5 Must-Have Productivity Apps

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Ever had one of those days? When your body lacks oxygen because you can barely breathe, your head is more like a boulder on top of your neck, and the weather’s not helping either? I’m having a day like that right now. No, scratch that, I’m having a week like that.

What do you do when you are too tired to do anything productive? You get on the computer/phone and browse the net, of course.

No! STOP! Do not do that. It will leave you even more exhausted.

If you can fill yourself with chicken soup and rest, please do. Disconnect from the electronics. Easier said than done, right? Wonder what’s happening on Facebook . . .  that’s how I’d go every ten minutes. So, let’s get some help then.

One of the best apps that incentivizes your time off from the phone is Forest.

  • Forest: $1.99 on the AppStore, by ShaoKan Pit
    Described as the best cure for phone addiction, its premise is simple. When you want to stay off the phone, plant a tree. If come back before you were supposed to, your tree dies. Simple incentive — make your tree thrive. It works for me, the warm fuzzies you get when you see that seedling grown into a tree and so on is priceless.

If you want to keep working through those dull days, a few other tools might help you find focus or achieve modest goals at times when it’s too easy for the mind to stray.

  • Dragon Dictation: Free on the Appstore, by Nuance Communication
    Some days its hard to write, you are too tired. What if you get a massive plot or an awesome scene flashes through your zapped brain? Perhaps dictation could help. Dragon is an app perfect for those times. Simply said, it a speech to text app. It does take some time to train your Dragon (when it learns to understand your speech patterns), but dictation tool, it’s the best there is.
  • Evernote: Free on the Appstore, by Evernote
    This is by far one of the best organization apps out there. And its free to try. On days when you are unable to write your daily 1000 words, or edit, or research too deeply, think of capturing ideas. Found a great article online? Stick it into Evernote. Someone said something funny? Jot it down on Evernote. It also syncs across your phone, tablet, and computer so you can dive deeper into it when you are feeling all better.
  • Pomodoro: Many apps on the Appstore, from free to paid. I’ve written about the Pomodoro technique before, and it’s a miracle method to enforce productivity and enhance focus. A simple timer concept, it makes you break a bigger task into smaller tasks and helps you build up to that larger task. It is particularly useful when you’re feeling down and perhaps struggling to accomplish a little something. Set the time to twenty minutes and run for it. If you survive the twenty and feel up to some more, go ahead and do the next twenty.
  • Write or Die: $9.99 on the Appstore, by Dr Wicked. This app is touted to “Eliminate writer’s block.” I’m not sure if it completely cures pesky problem, but it sure tries to help with its various modes. In the reward mode, there are rewards for the writer as goals are met. But if you’re easily distracted, turn on the Kamikaze mode and the software begins to watch you. Stop typing those words and warnings will flash, ignore those warnings and those precious words you just typed will begin to disappear. Yeah, I know, that sends a shiver down my spine too.

So, that’s my list of the best productivity tools to get you out of funk or keep you plodding through it. I’m using Dragon Dictation a lot, so I’ll have something out of a difficult week.

Do you have any favorite tools? Please share in the comments.

S.G. Basu is an aspiring potentate of a galaxy or two. She plots and plans with wondrous machines, cybernetic robots, time travelers and telekinetic adventurers, some of whom escape into the pages of her books. Once upon a previous life on planet Earth, S.G. Basu trained to be an engineer, and her interest in science and her love of engineering shows up time and again in her books.

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Posted in on writing, thoughtful thursdays

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