The Productivity Pantry: 50 Resources to Help You Get Things Done Right
Everyone has a collection of go-to productivity tools they just can’t live without, but with new solutions hitting the market at an unprecedented rate, it can be more than a little difficult to determine if what you’re using is what you should be using.
And so, after sifting through the quagmire of apps, software, and advice, we present to you the Productivity Pantry — a list of our 50 favorite GTD tools, tips, and tricks to help you get things done right, all the time.
For Your Inbox
1. Mailbox: A highly-intuitive email app that allows you to categorize, delete, or schedule messages you’ve already read to reappear whenever you want.
2. Aqua Mail: An Android app focused on customization, allowing users to sort messages in a variety of ways such as by date and time in reverse.
3. Always remember that an email app should streamline what you’re doing, not add yet another piece of clutter to your inbox.
4. “Your job is important, it’s a big part of who you are, but it is not worth wrecking yourself over.” In other words, never let answering email become more important than things like food, or sleep.
5. “Unless you’re a customer service representative, email is not your job.” (For you CSRs out there, we love you; please check out one of the apps on this list.)
6. Remember the Milk: Although it’s an app mainly for to-do lists, RTM let’s you manage lists and tasks via email. Super useful for the inbox-obsessed.
7. Figure out if email is really the best way to communicate whatever it is you’re trying to say. If it can be done in-person or via another method, give it a shot.
8. Only answer email twice a day. Sounds crazy, but we’d try just about anything to keep the deluge of emails from constantly interrupting our workflow, right?
9. Triage: An app that isn’t based around traditional mailboxes, folders, and lists, but that displays your emails as a stack of cards. Simple swipes let you discard or keep messages, but you can still access the usual functions (Reply All, Forward, etc.) if you want to.
10. Evomail: This app supports major email providers like Gmail and Yahoo, and it lets you create folders (which many alternative email apps do not). Also, it’s free. And we like free.
For Your Social (Media) Life
11. Buffer: An app that, through scheduling capabilities and platform integration, allows you to basically look like you never sleep and/or get off the internet.
12. RescueTime: Thought not exclusively for social media, this web app sets a timer each time you open a new window or document, so you can see exactly how much time you’re really spending stalking your high-school nemesis. Or you know, filling out spreadsheets.
13. Rallyverse: A social media management and content curation platform that makes magical things happen using highly-advanced algorithms. “Powerful friends,” indeed.
14. Hootsuite: A comprehensive social media dashboard that allows you to schedule posts for a variety of platforms and create analytics reports, customize links, and add multiple users.
15. Spredfast: Social media management for the analytics-obsessed. The data collection from this app is pretty much astounding.
16. Bit.ly: Allows you to shorten links, customize URLs, and track clicks with various criteria, including geographical region.
17. MyStickies: For social media lovers, sharing all of the things that you come across on the internet can be at best intimidating, and at worst, nearly impossible. This app let’s you save the internet for later, and in a more manageable fashion that a simple bookmarking system.
18. Evernote: While Evernote isn’t necessarily known for its recording capabilities, it’s still an awesome tool for recording snippets when, for whatever reason, you can’t immediately post that hilarious anecdote or quote you heard. Better that than get into a sidewalk accident because you’re typing, no?
19. SecondBrain: This app allows you to keep all of your social media stuff, bookmarks, and other info in an easily shareable space.
20. SocialOomph: Stands out from the crowd because it allows you to manage your blog, too, alongside all of the standard scheduling and sharing for social platforms.
For Your Ideas
21. Create an idea dashboard to track and manage your favorite ideas. This post from author Roger C. Parker explains how to make the most of it.
22. “The brain benefits significantly from breaks. You may even come back and feel more creative if you take your mind off its primary focus for a little while.”
23. Stop multi-tasking, you guys. Please?
24. SpigitEngage: an app that connects people with great ideas to the decision-makers that can help bring those ideas to life.
25. Read more. Seriously.
26. Circus Ponies: Better known, perhaps, as “NoteBook,” this app is great for idea management because it streamlines the way most of us automatically collect, store, and retrieve information.
27. “Become a night owl. Or a morning person. Whichever one you are not.”
28. “[Define] the ‘essentials’ that make it possible for you to give all you’ve got to what you’re going to do. Take time right now and ask yourself, ‘When am I at my best?'”
29. Visualize your very own “reset” button.
30. “It’s too easy to focus exclusively on obligations, rather than investing time in projects that pave the way for their own success.” So, align content dashboards with both long- and short-term goals.
For Your Schedule and To-Do List
31. Mindjet Tasks: our own task-management app that allows you to integrate your to-dos with hyperlinks, reminders, email, mind maps, and images.
32. Sunrise: scheduling meets weather forecasts, social media alerts, and messaging.
33. NowDoThis: a web app that puts a leash on multi-tasking by letting you input a task list, and then only showing you one task at a time — you have to complete the first to move on to the second, and so on. Genius.
34. “Don’t use your brain (as a storage facility).” Your brain stores bits and pieces of individual memories in several different regions of the brain, so back up your cognitive database with tools and reminders.
35. Skip the regularly-scheduled overtime. It’s bad for your brain, and that’s bad for business.
36. TeuxDeux: bougie name aside, this nifty little app let’s you jump around your timeline to easily add and manage tasks. The app is so simple, they call it “as easy to use as a piece of paper.”
37. Pomodoro Timer Lite: chops up work into 25-minute chunks with a short break in between, to help your tasks seem more manageable from the get-go.
38. Focus Time: teaches users the value of good habits by batching tasks into uninterrupted blocks of time.
39. “When the demand for your time exceeds the number of minutes in the day, there is no time management.” Focus on quality!
40. Use the renowned GTD method to increase the number of useful tasks performed while staying calm and collected about it.
For Your Team
41. Mindjet ProjectDirector: our project management app for teams; a virtual, visual workspace, complete with cloud integration, reminders, progress tracking, and file storage capabilities.
42. Google Drive: Share documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and more with your team; 5-second autosave keeps technical hiccups from obliterating your work, and real-time editing lets your whole team work together for version control.
43. “By forcing yourself to be accountable for everything from imperative projects to small, unimportant tasks, you’ll quickly lose sight of the power of your personal and professional networks.” Work together, people.
44. Dropbox: share all of your files — documents, videos, music, whatever you want — with your entire team. This is especially neat when you have extra-large stuff to share.
45. GoToMeeting: The tagline pretty much says it all: “Work face to face with anyone, anywhere.” GoToMeeting is making the world a smaller place, one video conference at a time.
46. MindManager 14 for Windows: Budgeting, planning, task-management, idea-tracking — the latest version of MindManager does it all.
47. Never let brown-nosing coworkers bring you down.
48. Skype: Video conferencing made beyond simple; it links to your GMail account and let’s you connect via web or mobile.
49. Optimize tasks, together — it’ll keep you from missing things or having multiple people repeat project tasks.
50. Basecamp: An oldie but goodie, Basecamp isn’t the prettiest platform we’ve ever seen, but it’s certainly one of the most functional — it lets you track of every file, discussion, and event from beginning to end, all in one place.
Have something to add? Let us know about it in the comments.