Five apps from my toolbox

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I recently gave a talk on managing your time for gospel ends, and being well organised. I was quite struck by the high proportion of people even in their twenties who were not aware of the brilliant free software that is able to help us stay on top of things in a fast paced world.

So here are five apps that I have found to be enormously helpful, and have sliced a considerable amount of time out of my personal admin.

The first four are free and run on Windows and Lion, iOS and Android, syncing happily across all four. All four have paid up versions if you want more facilities, but I have not found that to be necessary for me yet

Evernote is the filing system from heaven – type, snap, record, scan anything, and it can be stored in an infinite number of notebooks, fully searchable. So you never need to worry about losing or forgetting anything again. Talks outlines, train tickets, books to buy – it all goes in there, with a massive monthly data allowance. If you like to write by hand on your tablet, it syncs with Penultimate too. Over half the group I was speaking to had not heard of it – try it and you’ll love it.

Wunderlist is a cheap and cheerful task manager. It’s as organised as you want it to be, and I’ve set up a whole series of people and places where I need to remember stuff – and then rather than have a vague ‘ToDo’ list, I have the reminder where and when I need it. It arranges a calendar prompt as well if you want one. Again, all computers and phones will happily work together.

Dropbox is a free hard drive on the cloud – as is the one offered by Google, Amazon, Apple and a host of others. Why do I use Dropbox? Because it’s not tied to one of the big players, and I prefer its simple interface.

WordPress is the hosting programme for this blog. It’s simple and, again, free – although there are paid elements which serious bloggers advise you’ll need very early on. So far I’m happy with free, although I’ve paid for the domain name, but I can see how spending money would happen very easily. If you’re thinking of starting a blog, by the way, get hold of a book called ‘Platform’ by Michael Hyatt (whose blog is MichaelHyatt.com). Brilliantly simple and practical advice which helped me get this one started.

Talking of spending money, there is one programme which is not as well known as it should be. It’s called Scrivener, produced by a company called LiteratureandLatte. Until fairly recently it was only available for Macs (and the friend who told me about it said it was worth buying a Mac just to run it!) but not it is both Mac and PC, and will sync across Dropbox

What does it do? It’s a programme for anyone who writes, and is doing all the creative stuff before you need a word processor. Taking notes, drafting, moving paragraphs around – Scrivener does it all, fantastically. You can get a free trial for a month, and it’s worth taking it for a test drive. It’s beautiful, although the version for the Mac is still ahead of the version for Windows

So that’s my top five – what would you add to the list?

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