I have many interests and hobbies I enjoy although there is one place I always feel at home and that is using technology. There are games I like to play but I am really in the zone when I am being productive, so today I am sharing with you my top eight Productivity Tools and apps.
Apple has been a revelation for me. Until December 2017 I used a Windows computer and an Android tablet and phone and liked it that way. I took the plunge and got a MacBook Pro because Mac’s seem so popular with Bloggers and Vloggers. Well, I fell in love and during 2018 I switched to an iPad and an iPhone and my digital life has become completely stress-free.
I have one application, RootsMagic, that uses a crossover system to port the Windows version into Mac, and that is the only app that has crashed on me. I am pleased to hear they will launch a native Mac app. I still have a Windows 10 desktop computer but this is purely for gaming and using Hallmark Card Studio when I need a pre-designed greetings card in a hurry!
I have used Gmail ever since it was in Beta form (the final testing stage before mass release for the less techy spoonies). I was completely won over by the simple fact you can attach multiple tags rather than put your message in one folder, this fact alone puts it in the category of productivity tools. Until this year I have always accessed my mail through the web browser when on my laptop, for many years using ActiveInbox which I still highly rate.
But as I went through a recent process of evaluating the tools I use I realised I needed to bring my email out of the browser into its own environment. Having tried about five different applications available across Mac and IOS I have settled on the Spark app and I am loving it.
This is a massive change for me. For several years I have used Todoist to manage my small tasks and habits and a project manager, most recently Click Up and previously Trello to manage the blog(s) and main projects. Now they are all managed within one system, Notion my principal productivity tool.
I came across Notion a year or more ago when they were quite new and the free version was too limited to suit my needs but they recently really expanded its limitations and I paid attention. Once I discovered August Bradley’s YouTube channel I was hooked. I spent a whole week building my own Notion Life Operating System, when I have finished some final tweaks I will share it on my other blog.
Evernote* is my digital filing cabinet it holds everything from my standard paperwork like finances, education and motoring. Through to images of sentimental items like greetings cards and souvenir programs. I am also compiling a record of all my crafting products to get organised and make sure I don’t purchase duplicates. I have more information about how I use Evernote in this post.
Because I have the Pro version, I can access Evernote across all my devices. It is easy to take a photograph of a document and the background is trimmed away and the image is instantly uploaded. I can put paperwork straight through the scanner on my Printer workstation and it is sent wirelessly to Evernote. If I need to grab information from a book or a document that I can’t put through my scanner, then Evernote Scanner on my phone does a great job. *Refer a friend link.
Scrivener & Ulysses
I have dabbled in Scrivener for a few years. It is a fantastic writing tool. If you are an author, I am sure you must be aware of Scrivener. It may even be your main productivity tool. As you may know I have been talking about writing a novel for some time now and I have even had a few false starts. The reason I haven’t actually done it has everything to do with me and nothing to do with this tool. There is space for your main narrative then other areas for research and character development. If you want to write a book you probably will find this of the utmost use.
I have also included Ulysses also because if you use a Mac it is one of the best writing apps with a fantastic experience. I use it for planning out blog draughts and other writing experiences.
Technically this is creativity software but as a blogger and a budding designer (very early inkling of what is hopefully to come) creativity tools are part of my productivity tools. Up until a couple of months ago I was using an Adobe CC subscription for my graphic design work but the cost was becoming prohibitive. I already had the Photo and Designer from the Affinity Suite and I now have the new Publisher too. After taking a Skillshare*(affiliate link) course I realised that the Affinity Tools could do everything I do in Adobe and each tool is a one of payment that is less than a monthly Adobe one.
When it comes to creating my blog graphics and Instagram images I could easily use Affinity but I have recently started using Crello* and I’ll be honest it is better than Canva!
I couldn’t really restrict this to one app or even a set of apps like the Affinity suite. But this collection of apps works like a dream. It all starts with bringing in the information this is done with Kindle for books and the News Explorer for news channels and blog posts. From here I use Readwise to import my highlights from books right into my Notion set up where I can tidy them up and edit them into meaningful reminders.
From News Explorer I use Pocket to save articles I want to revisit. I can either send them via Readwise into Notion if it is information I want to store or gather together posts I would like to share on my Facebook and Twitter accounts.
If you would like me to write a whole blog post about this system with some visuals. Let me know in the comments below.
RootsMagic is my current tool of choice for Genealogy as previously mentioned, and I will be so happy when they launch the native Mac Application. I have been working on my tree for over twenty years now and I have over 6,000 people accounted for. The Research Manager and To-Do list are two stand-out features of this software for me and I love how it organises sources with shared elements and individuals details. Having moved from previous software that didn’t offer this I really appreciate it.
RootsMagic is an App that allows you to stay organised
The larger your tree is the harder it is to stay organised but RootsMagic helps me to do this. Although there is a dedicated UK version I got the standard American one because it offers the Mac compatibility, there is no difference in the basic software. I have a blog post about RootsMagic here.
Any Productivity Tools Questions?
I have used a broad range of tech tools and apps and these are my current highest-rated productivity tools. Of course, there are so many other apps that contribute to my overall effectiveness. You can read about several of the Mac-based tools I use on my SetApp for Spoonies post over on my sister blog. If you have questions about any of these or you would like me to do a post comparing these with other tools, let me know in the comments below.