Productivity Apps

Posted on May 07, 2012 by eelengchang | 0 Comments

When I moved to my new workshop, I made a conscious decision to leave my computer behind. Sure, my business is run online and all communications between me, suppliers, customers are all done via email. But computers to me also mean hours of reading blogs, facebooking, MSN chats with friends. Basically all my usual distractions rolled into one. I decided the only pieces of technology I would take with me would be my iPad and iPhone. Actually, its working very well. As portable and convenient as it could ever be, an iPad can't actually yet replace a computer in terms of ease of use. Tiny messages throughout the day is easily done but whole chat conversations is a different matter without a proper keyboard. In a way, the iPad/iPhone combo is that very fine balance of being sufficient enough to do anything online that I would need to address right away like important emails or researching gadget dimensions for example, but inconvenient enough that I can still think "Oooh, I'd like to do such and such online...ah its easier to do on a computer, I'll just do it when I get home."

I'm still in the process of streamlining my work processes and that includes having the proper technological tools to aid my productivity. So I wanted to give a run down of the few apps that are my daily go-to apps for helping me work more efficiently. 


Paperless: Lists + Checklists by Crush Apps

I've been hunting around for to-do lists for ages and got this one just before setting off on our holiday last year to use as a packing checklist. I've nothing to pack nowadays but always have a list of things that I need to do or remember to do. So I've been using Paperless as my daily to-do list. I've tried out various task management apps but found them all to have too many features. Which is a good thing when say trying to run a multi-people project with complex tasks and much communications needed going back and forth. But when its just me trying to organise all the bits in my brain, all I really need is something simple and quick.

Paperless is both of that. It's easy to add checklists and to add items to the checklists and there's even notes to add to each item. And that's about as in-depth as it gets but its perfect for what I need. The interface is clean and simple and you can see right away the different checklists you have going and how many items you have left to do on each. And of course tick boxes next to each item, which I love because there's nothing more satisfactory about finishing a piece of work than being able to tick a box that says its done! :) Best of all, Paperless is available for both iPad and iPhone and syncs between both devices via Dropbox, which sure is handy for me!



Etsy for iPhone by Etsy, Inc

Since my business is run on Etsy, makes sense to have this app! :) I do like that it gives me notifications when I get new orders or conversations. However, the app itself is not that easy to use and if I want to actually do anything to my shop, I'd rather just load up the website on a web browser. There is also only an iPhone version of this app. An iPad version would be nice and I think I'd be more willing to use it for answering conversations and browsing if it was on iPad. For the moment, I've put it on both iPad and iPhone but using it only for its notifications, after which I'll load up my email or the website to check up what the new order or conversation is. 



Clock Pro HD Free by The Alarm Clock Company

While I'm working, my iPad becomes a big analog clock with the help of Clock Pro HD. Before I moved to my new workshop, I've been depending on squinting my eyes at my computer screen while sitting at my sewing machine to tell what time it is. Since I no longer have a computer to squint at, and I'm far too lazy to reach over and turn my phone screen on, I've just been having my iPad sitting in its stand with Clock Pro HD open so I have a handy clock to look at all day long. I'm sure there's a billion clock apps and they are all equally good but this happened to be the one I got off App Store and it functions well enough that I'm not tempted to go searching for another one. I like that the analog clock is an old-school looking clock and that every hour, it will chime like a grandfather clock! The first time I heard it chime took me completely by surprise and I burst out laughing but I sure do like it a lot! There are a bunch of other kinds of clocks, like a project clock, alarm clock and so on, even a metronome. 

Though unrelated with the actual functionality of the app, having an easily visible clock is actually a huge help on my productivity and mental state. I plan little chunks of work in relation to what time it is, like "I have to finish sewing these pair of ears by this time" or "I have to finish this part by the time the clock chimes or I can't go for a coffee break." And when I find myself finishing by my set deadlines, it's really does boost my mental state a lot and helps with any stress I'm feeling over my time pressures.


And of course, other staples include the Mail, Safari and Calculator app that are already on the iPhone/iPad.

So, it really is possible to get through a work day without a computer. Sure there's a lot that I can't do as well that I normally do on a computer. But there's sure a lot of other work that I can get done because I don't have my computer with me. :) 

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