Five Tools That Have Ramped Up My Productivity

It’s been a while since I’ve done a “tool roundup”. Over the past few months, I’ve been using a handful of new tools to help me stay connected, focused, refreshed, filled, and productive. Here are the best of the bunch:

1. Eero

Use: Connected, frictionless, pain-free internet for home and office.

Our home WiFi network has been powered by an Apple Airport Extreme for years. It’s been a solid performer, but as the kids have grown older and more devices are on the network, it’s been more and more difficult to keep them all connected at all times.
I heard about Eero on a few podcasts I listen to, so thought I’d give it a try. I’ve been amazed. The network is rock solid, the app makes it simple to see which devices are on the network, and there are no more issues with family members being kicked off the network at random.

(Also, it seems like the internet always seems to go down when I’m traveling. One great thing about Eero is that I can do network maintenance via the app while I’m on the road.)

Because of the size of the space we have to cover, I opted for a 3-pack of Eeros, however I think that most people could start with just one or two. That said, it’s easy to add more whenever you need them.

Check out Eero

2. Texture

Use: Filling my Stimulus Queue with magazine articles I’d never purchase on their own.

I’ve always loved to read magazines, but I grow a little tired of carrying them around. Texture is essentially the Netflix of magazines, allowing you to download many of your favorites to your tablet and carry them with you anywhere. I’ve found it invaluable for research and inspiration, and for lounging around on Sundays and catching up on what’s happening in the world. Subscriptions run around $9.99/month for up to 5 devices, so families can share one account.

If you love magazines as much as I do, I definitely recommend you check out Texture.

3. Productive

Use: Keep my daily habits and rituals on-track, even when things get busy.

This little iPhone app has taken over as my go-to “Dailies” tracker. It allows you to set up daily habits, and reminds you to perform them at whatever time of day you want. The wonderful thing about the app is that it also allows you to set up different habits for different days, which many apps don’t. (I have a different set of rituals on the weekend.)

Also, you are permitted to skip habits on days when you need to do so. When I’m traveling, I’m often unable to follow my regular regimen, so this comes in quite handy.

You can check out Productive here or in the iOS app store.

4. AirPods

Use: Listen to books or podcasts anywhere, anytime.

I’m so glad I was an early passenger on the AirPods train. These little wonders are now a part of my everyday carry. Whenever I have to stop at the grocery or the drugstore, I can pop one earbud in and listen to a book or podcast while I shop. The case is the size a package of dental floss, and it re-charges the earbuds while they’re inside. Whether I’m on my daily walk, drying dishes, or working out, these are always in use.

Yes, they’re expensive for what they are, but they are super convenient and the ability to just use one at a time is priceless to me.

Learn more about AirPods

5. Levenger Circa Notebooks

Use: Keep my days and ideas organized and my travel complication-free.

I go through a lot of notebooks. (My favorite carry at the moment is a Leuchtturm 1917 Pocket Dot-Grid.) However, I run my days from a set of custom sheets I print every month (which I’ll be sharing at some point), and punch to fit into my Levenger Circa notebook. The great thing about Circa is that you can remove and re-arrange the pages however you’d like, and you can add or remove anything from the notebook that you might need at a given time. (For example, I put all of my client and travel info in my notebook when I leave for a trip.)

By the way, Accidental Creative has a partnership with Levenger, and you can buy our Personal Idea Pad in Circa format.

Check out Circa

That’s what I’ve been using lately to keep me productive, inspired, and focused. What are you using? Please leave a response below. 

 

Share your thoughts:

20 Comments

  1. Renee Fishman

    Love this roundup of apps and tools, Todd! I echo comments about DayOne. I have almost 10,000 entries there.

    I’m a huge fan of Drafts on iOS. It’s been my go-to app for years for immediately getting something down. It is a pure text editor that supports Markdown formatting; it opens quickly to a blank note (removing the lag of Evernote or DayOne). It’s brilliance comes in the behind the scenes power: hundreds of interactions that allow you to send a note to other apps. You can send a note to Evernote, post on social platforms, to WordPress, etc. super clean interface and super powerful. I use it for everything from quick notes to much longer writing.

    AirPods seem interesting; I’ve been using Beats wireless earbuds and love them.

    Reply
  2. Chris Wilson

    AirPods really are a bit magical aren’t they! I’ve kept thinking about Productivitee (I think that’s the name right) but It’s never really “stuck” with me so I’ve stuck with my repeating daily tasks in Todoist (In a colour coded list that stands out in my Karma settings) it’s not perfect as I can’t see how I’m doing on each daily but it has stuck.

    Reply
    • Todd Henry

      Yes – I love the AirPods so much. I used to track dailies either on an index card or in OmniFocus, but switched to Productive because I wanted a dedicated app.

      Reply
  3. Brandi

    Hi Todd,
    Through your public library you can access current digital magazines for free. My library uses Zinio and Flipster.

    Reply
    • Todd Henry

      Thanks for the tip, Brandi.

      Reply
  4. Sylvie

    I love the Circa line and, for those of us on a budget, Staples as ARC notebooks–I used them for everything from planning a project to my daily agenda. I love the way I can personalize everything just the way I like it. I’m intrigued by the Productive app and will have to give that a try.

    Reply
    • Todd Henry

      Yes – the ARC notebooks are good too. I find that the holes are a little smaller than Circa, but they work well.

      Reply
  5. Chris Reed

    Todd – thank you for sharing this list. I’ve been looking for new places to find ideas and Texture seems like a good app to explore.

    I use Streaks for my daily habit tracker – it is a clean, simple approach and connects with Apple’s Health App to track activity recorded on that app (e.g mindful minutes, water consumption, etc). There is a 6 habit limit, but that was useful for me in forcing me to identify keystone habits and capturing those in the tracker.

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom!

    Reply
    • Todd Henry

      Thanks, Chris. I used Streaks for a while and it’s a great app. I switched to Productive mostly because of the ability to skip habits on occasion when I’m traveling, etc, without it counting against my streak. (I’m a little obsessive in that way. 🙂

      Reply
  6. tom cottar

    Great list…Thanks as always! I’ve been using Unroll Me for about six months now to tame my inbox. Absolutely love it. Also, the Headspace mediation app…great for a beginner like me.

    Have you posted elsewhere some tools you use for organizing content when writing a book? Any suggestions? I’m using Flipboard (iPad) to collect reference material, but nothing to really organize chapters and sections as I trudge along… Appreciate any insight. Love your work!

    Reply
    • Todd Henry

      Thanks, Tom. I write all of my books in Scrivener (and wrote a post about it on this site a while back, if you want more details about how I use it.) I use Evernote for all of my book research and keep relevant articles and quotes in a notebook for each book project. I also use Flipboard for exploring – great tool! And I use Calm as my meditation app of choice, but have heard that Headspace is great!

      Reply
      • Tom Cottar

        Thanks, Todd. I appreciate your time!

        Reply
  7. Phil Beyer

    Awesome list Todd, as always! Thanks for sharing!!

    Here are a couple other tools I’m using all the time to increase my productivity…
    – Toggl [desktop + app] easiest time tracking tool I’ve ever used (related, time tracking is a very powerful motivator for me)
    – Day One [desktop + app] the joy of using this tool has increased the amount I journal from nothing 5 years ago, to multiple morning, afternoon, and evening entries every day (related, morning commitments and evening retrospectives are also very motivating for me)

    Reply
    • Todd Henry

      Love Day One! I use it to log my travels and for occasional journaling.

      Reply
  8. Greg Vance

    Thanks Todd! The Productive app looks especially good. I love the “Track your Wins” feature. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Todd Henry

      Agree. It’s a really good app.

      Reply
  9. Jake

    Another example of invaluable content for free. Thanks Todd!

    Reply
    • Todd Henry

      Glad you found it helpful, Jake.

      Reply
  10. Raymond Negron

    Great bunch of apps. Todd. Love your work.

    Reply
    • Todd Henry

      Thanks so much, Raymond.

      Reply

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