My Favorite Productivity Apps

I use a lot of different apps on the internet to save time for myself. I thought I’d categorize the apps I personally use. I’ve tried to sort them from most to least relevant for who I imagine the typical person who reads this article will be:

Pocket: Allows you to save online articles to read later, even offline and across devices.

Workflowy: A collapsable outline for taking notes and thinking about ideas. Can be used to store and organize anything, from recepies to to-do lists.

AdBlock Plus: Remove ads from the internet.

One Tab: “Whenever you find yourself with too many tabs, click the OneTab icon to convert all of your tabs into a list. When you need to access the tabs again, you can either restore them individually or all at once.”

Flux: “It makes the color of your computer’s display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day. It’s even possible that you’re staying up too late because of your computer. You could use f.lux because it makes you sleep better, or you could just use it just because it makes your computer look better.”

ITTT: IFTTT (If This, Then That) is probably the most powerful app on the internet in terms of what it can do. Basically, it’s an app that lets you set up custom, automatic responses to certain events. For example, I use IFTTT to automatically post these blog posts to Facebook and Twitter by using recipes like “If new post in RSS, then post to Twitter”. IFTTT also helps automatically populate the r/smartgiving subreddit that I help out with. And it can be used for dozens of other things, like giving you a warning about rain on your phone, automatically backing up files, having a change in your Facebook profile picture automatically change all your other profile pictures across the internet, automatically log things on Google Calendar, etc.

The Time Zone Converter: I frequently correspond with people in Europe, Australia, Chicago, and California, so I need something to keep my time zones straight. I’ve tried six different apps for this, and this one is my favorite.

Wolfram Alpha: An impressive online calculator (“knowledge engine”) that can handle an impressive amount of input, from solving calculus to figuring out probabilities of various Poker hands, with a lot inbetween.

Cronometer: Cronometer tracks your nutrition (macronutrients and micronutrients) and makes sure you’re on track. Good way to spot check a diet and see if you’re missing something important. A lot of foods are already built-in, so you very infrequently need to enter in things for yourself.

Beeminder: Automatic commitment contracts to keep you on track in your goals, whatever they may be.

This custom 25min-5min timer, that I use for implementing the Pomodoro technique.

Political Wire: So not really an app, technically, but still a time-saver. It’s a really efficient way of learning about what is happening now in the world of US politics.

Text Manipulator: “Need to change something from lowercase to uppercase? Count the letters, numbers, and punctuation? Remove spaces or add spaces at every X characters? This can help.”

YouTube to MP3 Converter: Does exactly what it says it does. I’ve tried four different ones of these and this one is my favorite.

RainyMood: Rain sounds in your browser. What could be better? Doesn’t really save you time per se, but could make you more productive!

Buffer: Sometimes I come up with fun stuff I want to say on Facebook and Twitter, but it’s two in the morning and would be a bad time to post it. Buffer lets me schedule these things for later, which lets me space out the things I would share. This is probably like using a fire hose to put out a candle in terms of functionality, but it’s free and works well. Good thing to use if you really like Facebook and Twitter.

GTime Report: Exports your Google calendar into an Excel spreadsheet. Great for doing some time analysis.

Giasma: I like to know when sunset and sunrise are – mostly because of idle curiosity, but sometimes for figuring out when to go to bed or wake up. Giasma logs sunsets and sunrises for the entire world.

HTML to Markdown: Painlessly converts HTML script into the Markdown format. Does not do the reverse.

Pingdom: Tests page load speed and does server pings and traceroutes.

MTG Proxy Generator: Quickly make proxies for “Magic: The Gathering” cards. Probably not relevant for that many people, but this app has personally saved me hours of time.