Productivity, improvement in efficiency is quite a hot mantra nowadays to be successful and to achieve the growing number of goals. With the fast moving life, demanding expectations, people are in continuous pressure to improve what they are doing now, to manage multiple tasks simultaneously, and to remember many things which they need to complete in a day or probably in few days. Won't you feel, sometime our mind gets exhausted with this sea of information and tasks. However, to meet the expectations, we have to manage it. Managing information, planning ahead, scheduling, remembering the schedule and then execute it, is the key to success. But one point is certainly clear that we need some help to manage this bulk information and tasks etc. So how should we do that? Are we talking about having a personal secretary.. sort of :). But everyone can not afford to hire a personnel for this management. So.....
Alternative good solution, in this high tech world, is to use available productivity and hobbies related tools on mobile phone and desktop computers. There are many good tools available on phones and in browsers which can actually help us to manage our day, to manage our task list, schedules, alarms, goals and can keep us updated for all information which we want. Now the need is to identify these and utilize these properly. We have explored and used few tools as need arises, which we are sharing here if these can help. These are very simple tools and many people must be using these. These can give a good start to the beginners.
Let us start from desktop. On desktop if you are using or can use Chrome Browser, following tools can definitely help you. These are:
Google Calendar: It helps you to schedule your events. Events can be one time, or recurring. It has good facility to schedule as per requirements. Moreover, there are various ways to remind you for these events like
- It can send you email before any pre-defined interval. It can actually send multiple mails at multiple time gaps.
- It can send you the daily agenda as per your calendar event schedule
- It can send you SMS on your register phone number
- It can show you alert on your computer screen, if Google calendar is opened in browser
Isn't that great to have reminders for all of your events beforehand, and moreover, you can define the reminder's frequency and style. That is actually like having a personal assistant, who reminds you for every event you want to be reminded for. You can access it anywhere anytime, even on your mobile wherever you are.
Google Tasks: Another great tool on email and as chrome browser extension. It is quite simple tool to manage the tasks. You can simply add as many tasks as you want, can set a scheduled completion date, and then can strike off the completed tasks as these are done. Visualize, you are having this extension in chrome. Then as soon as you come across any task in mind, you switched to Chrome window, press the google tasks button on top right corner, a small window scrolled down and you enter the task description and date (optionally). So the very small and very important thought to do something is also captured easily. You can access it anywhere anytime, even on your mobile wherever you are.
Google Reader: A good tool to subscribe for various reading list on Google. There are many great reading lists on Google catering to different tastes, ranging from technology to philosophy to cooking. You may not have time to visit various websites to read. However, having different reading material subscribed and managed at one place is definitely good. It also tells you about number of new items which are there to read. It could be a very good tool for people who love to read a lot and want to be updated.
IGoogle: A wonderful tool to design your own dashboard using various widgets from Google; like Thought of the day, stock market, TODO, Clocks, Picture of the day and much more. Once configured, it would be your personal dashboard listing all the useful things you want to see and manage at one place as widget on Dashboard. Dashboard also helps you not to forget any item, as every item is visible to you in single view.
Save as PDF: It is another good utility, we found quite handy. Many a times, when we are reading online, we want to save the web pages. One way is to save the pages as html but that usually comes with many supporting files and even a single file format take good space. Alternatively, you install this extension and just press one button to convert the current page in PDF format. You can save it anywhere on your system. A good tool to capture the reading material you like.
Email this Page: Many times, we find some links useful for us and for anyone known to us. We generally then copy that link and email that to our desired person. This small utility help you invoke your mail editor from browser itself on one button click and automatically add the subject by reading the title, and add the link to the mail body. If not much, it actually saves few minutes for you everytime you want to share such information. And also it helps us not to forget such sharing activity, when mostly we leave it due to few mouse clicks and key press required for it.
Screen Capture: Great tool to capture the page screen shot as image. Whenever we find any information valuable for us, we want to capture it to refer it back. So either you use print screen or copy the contents to save the material. This small tool helps you to capture the screen shot in image format immediately on a single button click. Quite handy!!
Amazon Wishlist: If you love shopping, you would love mainaining your desired shopping list also. Amazon wishlist helps here a lot. As soon as, any thing comes to your mind, go to Amazon wishlist, identify the item from big Amazon store and add it to your wishlist. Certainly sometime later, you would be having time to review your list and then go for best suited items for you.
Similarly there are many more extension which can certainly help you in managing your day, your month and all of your time with some simple configuration. This all come with no cost, but demand a habit to use the tools properly. Go to Chrome Extension Web Store and search more for your requirements.
Another good point, you can log in to Chrome with your google account and it will provide you the facility to synchronize all of bookmarks, settings, and even extensions also with online account storage. Whenever, you log in to chrome from any other location on any computer, you simply need to log in to Chrome and all of your settings will automatically be replicated on that system. So once configured, you can use your configured desktop and dashboard anywhere. Fantastic! Now, we can find our configured work place anywhere, and we just need internet connectivity on computer or mobile.
So this was a small description for some small tools, which can help us a lot in daily work. Similarly, we can use various tools on Android Phone also to improve our productivity. Here is a list of few tools. For more, you can explore Google Play Store:
SPlanner Calendar: How useful is it to have all your scheduled events information from your google calendar synchronized to Phone also. And SPlanner Calendar supports this. You can configure SPlanner to sync with Google calendar. Once configured, you will be having a personal assistant with you everywhere - your desktop browser calendar in office and your android calendar out of the office. This synchronization works in both directions so wherever you find anything to schedule, you can schedule it. Rest Google Calendar will automatically sync with SPlanner. You will continue to have reminders from your assistant. You can also add more than one calendar to SPlanner.
Google Tasks: The tasks which you have added to Google task from your desktop, you can access those from your android also. One drawback, neither Splanner supports synchronization of Google tasks to calendar, nor Google task has any official app in Google Play Store. However, for now, you can still access the tasks in browser. So you are not missing a chance to keep updated with tasks which you have edited from your desktop/laptop computer.
Google Current: A very good tool for readers. Google current helps to add many famous and major News Papers from different countries, Magazine, Reading List from Google Reader and much more. Although Google Reader is also having a separate app for Android. But Google Current displays all contents in quite good format and gives you an Magazine like experience. It is a wonderful tool for readers. Try it!!
Google Drive: This tools actually provides you some space on Google server where you can store your personal documents etc. Once stored in online storage, you can access these from anywhere, on any computer or mobile. Google provides a small handy app to manage the Google Drive contents on Android.
Color Note: It is another small utility to manage your daily todo list, with a very simple interface. You can add your tasks, can set alarm for these, can create different lists like shopping lists, can tick the tasks achieved. So a small, and useful utility.
Kindle: It is a tool to manage the reading list for books and to read these books from Amazon. Using this tool, you can explore millions of books on Amazon store, download the desired books to your phone (free and paid both), and then read these. Kindle software provide a pleasant and soothing experience while reading books on screen. A good tool.
Trip Advisor: If you love travelling, it is a right Android App for you. Install Trip Advisor, and use it to get information for hotels, restaurants, and places to see etc for any specific location you want to visit. You can find reviews and recommendations for these places and can also add your reviews for various services at those places.
Stock Market Widgets: People who want to track stock markets, can install various applications on android. Applications are available for most of the world stock markets. It is a easy way to follow the stocks even when you are travelling.
Weather Widget: Another set of applications which shows the weather data for today and prediction for coming week days on your phone. Use it, and you can be updated with weather conditions and can plan your visits accordingly.
There are many more such applications in Google Play Store. Explore it for your requirements and you will find that these tools will help you.
Using these tools and by developing a habit to use these properly, you can certainly fulfill your zeal for productivity improvement. Please leave comment if you find any other tool useful. That may help others.