How to get more done with less effort – my current productivity tools and apps

I really love working with peak efficiency and so I am always on the look out for great online tools that help me get work done.  I haven’t done a post on this for a while, so here’s what I am using a lot at the moment.

  • Trello –
    • This is an online tool (with apps available) for managing projects.  I use it to keep a track of all of my work and have used it very successfully for coordinating work of all kinds for teams (projects and business as usual).  The free level provides plenty enough features for most users.
  • Book like a boss –
    • Fantastic service for arranging meetings.  Enables others to find slots in your diary and get dates booked in with ease.
  • Evernote –
    • Brilliant service for keeping track of everything.  Every email I want to save, website I don’t want to lose track of, document that might prove useful in the future and every note I make goes into Evernote.  It is a great store of all your information, which can then be searched (even within PDFs and images).  There are extensions for browsers, apps for all platforms and even a dedicated email address (so you can just forward an email to it) to make saving information easy.
  • Reminders app from Apple
    • Often overlooked, I love this for simple one-off task reminders given the ease of use with all Apple products and its integration with Siri.  Another killer feature for me is location aware reminders, e.g. “Hey Siri, remind me to put the bins out when I get home” or “Hey Siri, remind me to send an email to John when I leave this place”.
  • Text expander – various options on different platforms –
    • Some OS have it built it, there are usually some better alternatives.  You can store often typed words or phrases in it and then choose some trigger text.  In any app you then type the trigger text and the text expander replaces it with the full phrase.  Seems crazy, but it can save a lot of time.  I have a few set up for email sign offs (separate from signature.  You could also set one up to type in your Book like a Boss meeting link (see above).
  • iThoughtsX –
    • Fantastic mind mapping software, available on a number of platforms.
  • TripIt –
    • Fantastic tools for bringing various trip elements together in one place.  You can forward your trip plans to an email address (or even have it monitor your account) and it is able to recognise all the details and put together a combined trip itinerary with all conformation details and telephone numbers.  I will often have airport parking, flights, car hire and hotel details all in one place in the app, without having to enter a single thing myself.  You can also share trip details with others.  The paid version even gives you gate updates etc.
  • Goodnotes –
    • The best app I have found for annotating PDFs for note taking.  Others let you add a signature or quick shapes, but this one let’s you do more.  I will import a PDF of an agenda sent in advance and then take my notes on top of it, adding pages and diagrams as I need to.  I can then export it all as one PDF at the end (which I store in Evernote).  If you want to get advanced you can make your own PDFs which you can then store as a template (for example a meeting aide-memoire that can then be quickly written onto with a stylus).
  • Scanner Pro –
    • Of course, not everyone gives you slides or PDF versions of the handouts in advance, so I use this app to quickly convert projector images of paper handouts to PDFs, which can then be important into Goodnotes (see above).
  • Canva –
    • A great online tool (there are mobile apps too) for designing graphics.  The tools are arranged so that someone, like me, who isn’t great a graphic design can put something together that looks great.
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