It does seem en vogue to write a quick list of what you use daily to boost productivity. So in this blog post, I will write about eight apps I use daily as a designer. I appreciate that these apps and solutions may only be for some, but they are making my life much easier as we go into the year. So whilst I am not trying to push these apps onto you, this post is more of a mark in the sand – a reference for the coming months and years for me to look back on.
Notion is a single space where you can think, write, and plan. Capture thoughts, manage projects, or even run an entire company — and do it exactly the way you want.
I use the workspace Notion to onboard all of my clients; it is where the contract and proposals are held. The legal side of the design starts in Notion.
It is a workspace that allows the sharing of ideas and thoughts. It stimulates conversation, and the database system really is something. Plus, there are quite a few integrations with third-party apps like Loom.
Loom is an async video commenting system. So, for example, if I have a logo that I need to present to someone in Sheffield, then I will not catch the train to Sheffield to show the logo.
Instead, I will record my presentation in Loom and point the recipient to the video for the walk-through.
The only issue is that I need to ensure people see the video before the design. Because even after all of the consulting and designing, it is sometimes necessary to sell the product to the recipient.
Events. Tasks. Meetings. And I now have the paid version. This is one of the few apps I still use from a similar blog post last year.
I wanted something that had the functionality of a calendar yet could help keep me semi-organised instead of setting a deadline for everything. Fantastical has great functionality in that it collaborates with Apple Reminders. So, I have the note-taking functionality of Apple Reminders, which shows up on my main dashboard on my mobile, Fantastical – all in one place.
No matter what device I use, Fantastical will give me the view I want. For example, I can see a quick overview of my calendar with the Fantastical DayTicker and Calendar views and browse comprehensive full-screen views of my day, week, month, quarter, or year when I need more detail.
Last year, I blogged about Calendly. But Cal is the free, open-source variant that doesn’t charge for use. Cal takes the busy work of scheduling off your to-do list so you can get more done.
I use it as my one point of access for my phone – people book a time with me, and then I contact them by phoning them. It saves me from worrying about prank calls in the daytime when I am out and about; it offers peace of mind about what I am doing.
I can just ignore the phone when I work because it is not a work call coming in. The enquiring caller would have scheduled a call, and it would be outgoing.
Zapier is a tool that automates software. It is a codeless solution to enable the ‘little’ work run smoothly. Examples of some of my “Zaps” (or recipes) are:
- When I highlight an email in Gmail with a Star, the sender is sent to a Newsletter list as a sign-up. This is handy to have a Leads list.
- When I post a photo on Instagram, the image is backed up to Dropbox.
Zapier has a free solution that limits you to five Zaps. You can subscribe for more.
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I like the deliverability of Mailerlite – Mailchimp, on the other hand, often goes to the promo tab of Gmail. Mailerlite is always in the best tab.
Various automation options within Mailerlite enable you to hand off the process to a lesser degree.
MailerLite is more lightweight compared to MailChimp but as far as pricing goes, MailerLite wins especially when you consider the subscriber limit. Personally, I’ve experienced better email delivery rates with MailerLite than most services.
I would be lost without this app. I use it as a complete workspace – the app is essentially a version of Chrome that has all of the apps always open. But, it is a browser that responds as an app.
Within it, I have all of my email accounts for various projects and schemes. I can have most of the above apps open within Rambox on my desktop.
The key factor that won me over, and made me get the lifetime license, was the great integration with Gmail – I use Gmail for my email for quite a few projects. Rambox makes this a lot easier to handle.
I love using the Pomodoro Method for time management.
Focus is a good timer that syncs across iCloud.
I could work on my computer, and when the timer goes off, I can go to the kitchen and drink a cup of tea. Because it is all synced using iCloud, I’m notified when to return to work on my phone.
The computer and my phone are in communication to enable me to keep up to date with my Pomodoro.
As stated in a similar post last year, this is all up for change. And, as the blog shows you – it has changed. However, I reserve the right to fettle with this list – there may be a few apps that go by the weigh side quick sharp. I am interested to hear what apps you use and hope to use in 2023. If you want to leave a comment in the footer of this Blog post let me know what you will be using.