Awesome Productivity Apps for a Frantic Digital Life

Looking for a better way to back up your files? Want to share stories, photos and press releases with your team or your boss without email and nasty attachments? How about something to help you organize your frantic digital life?

Here are a handful of applications I’ve tried over the past couple of years that have made my work (and home) life a bit more organized and have satisfied the mobility issues associated with my job and my constant traveling companions, my tablet and mobile phone.

You might want to consider this app if, like me, you have imperfect recall and are lacking a fabulous executive assistant who’s paid big bucks to remember everything for you. Evernote is a cool app that allows you to quickly save just about anything you create, or anything you see or hear on the web, and store it away for future use or reference.

Once you’ve downloaded Evernote and created an online account, you can simply drag the “save to Evernote” icon, an elephant, into your browser toolbar — and boom — you’re set with Evernote. You’ll be able to create new notes and notebooks, paste things you read (including documents, emails, websites, screenshots, photos, videos and music) to your Evernote account. Evernote organizes your files for you in “notebooks” based on categories, and works with almost any computer (Macs and PCs), mobile device and browser.

iPhone and iPad users can also record and save voice and audio notes to Evernote, which I often do, especially for spur-of-the-moment ideas I’d hate to see evaporate into thin air.

Evernote can serve as a searchable “everything” inbox, and many people are using it that way. Think of it as a container where you can collect all those random bits of information that populate your increasingly crazy digital life.

Dropbox, Box and Google Drive
Dropbox, Google Drive (formerly Google Docs) and Box are all time-tested cloud storage apps worth mentioning here. All do the same thing — allow you to create and store documents, files, photographs and other items in the cloud and share them with others on your team or in your district.

All three also offer cross-platform desktop and mobile apps, and Google Drive is free as long as you have a Google account. Dropbox allows you to create a free account with 2GB of space, and Box offers 5GB of free space. Once that runs out, you can share documents with new users to earn more space, but if you upload videos and photos frequently, that space will fill up quickly. If you love the Dropbox or Box experience, you can always purchase an upgrade.

Penultimate and Skitch
Penultimate and Skitch, two Evernote products, can enhance your Evernote experience. Penultimate is designed especially for anyone using a stylus instead of a keyboard with his or her iPad. Penultimate enables you to handwrite notes, stories, press releases, and even drawings, and save them for posterity. Although your notes will remain as handwritten text, you can sync all your Penultimate notes with Evernote and view them there.

Penultimate is also searchable and you can share any notes you’ve made via email. The recipient will get a PDF attachment of your handwritten document. Simply amazing.

Skitch is a photo editing application for anyone who wants to edit, crop or add text and a variety of icons to photos, maps, screenshots and graphics. Skitch stores your photos in the cloud instead of cluttering up your desktop and can be accessed from any computer or mobile device.

I’ve used Skitch to mark up website pages and maps, and again, it syncs with Evernote so that you can store your documents all in one place, search for them easily, and share them via email with friends and colleagues.

2 Replies to “Awesome Productivity Apps for a Frantic Digital Life”

  1. Thanks for the roundup, Evelyn… I have these apps but only scratched the surface of what they might do for me.

  2. I second Ken’s comment. I use these heavily! I highly recommend Mighty Text as well. It sends your text messages to your computer/tablet so you can reply without having to dig your phone out or switch back and forth between your computer and cell. It’s a free app and an extension on Google Chrome. I’ve found it to be a big help in meetings, while on my tablet and sitting at my desk. Super time saver!

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