3 Productivity Apps I’m loving right now

One week until the Foster MBA program starts!  I’ve spent the last several months trying out different productivity apps and websites to try to find stuff that’s 1) useful and 2) so easy to use that it won’t take a lot of time to maintain.  Note: I use Mac, PC, and iOS devices.

Here’s what I’m using, and why:


1) Sunrise – I used to use Google Calendars for everything because I liked how easy it was to add new appointments (click and drag!) and color code them on both PC and Mac.   I synced my google calendar to iCal so I could keep up with my appointments on my iPhone.  I live and die with my calendar – it’s home to my to do lists, itineraries, and directions to where I need to be at any moment.  Plus, it’s one of the few things that Siri can actually read to you in a useful manner.  The problem with Google Calendars and iCal was that they weren’t really great on the iPhone.  I want to see something more visually appealing and clean like the google calendar 5-day/week view rather than the silly dots + list view of iCal.  So I found Sunrise.

On mobile, Sunrise allows you to seamlessly swap between a 3-day view of your calendar and a longer month + agenda view.  I use the 3-day view as my go-to daily planner.  I’m diligent about locations for events and such, so if you need directions to your next appointment, just open up Sunrise, tap the event, and tap the location and boom – directions via google maps to where you need to go.   On the desktop, I use it as a google chrome app and it looks like google calendar.  I still use my color coding system, but Sunrise will also read the event title and automatically categorize it with an icon.  Sunrise also can sync up with TripIt, Asana, Producteev, and a host of other apps to make your life easier.  It seamlessly syncs up with google calendar and facebook too…so if you’re invited to an event, you can see it, accept it, and see it in Sunrise.  Easily the best calendar/scheduling app out there today.

2) Evernote – I used to use Google Drive a lot to archive my files and notes – until it stopped being useful on my iPhone.   It just wasn’t convenient to use on mobile because it eats up a lot of space (it downloads files to your phone…gigabytes worth of stuff while you’re not looking), it was painfully slow, and not great at viewing content.  I finally switched to Evernote and now I use it for a ton of stuff…think of any information that you’d like to save and have on hand at a moment’s notice: blog ideas, to-do lists, websites/articles to read later, membership cards, etc.  You can drop PDFs, word docs, gifs, movies, websites, and all sorts of content in there, either just with a drag and drop interface through the app or using a chrome extension like Evernote Web Clipper.  It’s fast, it’s easy, and great on Mac, PC, and iOS.  Oh yeah, it also can sync up with Sunrise.  Bonus!

3) Dropbox – I used to use Google Drive to upload my iPhone photos to the cloud for sharing, but it was extremely slow and painful.  Every time my phone went on standby, it would stop uploading so you had to sit there with your phone and watch the files get uploaded.  Also, the iOS Google Drive app would download every file onto your device…so when I uploaded a photo from my iPhone to Google Drive, it would make a duplicate on my iPhone’s drive.  Imagine all your photo albums taking up twice the amount of space on your poor, low-end iPhone.  Now Dropbox automatically uploads my recent iPhone photos when I have a wi-fi connection and I can access it on all my devices.  It’s also really, really fast.

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