December is well known for being the busiest month of the year. Christmas and New Year preparations, company parties, raids for finding the best gifts ever, finishing all those “will leave it for later” tasks, making plans for an upcoming year… Shortly speaking, so many things to do and so little time! And that’s exactly when you start thinking that using a task manager might be actually a good idea. But once you finally decide to get one, there’s always this problem to choose “mr. right one”. This article will introduce you to a list of pretty cool tools which might make your life so much easier next year. I’ll be speaking about both: online and traditional variants.
And I’ll start with notebooks, diaries and journals. Despite the fact that we live in a technological era, there’re still people who prefer using paper to organize themselves rather than tablets, phones and other gadgets. Personally I am this kind of person myself. I think it’s much more convenient to open a notebook, take a pen and write down stuff. And you don’t have to depend on your phone’s battery level and wifi connection. It’s always there and nothing can happen to it unless you loose it somewhere. Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? Thankfully, such awesome brands like Moleskine and Leuchtturm share my thinking. And if you want to get the best journal, you should definitely look at their products. Both of these companies make great planners, but a lot of creatives prefer to stick to “classics” and go for simple plain/ruled or squared notebooks. Those people usually make their own “get shit done” system or use someone else’s.
When I got my Moleskine I didn’t have a lot of time an desire to make my own organization system. Instead, I found The Bullet Journal, and my happiness level reached up to 100%. Around 9 months ago it was one of the most popular Kickstarter projects, and these days they are already up and running, making so many people from all over the globe much more productive and content. What I like about The Bullet Journal is that you can make it whatever you want it to be: a sketchbook, a calendar, a to do list, a planner, a wishlist etc. So many options! And the best part is, again, the fact that all you need to make it work are a piece of paper and a pen. It’s been working so well for me for over 4 months now. That’s why I strongly advise you to check out their website and watch a nice video tutorial on how to set your own bullet journal. You’ll love it, I promise!
Right now we’ll start talking about techy tools. And the first one should be Goodnotes. I think that it’s sort of a “bridge” between paper notebooks and online task managers. This application allows you to make notes via handwriting and convert them into PDF and other digital formats. The only difference is that instead of paper you should use your tablet (iPad or iPhone in particular since Goodnotes is available for Apple devices only), and stylus. I gave it a try and it seemed like a nice tool to me. The interface is great and a range of opportunities is wide enough to satisfy all the needs. That’s why I think that iOS fans should definitely test it. But I do hope that they will release it for Android in the nearest future. The app is not free to use, but $7.99 seems like a reasonable price to pay for it.
You must have heard of Todoist already. This tool is usually the one to be on top of the “Best task managers ever” lists. It was also the very first task manager I tried several years ago. And even though eventually it didn’t work out for me because, as I already said, I prefer notebooks to online stuff, I was pretty much content with it. The first and I think most important advantage of Todoist is their nice minimalistic design. It also takes after iOS interfaces, that’s why it shouldn’t be too difficult to get used to using it when it comes to Apple users. And besides supporting all necessary for online world features (which also includes sharing with others), Todoist has this Intelligent Input. It automatically recognizes the information you write (dates, labels, priorities etc) and saves you time by doing a lot of routine work for you. This app is available for free with limited amount of features, but personally to me it was enough and I didn’t go premium.
Here comes the sun! That is a great song by Beatles, and I usually use this one line when I talk about something I like a lot. And TeuxDeux is exactly the tool! I like it so much more than Todoist. First of all, because it has this “french touch”. But actually it’s more of a swiss touch since the app was founded by Tina Eisenberg who’s also well known as “swissmiss”. If you haven’t heard of TeuxDeux — it’s ok. But you might have heard of Creative Mornings, though. And if you have – you should know that Tina is the one who organized it. And it’s basically how I found TeuxDeux myself: after exploring Creative Mornings community. I really like simplicity and that’s what TeuxDeux is all about. This app isn’t full of great amount of features that I usually never use. It’s just the calendar, the space to write down your stuff and that’s pretty much it. Clever and beautifully designed, just the way I like it. I’ve been using it for over 6 months and it was the best experience. It’s not free, but the amount you have to pay for it monthly is a joke. Go and get it now!
So yes. I think these tools are the best ones to help you boost your productivity. And as you can see I was talking about personal tools and ways that would help you organize yourself. But there’re also great apps like Asana, JIRA, Pivotal Tracker and others. These guys are more suitable for teams and work stuff rather than everything. But it doesn’t mean that I won’t write about those. Personally I’m a big fan of Asana, and I’m sure you’ll be able to see why soon enough. Stay tuned!