As I spent nearly a third of my life on my laptop and my phone, I’m very mindful and selective of what tools I use to conquer the digital world.
“App” as they may sound, it turns out those tools do have effects in the physical one. And today I want to share with you those best apps that have significantly improved my life.
This is the first article in this series. There will be 3 apps in each article, with a follow-up honorable mention of the next-best product.
There’s not a single todo list app on the market that can compare to this app in terms of aesthetics and functionality. It deserves the Apple Design Award.
I use Things 3 to quickly take notes of things I want to do in seconds. By “quickly” I mean “lightning fast”. With 2 simple keystrokes, I can “call” the quick-add pop-up and type my thoughts down.
It doesn’t necessarily mean I will note down only todos. I use it to note down everything I want to remember and I will use the GTD method to later organize and prioritize the tasks I want to do.
Want to buy some milk on the way home? Option + Command. Bam
Want to text your boss to ask about something? Option + Command. Bam
Want to say my article is cool? Option + Command. Bam
I know it may sound over-simplistic, but if you forget things often, you’ll get used to this feature only after a day of use, and then you’ll find yourself stuck with this app forever.
Another thing that enslaved me to this app is its beauty. Things 3 is one of the most refined todo apps on the market out there. Every single animation is polished and synchronized seamlessly across platforms. All the shortcuts, badges, messages are designed so intuitively that my whole experience inside the app feels wholesome. I know it’s an emotional thing to say, but you gotta try it.
Honorable mention: Tick Tick.
Super lightweight, not bloated with features (though it seems like it’s going in that direction), multi-platform and also beautifully designed.
I’m in touch with the Tick Tick team and I know that they haven’t planned to stop developing the app. On the contrary, 2020 is gonna be the year of refinement and super cool features! They are quite fun on Twitter. You can easily win a Lifetime Premium account over there.
Think about it this way. If Apple Note or Google Keep is your mistress, then Evernote is your wife.
She might not be the lightest or the most colorful, but she is reliable. She manages everything, she keeps the room tidy, she knows things inside out, she is always there for you to fall back on, to retrieve stories that you’ve told her once in a matter of seconds.
(Disclaimer: I’m not telling that’s the duty of a wife. I’m saying that if a wife gets her hands on those things, she nails them)
The truth is I don’t use Evernote on a daily basis, and never will I. It seems on the surface Evernote is never in my “productivity kit”. But she’s there. Sturdy and powerful, waiting to be used every weekend.
The game-changing feature of Evernote is not notebooks, not the multi-platform capacity (which, I would say frankly, is a prerequisite for any app) but is its Searching power. Ohhh yes, the search!
Personally, note-taking is born so we can review/retrieve notes later when we need them.
“A note (app) in need is a note (app) indeed”Me, obviously.
When it comes to searching through its database, Evernote is top-notch. Combining with its tagging system, we can retrieve almost anything even with the slightest memory of the note in a blink. What makes me want to go screaming over the tagging system is that I can customize it by my own need, in my own style, so I can increase the searching speed in my own way.
For example, I define the template @[Word] tag for every note that is in the form of a @Collection, like @books I have read, @places I have been to.
When, say, I want to search for a collection of the movies I want to watch, I will simply use the tag @Movies and then type “to watch” and then here it is:
Evernote + Things 3 is the most powerful productivity combo for me. Why? using the GTD system I mentioned earlier, on weekdays, I will take quick notes by Things 3 using it super quick shortcut and todo-input system. Then, at the weekend, I spend time going through the Things 3 Inbox to categorize, tag and edit the todos into real notes in Evernote. That way, nothing escapes my mind.
Honorable mention: Bear.
Bear is beautiful and gives me an “Apple product” feeling. Its most impressive feature is the markdown system. With this system, I can easily format texts and paragraphs with my keyboard without having to use the mouse at all It increases the overall typing speed and well, gives me a nerdy, geeky look that I don’t mind having 😉 For those that works with HTML a lot like me, you should definitely check it out.
Do you know that feeling when you’re so used to a product that you start to love the whole operating system, and that you will have serious trouble when it’s gone?
Spark makes me love Apple products because it’s built exclusively for Apple users. I have Spark everywhere even on my phone.
In their FAQ page, they say they are going to develop it in the near future. But according to my humble experience, that’s never gonna happen Windows muahahah.
To its core, Spark is an email client that helps you manage all of your emails in one single platform. Say goodbye to logging in and out of your GG emails or having to go to different platforms to use its service.
Spark is fast, intuitive and beautifully designed. Going through my inbox has never been easier for me. Although it has some issue with SMTP connection with Zoho and email image display (Spark team you hear me!!), overall it’s the most well-thought-out app for email management I have got my hands on.
If you’re using Windows, head over to Mozilla Thunderbird. Similar concept with a 90’s look. (lololol)
Honorable mention: Tempo.
As a newbie to the email playground, Tempo has surely secured its ground as the most minimal email manager that I have ever met. It’s simple from the landing page to the design to the actual use. I love products that have a discipline or design philosophy that they coherently stick to in and out, and Tempo has definitely made the list.
The downside of Tempo compared to Spark, is that it only supports Gmail and google apps, and also it’s not free to use. However, I think it’s worthwhile for such minimalism and creative concept. Beauty never comes without cost, eh?
Sooo that pretty sums up the apps in my productivity kit. What do you think? Do you want me to review any app?
I’d love to hear about your picks for this year. Drop me a comment 👇 and let’s catch up ☕️!