My current digital toolkit
I read Tobias van Schneider’s list of 11 tools he wasn’t able ‘to live without’ and although I thought the title was a bit dramatic — I did find a few gems. As well as Tobias' article, whenever some friends and I meet up, there are often 1 or 2 new apps mentioned each time that are staples for with some of us and are new to others.
So I thought I’d write my list of tools which have impacted on my life a lot easier this past year.
No 1 — Pushbullet
I doubt I’m using this app to its full potential, however, it makes sending links between devices super easy. Just install in on your devices and then… Working on a Mac but need to test on an Android phone? Done. Found a dinner recipe on your iPhone and need to send to your iPad at home? Done. Or even, working on your PC and need to send a link to a PC in meeting Room 2 for a presentation? Done.
No 2 — Dualingo
With 14 languages Dualingo is a great tool if you’re still working on that New Years resolution to learn a new language. It has no ads, no hidden fees and a variety of learning formats such as, listening, writing, translating etc. I don’t do the spoken word exercises often enough as I tend to use Dualingo when I’m on the underground. ‘J’ai deux grands frères.’
No 3 – Noisli
Headphones in an open plan office are an essential bit of kit, whether you are imitating a ‘do not disturb’ sign by working with headphones on and no music playing, or whether you need those consistent techno beats to help you concentrate.
I mostly use Noisli to play natural background noise alongside some sort of relaxing music to diffuse a stressful day. Unlike other services I’ve tried, it puts you in full control – you can overlay numerous sounds and control their individual volumes.
No 4— Nuzzel
Twitter have toyed with this idea a bit and currently they up weight tweets they think you’d enjoy, based on your engagement with the person who tweeted it, all within their app (to keep eyeballs on their ads I imagine). A few years ago I used to use Percolate when it was just as a daily newsletter that distilled my Twitter feed to useful headlines posted by people I followed. It’s now a huge Social Marketing Management Platform and this feature is baked into their listening tool so that left a gap in my inbox that Nuzzel now fills.
Nuzzel organises your daily ‘must read’ headlines based on the number of your followers who retweet an article in set time frames. You can pick time frames (1 hour, 2 hour etc) or previous days of the week and then you can easily fire those articles off to other apps to share or read later. It’s an app, a newsletter and I check the website each morning as one of my Chrome start up tabs while I’m drinking my coffee.
No 5 — Pocket
Pocket is my favourite service to save/bookmark articles that I want to read later. Recently they added a feature where the app reads articles in a computerised voice – it’s a feature I’m starting to enjoy. It also has the option to tag or archive articles, as well as suggest new articles to me based on my history and what other users have read.
No 6 — Flux
This is one I got from Tobias’ list and now I can stare at my monitor long into the night without my eyes getting strained by the glare. My one argument against this tool is that it could impact your work/life balance… more screen time, less fresh air.
It adjusts your monitor glare based on the time of day, using your location to calculate sunrise, dawn, dusk and sundown.
No 7— Headspace
This is a great app/service. With so many screens, so many alerts, so many meetings, such busy evenings, crazy rush hour commuting – finding some time to sit still and meditate has had a great impact on my work/life balance. And not just for me, the half a dozen people that I’ve spoken to who also use this app have only said positive things. Try it.
The first 10 sessions are free and take a mere 10mins a day, from there you can subscribe monthly or annually.
No 8— Any.do
I’d be a wreck with out this app. It pings me an alert each morning at a time I chose and says ‘Hey, you’ve got 13 tasks to do today – why not take a look’. From there I narrow them down to: Today, Later, Done, Delete. Today and Later then give me timings or days that I realistically think I’ll have time to complete my tasks.
An after thought I had while typing — PushBullet has a lot of insight on my cross-device activity. Could they be planning something with this?
What 3 apps have had a similar impact on you?
Like Tobias there are others that I use daily and that you might already know about: Spotify, Evernote, IFTTT, Dropbox, WhatsApp, Google Inbox + Drive, Photoshop, Sketch and so on.