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Why and How I Went on an App Diet

Why and How I Went on an App Diet

    If you are a smartphone user, particularly and iOS or Android user, you are faced with the choice of hundreds of thousands of applications. Most of these apps promise that they are the best at something, or the easiest to use, or the most beloved, or whatever. But what I have tend to find is that most apps are junk and a waste of your time.

    Yep, that’s right. There are many more applications that are pure junk than are golden and even more that are a total waste of your limited, use-to-be productive time. So, under this premise there are only a few applications that you both need and are worth a damn.

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    I remember getting my first phone with apps several years ago and downloading and trying everything that I could. It was fun at first, but then got in my way of being productive and became a real nuisance. This may not be the case for everyone, but I found that going “minimal” in my app selection is a must and since taking this step I have been much more productive and less “finicky” during my day.

    Here is how you too can go on an app diet and start using your phone instead of it using you:

    Find out exactly what you need your device for

    This is the primary step in trying to figure out what apps you need and what apps you don’t. What do you need your phone for in the first place? Just making calls, email, calendaring, and messaging? Then why do you have every variant of Angry Birds taking up space and time on your device?

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    This is where you decide exactly what your device should and shouldn’t be used for.

    Identify awesome apps that fill the needs of your device

    Now that you know what your devce is and what it isn’t you have to find apps that bring that idea to reality. At Lifehack we have featured some of the best productivity apps for iOS and going through lists like those here and elsewhere can really help you narrow down your choices.

    The best way to find the apps that suit your needs is to search the web for them, see what many people suggest and use, and then give them a try to see if they fit.

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    Awesome apps cost money, so pay the piper

    I know. Shocking, right? Great apps are made by great developers and tend to cost money. If you are a “I only download free apps” kind of guy or gal (which tend to be Android users more often than iOS users) then you probably can settle for apps that really are sub-par to their paid counterparts.

    In my experience and many others, there aren’t too many free apps that are better or even equivalent in form and function than their paid counterparts.

    Personal apps defined

    So, what I have done is limited myself to a small selection of applications. Mostly to keep my phone out of my hair and allow it to be used for productive means.

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    Like I said above, many people don’t have a problem with having tons of games and such on their phones, but trust me, I have seen many people at work and school doing more Facebooking than pure work. That is why, on my iPhone games had to go.

    I’ve limited myself to 15 apps plus the stock iOS apps that came with my iPhone. This is a pretty tough exercise to do, but here are my picks:

    1. Reeder
    2. TuneIn Radio Pro
    3. Mog
    4. OmniFocus
    5. Instapaper
    6. Kindle
    7. Outliner
    8. Notesy
    9. IMDB (fastest way to shut down a co-worker on some movie related trivias)
    10. You Need a Budget
    11. Dropbox
    12. 1Password
    13. Wikipanion
    14. Tweetbot
    15. Runkeeper

    I know, I know. You may be saying, “I thought that you were all about being productive and cutting out things like Twitter, Mr. Minimal App Diet Man.” Well, yes that is true sort of, but I use Twitter to keep abreast of things in my industry and of course to share things myself. I consider it a guilty pleasure on my device and feel that it hasn’t interrupted my work flow like games or crappy apps have in the past. So it will stay for now.

    Challenge yourself

    So here is the deal. If you are feeling bogged down by your personal device because of the crazy 100 apps you have installed, take the time and identify what this device is actually for and better yet, what it isn’t for. This can help you narrow down your app selections so your device can stay out of the way of you being productive.

    And hey, why don’t you list the 15 apps (other than stock apps that shipped with your phone) that you absolutely without any doubt must have to get your work and life done below?

    More by this author

    CM Smith

    A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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    Last Updated on May 25, 2020

    10 Best Task List Apps to Boost Productivity in 2020

    10 Best Task List Apps to Boost Productivity in 2020

    Organizational drag is anything that eats up time and keeps people from getting things done in time. Companies that wish to boost productivity do so by creating more efficient processes.

    This also applies to individuals, freelancers, and entrepreneurs. Whether you work alone or as part of a team, it is important to use the right tools to boost productivity, and having an accessible and easily manageable task list can go a long way.

    Here is a list of the top ten productivity apps that you can use to achieve more.

    1. ToDoist

      ToDoist is an awesome to-do task list app that is used by over 10 million people. To use the app, you just have to write down all the activities that you plan to do. The software will then interpret these activities and categorize the tasks accordingly.

      For instance, if you create a task to go for lunch at noon with a friend, the app will automatically categorize this task as a meeting and will send you a reminder at the right time.

      However, this app is more than a personal activity planner. You can use it to plan activities for the entire team. It is also good for planning entire projects, discussing details about the project, and monitoring the deadlines.

      The basic functionality is free, but you can unlock premium features for $36 or $60 a year for full access.

      Available on iOS and Android

      2. monday.com

        This productivity app lets you manage your workflows and tasks. It is a great tool for creating a task list and helping you have a clear view of your work and the status of each task.

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        The app is a bit similar to a spreadsheet. However, it looks much nicer, and it allows you to toggle between multiple views. It gives you alerts and notifications, and it allows you to attach files as well as communicate with colleagues.

        The features of Monday.com include a task board that can be customized to manage due date, hours spent, task status, and much more. Users can upload and attach files, make comments, mention members of their team, and more. It can also be integrated into Google Drive, Slack, GitHub, Jira, Dropbox, and many other platforms.

        If you have problems setting it up, you can contact the customer via email or phone.

        Available on iOS and Android

        3. CloudApp

          CloudApp is a great app for boosting productivity. It offers highly intuitive communication, which can help you save up to 56 hours a week. Your only problem will be deciding how you can utilize all the extra time.

          Whether you are talking with a customer, colleague, or client, this app has all the features you need. With GIFs, screenshots, and image annotation, you no longer have to write lengthy emails. Instead, you can show people what you want them to do.

          The app has over 3 million users. It has proven quite reliable when it comes to helping users to boost productivity. You can opt for the free version or you can opt for a $9 a month upgrade to access premium features.

          Available on iOS

          4. Quip

            If you are working closely with members of your team, Quip is a great app for team activities. The platform combines spreadsheets, documents, slides, and chat. Its main strength is that it comes with a suite of Live Apps. You can use them to increase the functionality of Quip.

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            Moreover, you will waste less time by being able to streamline the use of various tools. Quip is one of the most adaptable productivity apps in the world.

            There are options to use connected tools to track time, manage work, and much more. Some of the integrations of Quip are Dropbox, Github, Slack, Salesforce, and much more. The app costs just $30 a month for 5 users.

            Available on iOS and Android

            5. Trello

              Trello is an app that makes managing projects an easy task. This is made possible by the app’s Kanban philosophy. It is a visual and intuitive platform.

              Users can break huge tasks into small chunks, making it useful for creating a task list. This is made possible by creating cards for each task. The cards can be organized into different columns, which are representative of various stages of the project. Once a task is complete, a card is moved from one column to the next.

              The app is free but it comes with a premium plan with $9.99 a month.

              Available on iOS and Android

              6. Focus Keeper

                This app is perfect for those who wish to improve their work habits and minimize distractions while maintaining focus on current tasks. Focus Keeper is based on the Pomodoro technique. This method utilizes timeboxing to ensure each task is complete.

                This is more than a task list app. If you wish to understand how you work best, the app delivers a suite of tools that you can use to set up your workday. It tracks your hours, analyzes, checks interruptions, and much more. Some of the integrations of Focus Keeper are Trello, Asana, Todoist, Basecamp, Outlook, Google Keep, and many others.

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                The app costs $2.99 a month for those who wish to access premium features. It is accessible on Linux, iOS, Android, web, macOS, and Windows.

                Available on iOS and Android

                7. Quire

                  This app is designed as a professional and personal to-do task list manager. The app has a very efficient and optimized design due to the developers’ philosophy on visual task management. It allows you to easily get updates and work with your teammates.

                  The app also allows users to customize and choose templates based on their preferences. It is easy to use, but it helps you get things done. The app is currently free.

                  Available on iOS and Android

                  8. Asana

                    This Kanban-style app is quite popular. It helps you visually organize your tasks. With this app, you can set deadlines, tasks, assignees, and visualize your workflow. It is quite popular and used by many people.

                    The app features a sleek clutter-free design and comes with several integrations. As a result, it can be adapted to a wide range of projects. The app costs $9.99 a month.

                    Available on iOS and Android

                    9. Toggl

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                      You can use this simple time tracker to help boost your team’s productivity. It works on different devices across several platforms, and it comes with numerous friendly reminders to ensure that you remember to keep it on. It usually sends you a report once you complete a task to help you make improvements next time.

                      The app is free and those who wish to access premium features pay $9 a month.

                      Available on iOS and Android

                      10. Omni Focus

                        This app is considered the gold standard of the to-do apps. Omni Focus delivers a huge number of features that can be used to sort, prioritize, and plan tasks. It features several ways to categorize tasks such as location, energy needed, and priority.

                        It is only available on Apple devices and it costs $39.99 for the standard package.

                        Available on iOS

                        Summary

                        All the apps above are great for boosting productivity. However, you will need to pick one that best suits your needs. Try a number of them out before you decide to settle on one.

                        More Tools for Productivity

                        Featured photo credit: Bram Naus via unsplash.com

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