I’ll admit it: When it comes to paper products and back-to-school supplies, consider me obsessed. There isn’t a notepad, Post-It pack or weekly planner I won’t purchase.
But in this era where my phone is my lifeline (and likely most of you can relate!), I also rely heavily on apps and digital tools to perform at peak productivity.
Here are my five go-to apps for ensuring my days are as efficient as possible.
- For putting all my notes & thoughts together: Evernote
Evernote’s tagline is: your second brain. And this is no exaggeration!
Let me break it down: Evernote is a note-taking app that helps you store and collect all your resources, ideas and notes in one place. You can organize your Notes into “Notebooks” and then use “Tags” to categorize each note into topics, such as “Social Media Management,” “Meetings,” “Home Life,” “School,” and “Kids’ Activities” (for example). I love that you can type all your notes into Evernote while in meetings or at a conference, rather than relying on Word or randomly in your iPhone’s “Notes” tool. It’s also served as a lifesaver for when I have a brilliant project-related idea on the go!
- For bookmarking content & articles: Pocket
Whether skimming social media or doing a daily deep-dive while online researching, I always stumble upon valuable articles I need to bookmark for later. (It’s that or keeping all my tabs open to save these resources; a scary proposition!)
Pocket is a bookmarking app, which allows you to save content and even “tag” or label it according to specific categories (making it even easier for you to access a specific article later on).
It’s also available in a desktop version, so you can save articles on your mobile as well as on your computer (all your saved content syncs up automatically). This app has saved me and helped me stay productive while waiting in long lineups. It also ensures I don’t get distracted and bogged down by online noise in the form of content overload!
Speaking of which…
- For working, distraction-free: Freedom
This app is the only one on the list that doesn’t have a free “lite” version, but its impact on your daily productivity will be priceless. Between the daily “breaking news” alerts and social media notifications, staying focused on a task can sometimes be challenging. This tool blocks access to the apps and websites that are your biggest time sucks and worst offenders; you set these on your “Blocklist” along with the duration of time. (And you can save your Instagram scrolling for when your work is done, during a predetermined “Freedom Session”!)
- For mindfulness: Headspace
This might seem counterintuitive, but making time in the morning and/or night for meditation will actually make you more productive (so forget about the “there’s no time in the morning” excuse!). Meditation need not be complicated or long; all it takes is a quiet corner, as little as five minutes, and an app like Headspace to guide you along. You will eventually notice that meditating and observing your thoughts will help you deal with anxiety and stress, boost your productivity, and positively impact your overall well-being. (You’re welcome.)
- For daily motivation & affirmation: Shine
Full disclosure: this isn’t an app per se, it’s actually a free messaging tool (in the U.S. it sends you texts, while in Canada it sends you messages via Facebook Messenger). Every Monday to Friday, Shine sends you a message featuring positive quotes, research-backed articles, suggested actions you can take, and more to help kickstart your morning on the right foot. Aside from my morning latte and gratitude journal, my Shine message gives me the positive boost I sometimes need to slay my day.
On that note…
You might wonder how I manage my to-do lists. I swear by my Google Calendar for reminders and still use a paper agenda filled with Post-Its, for my to-dos. I know, I know, “get with the times,” right? But there’s still something rewarding about physically crossing things off my lists! If you’re looking for a digital way to manage your to-dos, most of my friends love Wunderlist.
I’d love know; which apps help you slay your day?