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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)

todo list

    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)

          Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 2.35.55 PM

            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)

            Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 2.36.41 PM

              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)

              Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 2.37.54 PM

                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 January 21, 2020

                What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

                What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

                Do you think of yourself as a creative person? Do you play the drums or do watercolor paintings? Perhaps compose songs or direct plays? Can you even relate to any of these so called ‘creative’ experiences? Growing up, did you ever have that ‘artistic’ sibling or friend who excelled in drawing, playing instruments or literature? And you maybe wondered why you can’t even compose a birthday card greeting–or that drawing stick figures is the furthest you’ll ever get to drawing a family portrait. Many people have this common assumption that creativity is an inborn talent; only a special group of people are inherently creative, and everyone else just unfortunately does not have that special ability. You either have that creative flair or instinct, or you don’t. But, this is far from the truth! So what is creativity?

                Can I Be Creative?

                The fact is, that everyone has an innate creative ability. Despite what most people may think, creativity is a skill that everyone can learn and hone on. It’s a skill with huge leverage that allows you to generate enormous amounts of value from relatively little input. How is that so? You’ll have to start by expanding your definition of creativity. Ironically, you have to be creative and ‘think out of the box’ with the definition! Creativity at its heart, is being able to see things in a way that others cannot. It’s a skill that helps you find new perspectives to create new possibilities and solutions to different problems. So, if you encounter different challenges and problems that need solving on a regular basis, then creativity is an invaluable skill to have.Let’s say, for example, that you work in sales. Having creativity will help you to look for new ways to approach and reach out to potential customers. Or perhaps you’re a teacher. In this role you have to constantly look for new ways to deliver your message and educate your students.

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                How Creativity Works

                Let me break another misconception about creativity, which is that it’s only used to create completely “new” or “original” things. Again, this is far from the truth. Because nothing is ever completely new or original. Everything, including works of art, doesn’t come from nothing. Everything derives from some sort of inspiration. That means that creativity works by connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value.From this perspective, you can see a lot of creativity in action. In technology, Apple combines traditional computers with design and aesthetics to create new ways to use digital products. In music, a musician may be inspired by various styles of music, instruments and rhythms to create an entirely new type of song. All of these examples are about connecting different ideas, finding common ground amongst the differences, and creating a completely new idea out of them.

                What Really Is Creativity?

                Creativity Needs an Intention

                Another misconception about the creative process is that you can just be in a general “creative” state. Real creativity isn’t about coming up with “eureka!” moments for random ideas. Instead, to be truly creative, you need to have a direction. You have to ask yourself this question: “What problem am I trying to solve?” Only by knowing the answer to this question can you start flexing your creativity muscles. Often times, the idea of creativity is associated with the ‘Right’ brain, with intuition and imagination. Hence a lot of focus is placed on the ‘Right’ brain when it comes to creativity. But, to get the most out of creativity, you need to utilize both sides of your brain–Right and Left–which means using the analytical and logical part of your brain, too. This may sound surprising to you, but creativity has a lot to do with problem solving. And, problem solving inherently involves logic and analysis. So instead of throwing out the ‘Left’ brain, full creativity needs them to work in unison. For example, when you’re looking for new ideas, your ‘Left’ brain will guide you to a place of focus, which is based on your objective behind the ideas you’re searching for. The ‘Right’ brain then guides you to gather and explore based on your current focus. And when you decide to try out these new ideas, your ‘Right’ brain will give you novel solutions outside of the ones you already know. Your ‘Left’ brain then helps you evaluate and tune the solutions to work better in practice. So, logic and creativity actually work hand in hand, and not one at the expense of the other.

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                Creativity Is a Skill

                At the end of the day, creativity is a skill. It’s not some innate or natural born talent that some have over others. What this means is that creativity and innovation can be practiced and improved upon systematically.A skill can be learned and practiced by applying your strongest learning styles. Want to know what your learning style is? Try this test. A skill can be measured and improved through a Feedback Loop, and can be continuously upgraded over time by regular practice. Through regular practice, your creativity goes through different stages of proficiency. This means that you can become more and more creative! If you never thought that creativity was relevant to you, or that you don’t have a knack for being creative… think again! You can use creativity in any aspect of your life. In fact you should use it, as it will allow you to to break through your usual loop, get you out of your comfort zone, and inspire you to grow and try new things. Creativity will definitely give you an edge when you’re trying to solve a problem or come up with new solutions.

                Start Connecting the Dots

                Excited to start honing your creativity? Here at Lifehack, we’ve got a wealth of knowledge to help you get started. We understand that creativity is a matter of connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value. So, if you want to learn how to start connecting the dots, check out these tips:

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                Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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