My Productivity Tools and Apps [Part 2]

Tim Brister —  April 12, 2013 — 3 Comments

Last week, I shared 13 productivity tools and apps that I use on a daily basis. In addition to these, there are other tools and apps I employ on a semi-regular basis. Depending on the nature of the work, these apps and tools are accessed in varying degrees. I figured they would be worth mentioning as a good supplement to my previous post.

Mailchimp3 - BlogMailChimp – This is my default tool for e-newsletters and announcements online. Very intuitive and more customizable than others (e.g., Constant Contact). For each purpose, a template is created by the design team which can populated repeatedly in a rather efficient manner. The import and export features are also helpful.

Wufoo - BlogWufoo – If you need online forms and need something more functional and customizable than Google Forms, than Wufoo is the way to go. I use Wufoo for general feedback, conference registrations, mission trip applications, network agreements, and just about anything else I can think of. Along with Wufoo, Survey Monkey (by the same company) is a helpful tool for doing online polling.

TripIt3 - BlogTripIt – There are several quality apps for managing your travel. I have chosen to go with TripIt over the past year and have found it really helpful. The app syncs across all iOS devices and allows me to update the plans rather effortlessly. Flight information includes various details, such as confirmation number, flight times, map of terminals, and status. When traveling with several people, the trips can be shared with others as well.

Livescribe2 - BlogLivescribe – Back in the day, Scott Thomas got me hooked on Livescribe pens. If you are not familiar with them, they are worth your time to check out. Livescribe pens record notes on dot matrix paper which is reproduced digitally on your computer. Not only that, but the pen is an audio recorder, which syncs recorded audio to the notes on the paper so that you can go directly to particular portions of the audio immediately. The newest pen, the Sky, has an 8GB drive inside it, and also has WiFi capability, allowing you to record to the cloud wirelessly and send them to your Evernote. How cool is that? Yeah, I have mine with me all the time. If you need to keep accurate record of conversations or meetings, Livescribe is the way to go.

Google Drive2 - BlogGoogle Drive/Docs – I mentioned in my last post that I use Dropbox as my primary file storage and management tool. However, I have found ways to incorporate Google Drive as well as iCloud into the mix as well. The greatest benefit with using Google Drive is the ability to collaborate and edit in real-time with multiple people, and these documents can be revised while simultaneously on Google Hangout. Being that my work is largely decentralized, I often have documents being drafted with multiple people contributing, so the Google Drive helps me significantly with this. Drive also has a slick iOS app that syncs across all devices, which makes files accessible as well. The new Chrome app for iOS allows you to also save any web page as a PDF and store it on the Drive, a particularly helpful bookmarking and archiving tool.

Square - BlogSquare – Along with the move from centralized to decentralized, from building to mobile, there is the need to receive donations and register payments on the go. Square is the app I use for on site donations for Haiti, for conference bookstore, and for contributions to specific causes (sometimes created on the spot). Square allows people to sign on the iPhone or iPad and have a receipt emailed to them immediately. The ability to create short-cut buttons/pre-sets makes the checkout process really easy. The only disadvantage is the cut Square takes from using their service, especially if you are already using PayPal as a service as well.

53 Paper - Blog53 Paper – I’m a visual learner. I’m not a great artist, but I like to draw out, diagram, and visually connect concepts and ideas in my mind. 53 Paper has quickly become the best app in the iOS market (for iPad) to do this. I was first introduced to 53 Paper by Seth McBee, whose drawings became a hit online and eventually turned into an e-book. They offer a nice selection of writing and drawing tools, and simple to use. If you like to draw, sketch, or simply visualize ideas, you should get this app.

Instapaper - blogInstapaper – I often discover articles, blogposts, or other forms of online content that I would really like to read, but the problem is that I want to stay on task and complete the projects before me. My “read later” go-to app that takes care of this is Instapaper. With the convenient button at the top of my Chrome bar, I can save all those tempting articles for a later time, which then can be archived, tagged, or shared on my social networks. I don’t use this as much since I’m employing Feedly more, but Instapaper is still valuable because I grab content I’m not subscribed to via RSS.

Siri4 - BlogDragon Dictation - BlogSiri/Dragon Dictation – I get tired of thumb and finger pecking on my phone and iPad quite often. Other times, I’m in a place or position where it is easier to have my words dictated and delivered for me. When it comes to SMS (text), emails, and social networks, I use Siri as my dictation device. When it is larger forms of communication, such as documents, I prefer Dragon Dictation. I have a bluetooth headset paired to my iPhone to allow me to dictate hands-free. I am finding myself using dictation tools more often my communication and workflow.

Skype - BlogSkype – When it comes to video conferencing, I use Google Hangout, but Skype is a nice backup – especially when I am using my iPhone or iPad on the go. I also use Skype for international calling and communicating via SMS in places like Haiti. Because Skype has such a large and popular following, I use it for those not on the Google Hangout platform at this time. My primary purpose for using Skype is for mobile conferencing and international calling.

pages - BlogPages – Pages is not my preferred word processor, but it is the default program for online publishing, especially within the world of e-books. Virtually all of the print work I do starts with pages before it is sent to copywriter or design team. I also use Pages as my primary teaching/preaching app for the iPad. I know there are various alternative apps for public speaking, but I have become comfortable with using Pages, and it works great for me.

So there’s the 12 additional tools and apps I employ in my workflow and productivity strategy. I’d be interested in hearing from you about the tools and apps you use for being more productive. Are there any that you could recommend to me?

NOTE: Several have asked how and why I use EAHelp personally, and I plan to answer those questions in a separate blogpost.

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3 responses to My Productivity Tools and Apps [Part 2]

  1. Thanks! These are helpful tips, always interested to hear what works well for others.

  2. Both parts of article are good.. And I must say nice list thanks for sharing… Would like to add Future Scheduler app (paid) for Android this helps
    you in scheduling text messages, emails, status update and phone calls. Check
    it out!!!

    Android Market (Google play):

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.dev.and.scheduler

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