This past week, I began emerging from a bout with the flu. Even though I still have a bit of a cough and a runny nose, it has felt delightful just to be out of bed and returning to some sort of normalcy.
One thing I was grateful for during this season was the productivity systems I have in place. I was able to determine what I had fallen behind on and how to make adaptations to priorities I had been unable to focus on.
I have written and podcasted before about the importance of weekly reviews in the past.
- The weekly review
- When Things Will Just Have to Do – Teaching in Higher Ed
- How to manage during a stressful season in higher education
- Get More Meaningful Work Done – Teaching in Higher Ed
- Sticking with Getting Things Done (GTD) – Teaching in Higher Ed
- Getting things done gets redone
Each time I complete a weekly review, I come out of it with less stress and more of a sense of the most important things to focus on during a given week.
TextExpander (Windows, Mac, iOS)
I officially recommended TextExpander on episode 114, but have mentioned it many times in past shows and blog posts. TextExpander lets us save time by “quickly inserting snippets – email addresses, signatures, code chunks, form letters images – as you type, using a simple keyboard shortcut, or custom abbreviations. Save time without typos and copy/paste.”
I recently learned how to have TextExpander type something into the subject line of an email and enter the rest of some text into the body of an email. TextExpander also has room for customization of each “snippet.”
When I have a podcast guest scheduled, I send them a couple of emails about being on the show. This process is made much simpler with TextExpander. Each episode’s show notes are also produced that much faster using TextExpander snippets.
My blog posts and podcast show notes all start in this brilliant text editing application. From their website:
A pleasant, focused writing experience combined with effective document management, fast syncing and flexible export make Ulysses the first choice for writers of all kinds.”
Sanebox (Gmail/Google, Apple iCloud, Outlook.com, Office 365, Yahoo, and many more)
Their promotional text reads: “Today is the day you take back control of your inbox.” They aren’t kidding you. I can’t imagine going back to life without SaneBox.
We prioritize your Inbox and let you know if an email didn't receive a reply.
We can also sort your Inbox, keep track of reminders and snoozed emails, rescue real email from your spam folder, upload attachments to your cloud, and more…”
Airmail (Mac, iOS)
I have found Airmail to be a wonderful way to get through email quickly. My favorite feature is the keyboard shortcuts that are available. I hardly ever have to use my trackpad when I’m moving emails into folders and processing incoming mail.
Fantastical (Mac, iOS)
I use Fantastical primarily on my Mac, though they do have an iOS app, as well. The main feature that people love about Fantastical is the ability to “use natural language to quickly create events and reminders.”
I find that I make more use of the ability to have different collections of calendars to switch between. Sometimes, I might just want to see our family members’ respective calendars and not pay attention to my work calendar at all. In other instances, I may only want to see my work and personal calendars and leave Dave’s and the kids’ calendars out of the picture.
Here’s how they describe this feature (calendar sets) on their website:
Fantastical 2 lets you quickly toggle multiple calendars on or off with a single click, so you can focus on what's more important in that moment. The days of going back and forth, clicking multiple times, just to hide and show your calendars are over.
But we didn't stop there. You can even automatically switch Calendar Sets based on your location (i.e. Work and Home). How cool is that?”
Paprika (Windows, Android, Kindle, iOS, Mac)
As some of you might have heard me talk about, I recently joined the club of those who are obsessed with the Instant Pot. It has me cooking a lot more often and taking advantage of my recipe app regularly.
Paprika “is an app that helps you organize your recipes, make meal plans, and create grocery lists. Using Paprika's built-in browser, you can save recipes from anywhere on the web.
Want to access your recipes on your phone or tablet? Our free cloud sync service allows you to seamlessly sync your data across all of your devices.”
You can also more easily adjust the ingredients you will need, based on different desired serving sizes. You definitely can’t do that quick of a set of calculations with a cookbook, or a recipe you found on Pinterest.
When Paprika says “you can easily save recipes” on the web, it means it. You copy a link over to Paprika and it extracts the needed data from the website and adds it into all the various fields (cooking time, ingredients, instructions, etc.).
What apps and services are you finding are helping you create a more frictionless experience?
I also am so appreciate of Nicholas Cifuentes-Goodbody who helped me on his new Research Hacking Slack channel to troubleshoot a TextExpander / Ulysses workflow issue I was having.