5 Productivity Apps To Help You Move Faster Every Day
I'm Brent Maxwell, co-CTO at Style Arcade, and I'm an appaholic - here are my top picks for apps that help you get more done, fast.
Productivity apps are tools that help you to do your everyday work faster, better, and more reliably. There are a huge number of categories, from to-do helpers to spreadsheeting to workflow coordination. They've become a huuuuuge part of today's software ecosystem, and for good reason!
Here is a list of productivity tools that I use every day that can make your life easier:
Mind map anything you're trying to figure out
Miro is an incredibly flexible tool that can be used for putting together just about anything you'd ever use a whiteboard for. At Style Arcade, when customers ask us if we can help solve a problem for them, we use Miro to mockup some ideas about how we could build a solution into our software.
We also use it when we're playing around with ideas, and to present all sorts of things to each other. You can create flowcharts, mind maps, map out the most common returns reasons, plan out your category goals, get aligned with your team on who's doing what, or map out concepts for a new campaign.
WHY YOU NEED THIS - when figuring out next season's vendor landscape, use Miro to categorise them visually in a useful way to figure out how to best work with them
The world's most beautiful to-do list
ClickUp is a tool to help you manage tasks. That doesn't sound sexy, but it really does make it super easy to manage everything. It's free, and it's laid out in a way that makes it really easy to start coordinating with other people in your team if they're keen. You can use it for task tracking, but it also helps you manage goals, write documents (like Google Docs), chat with others, work on spreadsheets (like Excel), track your time on things, and loads more.
I particularly love it because it integrates with loads of other software we use, so everything looks and feels super connected when I'm working on things.
WHY YOU NEED THIS - everyone needs something to help them stay organised, and ClickUp actually makes it fun!
Stop trying to remember your passwords
Passwords suck. They're so easy to hack. Did you know: if you use the same password for LinkedIn as you do for your email, anyone on the Internet can probably access your bank account? It's because when one website gets hacked, the hackers sometimes get hold of everyone's passwords (like what happened to LinkedIn in 2016), and then if you use that password for your email account, a hacker can go to your bank, reset your password, then use your email account to get access to your bank. Crazy. Do yourself a favour and check this website (run by a famous Aussie security researcher) for your email address to see if your password is out in the wild.
Anyway 1Password is a tool that means you only ever need to remember one password, and it manages all your others so you never need to remember them ever again. It automatically logs you into websites, and when you create a new account it generates a big complicated password then saves it so you never need to even know it.
WHY YOU NEED THIS - don't bother ever remembering passwords, or adding +1 number every time a website makes you update it. Just use a password manager!
Email can be so much faster than you ever knew
Do you use Outlook or GMail? Almost everyone uses those 2 tools, but they're both slow and clunky, as they were designed over 17 years ago. Superhuman is an email client that makes processing your emails every day sooo much faster. It's a simple, clean and elegant design, and they onboard you face to face and teach you not just how to use Superhuman, but how to manage your email so that you can process it incredibly fast each day.
One of the things that suck about email is that you always end up having all these messages in different states: some you need to get back to, some you need to ponder, some you need to take immediate action on. But the net result is usually just that you never get the feeling that you're on top of your email.
Have you heard of Inbox Zero? It's a term used for the rare but incredibly gratifying situation where you have completely processed all your emails and can move onto your next task. Superhuman is the tool, and the set of techniques that you learn to adopt, to let you process email at superhuman speeds.
WHY YOU NEED THIS - instead of dreading your email, and getting things lost in there, learn how to stay on top of it with minimal effort
The world's most powerful document management tool
Do you have a hard drive or cloud drive where you put all your documents? And does your company have a shared drive where everyone dumps things in a chaotic way? Do you have a 30% understanding of where to find what you need? Then Notion is for you.
Notion is similar to ClickUp, in that it's an "all-in-one" productivity tool. The difference is that where ClickUp is super amazing for task tracking, Notion is amazing for collaborating on documents and spreadsheets.
Spreadsheets in Notion are way more elegant than Excel, and although they're less fully featured, they are structured as their own databases, which means you can view the contents in a bunch of amazingly flexible visual ways. Instead of just seeing rows in a table, you can see each row as a card with an image and caption, or status.
It basically replaces most of Google Docs/Sheets does, and it supports integration with loads of other modern tools.
WHY YOU NEED THIS - when you're looking to collaborate with anyone on documents you can move so much faster and enjoyably with something like Notion
The best productivity apps don't just support you in what you're trying to do. They help guide you in how you can be better than you ever realised! They take your goal, and help you move towards it faster in ways that you never could have without software.
About the author
Brent Maxwell is a passionate technologist and executive leader with extensive expertise in software development practices.