22 Jul Web and iPhone Apps for productivity
One of my interests in Web 2.0 technology is using tools to improve productivity. It’s the reason I love RSS feeds so much, I’m a fan of anything that can help save time or improve productivity in both my working life and life on general. When I bought my iPod Touch in December I was keen to integrate that to help increase my productivity which it did to an extent but it had the distinct disadvantage of requiring wifi to do most things. The release of the iPod Touch software 2.0 and the App Store has changed all that though…
To-do lists using ToodleDo and Todo
I’ve always been a fan of the good old to-do list and although I’m not a GTD advocate (mainly as I don’t know too much about it!) I do enjoy finding out about new GTD tools. ToodleDo has been a firm favourite of mine for a while now, I’ve tried the popular Remember the Milk but I personally prefer the simplicity of ToodleDo. I have it embedded in my Pageflakes homepage so as soon as I load my browser at either work or home I see my to-do list. It’s particularly useful at work but I do also use it to help me organise my home life and studying too. I was also using the slim version of ToodleDo on my iPod (see screenshot) which was great when I was at home or work and therefore had wifi access, but I was unable to use it when out and about as it was all online.
Luckily, that has now changed thanks to Appigo’s Todo application (NB: site seems to be down at the moment but it has worked for me in the past). The main page of my Todo app currently looks like the image below with details of my lists and the number of tasks in each (as an aside, you may have noticed I am loving the ability to take screenshots from my iPod!).
When you go view the All list it lists all of your tasks in order of due date. I’d like to see different ordering of tasks (e.g. priority as it also uses priorities when you set the task), and Appigo are hoping to add this in a future release.
It synchronises with my ToodleDo account which means I can now update the list on my iPod whilst I’m away from the Internet, and then sync when I get back. I can also use the web version still and then update my iPod at the end of the working day. It might sound like such a simple thing but this really has helped me in the way I work, particularly as I often spend my time on the bus in the morning planning my day. Another neat feature (purely aesthetic but it makes it look nicer!) is that you can choose a different way of marking tasks complete. In the screenshot below you can see I’ve opted for a pretty boring blue tick with faded task at the moment but there are lots of different options available (including a DONE stamp across the task which is quite satisfying to look at!).
The ToodleDo team and the Appigo team are both great at listening to user feedback and acting on it too, so I really do recommend them both if you work using to-do lists and want to access it on the web or on an iPhone/iPod Touch.
Blogging using the WordPress iPhone app
The other thing I tend to do on the bus is jot down ideas for blog posts or even write whole posts. As a get around for no Internet I had been writing them as e-mails (you can write without Internet access), saving them as drafts, and then sending them when I got home. Then I’d have to jump on the PC, copy the text, paste it into WordPress, and add any links and images I needed. So I was delighted to hear that WordPress were releasing an iPhone app and I have been eagerly awaiting it’s release. It’s finally here, and it’s great (I wrote most of this blog post on it). At the moment it’s tricky to add in links or formatting as the HTML tags are on the third keyboard on the iPhone, but for just getting the text down and working offline it’s great. You can then add it to the drafts folder and edit it on the PC. It could do with more functionality (e.g. links, ability to adminstrate comments etc.) but I’m sure that will come in the future.
Other productivity tools
Those are the main things I use with my iPod (in addition to Microsoft Exchange which I use for email and calendar) but on the web I also use:
- PageFlakes homepage as mentioned earlier
- Google Calendar (I use this at work to promote sessions as mentioned in an earlier blog post)
- del.icio.us to store useful bookmarks
- Bloglines (I currently use the Beta version) as my RSS feed reader, which also has an iPhone optimised version but although it looks pretty is very basic so I don’t tend to use it often
I’m always keen to try new tools, are there any other useful productivity tools you love which I haven’t mentioned? How do you manage your time and organise your work?