6 APProved Apps for APProaching Productivity

01.21.2015 - No Comments

Flat design concept for smartphone services

I’ll say it—technology is both a blessing and a curse (read about current tech innovation here). It’s astounding how we can connect with colleagues, old friends and family across the globe. This interconnectivity is convenient in terms of relationship maintenance, but it can also be an adjustment and potential challenge. Constant contact with business partners translates into stepping up your game and being prepared for anything at any instant. The world is literally at our fingertips. Is this idea both inspiring and extremely overwhelming to anyone else?

As a New Year’s Resolution, I set out to find a way to help navigate through this interconnected and enhanced world of technology by focusing specifically on apps. I also travel lightly, so all of the apps listed below can be used for free by the user (which may be you).

the essentials

The following three apps are necessary for an individual to stay connected with the world around them (personally or professionally).

They’re great for:

  • sharing and editing files
  • organizing information
  • staying on track with projects

They’re more mainstream, which can make connecting with others through the app easier and more user-friendly.

Google Drive

Google Drive is one of the most common ways to collaborate and share content with others. Upload documents, create documents to edit and save your revisions in real time while accessing said documents from any device where you’ve downloaded the app. It’s great for the on-the-go businessperson editing and sharing files with clients and partners. You can even access and edit files offline!

Real life APPlication: Use Google Drive to create an open, shared document to store and edit holiday gift ideas with your family!
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Dropbox is a cloud storage app that can be accessed from any place where you have an Internet connection. The user can store documents, files, music (almost anything imaginable) and share them with anyone around the globe (who also has an email address and Internet connection). The user can save files directly to a device for offline viewing, just in case. Download the Dropbox app to your computer and directly store files there, as well!

Real-life APPlication: Dropbox is nifty for storing important documents (it’s tax season, people), backing up photographs, sharing music with others or sharing files that are larger than the 25MB limit in Gmail.
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The master-app for list makers and organizers, this app has become a lifeline of my day-to-day tasks at Happy Medium. Organize notes (to-do lists, notes from that big board meeting), sort them into notebooks (categories) and watch your productivity double.* Download the sister app Scannable to take photos of important documents that are then directly stored in Evernote. This can include receipts (again, it’s tax season, people. I can’t stress this enough), business cards and entire documents.

Real-life APPlication: Use Evernote to create, edit and access grocery lists from work, home or on the go!
*results may vary
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the unconventional (yet highly applicable)

The three apps below extend beyond the average, everyday app.

They’re good for:

  • revitalizing workflow
  • managing free time and tasks
  • enhancing computer use

Remember the Milk

Remember the Milk (RTM) is a to-do list app on steroids. It eliminates sticky notes and grocery lists on napkins (we’ve all been there), helping create and manage daily tasks in a traditional calendar format. With this app, the user can centralize all tasks in one place but connect to them through whichever channel is most convenient! All devices are compatible, and the following enhancements make RTM a level above all other to-do list apps:

  • add tasks with Siri
  • sync with Gmail
  • display tasks as a sidebar on Google Calendar
  • add new tasks and receive reminders through Twitter
  • send tasks for others to complete

Real life APPlication: Use RTM to create a list to help you form a new, daily (productive) habit—taking vitamins, stretching, eating one serving of fruit or watching Parks and Rec on Netflix!
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Box is more than cloud storage—it’s cloud collaboration on any type of project at any time in any location. This app is fast, easy to learn and is accessible to many different file types. Users can share, access and edit files across all platforms with the easy click of a button and provide feedback on collaborative projects directly through the app. Watch this promo video to learn more about Box’s features!

Real life APPlication: Create a shared folder within Box to plan and store documents with your planning committee for your high school reunion! #yikes
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Mac only
This application, when installed on a desktop or laptop, is a sure-fire way to increase productivity by making the way the user interacts with his/her computer more efficient. It is completely customizable to help an individual find information with ease. Simply hit the customized keyboard activation to open the search bar (command+A, in my case), type in Alfred’s command and you’re off to the races. Check out this tutorial. It’s life-changing!

Real life APPlication: Instantly search for YouTube videos, send emails without opening an email application, visit Facebook friends, check the weather, search for documents, add big numbers and spell words like “restaurant” and “ridiculous.” Do all this with a simple search bar that only appears when you call for it.
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To clarify, I am not forcing you to change how you currently navigate the exponentialized world of constant connectivity, oversaturation and technology. I’m not telling you these apps could help you organize your life and help you get back to business, but I’m highly recommending these apps. Take control of your life with one or a combination of the six apps above!

What apps do you use that increase your productivity?

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