10 Awesome Tools to Boost Your Productivity

Posted in Tools, Web Design4 years ago • Written by 17 Comments

In today’s busy world, everyone strives to save time. It’s interesting to see how some simple tools can help you a lot in increasing your productivity. Today I’m going to show you some tools I use everyday to increase my productivity. Some are Mac apps, but some are online ones, so if you’re not part of the Mac cult, its okay!

Good Old Fashioned Paper and Pencils

To start, Paper and Pencil. Yes, old school, but it does me good!

Features:

  • Can be used as a planner for both school, work and everyday life.
  • It’s a hard copy, something that guarantees won’ be destroyed by hard drive failure.
  • Paper can be everywhere you are. Can you say the same for your computer?

I like it because: I like to use a combination of my Moleskine notebook and index cards, because everything gets easier to organize. I use my Moleskine as both a school/day planner and a hub for all my to-do lists and important things to remember. (Sometimes even recording Vocabulary words or Polyatomic Ions to memorize)

The Hit List

Next, I use a commercial Mac app called, “The Hit List“; it’s a to-do list maker! It lets me make as many lists, or to-do’s as I need, and I can organize them with tags.

Features

  • Manage and create lists for all aspects of your life
  • Simple and Sophisticated
  • Flexible, and great for any GTD flow.
  • Easy to manage with schedules and syncs to iCal

I like it because: It’s great for me, because of its elegant yet usable design, and there is a nice calendar function to mark due dates of specific events. So, basically I can create lists for every aspect of my life in one handy application.

Note: This app came bundled as part of MacHeist 3. A lighter, and free app that does similar things is called, Anxiety. It’s what I used before this.

GMail and Google Docs

These next two web apps, GMail and Google Docs help take my data and files with me anywhere, without the need for a USB.

Features

  • GMail is customizable, and comes with tons of space that really comes in handy!
  • Easy to make files flexible – accessible anywhere on any computer
  • Google Docs makes it easy to edit documents without a word processor.
  • Great for rough drafts
  • Ability to create spreadsheets, presentations and documents – great for school or work

I like it because: GMail and Google Docs work seamlessly together to bring the best of both worlds.

Google Chrome

Google Chrome, a web browser created by Google, is amazing!

Features

  • Available for many platforms
  • Fast, Clean and Simple; Less clutter, more efficiency.
  • Extensions for just about anything!
  • Built in security, translation, and themes
  • Easily arrange tabs, private browsing, navigation + search box

I like it because: When developing websites, it has nifty little features that make everything a whole lot easier. For instance, I can use the “Inspect Element” to inspect various elements on a website, including CSS and JavaScript! Sources are color-coded too! There are also a bunch of extensions available that boosts the design and development process as well. (Not to mention the pretty themes that are available!)

NetVibes

Netvibes, a web app, is a personalized start page that basically houses little modules of the weather, email, twitter, Facebook, Craigslist, etc; all in one homepage!

Features

  • A personalized Web experience
  • Easy to manage and update social media accounts
  • Private and Personal Pages
  • Accessible from computers or mobile devices
  • More than 180, 000 widgets for a truly unique experience!

I like it because: It really saves me time by seeing important things all at once. What’s also great is that you can have more than one page, a “tab”. The handy google search that’s never far really ties everything together!

DaisyDisk

DaisyDisk is another hesitated mac app, but is worth the money.

Features

  • Helps free up disk space
  • Smooth, Easy to use and navigate
  • Gives you a new perspective on your files
  • Shows you which files and folders are taking up the most space, in nifty, color-coded visualizations
  • Built in File Previews

I like it because: I get colorful views on exactly where my space went!

GeekTool

This next mac PrefPane, Geektool takes over your desktop and makes it totally unique. It basically adds text layers, with any kind of information you want, and makes amazing desktop customizations.

Features

  • Available for many platforms
  • Can show weather, emails, CPU usage, etc.
  • Displays in “File, Shell, and Image”
  • Powerful and easy to export and share

I like it because: It allowed me to get really creative with the way I wanted to display my information. Here’s a sample of mine.

Note: for Mac only, and I would only recommend to people comfortable with code.

GrooveShark

I like iTunes, but I love Grooveshark even more. Grooveshark is a web app for online music streaming, and totally free!

Features

  • Browser based – no need to download anything
  • Easy to discover new music
  • Pretty, easy to use interface with themes
  • Can organize music in a library with playlists

I like it because: This totally saves me time dealing with my iPod and iTunes. I also really enjoy this app because its super simple for on the go, and works great in school. The super simple functions are amazing, and very easy to fall in love with.

BrowserShots

As Web Designers, we need to accommodate all browsers; pain right? I like to use a free web app called, BrowserShots.

Features

  • Uploads screenshots of your websites on different browsers and computers
  • Fast, Clean and Simple; Less clutter, more efficiency.
  • Lots of options and settings
  • Multi platform and browser

I like it because: There are tons of options to choose from, which saves me the trouble of having to run windows on my Mac, or downloading tons of other browsers.

Flow

In a recently purchased nanobundle from mac heist, I got my hands on a Mac app called, Flow. It’s FTP that is as easy as using the finder!
Features

  • Can connect to “FTP, SFTP, Amazon S3, WebDAV, and MobileMe iDisk servers”
  • Clean design, easy to use
  • Uses QuickLook and syncs with desktop or a remote folder
  • Edit directly on server with In-app code editor

I like it because: I enjoy it, because it’s easy to edit files within and outside the program. Otherwise, it’s a great yet simple FTP program. You can even upload files, without having the app open!

I hope you enjoyed this post! Does anybody have their own apps to share?

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7 Written ArticlesWebsite

Nicole Dominguez is a self-taught teenage web designer, that founded SoDevious.Net, a resource for teenage bloggers and designers like herself. Check out her portfolio or follow her on Twitter, @sodevious.

17 Comments Best Comments First
  • Tom Girling

    Sunday, March 28th, 2010 13:17

    1

    I’m still waiting for a digital note taking device that allows me to use a pen/stylus to scribble with….that will be a life changing moment.

    I use note books & scribble ideas & notes all over them…used more as a to do list on current projects than anything else.

    One app you didn’t give a mention to is myNotes on the Mac – I find this incredibly useful for storing organized notes & info on projects & clients….this is one of my most important pieces of software that I use.

    I’m liking the look of Browser shots…I’ll give that a try….thanks.

    0
  • Chethan

    Sunday, March 28th, 2010 16:00

    7

    Awesome Post! Wonderful Collection..You could have Put Google Chrome on Top of Everything..I just Love it…

    0
  • Vinicius Câmara

    Monday, March 29th, 2010 04:31

    8

    Awesome list! Congratulations.

    0
  • Guilherme

    Sunday, March 28th, 2010 14:22

    6

    Hey, cool list. Some PC versions for the Mac apps would be nice too.

    0
  • henkifr

    Sunday, March 28th, 2010 19:55

    5

    sweet,
    now for the mac apps anything for windows thx ?
    I suppose it’s not like 99% of 1stwebdesigner viewership is mac only…..

    0
  • Benjamin Rama

    Sunday, March 28th, 2010 17:56

    2

    thanks just signed up to groove shark – seems really good – will use this often tx

    0
  • Chesney

    Sunday, March 28th, 2010 12:13

    3

    Now thats what I call a well written post! Thanks for the tips.

    0
  • mowmiaw

    Sunday, March 28th, 2010 19:39

    4

    BrowserShots is very useful tool.Thank you for providing us these great information.

    0
  • Jordan Walker

    Monday, March 29th, 2010 15:11

    9

    All of those tools will really improve productivity, as will another monitor.

    0
  • Simon

    Monday, March 29th, 2010 10:30

    10

    Thanks! I use Netvibes, which you listed and izzyTodo for simple to-do lists.

    0
  • Brett Widmann

    Monday, December 20th, 2010 02:24

    16

    This is a great collection of tools! Some should really come in handy. Thanks!

    0
  • enursa

    Sunday, June 5th, 2011 13:22

    17

    Really nice tools. Thanks for share it with us

    0
  • Ally

    Sunday, April 4th, 2010 22:46

    15

    Thanks for all the tips and recommendations! I’m not sure how I’d manage without my notebooks and notepads. Writing with pen or pencil is still one of my favorite productivity tools. I use a list of three, I can only add the most important items to the list and only add new items once I’ve completed one.

    I’m also a big fan of Google Docs and Gmail. I really like Google Spreadsheet’s form capabilities.

    We use Basecamp, Highrise and TaDalist in our business for project management and to do lists.

    And where would I be without Firebug? (Up a creek comes to mind…)

    We just developed a new service to let you record phone calls and we use this all the time when we have clients who want to call and discuss specs versus email us the specs. No special hardware required and we can use it no matter where we’re at. That’s been a life saver.

    I use RescueTime to see where I’m spending most of my time and that’s been really interesting as well. There are some projects, apps, and websites that I spend more time on than I think I do.

    We use Blinksale for invoicing and highly recommend it. For a while we used Less Accounting, but found it too robust for our invoicing needs.

    We also developed a simple expense tracker and mileage tracker and are considering adding time tracking to that but for now we use Freckle.

    I’m heading over to netvibes now. That sounds like something I could use, but I wonder if it’s different/better than the google homepage…igoogle, I think they call it?

    0
  • Larry

    Wednesday, March 31st, 2010 08:38

    14

    Great post and interesting read keep up the good work!! Hmm GrooveShark

    0
  • Alice

    Monday, March 29th, 2010 11:01

    11

    Interesting round up. I’m trying NetVibes right now. Looks pretty cool. Thanks!

    0
  • twe4ked

    Monday, March 29th, 2010 13:26

    12

    Cheers, not sure GrooveShark is a productivity booster though I have been meaning to try it out.

    Also, check out Adobe’s BrowserLab for testing in multiple browsers, I used to use BrowserShots but I found Adobes tool much faster and easier to use.

    0
  • Brad

    Tuesday, March 30th, 2010 14:41

    13

    Very nice and simple. I was just looking for something like this

    Thank you for sharing

    0
  • enursa

    Sunday, June 5th, 2011 13:22

    17

    Really nice tools. Thanks for share it with us

    0
  • Brett Widmann

    Monday, December 20th, 2010 02:24

    16

    This is a great collection of tools! Some should really come in handy. Thanks!

    0
  • Ally

    Sunday, April 4th, 2010 22:46

    15

    Thanks for all the tips and recommendations! I’m not sure how I’d manage without my notebooks and notepads. Writing with pen or pencil is still one of my favorite productivity tools. I use a list of three, I can only add the most important items to the list and only add new items once I’ve completed one.

    I’m also a big fan of Google Docs and Gmail. I really like Google Spreadsheet’s form capabilities.

    We use Basecamp, Highrise and TaDalist in our business for project management and to do lists.

    And where would I be without Firebug? (Up a creek comes to mind…)

    We just developed a new service to let you record phone calls and we use this all the time when we have clients who want to call and discuss specs versus email us the specs. No special hardware required and we can use it no matter where we’re at. That’s been a life saver.

    I use RescueTime to see where I’m spending most of my time and that’s been really interesting as well. There are some projects, apps, and websites that I spend more time on than I think I do.

    We use Blinksale for invoicing and highly recommend it. For a while we used Less Accounting, but found it too robust for our invoicing needs.

    We also developed a simple expense tracker and mileage tracker and are considering adding time tracking to that but for now we use Freckle.

    I’m heading over to netvibes now. That sounds like something I could use, but I wonder if it’s different/better than the google homepage…igoogle, I think they call it?

    0
  • Larry

    Wednesday, March 31st, 2010 08:38

    14

    Great post and interesting read keep up the good work!! Hmm GrooveShark

    0
  • Brad

    Tuesday, March 30th, 2010 14:41

    13

    Very nice and simple. I was just looking for something like this

    Thank you for sharing

    0
  • twe4ked

    Monday, March 29th, 2010 13:26

    12

    Cheers, not sure GrooveShark is a productivity booster though I have been meaning to try it out.

    Also, check out Adobe’s BrowserLab for testing in multiple browsers, I used to use BrowserShots but I found Adobes tool much faster and easier to use.

    0
  • Alice

    Monday, March 29th, 2010 11:01

    11

    Interesting round up. I’m trying NetVibes right now. Looks pretty cool. Thanks!

    0
  • Simon

    Monday, March 29th, 2010 10:30

    10

    Thanks! I use Netvibes, which you listed and izzyTodo for simple to-do lists.

    0
  • Jordan Walker

    Monday, March 29th, 2010 15:11

    9

    All of those tools will really improve productivity, as will another monitor.

    0
  • Vinicius Câmara

    Monday, March 29th, 2010 04:31

    8

    Awesome list! Congratulations.

    0
  • Chethan

    Sunday, March 28th, 2010 16:00

    7

    Awesome Post! Wonderful Collection..You could have Put Google Chrome on Top of Everything..I just Love it…

    0
  • Guilherme

    Sunday, March 28th, 2010 14:22

    6

    Hey, cool list. Some PC versions for the Mac apps would be nice too.

    0
  • henkifr

    Sunday, March 28th, 2010 19:55

    5

    sweet,
    now for the mac apps anything for windows thx ?
    I suppose it’s not like 99% of 1stwebdesigner viewership is mac only…..

    0
  • mowmiaw

    Sunday, March 28th, 2010 19:39

    4

    BrowserShots is very useful tool.Thank you for providing us these great information.

    0
  • Chesney

    Sunday, March 28th, 2010 12:13

    3

    Now thats what I call a well written post! Thanks for the tips.

    0
  • Benjamin Rama

    Sunday, March 28th, 2010 17:56

    2

    thanks just signed up to groove shark – seems really good – will use this often tx

    0
  • Tom Girling

    Sunday, March 28th, 2010 13:17

    1

    I’m still waiting for a digital note taking device that allows me to use a pen/stylus to scribble with….that will be a life changing moment.

    I use note books & scribble ideas & notes all over them…used more as a to do list on current projects than anything else.

    One app you didn’t give a mention to is myNotes on the Mac – I find this incredibly useful for storing organized notes & info on projects & clients….this is one of my most important pieces of software that I use.

    I’m liking the look of Browser shots…I’ll give that a try….thanks.

    0

Comments are closed.

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