June 16, 2009

Helpful Tools for Personal Productivity

Written By Cary Schmidt

This post is certainly not original. In fact, many of you will find it “old news,” but it comes with the spirit of “redeeming the time” and passing along good ideas—all of which are in no way original—and practical tools for friends and co-laborers. So, here are a few things things that have made a difference for the Lord’s work that you might find helpful:

Evernote (computer, internet, and mobile)—If you haven’t seen Evernote yet, you must. Evernote is a free web service that provides an interface for creating a searchable, syncable database of any notations. It comes with a desktop, internet, and phone version. There are many uses for Evernote, but a few have proven extremely helpful.

First, dictation—Evernote allows you to create a voice-memo from  a mobile device that then uploads directly to your account. From there, someone with access can retrieve that note from any computer. No matter where I dictate from, I know the office has the dictation.

Second, phone calls—I’ve created a phone call note in Evernote. Any calls I need to make get pasted into this note with names, numbers, and notations. Then from the phone, I can call up Evernote, touch the number, and the phone is dialing.

Third-accessing vital information—Creating notes for trip itineraries, flight information, event information, etc. has proven to be very helpful.

Evernote can handle webclips, photos, audio, and text notes—and the developers are keeping the program updated consistently with new features. The fact that it’s free makes it unbeatable!

iPhone / Smartphone—this has changed everything. I started several years ago with a Treo, and have since migrated to iPhone. This is a tool that brings phone calls, dictation, calendar, contacts, documents, Bible, news, music, preaching/teaching, GPS, photos, web, task list, banking, twitter, email, and much more to my hand. Nothing has had a more dramatic impact on my personal productivity and ministry in years.

“Things” for Mac (Computer and Mobile)—this is the cleanest, simplest, and most functional task, project, and team management software I have ever used—and I think I’ve tried nearly all of them. Things is reliable, intuitive, easy to navigate, and syncs with iPhone beautifully. It manages everything that needs to be remembered, while making it easy to put together only what I need to do today. If you haven’t taken a look at Things, it’s worth checking out.

Publishable Calendar—there are many solutions that work equally well (such as Outlook, Google, or iCal). The real point here is having publishable, subscribable, syncable calendar. It has been very helpful that I or my wife can log on to any computer to see my calendar from any where.

Now, this list could be much longer—so contribute some ideas. What tools or solutions have you found helpful to ministry or personal productivity?