My favourite productivity tools

The tools we use often dictate how productive we are. These days with the internet, computers and smartphones, a large number of tools are available that help us to be more productive. It is important to make use of the right tools to track what you’re doing and what your priorities are.

To enable me to be efficient, I have a set of tools that I use. Before I describe them, I need to state that I use an iPad Pro 10.5” as my primary and only computer. I have an Apple Keyboard and Pencil to go with it.

1. Mail: This is the default email client that comes with iOS. I try to get to Inbox Zero just before lunch and just before I leave for home. Any email that comes to me gets treated in one of the following ways:
  • Respond - where someone is asking me for some information
  • Make a to-do on a Trello Board - where I need to do something that is more than just a simple email response
  • Move to the appropriate folder - all FYIs
  • Forward to SaneBox - things that I need to follow up on later (I will also bcc a copy to SaneBox in some cases. More on this in a bit)
  • Delete - unimportant stuff
In the first two cases also, the emails go to a folder. My Inbox is only for things that have not yet been acted upon.

2. SaneBox: How many times have you sent an email to someone asking for some information and then after a few days realised that you did not receive a response? Well, SaneBox is a tool that helps with such dicks who don’t respond in time and need a dozen reminders. All you need to do is to bcc an email to a later point in time (6 hours, 1 week, 3 months and so on) and you will get an email back at the designated time where you can check if you received the response or not. There are in-built tools in Gmail and other mail clients that offer similar functionality.

3. Trello  A to-do list on steroids. Multiple to-dos form a list. Multiple lists form a board. You can have multiple boards. Lots of great features like reminders, notes, sub-lists, collaboration, attachments, moving tasks around. A must-have. All my long term and short term goals are in different places here. Annual, Monthly, Weekly and Daily tasks are decided here. Many times, things go from here to my calendar to ensure I carve out time for what I consider important.

4. iCal: Well, I don’t think it’s called that anymore. But I am used to calling it that so I will just stick with iCal. It’s basically Apple’s calendar tool. It offers syncing with Google Calendars. A host of other features that any decent calendaring tool would have.

For us to work in a consciously productive manner, the tools we use are critical. Good tools simply life so much. I know of people who don’t use anything beyond email. Gosh, I feel sorry for them and more so, for whom they work with.