15 Applications and Tools To Increase Your Productivity

Over the past years, I used various platforms and operating systems either stand-alone or Web-based, benchmarking the most suitable applications, tweaks, and tools for my work. My major goal is to be efficient in various situations, producing the best results in every platform I might use (primarily I use Windows 7, along with Mac OS X, Ubuntu and numerous Web applications for various tasks, both business and personal).15 Applications and Tools

I usually follow the “Natural Planning” approach from Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology of David Allen  to accomplish my tasks with various hacks and tweaks (some of my own, some come from third-party contributions). My approach involves a lot of personal “fine-tuning“, deriving from 21+ years of experience in business environments and 45+ years of personal commitments in various personal, family, social, business, productivity, efficiency, learning, training, consulting, and other objectives.

Why The Applications And Tools Approach?

Having led an, as usual, over-scheduled life, I  have to find ways to manage everyday tasks with a consistent way in order to achieve an equilibrium between business and personal life. During this process, I found some applications and tools indispensable from my toolkit.

How Do I Choose?

My “choice matrix” includes elements as durability and support of the chosen tool, application or services, cost, cross operation (the operation across different computing platforms), functionality, value added  elements provided, easy of usage, parameterization, customization & configuration (I’m a big fun of customizing every tool in your own requirements, approach and needs !!!) and other factors (as you can see below).

Tools selection Matrix

 Favorite Applications And Tools

Among  these tools the most prominent, having a constant place in my toolbox and streamline my workflow are the following:
  • Google applications & Tools – Cross platform (Google Chrome, Gmail, Tasks, Calendar, Docs, Reader and search in everyday basis for mail, information searching, scheduling, task management, storage, reading, etc.)
  • Microsoft applications in Windows  (typically Outlook [for mail, scheduling, task management, agendas planning, etc.], Word, PowerPoint, and Excel for carrying out the most of my workload) and the counterpart, LibreOffice in Mac and Ubuntu)
  • Evernote – Cross platform (for note making, planning scheduling, idea captures, storage, etc.)
  • DropBox – Cross platform (for online storage, collaboration, distribution, etc.)
  • TextExpander in Mac OS X and PhraseExpress in Windows (for  auto text functionality, indispensable when you have a lot of texts to write)
Of course the applications and tools, alone, are insignificant when you  have not a frame of reference or when you are not following a coherent and constant methodology for performing your goals and everyday tasks.  I believe that you should only use the ones that suit you and the minimum possible to achieve the maximum of the result you require.
Do you think that your productivity could be benefited by some of these? Or do you think that the most of the applications and tools rather clutter the “working environment” and you should stick only to the minimum possible?
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    Takis Athanassiou is an IT Consultant, Blogger, Trainer & Writer, active in the areas of leadership, business consulting, e-Learning and social media. He aims at the development of people, business and assets! You can check out his blog, add him in Google+ and follow him on Twitter.

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