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My Go-To Apps for Business & Personal Productivity

I have wasted a lot of time in my efforts to be more productive. When the iPad was introduced in 2010, I was an early adopter, manic about using technology to redefine my work flow, to do more and be faster while doing it.

Fast forward to today, I’ve realized that more can be less, and less can be more. After having experimented with dozens of productivity apps, I’ve reduced my workflow to just five apps, and I am now doing more in less time! I fully integrate these five apps across my three Apple screens (iPad, iPhone and Mac desktop), but whatever operating system you use, this workflow construct can work for you ….

#OmniFocus  is how I organize my daily tasks and my list of things to do. I love being able to plug in recurring tasks (e.g., pay quarterly taxes), and it’s my go-to app to make sure I get what needs to be done today, done today. This app has loads and loads of functionality to take your task management to stratospheric levels, so I highly recommend you visit their website to explore its full potential. But for today’s purposes I’ll just tell you, it’s a very good task manager and I can’t live without it.

#Dropbox  is a Cloud-based server where I store my client files (current, past and prospective). If I need to access an Executive Summary or an NDA on a company I’m selling, I can do it from my iPad or iPhone while sitting at lunch with a prospective buyer. The days of having a briefcase to carry important documents are long gone; the briefcase has become like the buggy whip, a reminder of distant age of productivity. For the record, you need a fast scanner to get paper documents into Dropbox, but that’s money well spent for the productivity upgrade it gives you.

#Evernote  is where I store all my personal stuff, such as notes to myself on future blog topics, plans for an upcoming vacation, diary notes from my daughter’s wedding day, agendas for an upcoming non-profit Board meeting, etc. As with OmniFocus, the breadth of Evernote is almost indescribable, there is so much more I could be doing with it. I know some busy and productive professionals who practically live in Evernote. I might one day, but for now it’s my go-to place for just personal data & ideas.

#Noteshelf  is my handwriting app, and trust me when I tell you, it’s the best one out there. Until very recently, I used a legal pad every day of my life for 35 years. In recent months I’ve grown accustomed to writing notes in Noteshelf with my #Bamboo stylus, then at the end of every day I transfer each note to the appropriate professional or personal file in Dropbox or Evernote respectively. It’s an painless process that’s made me much more functional, and I have a record of everything.

#iThoughtsHD  is where I go when I need to brainstorm my way through a problem or opportunity. It is the best mind-map app I have found. If you don’t mind map, you should, maybe I’ll do a whole blog post on the value of mind mapping. Suffice it to say, when you need to “see your way” through a problem or opportunity, there’s no better functionally than mind mapping, and iThoughtsHD is the best app out there for that.

I continue to look for new productivity tools, I enjoy brainstorming with friends about apps they have found to be most useful. But, after putzing around this issue for four years, I have found that perfect combination of apps that will take me to the next level of professional productivity. Being more productive in less time makes me better at everything I do, I hope you can be too.

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Tennessee Valley Group

Jim is an attorney (non-resident status with the Missouri Bar) and though he no longer practices law, he has read and negotiated enough legal documents to fill a cargo tanker. He has an MBA from Harvard Business School and knows how Wall Street and private equity operates. Jim is a Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31 listed general civil mediator with tons of experience helping business owners (large and small) work through sensitive problems to achieve winning results. He is the author of "Home Run, A Pro's Guide to Selling Your Business, Seven Principles to Make Your Company Irresistible."

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