Thursday, January 8, 2015

My favorite-est apps, 2015 style

Being in academic medicine often equals juggling multiple projects and responsibilities at a time, and I have come to rely heavily on a small suite of apps to keep me doing what I need to do and going where I need to go. I'm frequently on the prowl for whatever is latest and greatest in that arena, so I thought I'd share a few of my recent and not-so-recent finds in the spirit of New Year's life (re)organization.

I had been a casual Evernote user for much of 2014, but it was only toward the end of the year that I made the time to really learn how to optimize this app. The 2-3 hour investment has paid off nicely; I am enjoying the ability to keep items, notes, and clips related to multiple work and non-work projects neatly filed and organized away. I recommend using Evernote for a few weeks to get familiar with the bases, but then don't wait as long as I did to explore its richer functionality; there are lots of useful articles on the Evernote website as well as free e-books (no worries - they're short!) worth checking out to learn more.

Toward the end of 2014 I was getting fed up with the default iOS Mail app. It wasn't syncing well with my Gmail, not to mention that the gestures just felt more and more clunky. My work institution uses Outlook, and I had to play with several apps before identifying one that worked equally well with both Outlook and Gmail - here 'tis. I'm still learning some of this app's features, but I really like its "cards" feature that lets me quickly send something to Evernote or Pocket.

I am just getting to know Timeful, but I think that we will be BFFs before long. Timeful is like my own personal assistant - I tell it what I need to get done and how long it will take, and Timeful suggests where in my schedule I can plan to do it. Again, with several different projects within my residency faculty position going on simultaneously, Timeful is helping me budget my time wisely and ensure that what needs to get done has a set time to get it done. Maybe not everyone needs that much micro-organization, but I am learning that, without it, I struggle to stay on task.

Pocket Informant
PI (not to be confused with "Pocket" as mentioned above) has been my go-to calendar and to-do app for a few years, and every time I look to see if anything better has come along I realize just how good PI is. I like the seamless integration between calendar and to-do lists, as well as the highly sophisticated way you can personalize both. PI integrates my Outlook and Google calendars seamlessly and lets me organize my to-do lists to my OCD-heart's content.

Any great apps you'd like to share?

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