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30+ Apps to Help You Work Less and Do More

Which productivity apps does Get-It-Done Guy rely on to keep his life running?

By
Stever Robbins,
March 22, 2016
Episode #400

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There was a time when there wasn’t “an app for that.” Back in the day, I would take notes by hand, use a real egg timer to track my productivity, and use maps. No, not Google maps. Paper maps. Real ones. The kind of maps that still work when space aliens invade and knock out the Internet, and you have to drive to your parents’ farm in Kansas to live the rest of your life in their bomb shelter.

But now, there is an app for that. My apps streamline my days in a gazillion different ways. So in honor of the 400th Get-It-Done Guy podcast, I’d like to share the apps I use to work less and do more. My ecosystem is the iPhone and Mac OS X. If you use a different ecosystem, you may be able to find versions of the apps that run in your world. Or maybe not. In which case, I am crying real, genuine, salty tears for you. Truly.

All the apps I mention here are smartphone apps, with the exception of a couple of desktop apps that I’ll specifically call out.

Typing and Writing

Writing is a huge part of my workday. So even small productivity gains in writing and using my computer add up quickly.

Normal smartphone keyboards simply suck. I use Swype and Nintype keyboards. Swype lets you type by tracing a word with your fingers. Nintype is like Swype times ten: it lets you Swype one word using both hands at once, and lets you assign text to long keypresses. Nintype is slightly less stable than Swype, which is why I still use both. But the Nintype developer is an insane, mad genius who sends out frequent updates and is devoted to making it possible to type as fast on an iPhone as you can on a desktop. With every new version, he’s getting closer to perfection.

To control my desktop and keep things organized, I use Better Touch Tool on my desktop and BTT Remote on my iPhone. Better Touch Tool lets me create gestures for my mouse and trackpad to manipulate my windows with just a touch to the mouse or trackpad. BTT Remote lets me launch apps with a single tap to my phone.

I compose text using Markdown formatting, as I’ve shared in prior episodes. The desktop and phone app iA Writer lets me compose text in Markdown using a distraction-free interface. The apps share data using iCloud, so I can move back and forth between my desk and iPhone, and I’m always magically working on the current version. 

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