Technology can be a huge time waster. How many times have you opened up your computer with the intent of finishing that extremely urgent report, and ended up watching cat videos on YouTube or getting sucked into the latest twitter drama? Heck, I opened my Mac with the intent to start this post but ended up on Pinterest pinning looks from fashion week.
But, technology can be helpful if we let it. Productivity apps, either for your computer or your phone, can be a life saver when you are in the zone (or need to get in the zone). Best of all, tons of these apps are totally free.
These are the four I use to save time and get ish done!
As a blogger and freelancer, I have several deadlines and an editorial calendar to keep track of. Todoist allows me to not only write down everything that has to be done, but also to schedule those tasks. I can classify the task by category, add priority flags and easily view what needs to be done today, tomorrow, later this week and this month. In the app, I can set daily and weekly goals and I get "rewarded" with karma points once I accomplish those goals. This app has a widget in the iPhone notifications menu, so I can quickly check what's on my to-do list.
Setting and achieving time goals helps keep me focused and the TrackingTime app helps me tremendously. In this phone and web-based app, I can schedule tasks, create subtasks, set time goals for those tasks and track how long each of those tasks takes. For example, let's say I want to write a blog post in 90 minutes. I'll budget 30 minutes for research, 45 mins writing and editing and 15 minutes for scheduling social media posts. Using the app, I'll track the time it takes actually takes to complete those tasks. (Let's say it actually takes 22 minutes for research, 47 for writing and 18 minutes for social media.) And if I am working on a pay per hour project, I can use that tracked time to create a timesheet in the app and export that into an invoice.
3. White Noise
Like many people I'm sure, I just can not focus in complete silence. It drives me nuts! But if I watch TV or listen to music, inevitably I am going to start writing "Jumpman" lyrics in the middle of a beauty post. This White Noise app plays various ambient sounds like a thunderstorm, campfire or ocean waves. Turning off my music and playing ocean waves relaxes me and focuses me on the task at hand and not on Drake or Future. (Note: If you are at your desktop and need to quiet your mind, Calm.com will also play really soothing sounds to help clear your head.)
This is a web-based app that, as its name suggests, checks grammar. It is an even more powerful grammar and spelling editor than the one built into your computer. The Grammarly plug-in checks your grammar in emails, blog posts, applications or anywhere there is a text field. In its web editor, you can create new text documents or upload text documents from outside sources. I write all my posts in Grammarly because, in addition to fine-tuning my spelling and grammar, the app autosaves all my work.
What apps do you use to save time and be more productive? How does technology help you throughout the day?