Friday, January 04, 2013

App Review: Productivity - 30/30 and EZBuzz

It seems like so many people start their new year off by saying, 'I resolve to be more productive this year!' This is followed with lists, plans and inbox emptying and lasts until mid-February at best. Sound familiar? Trust me, I can relate.

As those close to me know, I'm a self-confessed 'App Addict'. I have spent considerable time discovering apps and testing them out and endeavor to share my findings and favourites with you from time to time on Let's Learn Social.

Let's start with two apps that I feel are good for those looking to be more productive, shall we?

1) 30/30 :
I love the 30/30 app. It's perfect for helping you to focus on tasks, but not get overwhelmed by them all. I use it to chunk my tasks into more manageable time 'pieces' as well as give myself variety throughout the day. There's lots of research out there that attests to the benefits of keeping yourself and your mind fresh by 'switching it up' and this app helps you do so brilliantly.

For example, as you can see in the above screen shot from my iPhone, I focus on writing a new blog post for 45 minutes and then give myself a 'break' by washing dishes. Then I may have blog writing scheduled in later in the day for another 45 minutes following some other task. This prevents me from sitting too long and provides necessary mental breaks. 

Another advantage to splicing up some tasks this way is that when I return to said blog post, I may note some parts that need improvement or may add some better content I thought of while allowing my mind to daydream during the chores that happen in between. 

My most productive days have been thanks to this app and this approach of focused work followed by unrelated tasks. I say give it a try. It's free and and very user-friendly and intuitive. 

2) EZBuzz
If you're like me, you remember things you are supposed to do at inopportune times, ie., when you can't write them down! For a while I was using the native Voice Memo app to simply capture the tasks orally and have them saved, but then I'd forget to check that app later!

EZBuzz takes the convenient voice memo approach a bit further by allowing you to schedule task reminders verbally. And easily. And quickly!

You simply tap on the calendar for when you want to be reminded of the errand or task, record what it is and save it. Easy-peezy. And if you want to add a note, photo or other details you can, but I like it simple and just stick with voice. At the allotted time, your phone will beep, you open the app and listen to what it is you need to be working on, buying or whom you should be calling. I love it.

When I'm out walking, I prefer to use the apps on my iPhone that I can 'speak into', like Evernote and Vlingo, and since I am still without Siri (yes, it's true!), then I find something like EZBuzz a wonderful, free and user-friendly tool.

In terms of productivity apps, this is tip of the iceberg, but I'll leave it at these two for now. Please comment below on your experience with the apps I've mentioned or others you can't live without.

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