As we start the New Year, here are my top 10 Productivity Tools for Musicians, Entrepreneurs – and anyone doing ‘creative’ work. Some of these are Mac-only (sorry, I’m in the Apple ecosystem), but most of these are cross platform.
- 1Password: Having a hard time remembering all your usernames and passwords? 1Password is amazing – it will save you hours and hours of time and energy – check it out here.
- VoiceMemos: This is an app on iPhone, but Android has a similar one. I use this almost every day to capture musical ideas while at the piano. It’s quick and easy. My 12 year old daughter (an aspiring songwriter) is now a fan as well… VoiceMemos gets the job done. learn more here.
- Apples Notes App: I love keeping lists. I’ve been using Evernote (see #8 below) for years now – and still enjoy it’s many features. However, if you’re on the Apple ecosystem, Apple’s Notes app is great. Simpler and quicker than OneNote, Evernote and other similar apps. And it’s free. check it out here.
- Focus@Will: This is an app which uses science to create a background soundtrack designed to hep you FOCUS. I love using this app for any computer work (which I do a lot). It’s amazing. I use it several times a week and it totally increases my productivity. check it out here. Update: check out this quick read regarding improving concentration and focus in your life.
- Fujitsu Scansnap Scanner: If you’ve ever aspired to have a “paperless” office, it is absolutely necessary to get a Scansnap scanner. I have the S1300i, and love it. I scan all my documents into Evernote. I use Hazel (see below) to help me auto-sort with tags. I now have all my documents at my fingertips – and no more ugly filing cabinets. Awesome. check it out here. If you really want to go “paperless”, I recommend you check out the awesome book “Paperless” by David Sparks here.
- Hazel: This is a brilliant utility for Mac. Essentially, it scans your computer and organizes/filing auto-magically. The app can even rename and tag documents in the process. If you’re on Mac, you absolutely need to check it out here.
- TextExpander: OK, this is really my #1 productivity tool. I use this EVERY DAY. This app takes a snippet of text and expands it into almost anything. You can create email signatures, letter templates, email responses, everything. Saves typing. Saves time. Every day. check it out here.
- Evernote: I have been a premium user of Evernote for years. I scan all my documents into Evernote for quick and mobile access from my phone, iPad or computer. Evernote is a digital ‘catch-all’ for anything you can throw at it. I’ve stored book reviews, journal entries, utility statements, even greeting cards my kids have created. It’s all in there. If you would put something in a filing cabinet, Evernote is a great digital alternative. check it out here. Or, for a “free” alternative, check out OneNote from Microsoft.
- Siri (or other Voice Assistant): Voice is one of the trends I’ve really embraced. It’s awesome to be able to dictate to your mobile phone – and have that data show up in a trusted place. I use Siri for reminders of things to be done, to create short notes (observations, ideas, etc..), to play music, enter appointments and more. Depending on the assistant on your mobile device, spend some time learning the voice commands – and then give some a try. I think you’ll find it’s come a long way in the past year – and something I’ll be using a lot of in 2017.
- Cloud Storage: I use Dropbox and iCloud Drive to store almost everything in the Cloud these days. If you travel a lot (like me), cloud storage has been a life-saver. I can find just about any document, file, mp3, photo, sheet music – you name it! For sharing files however, I prefer Dropbox. Between the two services, I can manage just about anything. I’ve also tried Google Drive and OneDrive, so if you’re in those ecosystems, they probably work great too.
Those are my top 10 Productivity tools I’ll be using in 2017 to be a more effective entrepreneur and musician. What tools do you use? Let me know what you think in the comments below – I enjoy hearing from you!