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Five free productivity apps to keep 2018 on track

How are your plans for 2018? Even with the best will in the world sometimes it can be hard to stay on track with the goals and activities we’ve set for the year.

This is where your mobile phone can be your best friend or your worst distraction. Either way, you may as well get it to work for you. I’ve selected here five free productivity apps to help you keep on track for the year ahead.

1. Trello

Are you a “to do” list person? If so you’ll really go for Trello. This app is all about managing workflow and applies the idea that we can only do one task well at a time, (I never did believe in multi-tasking anyway). The trick is to prioritise tasks and not to jump from one thing to another. Which can be a temptation, especially if what needs doing doesn’t rate highly on the fun scale.

Trello helps you to organise tasks into “to do”, “doing” and “done”. It even allows you to share what you’re working on with others so they too can add or update your Trello list. There is a smug satisfaction at seeing your “done” list grow but also some feelings of dread as you see your “to do” list always stacking up too. Regardless, Trello will keep you focused on what you’re doing at this moment and sticking to it.

2. Pomodoro

Who would’ve thought a toy tomato timer would change the world of management? But it has. The pomodoro technique works on the assumption that we work most productively in concentrated bursts of 25 minutes. Therefore, it’s better to split your work time into 25-minute segments divided by a 5-minute break to help you rest and refocus.

My line manager swears by it and now so do I. It’s how I’ve written this blog. The Pomodoro timer app I like to use (and there are many) is called Brain Focus Productivity Timer. Not only is it a simple timer but it also allows you to plan out your work sessions and records your progress over time so you can see how hard you’ve been working. You’ve even got a choice of fun alarms to mark your 25mins done, including a round of applause! Now, who doesn’t enjoy a little recognition for working hard?

3. Evernote

An oldie but a goodie, Evernote seems to be the default mobile notebook. I’ve used it for a number of years and have organised all my lists into things I need to know while on the go. Can’t remember what your tyre pressure psi should be? I have a Car note for that. Have you read a really interesting article online you want to save? You can clip it into Evernote to read later. All of my more random thoughts and stuff I need to know while on the go are in my Evernote. Even my shirt measurements, because you never know when you’ll spot a bargain on shirts.

4. Devotional Downloads

I’m a great believer in the daily devotional and have at times struggled to make it fit into my day. But there are plenty of devotional apps you can use, depending on how you like to respond to God’s word. Our Daily Bread is popular as is WordLive from Scripture Union. Download and try out a few of them and decide which one you think will keep you inspired and motivated to grow in God’s word throughout the year.

5. Prayer Apps

“I never seem to find the time to pray”. That’s what I often say but at least with apps like, Mobileknee or Prayermate I can note down things to pray about, situations or people. That’s important because the daily distractions can easily overtake our regular time with God. If you’re someone who likes a structured approach to prayer and worship during the day then the Church of England’s Daily Prayer app will help. It’s never been easier or to be more focused (or distracted) and regardless of the app, there are so many amazing free downloads that will help to make the most of your work time and daily worship. Our time is a gift from God and how we use it can make all the difference for His kingdom, even with some smart tech to help us along the way.

Jeremy O’Hare is a blogger for Not Only Sundays and finalist for “Up and Coming Blogger” at this year’s Premier Digital Awards. You can read more of his blogs about bible wisdom for every day, @notonlysundays or facebook.com/notonlysundays

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