I started my new job with BSE during the first weeks of the national lockdown, my DIY desk was cobbled together from some winter bashed patio furniture and various novelty throws (not all that ergonomic but definitely snuggly). That new job glow helped me to start off on the right foot, I researched the best productivity apps available, I made sure they became part of my daily routine, and now as we begin to get used to this back and forth between office and home working I’m going to share my finds with you.
Over the last year the Coronavirus pandemic has changed the way many of us work, the uptick in people working from home combined with the sudden trend of Zoom meetings mean that our days can run away from us. The apps I’m going to tell you about have helped me organise my day and stay on top of tasks at home and in the office.
todoist is a free to-do list app (maybe the name gave it away) that helps you create daily and weekly to-do lists. It’s gimmick free, multi-platform and offers an easy to navigate interface. The app gives you the opportunity to mark your tasks by priority and assign tasks to other people (up to 6 on the free plan). In addition to simple to-do lists you’re also given the option to access shared projects with colleagues, helping you to keep track of progress as time goes on.
Stayfocusd is a browser extension perfect for the procrastinators out there. 2020 has been quite a rollercoaster to say the least and keeping up to date with social media, the news and family/friends becomes an hourly occurrence instead of something set aside for work breaks. This extension blocks distractions for either set times and dates (e.g. 9 – 5 on weekdays) or after you’ve reached a limit (like spending more than 30 minutes on Facebook a day). After using the extension for a few weeks I found my natural impulses to check social media diminished rapidly and I found it much easier to stay on task.
Trello is the perfect work management tool for people who prefer to visualise their workflow. The modern equivalent of sticky notes, the app filters ‘cards’ into created columns allowing your team to track where a project falls (the example – To Do, Doing, and Done). Simply write your task to a card and move to the corresponding column. Simple, organised, and visual.
With the free option you’ll be able to create unlimited personal boards and up to 10 team collaboration boards.
It’s difficult to prioritise your day when you aren’t sure how long each task takes. Toggl is a great time tracker that helps with keeping on top of various tasks. The app allows you to start, stop and log times. The tasks can be on your smartphone or computer, syncing both platforms without the need for you to do anything.
The ability to track where your work hours go and add calendar events as blocks of time make planning days much easier (also a good indication of when you’re not working to your usual averages).
Last but not least, Evernote, more than a note-taking app, Evernote helps you to manage your entire day. With the aim of helping you declutter the free version of the app can quickly and easily help you:
- Digitise your thoughts – capture and organise notes, files, photos and voice memos in one place.
- Access on the go – find everything instantly on any synced device, no matter where you are.
- Secure – Safe, secure cloud storage always keeps your information private meaning sharing top secret content can be done without fear.
Evernote also links up to Siri and Google Assistant to help you compile information without needing to type.
As we steadily make our way to December it’s important to remember that no one is working to their full productivity level 100% of the time, and with everything going on in the world it’s important to also have consistent breaks (sadly I don’t have an app to remind you to do that…maybe a sneaky Deliveroo?). However, hopefully these productivity apps can help you to stay on track for the remainder of a very bumpy 2020.