Keep (mentioned below) but something about this one just really makes me feel organized and lets me do things in a way I understand for myself.

      So basically you create a “board” and then add a list. Inside this list are “cards.” Each card can be very different from the one before, but is still essential to completing the list. You write the description of the list on top. One list I have is “Work on Financial Goals.” Inside that I create a card “Payoff things” then inside that card I have 3 items to check off. 1. Payoff Amex, 2. Payoff Car 3. Cut Student Loan in half to $XXXX. As I complete a list item, Trello tells me what percentage I am to completing this particular goal. My next list is “Things to Try.” Inside that card I have “Join a Dodgeball Team” – I listed some links to local places that are advertising a Dodgeball league.

      There are some pay features, but I do not need use them and you can try them out by recommending to a friend.

      3. Evernote: Web and App (Free)

      Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 10.09.34 AM
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        Evernote is simple and easy to use, with a very user friendly interface. With Evernote, there is no excuse to forget anything important again. I notice with Evernote that the user has to be a little more self disciplined then most of the applications that I use. It takes some effort to organize your thoughts, but it is an okay mind mapping tool (Simple mind is a mind mapping app listed below.)

        As an example of how it works, I assist a guy who installs alarms and he’ll call me up and tell me that he just left ABC store in blank town. I then go in and start writing up the job ticket, estimate, and other documents that are going to be needed. I also place notes that he rambled off to me and share that Evernote note with him.

        4. Google Keep: Web and App (Free)

        GoogleKeep

          Google Keep is Google’s Answer to Evernote. I recently just started playing with this to see how I like it and as a Google Fan (Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Drive) I am liking it so far. The design is like a board with sticky notes. I think of this as my answer to not having to carry a pen and small pad on me anymore to jot down numbers, notes, or a take a quick pic of something that I want to think of later.

          I do not like that everything is where ever it lands and there is no real organization except to move the notes that I have found,  but when you are on the go just wanting to take the quick note, it does it’s job.

          5. Pinterest: Web & App (Free)

          blog-pinterest

            Everyone I know uses Pinterest in one way or another. However, most people I know don’t use it to boost their productivity or creativity. I even have boards that are just random ramblings like Puppy Love – it’s about puppies. I have boards that are secret. These boards are titled with project names I am working on and contain images and notes for how I want to use them for said project.

            Also, this year I started posting more meaningful items, creating a board called Making You a Better TomorrowI have many different items on this board, but they are all related to making me a better tomorrow; some are just random quotes, articles I find interesting and want to share with people who follow. Be it inspiration that I found for myself personally or for a project, Pinterest keeps everything pretty organized in one place.

            Make sure to have Pinterest on your phone, tablet, and the add on widgets for your computer and browser. It makes it a lot simpler to Pin.

            6. 1 Second Everyday: App Only (Free to try Pay afterwards)

            1 Second Everyday

              Stupid and crazy as it is, I love this app. For 1 second everyday I take a moment to shoot beautiful video – be it of my dog, a city street I am walking on, a dinner with friends, whatever the case may be. I learned that when you take in your surroundings, even if it is just for a second, you can clear your mind of the clutter and learn to prioritize things into 3 categories Must Do, Want to do and Don’t even worry about.

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              7. One Word: Web Only (Free)

              One Word

                One Word  is very simple, but gets my productive brain juices flowing. One of my first morning activities is to go on this site and write a blurb about the word they give me – you only have 60 seconds.

                8. Diaro: App and Web (Free to Use, $3.99 to Sync across platforms)

                My Diaro

                  There are many great reasons to love Diaro appYes, I use it as a Diary/Journal of sorts, but it is so much more. First off, it is private! Second, the app sends me a reminder everyday to write.

                  I write about many different things, but the categories feature I can use help me to go above and beyond and collectively organize my thoughts where they need to be about a particular topic.

                  Negatives: paying the $3.99 to Sync, but it is worth it if you are going to keep up with your journal and writings. You cannot customize the website version to look like the one on your phone or tablet. Support for Diaro says they are going to be adding this feature shortly.

                  9. Google Hangouts: Web and App (Free)

                  Google Hangouts

                    Google Hangouts is one of my favorite apps. This is a universal answer to Apples Facetime with added features. You have video chat, texting/chatting, sharing of docs and pictures. Most people I know have a Google account, so I am seeing more and more people using Google hangouts with me in one fashion or another.

                    10. SimpleMind: App (Free)
                    simplemind-droid

                      I like using the Simplemind app when I know I am going to have to give a presentation, start a big project, or start a story that I want to tell. Apps like these let you see everything – like a big brain storming session and then help to organize it from there.

                      11. Google Fit App (Free)

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                        Basically Google Fit is a glorified pedometer, and considering I always have my phone on me it is nice to know how much I walked even on the days I do not go to the gym. It helps me to prioritize and organize my exercise routine.

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                        12. Budget Simple Web App ($4.99 a month)

                        Budgetsimple

                          I like Budgetsimple but wish the app was free. It is simple and easy to use, but just a little time consuming if you are only using the web version like I am. If the app were free, then I could be sitting in my car while the guy is pumping my gas and enter everything right then and there. But I have yet to find a good app and website that is a cross platform finance app that I like. It is very helpful with creating details and showing you charts of how your life really is working out on a monthly basis.

                          If you know a good cross platform finance app that is user friendly and easy to use, please let me know so I can play with it.

                          13. Pocket (Free)

                          Crossplatform Pocket

                            Pocket is one of the apps that I like to use when I am traveling. But if I am not traveling for awhile, I sort of forget about this app. The best thing about this app is the ability to read certain articles offline. It is perfect when you are on an airplane or the subway system in New York. So if you do not have an offline article app, think about getting Pocket.

                            14. Google Maps (Free)

                            Google Maps App

                              Who wants to waste time trying to find a location? The Google Maps App is great because it not only gives driving directions, but other alternative ways to get somewhere like on your bike or by public transportation.

                              15. I Heart Radio (Free)

                              iheartradio

                                I Heart Radio is another one of these apps that you think might be a waste of time and has nothing to do with productivity. However, I find that listening to music helps me relax and get into my own personal projects. I like I Heart Radio because I can listen to people having “Hot topic” conversation and it gives me a snipet of what is going on in the world.

                                16. TED Ideas Worth Sharing Web and App (Free)

                                Ted Ideas worth Sharing

                                  I love the Ted app and website. I like going on either the app or website to become informed and taught to think outside the box or see something from a whole new perspective. That is what Ted does. I’ll watch a video during my lunch break if I am eating alone. Many of them I find so inspirational.

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                                  17. Soundhound (Free)

                                  soundhound

                                    Music helps get my creative juices flowing most of the time. If I need to be in a certain mood music can get me there. Soundhound makes life easier by easily telling me the name of a song that is playing on the radio. How does this app make one more productive? It eliminates the search for a song you heard in passing. I can be sitting in a doctors office and then on comes a song that I never heard before that I find inspiring and instead of me searching for it later and wasting time, I just tap the Soundhound app and learn the song. Later when I add that song to a playlist, I have wasted little time.

                                    18. Spotify App and Web (Free and Paid)
                                    Spotify

                                      So you know how to listen to actual radio stations, you know how to find songs when you are in an analog setting, but how about taking your playlists with you. SPOTIFY! I don’t know about you but I hate to carry the computer, the tablet, the smartphone and iPod (Mp3 player,) then making sure the songs I want to hear are on whatever device they need to be on.

                                      With Spotify you can take your playlists with you, but you will be online for the free version (meaning it will use your data plans if not connect to wifi). If you want to take them offline, Spotify has a paid version and will download the songs to your device, (most of them anyway). Again, music helps add to creativity, boost productivity and give you energy – think about going a spin class and listening to classical. Yes, I am a big believer in the idea that music can help you achieve your desired goals and objectives.

                                      19. Words With Friends App (Free)

                                      Words with Friends

                                        I believe you should have one game app that you indulge in and I choose Words with Friends. This app helps boost productivity too. If you are blocked on a project and cannot work through it this app can help. This app, as fun as it may be, helps unblock your brain. It makes you think and see things a different way by rearranging letters. Sometimes even the words that are created by you or the other person might give you a spark to solve the puzzle you are working on.

                                        20. Cable Provider Apps

                                        080911-Cablevision-App-iPhone

                                          You might on this one be telling me how does watching TV make you more productive. It is not the TV shows you are watching but the app that lets you program your DVR. Do you stop reading that article to watch your favorite TV show? Maybe you are doing something liking pinning to your Pinterest page then get caught up in show that was playing in the background. Maybe a bus you are on has an ad for an educational program you want to see that will inspire you.

                                          Whatever your reasoning is, get the app from your cable provider. Don’t stop living your life because you want to watch a show, and don’t go searching on your cable guide to find the show or rerun of your show. Cable provider apps make searching for a show easier, setting your DVR and then moving about your life.

                                          21. Inspirational Quotes (Free)

                                          For my last app and resource that I use is Inspirational Quotes. This kind of resource has to be one that fits your personality. Someone might want a bible quote, a joke of the day, funny quotes, do a picture of the day, painting of the day. This is another one of the moments in your day where you look for the beautiful in all this craziness you face and have to do.

                                          Happy hunting with your apps. Remember Apps can be time wasters (many social media ones and of course games), or apps can make and help you do things. How you choose to use those free in between minutes between life’s obligations is up to you. What are your top apps and resources for improving productivity?

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                                          Last Updated on August 15, 2018

                                          25 Most Useful Excel Shortcuts That Very Few People Know

                                          25 Most Useful Excel Shortcuts That Very Few People Know

                                          Imagine if you could use 5 simple shortcuts while working in Excel, and increase your productivity without wasting time for searching information in huge tables, writing long formulas, and sorting the data.

                                          Or even better:

                                          What if you would get 25 useful shortcuts… and each of them could simplify your work, so you could do much more every day?

                                          You’d definitely feel excited to read about them.

                                          Today is your lucky day because we are going to share with you in this article 25 great Excel shortcuts you can use in your work every day! This is your lucky chance, so go ahead and become a real professional in Excel without wasting your time.

                                          How important are Excel shortcuts for you?

                                          The most effective thing to check out if people really need something is to release a survey and look at the results. So, according to the anonymous survey, 99% of people said Excel shortcuts are critical or important for them.

                                          In general, there are more than 200 shortcuts in Excel. But when we have analyzed the data about how many shortcuts people know, we got the next results:

                                          • 26% of people know 10 or fewer shortcuts;
                                          • 61% of people know 10-50 shortcuts;
                                          • 10% of people know 50-100 shortcuts.

                                          As you can see, not so many people know a lot of shortcuts. Probably, some of them never think about increasing their productivity in such a simple way.

                                          Of course, it depends on how deep you use Excel. Some people use this powerful application just for making simple tables or graphs, others use it for everyday work to count something.

                                          Most of the accountants and businessmen use much more Excel functions for more complex tasks such as creating VBA macros, managing PivotTables, recalculating huge workbooks, outlining data, etc.

                                          But even those people who work with Excel every day very close may know a few shortcuts. Needless to say, they can do their job without shortcuts, but it usually takes for them much more time. T

                                          his sounds not funny, especially if you must finish a huge amount of work urgently. There is a great opportunity for you to increase your productivity in Excel and do your job faster with our useful shortcuts.

                                          5 Main reasons to learn excel shortcuts

                                          Many people don’t understand why they should use shortcuts if they can work without them. Of course, if you use Excel twice per year to make a simple table or a graph, it is probably not so important for you to know many shortcuts.

                                          But if you work in Excel every day, sorting huge tables and managing with tons of data, then shortcuts will help you to reach the next five goals:

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                                          1. Work efficiently and faster in Excel
                                          2. Manage big amounts of data easily and fast
                                          3. Stay calm and concentrated even while doing a tedious job
                                          4. Make your work accurately and properly without errors
                                          5. Get a better understanding of Microsoft Excel

                                          Who can use Excel shortcuts?

                                          There are a lot of people who can simplify their life with Excel shortcuts, and here are the groups that will definitely love using them:

                                          • People who work in banks, finance organizations, etc.
                                          • Businessmen who make tons of various reports and presentations in Excel for meetings and briefings.
                                          • Students who usually are lazy and impatient to make their homework because they don’t want to waste a lot of time working in Excel.
                                          • Private entrepreneurs who keep various data in Excel tables.

                                          Whether you are a student who hates Excel because it seems a time-wasting and boring application, or you are an accountant who must recalculate huge worksheets every day without making errors, we recommend reading and learning these Excel shortcuts to make your work simpler and save some time.

                                          With these simple but useful tricks, it is so easy to finish your job and get more time for yourself.

                                          25 Excel shortcuts to increase your productivity

                                          Here are 25 great Excel shortcuts you should learn and use for work or studying to make your job faster and simpler. Try to use them all and you will realize you were totally blind before while working in Excel:

                                          1. Format whatever object fast with Ctrl+1

                                          If you select any object in Excel – a cell, a chart, a chart axis, a drawing object – then press Ctrl+1, and you will get the Properties dialog for the certain object. This shortcut offers a very quick and easy way to format whatever object you’re working with.

                                          2. Use range names with Ctrol+G or F5 key

                                          If you use range names (which we strongly recommend to do) and you want to choose the range with a specific name references, press either Ctrl+G or the F5 key, which launches the GoTo dialog.

                                          If the name is simple, you can click on it in a list in that dialog. But if it’s at all unusual, Excel won’t list it; so you will need to type in the name. Then press OK.

                                          3. Use a range name in a formula with =sum( and F3

                                          Suppose you want to use a range name in a formula. For example, you want to sum the Sales range. Enter…

                                          =sum(

                                          …and then press F3.

                                          When you do so, Excel launches the Paste Name dialog. Just choose “Sales” from the list, press the OK button in the dialog, then enter the SUM function’s closing “)” to complete the formula.

                                          4. Launch Function Arguments dialog easily with Ctrl+A

                                          Suppose you want to check the help topic for a worksheet function. For example, you want to read about the MATCH function. In a cell, type…

                                          =match(

                                          …and then press Ctrl+A, or click the Insert Function (“fx“) button to the left of the formula bar.

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                                          When you do so, Excel displays the Function Arguments dialog, which might offer all the help you need.

                                          But if you still want to see the complete help topic, click the blue “Help on this function” hyperlink in the lower-left corner of the dialog. This technique works with all documented Excel functions.

                                          5. Copy stuff down the column without scrolling with Ctrl+D

                                          If you added a formula in a new column on the right of a huge dataset, and you want to copy that formula down without scrolling, do these steps:

                                          • go to the right to the column that has data (the column to the left of the new column with the formula);
                                          • press Ctrl+Down – to get to bottom;
                                          • move one cell to the right (with arrow key naturally);
                                          • press Ctrl+Shift+Up to select the new column, at the top of which is the formula you just created;
                                          • press Ctrl+D to fill down the formula.

                                          6. Quick access to any function with Alt+

                                          By customizing the quick access toolbar, you can create simple shortcuts to commands that you would otherwise have to find in the Ribbon tabs, or macros you have created yourself.

                                          The keyboard shortcut is simply selecting Alt+ (the number of the command you wish to select).

                                          For example, if you have customized your quick access toolbar to have Calc Sheet, Save, Open. To calculate sheet you would hit Alt+1, for save Alt+2, and for open Alt+3.

                                          A lot of people are unaware of this useful function, and it’s a great time saver.

                                          7. Format cells with Ctrl+1

                                          When you need to format cells, use Ctrl+1. Most people know this as the shortcut for the Format Cells dialog, but you can also use it to format almost anything in Excel, without a care about the state of the ribbon. Try this amazing and simple shortcut!

                                          8. Choose visible cells with Alt+

                                          When you need to choose visible cells only – use Alt+. This is the trick to copy only what you see. It is a priceless shortcut when you’re manually hiding rows and columns in the table.

                                          9. Use filtering

                                          Filtering – it is a powerful way to slice, dice, and sort through a huge table of information.

                                          It’s amazingly effective when you’re participating in a meeting to discuss something like a sales forecast, and everyone is looking in real-time at your spreadsheet projected on a screen (or on their monitors).

                                          To some people, you will be seen as the God of Spreadsheets, and this is not a joke!

                                          10. Insert or delete column/row easily with the Ctrl key

                                          Some people waste a lot of time even for simple operations, for example, when they need to insert/delete columns and rows in Excel.

                                          Use this shortcut to insert: with an entire row or column selected, use Ctrl+Shift ++.

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                                          To delete: with an entire row or column selected, use Ctrl + –.

                                          11. See formula results with F9

                                          If you want to check formula results within multiple formulas, highlight the formula and select F9 to see formula result.

                                          Don’t forget to undo before exiting the formula.

                                          12. Use ALT+Enter for more text within a cell

                                          If you want to add a second line of text within a cell, use ALT+Enter.

                                          13. Use EDATE to move a date on by a full calendar month:

                                          Here’s how to use EDATE:

                                          =EDATE(15/01/16,+1) = 15/02/2016 (15th Feb 2016)

                                          =EDATE (15/01/2016,-2) = 15/11/2015 (15th Nov 2016)

                                          14. Use EOMONTH to move a date onto the end of the month:

                                          Here’s how to use EMONTH:

                                          =EOMONTH(15/01/2016,0) = 31/01/2016 (31st Jan 2106)

                                          =EOMONTH (15/01/2016,-2) = 30/11/2015 (30th Nov 2015)

                                          15. Remove spaces with TRIM

                                          TRIM is a useful function known by few people. It removes any spaces at the beginning of a value. This is useful if you are pulling in values from somewhere else.

                                          16. Repeat commands with F4 or Ctrl+Y

                                          In many cases, you may need to repeat your last action. Use F4 or Ctrl+Y; you can repeat many commands like applying the same borders, format, or insert a worksheet again.

                                          17. Quick access to cells with the Ctrl key and Shift key

                                          When you need to go to the first or last cell of a worksheet, no matter where you are, use Ctrl+Home, Ctrl+End combinations.

                                          And here is a pleasant bonus for you: add the Shift key to select everything on the way!

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                                          18. Use Ctrl+ to create a timestamp

                                          If you need a date stamp and/or a timestamp in your document, there is no need to type a date and time! Use shortcuts Ctrl+ ; (date) Ctrl+Shift+ : (time). It works like a magic and helps to save your time and nerves.

                                          19. Use autosum shortcut for sum function anywhere

                                          Autosum shortcut – use Alt =. It is a “magic” shortcut of Excel to automatically insert a sum function.

                                          You can use this shortcut to sum rows, columns, or even an entire table in one step without wasting your time.

                                          20. Use data validation

                                          This is an amazing but underutilized tool in Excel, which can be used for a variety of things:

                                          • Create dependent drop-down lists;
                                          • Create drop-down lists;
                                          • Protect/restrict data input of specific cells (without the need for VBA macros).

                                          21. Use conditional formatting

                                          It can be used for various purposes such as color format or cell format of cells, rows or columns based on dependent cell values or formats.

                                          22. Use formula auditing

                                          This is a great tool to analyze and trace precedent or dependent cells, check errors and evaluate formulas.

                                          The “Watch Window” is a feature to keep a snapshot of an area of the spreadsheet, and then move to another area of the workbook – particularly valuable if you’re managing large spreadsheets or don’t have a second screen.

                                          23. Use Scenario Manager to generate summary outputs of a spreadsheet

                                          Scenario Manager (under “What-if Analysis”) enables users to generate high-level, summary outputs of a spreadsheet – without the need to replicate the entire workbook.

                                          It will present multiple scenarios of a spreadsheet in a succinct, high-level summary worksheet.

                                          24. Use INDIRECT to set up large tables

                                          INDIRECT makes it easy to set up tables which reference larger tables without a lot of referencing work or cutting and pasting; especially for dynamic spreadsheets.

                                          25. Use OFFSET for complicated calculations or formulas

                                          OFFSET can be useful for things like calculating YTD numbers or creating formulas that take data in rows and using in columns.

                                          The bottom line

                                          As you can see, when you have a boring or tedious job to do, the best way to do it fast is not looking for a way how to avoid it, but searching for the shortest variant to do it!

                                          That is why we suggest keeping in mind these Excel shortcuts that will help you to save a lot of time and nerves.

                                          If it seems hard for you to remember all them, you can print out the list of shortcuts and keep it on your worktable. Use it to search for some help when you need it, and over time, you’ll remember all shortcuts easily.

                                          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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