Staying Productive, Organized, and Sane with CHEAP OR FREE Productivity Apps

Hello lovely readers! As you know, I love to write about getting things done, and I am constantly learning about how to do things efficiently and effectively. I do all of this in the spirit of fun. I really think it's important that whatever you do, you infuse a certain spirit into it... Mary Poppins style.

So why not be a little more like Mary Poppins in an age when technology is a type of magic? Why not get the aid of these three tools that can help you to be a little more superhuman. A little more magical.

In this post, I'm going to outline the three apps that have really helped me reshape the way I do business.

The first app that is made a big difference for me is called Trello. Trello is a really good app if you have teams that you work with, because it allows you to chat, and organized list, and assign tasks for people to do. At least that's how they market it.

I don't really have teams per se, I mean - I have some people that jump on a project with me, but mainly I am doing most everything myself in three or four different businesses. 

For a long time, it was really hard for me to manage all the things that I do in a healthy way. I would have one big nightmarish to do list-- and even if I made it into sections it still seemed totally overwhelming.  At one point, I actually developed an inversion to all lists. Talk about difficult! How can you possibly run a business without any lists? There really isn't an alternative. But, with the aid of the Trello app, lists have gotten smarter.

What I love about Trello is that it allows you to organize your lists and create lists with in the lists. I know that sounds a little crazy! Especially for someone like me that hates these lists. But I realize the reason I didn't like lists was that at the end of the day they really weren't very effective keeping me organized. It seemed like something was missing. 

The ability to drag and drop tasks into new list is pretty much the central reason that Trello is the great app that it is. That, and the fact that you can manage your dashboards from a desktop and a smart phone totally seamlessly. If only I could get everyone to use it! The new challenge is convincing your team. If your team members aren't willing to really use this with you becomes a one-sided game. And even though I use Trello alone, it really helps me to organize my multiple businesses and have them link into themselves manageably.

So - I know what you're thinking... "Laura, sleep isn't very productive!" But let me be the first to point out that you are very wrong! This app really changed the way I view wakefulness. Now, that sounds a little deep – let me unpack that.

Before using sleep cycle, I had been involved in the 5 AM club – that is I was waking up every morning at 5 AM and doing a certain process that would help me really set up my day for success. And, I had slid a little bit. I just wasn't keeping up with it.

Then sleep cycle came into my life. As I used its awesome features it was starting to wake me up at between 445 and 5 AM. I was so surprised! 

Here, I had gone through the 28 days to setting a new neural pathway to wake up at 5am, and thought it hadn't worked… But it HAD worked. What I had recognized or realized was that my body was still programmed for a 5 AM wake up time. It was my own tossing and turning, my own free will, holding me back from waking up at the time that my body and brain work physically set to wake up at.

Talk about a life-changing discovery! There is no doubt in my mind that finding this out really changed the way I view goalsetting, it changed the way I view my own free will, the power of my free will – I was just astounded.

That's just one of the million reasons why using sleep cycle heleped my productivity. 

It help you to wake up at the right time for you, and the right time and maybe doesn't go along with your free will, but is definitely the most beneficial time for your body. Waking up when your mind is ready can set you up for success, because you're not groggy. Getting up groggy can really mess up an entire day.

This awesome app which is only about two dollars can make it so you never up on the wrong side of the bed again. 

And really – there is no price you could put on that. 

If you care about productivity then you should know that the connection between your sleep and the performance during the day is sincerely huge! Sleep Cycle hacks into that for you it helps you discover the connections between what you do during the day and how will you sleep. I personally recommend setting one of the custom settings to show you a question before you go to sleep. That question should be what whether you use the phone in bed or not. So far from what I've measured, using the phone in bed right before going to sleep makes a big difference for my sleep quality. You guess for the better or worse!

Okay, this next one isn't really an app. Think of it as a bonus! This tiny hack to my life has made a huge difference for how I feel in my day-to-day and (HINT) it frees up my hands. It is the microphone feature on my smart phone. By using this for things like this blog, I'm able to get things done inside around the house during the day and work at the same time. Let's face it, I do enough of that sitting down stuff during my full-time job. This may sound crazy but as I am "writing" this I am folding my laundry. I. Am. Folding. My. Laundry!

Life-changing? You bet it is. Freeing, yes! It is all of the above. I highly recommend it! Maybe someday I'll have a radio show and totally skip a step. 

Give it a shot, tell me what you think! 

Maybe not all of these things apply to you, or not all of them will necessarily make a big difference for you. But start looking at your phone with a little more intention. Think about what things you do during the day take most of your time. I'm sure you can find little ways to hack into your daily activities and discover how your smart phone apps and help you work smarter, not harder.

Know any other great productivity apps? Let me know in the comments below. I would love to hear them.

Never stop learning, growing, and reaching.

~ Laura

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Content by Laura Gabriele