Apps to save time, stay organized and avoid procrastination

Person at desk procrastinating

Procrastination is a big deal, I should know, I have a major case of it. I don’t know how to explain it, when I leave things for the last minute, I can all of a sudden find the clarity to get them done. Otherwise, I’m constantly bombarded by distractions from work, clients, family, social media and it’s pretty hard to concentrate. I’ve been on a quest to find simple apps and systems that help me not only concentrate better but be able to get things done and avoid procrastination.

I run a small business and being productive is key to our survival. I say survival because in a small business, if someone is not pulling their weight, we all suffer. This is not a big corporation that if you take a cat nap, no one will notice… but I digress.

I find that the best apps need to be simple to use to the point of making it almost mindless and they have to provide the satisfaction of completion. What do I mean by that? These apps need to give you that feeling of accomplishment that you are getting things done because if they can’t do that, you are not going to be using them for long.

I visited Despierta America recently to talk about some of these apps and brought a couple of gadgets along that can help with that as well. Here is the list:

Todoist

This is an app that will help you make to-do lists in the simplest way possible to organize your life, projects and make you more efficient. Tap the “red +” sign on the app and start adding tasks, change due dates, set priorities and it even lets you share projects and assign tasks with others. One of my favorite features is that it integrates with almost everything I use like Gmail, Google Calendar and even Amazon Alexa.

Rescue Time

What I like about it is that you get a breakdown for activities where you are spending your time, it gives you a separate report for the computer and the phone and it has a section for goals. You could set a goal to spend x amount of time in front of the computer or on the phone and it will tell you if you made it. I do spend an insane amount of time in front of the computer and it’s good to have a tracker to help me control it.

SignEasy

Unfortunately, we still live in a paper world. You would think that in 2020 it would be easy to just sign a document electronically and the reality is that it’s not as easy as it should be. This app allows you to import any document as a PDF, word file and even a photo and add your signature to it. You can easily add your name, date and initials which is what most documents require and after you are done, you can send it back through e-mail, add it to your files or use one of the many cloud document services such as Box, OneDrive and Google Drive. It honestly doesn’t get a lot easier than this.

Otter.ai

I didn’t know what I was missing until I started using this app in meetings. What does it do? It records everything being said and it transcribes it for you. It’s pretty amazing. I recently interviewed a couple of engineers from a robotics company and when I reviewed the transcript in the Otter app, it clearly delineates all the different people speaking so it’s easier to break down the notes.  An interesting feature is that you can create a word cloud from the conversation you recorded that will help you establish the theme of the meeting and which words were mentioned more frequently, which I found pretty useful.

What’s the use of this? I see it as a great virtual assistant and way to cover your butt in meetings. It’s great to have a recording of what’s being said and even better, to have the notes associated with it. Of course, you should always ask for permission before you use this type of app, but I’ve found people to be open to it.

We can always be more productive; this is one of my life-long struggles and I’m trying to be more disciplined since that’s the actual main ingredient. All the apps or tech in the world are not going to help you, unless you do your part IRL.

Here is the segment on Despierta (in Spanish)

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