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Supercharge Your Productivity: 7 Best To-Do Apps for 2014

Supercharge Your Productivity: 7 Best To-Do Apps for 2014

Deadlines: you can’t stand them, but you also can’t live without them. Start your new year resolutions early and kill the procrastination demon by turning to these highly useful and intuitive apps to create your to-do lists.

1. ToDoist (Free, or $29/year for Premium Version)

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    Why it’s awesome: ToDoist’s layout and interface has been created to mimic your email inbox’s. ToDoist Karma, its newly unveiled feature, lets you track your productivity so that you can improve in areas like task management in the future. And in case you’re wondering, the basic ToDoist app is free but will cost you $29 per year if you’re enamoured with expansive features, such as 24 additional color codes for projects and 13 for labels.

    Availability: This is the mother of all to-do apps! It’s available on Android, iOS, Windows, Mac OS, Chrome, Firefox,Gmail, Outlook, Thunderbird and yes, on the web too, so there’s no reason not to use it, regardless of which platform you’re on.

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    2. Any.Do (Free)

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      Why it’s awesome: Any.Do has impressed me for a long time now, thanks to the story behind the app and its founder. The app is powerful, flexible and superbly sleek, something that not every to-do app can boast about. One favorite feature among its many users is the missed call reminder: users will be prompted by Any.Do to return a call if you ever receive them (and believe me, I receive A LOT during deadline days).

      Availability: Android and iOS

      3. Carrot ($1.99)

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        Why it’s awesome: Who doesn’t love games? Carrot capitalizes on this fact and presents you with a to-do app with a personality. I love the bossy the app is, constantly coming on to me with phrases like “Greetings, lazy human”, “I am your new task master” and my favorite: “You don’t want to make me upset”. As you complete the tasks one by one, you’ll receive rewards (all 400 unique ones!). Instead of constantly tweaking your Facebook covers on 123covers.net, you’re better off spending time productively with Carrot.

        Availability: iOS

        4. Wunderlist

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          Why it’s awesome: Wunderlist actually lets you focus on completing tasks in your to-do list rather than organizing and re-organizing them again. Its elegance is much-appreciated, and the beautiful interface makes it a joy to work with. The premium version, Wunderlist Pro, is actually very useful if you want to share to-dos among team members or siblings. Anyone can give this a try, albeit through limited access to files and lists.

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          Availability: iOS, Android, Windows, Kindle, Web

          5. Calvetica ($2.99)

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            Why it’s awesome: Calvetica may be feature-rich, but it isn’t in any way sluggish at all. It syncs smoothly with your iPhone or iPad’s calendar, but works faster than the default one. With Calvetica, you’ll never need another notebook or calendar in your journal again. Users heaped praises on it, and I have to agree that the stylish UI design and cleanliness is very appealing. The regular updates rolling off the app shows how diligent its makers are–this is definitely an app to watch in 2014.

            Availability: iOS

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            6. Pocket Lists ($4.99)

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              Why it’s awesome: At $4.99 a pop, this app is certainly not one of the cheapest ones in the market but it’s certainly one of the most feature-rich apps that has almost everything you need to up your productivity to an all new level. Like ToDoist, Pocket Lists come with color coded lists, but with a twist–instead of mere colors, the latter has easily identifiable icons to accompany the lists in threaded view. I am impressed by its “multiplayer” mode that lets users share their to-do lists and collaborate with other people (think: planning parties together or going shopping with your spouse).

              Availability: iOS

              7. 2DO ($9.99)

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                Why it’s awesome: Mac users will love this app if they are constant users of iCal, thanks to its ability to sync the calendars and to-do lists between these platforms. Even without syncing, this app can charm your socks off with its intuitive and polished user interface. Another benefit that seems to be absent in most free to-do task managers is the push notification feature. Being able to add alarms also makes me more than happy paying $4.99 for the app.

                Availability: iOS, Android, Mac OS

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                Last Updated on September 17, 2018

                How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

                How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

                Today we are expected to work in highly disruptive environments. We sit down at our desks, turn on our computer and immediately we are hit with hundreds of emails all vying for our attention.

                Our phones are beeping and pinging with new alerts to messages, likes and comments and our colleagues are complaining about the latest company initiative is designed to get us to do more work and spend less time at home.

                All these distractions result in us multitasking where our attention is switching between one crisis and the next.

                Multitasking is a problem. But how to stop multitasking?

                How bad really is multitasking?

                It dilutes your focus and attention so even the easiest of tasks become much harder and take longer to complete.

                Studies have shown that while you think you are multitasking, you are in fact task switching, which means your attention is switching between two or more pieces of work and that depletes the energy resources you have to do your work.

                This is why, even though you may have done little to no physical activity, you arrive home at the end of the day feeling exhausted and not in the mood to do anything.

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                We know it is not a good way to get quality work done, but the demands for out attention persist and rather than reduce, are likely to increase as the years go by.

                So what to do about it?

                Ways to stop multitasking and increase productivity

                Now, forget about how to multitask!

                Here are a few strategies on how to stop multitasking so you can get better quality and more work done in the time you have each working day:

                1. Get enough rest

                When you are tired, your brain has less strength to resist even the tiniest attention seeker. This is why when you find your mind wandering, it is a sign your brain is tired and time to take a break.

                This does not just mean taking breaks throughout the day, it also means making sure you get enough sleep every day.

                When you are well rested and take short regular breaks throughout the day your brain is fully refuelled and ready to focus in on the work that is important.

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                2. Plan your day

                When you don’t have a plan for the day, the day will create a plan for you. When you allow outside influences to take control of your day, it is very hard not to be dragged off in all directions.

                When you have a plan for the day, when you arrive at work your brain knows exactly what it is you want to accomplish and will subconsciously have prepared itself for a sustained period of focused work.

                Your resistance to distractions and other work will be high and you will focus much better on the work that needs doing.

                3. Remove everything from your desk and screen except for the work you are doing

                I learned this one a long time ago. In my previous work, I worked in a law office and I had case files to deal with. If I had more than one case file on my desk at any one time, I would find my eyes wandering over the other case files on my desk when I had something difficult to do.

                I was looking for something easier. This meant often I was working on three or four cases at one time and that always led to mistakes and slower completion.

                Now when I am working on something, I am in full-screen mode where all I can see is the work I am working on right now.

                4. When at your desk, do work

                We are creatures of habit. If we do our online shopping and news reading at our desks as well as our work, we will always have the temptation to be doing stuff that we should not be doing at that moment.

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                Do your online shopping from another place—your home or from your phone when you are having a break—and only do your work when at your desk. This conditions your brain to focus in on your work and not other distractions.

                5. Learn to say no

                Whenever you hear the phrase “learn to say no,” it does not mean going about being rude to everyone. What it does mean is delay saying yes.

                Most problems occur when we say “yes” immediately. We then have to spend an inordinate amount of energy thinking of ways to get ourselves out of the commitment we made.

                By saying “let me think about it” or “can I let you know later” gives you time to evaluate the offer and allows you to get back to what you were doing quicker.

                6. Turn off notifications on your computer

                For most of us, we still use computers to do our work. When you have email alert pop-ups and other notifications turned on, they will distract you no matter how strong you feel.

                Turn them off and schedule email reviewing for times between doing your focused work. Doing this will give you a lot of time back because you will be able to remain focused on the work in front of you.

                7. Find a quiet place to do your most important work

                Most workplaces have meeting rooms that are vacant. If you do have important work to get done, ask if you can use one of those rooms and do your work there.

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                You can close the door, put on your headphones and just focus on what is important. This is a great way to remove all the other, non-important, tasks demanding your attention and just focus on one piece of work.

                The bottom line

                Focusing on one piece of work at a time can be hard but the benefits to the amount of work you get done are worth it. You will make fewer mistakes, you will get more done and will feel a lot less tired at the end of the day.

                Make a list of the four or five things you want to get done the next day before you finish your work for the day and when you start the day, begin at the top of the list with the first item.

                Don’t start anything else until you have finished the first one and then move on to the second one. This one trick will help you to become way more productive.

                Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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