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15 Apps and gadgets that boost your efficiency

15 Apps and gadgets that boost your efficiency

In today’s digital world, it’s hard to imagine your day and working on your startup without using any of the technological advancements we have at our disposal. I guess you would rather lose your wallet than your computer or your smartphone. Unless you have all your IDs in your wallet, in which case it’s different … still, you could argue about your wallet or your smartphone, right? 🙂

When it comes down to you performing at your best, it’s important to choose tools and gadgets that help to increase your efficiency.

I compiled a list of apps and gadgets that help me on daily basis to keep rocking the “efficiency boat”.

Apps

Focus at Will

EHD_focusatwill

http://www.efficientdailyhabits.com/focusatwill

Focus at Will is scientifically produced music that helps to keep your brain focused. When I first read about it, I was like, this sounds like ‘snake oil’ type of stuff. I was however working full time and wanted to really focus on my side projects, so I gave it a chance. And it worked. The moment I used ‘Uptempo’ (it is one of the music categories and it helps more than coffee, really!), I never put it down. Whenever I need to work on something, I start with firing up Focus At Will web app and off we go to the productivity-land!

Recommended:

  • Mornings – Uptempo
  • Creativity needed – Cafe Creative Beta
  • Nights – Focus Spa
  • If you feel lonely – Cafe Focus Beta

Trello

EHD_trello

http://www.efficientdailyhabits.com/trello

Trello is a modern Kanban board. Based on Wikipedia definition, Kanban is “a Japanese manufacturing system in which the supply of components is regulated through the use of an instruction card sent along the production line.” In the language of our mere startup founders/entrepreneurs, it’s a system that visually shows you what are your To Dos, what tasks are In Progress and what tasks are Done. It’s used a lot in modern, agile software development as well.

I use Trello for business and personal tasks. I just dump all the To Dos there and take care of them based on priority or/and deadlines. Dumping all the To Dos you can think of helps your brain to ease off the pressure of pending tasks. Once you know it’s recorded somewhere, it’s good. Next good thing about Trello is that it’s very visual and you can drag and drop the ‘cards’ (=tasks). You can also ‘check off’ the To Do lists and deadlines. This helps your brain to keep the sense of achievement/accomplishment. It’s psychologically very important.

Trello is a cross device compatible and I use it on my Mac, smartphone, and tablet.

Recommended:

  • Create maximum 4 lists to keep your board clean
  • Install it on all your digital devices
  • Use ‘Deadlines’ and ‘Members’ responsible for keeping better track of all your tasks
  • Use it with Google Drive to keep track of tasks progress

 

LastPass

EHD_lastpass

http://www.efficientdailyhabits.com/lastpass

LastPass is just awesome. Do you remember all the 1000 passwords you have to have for every single service you are using? Well, I don’t, and that’s why I have LastPass. It remembers all the passwords and generates super strong ones. All you need to remember is just one, master password.

Recommended:

  • Install Chrome or FireFox extension
  • Install smartphone app to retain passwords even if you are away from your own computer

Google Suite (Drive)

EHD_gsuite

http://www.efficientdailyhabits.com/gsuite

Yeah, yeah, Google owns us. True, and now it’s going to own your documents as well. Jokes aside, when you need to collaborate across remote teams, Google Docs are the way to go. You can use the free version with limited, but pretty extensive function set, or pay $5 per member, per month and have it all in one.

Recommended

  • Google Drive for keeping Team folders accessible to everybody
  • Commenting function
  • Email collaborators after you do major changes in the documents
  • Watch out for ‘sharing’ with anonymous hippo or giraffe – that’s the Google’s way of telling you that if somebody discovers your unique link (pretty hard, but not impossible), they can access it. Make sure you only share with certain people

Skype

EHD_skype

http://www.efficientdailyhabits.com/skype

Yes, Skype is a dinosaur, but a Good Dinosaur, indeed 🙂 Voice or Video calls are a breeze, plus if you buy a credit, you can call all around the world for fraction of the costs. I loaded it with $15 credit last year and I still have $8 available … and I used it for many 2 hours calls all over the world.

Recommended:

  • If you are on slow connection, don’t use the video call or screen sharing – it will kill your call

Whatsapp

EHD_whatsapp

http://www.efficientdailyhabits.com/whatsapp

Ooooh, the big bad brother Facebook now owns Whatsapp. Relax, unless you do some bullshit clandestine activities, you don’t have to worry. Whatsapp is great for real-time messaging with your team or your friends, plus it’s encrypted end-to-end.

Recommended:

  • BEWARE – what happens in WhatsApp, stays in WhatsApp. You know how you can delete messages in Slack or Skype? Yes, you can delete them in WhatsApp chat, but they will be only deleted from your feed. Everybody else in the group chat sees them. Watch out for those F-bombs if you need to 😉

 

MindMeister

EHD_mindmeister

http://www.efficientdailyhabits.com/mindmeister

Mind mapping is great to collect your thoughts and brainstorm. I have used MindMeister because Pat Flynn recommended it in his book “Will it Fly” and have been doing so ever since. It’s great to collect your big picture and vision thoughts and explain them to others. The software gets better when you upgrade to a premium version.

CastBox Podcasts player

EHD_castbox

http://www.efficientdailyhabits.com/castbox

I am a podcast nerd. I listen to a podcast every day, sometimes multiple times a day. I am even thinking about doing my own podcast. The information in podcasts is gold and it’s great with any activity that doesn’t require you to think 2x, e.g. driving, exercising or just doing the dishes or cooking.

Recommended:

  • Use higher speed to save time – castbox allows you to use higher than recorded speed, e.g. 1.5x speed
  • Make notes to remember more

Recommended podcasts:

Waze

EHD_waze

http://www.efficientdailyhabits.com/waze

Waze is a navigation app that is similar to Google Maps but uses the power of the crowd to warn you about traffic, obstructions, speed cameras, cops, etc. Works great in the US, not sure about Europe.

Recommended:

  • Keep your phone on the charger all the time not to lose the connection in the last moment 😉

Lyft

EHD_lyft

http://www.efficientdailyhabits.com/lyft

Lyft is my favorite ‘taxi’ app. The drivers are very nice people and they even say about Lyft as a company that it’s a human-oriented company that behaves nicely to them. Compared to Uber this is a good change. Unfortunately, Lyft is only available in the US for now.

Recommended:

  • If you use the link above you will get up to $20 off of your first rides
  • Talk to the drivers when you get a chance, they all have very interesting stories to share

Uber

EHD_uber-hail

http://www.efficientdailyhabits.com/uber

Uber is my second choice of ‘taxi’ app and mainly because Lyft is not available in Europe. For now, the Uber drivers in Europe have been nice people, so I hope they continue to be so.

Recommended:

  • If you use the link above, you will get $5 off of your first rides
  • Talk to the drivers when you get a chance, they all have very interesting stories to share

Gadgets

Apple MacBook Pro 13″

EHD_MacBook

http://www.efficientdailyhabits.com/macbook

I am not Apple freak. I don’t have to have everything from Apple. But let me tell you one think … once you go Mac, you never go back … If you switch from Windows, it takes some time to get used to, but once you are good, you are good forever. It boots in less than a minute and does everything with a breeze.

 

Bose Quiet Comfort 35 Wireless headphones

EHD_Bose

http://www.efficientdailyhabits.com/bose

If you work in an office or co-working space with a lot of background noise or your colleagues performing many calls, you need these for sure. They are simply great when used with Focus At Will. You are really in your little world when you have them on. Great for focusing and getting shit done.

Recommended:

  • They ARE expensive but trust me, it’s worth the purchase and they fit great around your ears
  • Use them when flying as well – watching movies, sleeping, listening to podcasts or music

JBL portable Bluetooth speaker

EHD_JBL

http://www.efficientdailyhabits.com/jbl

As mentioned above, I am a podcast freak. I love listening to podcasts and the audio that my smartphone or tablet provide is not enough. That’s why I got myself one of these portable Bluetooth speakers. They are great for any kind of audio.

Anker Power Bank

EHD_powerbank

http://www.efficientdailyhabits.com/powerbank

Powerbanks, saviors of our digital sanity (or insanity?). You need one if you travel a lot and you know you won’t have access to electricity. Using Waze, Lyft or Google Maps will drain your phone so having one of these close by is a big help.

Bose SoundSport Wireless headphones

EHD_BoseSport

http://www.efficientdailyhabits.com/bosesport

OK, by now you know I am a podcast freak so when I go running, I obviously listen to a podcast. Having quality sports headset is a must. You don’t want wires hanging around your neck nor under your T-shirt, so invest some money into these great BOSE sports headphones and you will be good.

 

Let me know

Hey, all. Hope you found interesting points in this article that you can apply to your technological assets. Can you please let me know and share what worked for you in comments below? I am always on a lookout for new apps and gadgets that help with efficiency so any feedback is welcome.

 

Image sources:

  • Apps – Screenshots from respective websites
  • Products – Amazon.com

Trademarks belong to respective owners

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