6 Best Apps to Increase Productivity

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Our business recently ended up in a place where if we go 24 hours without replying to emails, it’s nearly impossible to catch up the next day, and our todo lists manage most of our work each day. Because of how quickly everything is moving around us, it’s important to me to stay on top of everything from emails to applications to blog posts. Productivity is something that has become extremely important to me, and every time I purchase a new computer, I have a list of six apps that have to be installed instantly to get going.

1. Airmail 2

This is an app that I contemplated downloading for almost a year, and after I finally pulled the trigger, I don’t see myself ever going back to Apple’s Mail.app. The default email system on OS X used to be great, but recently I’ve started to notice a ton of sluggishness, unreliability, and it has an awful time trying to work with our email servers.

Airmail isn’t perfect, but it’s a lot better than any free email app I’ve ever used. For the price, it’s most certainly worth it. It works wonders with IMAP and Google Accounts, which are the two types of accounts I use. The iCloud syncing to an iOS device and other Macs also helps tremendously. I have an iMac, MacBook Pro, and an iPhone 6S, so I need all of them to work together to stay on top of everything. Thankfully, Airmail makes that possible.

2. Slack

Staying in touch with everyone you work with can be a challenge, and when you need to delegate tasks and communicate effectively about those tasks, Slack comes to the rescue. It’s the best team-focused communication tool I’ve ever tried! In the past, we’ve used traditional email, Skype, and Telegram. All of them have their place, but none of them compare to Slack. The file manager mixed with the amazing chat features makes this app unlike any other.

If you find yourself having some trouble staying in touch with the people you work with while everyone is off doing their own work, give this service a try. It’s easy to setup for your team, and it’ll change the way you work together. The only feature I would like to see them add is VOIP (calling). For that, though, Skype is still there.

3. Evernote

I have used this service for years, and honestly, I love it and hate it at the same time. It will increase your productivity if you use it correctly, though, and that’s what’s really important here. It allows you to have shared notebooks with other Evernote users, and you’ll be able to store an assortment of files.

I love the service, but there are places it could use some work. It really needs real-time collaboration for working on documents. I’m not too sure when and if they are ever going to offer it, but if they do, it would make their service twice as good. The problem is, it locks other users out of editing documents if someone else is working on it, and if you make a change, you get a huge error of something called a “Conflicting Change,” which is nothing major. It’s just annoying at times.

Truthfully, if a service came out that competed with Evernote and had real-time collaboration, I would switch. It’s a great app that helps increase productivity, but collaboration is much more important to me than “work chat” and other features they keep adding that don’t make a huge difference.

4. Wunderlist

I’ve tried almost every todo list app out there, and I’ve even gone as far as to purchase journals/books that are meant for making todo lists. I’ve tried Asana, ToDoist, Clear, and a huge list of others. Wunderlist is the one I always end up going back to. It has an amazing design, incredible features, and great project organization.

It doesn’t matter if you work alone or with a team; this app will help increase your productivity. Is there anything special that Wunderlist has over other services? No, there really isn’t. It has a basic chat feature, tasks, subtasks, folders, groups, etc. Those features are great, but it’s how it makes use of those features that keeps me coming back. It just feels natural to use. There’s no learning curve, and it’s simple with advanced features.

5. Sunrise

I wanted to keep this list open to both OS X and Windows users, and for the most part, I’ve done that. Airmail is unfortunately only available on OS X and iOS; however, everything else is available on Windows 10 as well. I was originally going to make number 5 Apple’s Calendar app, but since I wanted to keep this open, I changed it to Sunrise.

This app works brilliantly with your Google Calendar and your iCloud events. It’s everything you could want in a calendar application, and it works with many other services along with the two mentioned before. I’ve used the app for a while, and it’s a great alternative to “iCal” and using Google’s Calendar alternative.

6. Dropbox

There are plenty of cloud storage platforms that you can try, and I’ve personally tried a large majority of the popular ones. Dropbox is always the one I go back to, though, and it seems to be the most reliable. Thankfully, this service is simple. The interface online is simple. The installation process of the app is simple. Gaining access to your files online should never be a task; it should just work. The files should just be there for easy access. Dropbox does a good job at making sure it just works, and I truly appreciate that.

 

What are some of your “must-have” apps to stay productive? Comment below!

Top 5 Best Documentaries to Watch in 2016

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Recently, thanks to Netflix, I’ve fallen in love with watching documentaries. My favorite thing to do above anything else is to learn new things and share that knowledge with anyone and everyone. With that, I’ve complied a list of the 5 best documentaries to watch in 2016 – all available on Netflix!

1. Cowspiracy

Want some Leonardo Dicaprio to start off your year? Look no further! Leo was an executive producer of this eye-opening documentary about the lack of care we have for our environment.

This will change your views about global warming, health, and the way our society is hidden from the real facts. Even if being vegan isn’t your thing, and even if you don’t believe in global warming, just give this a watch. It may just change your opinion on what’s actually going on right in front of us.

2. Fed Up

With childhood obesity becoming a growing (no pun intended) concern in the United States, Fed Up takes you to a deeper level and uncovers some interesting facts about the way we accept soda as an everyday drink, fatty foods as healthy lunches, and the amazing concept of “skinny-fat” people.

One of the most fascinating facts I picked up in that film is that 80% of schools have exclusive deals with soda companies to sell their products directly to students in some way. With almost 100,000 public schools in the US as of 2009-2010, that would mean almost 80,000 public schools have an exclusive deal with a soda company.

As much as we try to think that we are making lunches healthy for our students, it simply isn’t happening.

3. Soaked in Bleach

Soaked in Bleach (surprisingly) has nothing to do with health or the planet we live on. Instead, this is all about “conspiracy,” specifically about Kurt Cobain’s death. This amazing crime documentary will dive into some alternate and unpopularized opinions about the death of the famous Nirvana lead singer.

As someone who truly had no interest in Nirvana or Kurt Cobain, I found this documentary to be one of the best, as after a few minutes, I was hooked. The writing and directing of this film is amazing, and I highly recommend giving it a view if you’re looking for something to get your mind running wild.

4. Freakonomics

The fourth and fifth movies on this list come in at a tie for me. I absolutely love both, but Freakonomics is all about money. The film focuses on one chapter of the book written by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner.

If you have any interest in how money works, how our society treats money, acts, conforms, and tries to understand cash, watch this. The psychology behind what keeps our economy moving is fascinating, and I promise this film won’t you let you down.

5. The Secret

While The Secret ties with Freakonomics on my list, I think The Secret is just a little bit better. If you want to change any aspect of your life, watch this right now. You need to realize that what is happening in your life is a result of the thoughts you have manifested in your mind. Whatever is going on around you is happening because of your thoughts, fears, ambitions, and dreams.

Use this secret to your advantage, and I promise you will see amazing results to whatever you want within a short period of time. Believe that something can happen, and it surely will happen. Don’t believe your mind can determine your future? Give this a watch. It’ll convince you very quickly! If you want to change your situation, start with changing your mindset!

Have anything to add to this list? Start a discussion below!