Apps to help improve your productivity

Our smartphones and tablets can be a huge source of distraction, but they can also be incredibly useful. I have put together a list of apps I use on a regularly basis to help me stay productive.


Timers


One of the productivity strategies I use is setting timers to stay on task. There are all sorts of timer apps available, but why make life complicated. I simply use the built-in clock app on my iphone, it has a countdown timer and a stopwatch and that’s really all I need.


If you use the Pomodoro technique (25 minutes on task, 5 minutes break), there’s a timer for that called Flat Tomato. It saves you setting up the 25 and 5 minutes so you don’t lose any time. In addition, it tracks how many “Pomodoro’s” (25+5) do you in a day. Quite good really.


Other than that, I’m mostly paper based – I use a bullet journal to organise my to-dos. But here are some apps I have found useful for managing larger projects, and setting up my work flow with clients. There is a certain amount of overlap between them and you might be fine to use only one of them, but for me they do different things well.


Trello


You can set up different boards that contain categories called cards which hold your tasks or notes. Tasks can be subdivided into checklists, which is helpful if there are a few steps to a task. You can see progress on your tasks by checking off each step.

In the past I have also used Trello as a to-do list manager. You can use the cards to divide your tasks either by context (as in David Allen’s Getting Things Done method) or by weekly and monthly tasks. It’s easy to move tasks around between cards, so you could create a Done card for all the things you have finished.


Meistertask


Meistertask works in a similar way as Trello. You set up boards, cards and tasks but the functionality is slightly different. It has a different look and feel to it, and the way you can personalise it also varies. It’s still easy to see progress on your projects and move tasks around.


I use Meistertask to set up programmes I’ve signed up for so that I can see the progress in working through them.


In addition, I have used it to set up my workflow when working with coaching clients, from onboarding, invoicing through training all the way to asking for a testimonial at the end. Setting up the workflow like this ensures that I don’t miss any steps.


Asana


Asana is a tool I have only started using recently and it’s quickly growing on me. It’s yet another project management tool and I’m using it to keep track of my annual goals and my progress towards them.


It’s becoming even more useful now that I’ve integrated it with Instagantt, a Gantt-chart creation tool, which is just a joy to use.