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quadra blog quadras top productivity apps part 2
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Recently we posted part 1 of Quadra's top productivity apps. To save you from reading through the ramblings of our entire team here is part 2! As a diverse team with a passion for digital technology you're sure to find an app from our list that can benefit you and make your life just that little bit easier!

Read part 1 of Quadra's top productivity apps here!

Anydo

Ping, our Project Manager is the back-bone of our team, always keeping us in check and on schedule! We all thought her level of organisation was a thing of witch-craft but apparently Anydo gives her a helping hand...

"I have always considered myself as an organised person. At university I even drew a calendar for how many words I’d do each day for an assignment until it was complete ( of course, i'd leave time to review before the deadline too). Having worked in a project management role for the past two years I have discovered a whole new level of organisation and getting things done!

Thinking about it, I wasn't organised before, I was simply using
organisation as a tool for procrastination! It turns out all my organisation was only a little more productive than spending my time snooping on Facebook!

If you work in a project or account management role (or any job that requires organisation), listen up because my life hack app can change the way you work. I discovered Anydo when I wanted a to-do-list that would convert my emails into a task. I tried Gmail’s task list but I didn’t get into the habit of opening the task list so I forgot about them. Paper and pen is always a favourite but we need to think about the environment now and it’s not easily searchable!

I’m on the computer most of my working day with multiple browsers open so it makes sense to having something on screen. I use Anydo’s browser extension for Chrome and enabled Anydo for Gmail. The free version is all you need to increase your productivity, there is a paid version but I haven’t explored this yet.

To get the most out of anydo and increase your productivity this is what I recommend:

jac1. Create a task for everything - Whether it’s to email John Smith, review a document, call a client or write a website scope of work create a task for it.

2. When you get an email (assuming you use Gmail) and you’ve ready it but don’t respond straight away, click Anydo’s ‘remind me’ button and customise the task to ‘reply to John smith re website scope of work’.

3. Prioritise your task list. Only have the tasks in ‘today’ for the tasks you want to tackle today. Move the others to tomorrow or upcoming. You can prioritise further by ordering today’s tasks.

4. Once you’ve completed the task, mark it as complete and then empty your task list on a daily basis to de-clutter your list.

Sounds simple, it is! Anydo is the best task list app I have used. (And I’ve tested many!) My favourite thing about Anydo is the Gmail extension. It reads the incoming email and suggests what you need to do next so you can schedule it as a task. It adds to your browser extension and when you click on the green envelope it will open that email for you. So here it is, my trick on how I get things done.

HootSuite 

Harriet is our Social & Content Coordinator, she'll be the first to tell you that social needs the same data-driven approach as any other aspect of your marketing strategy. Day to day she uses multiple tools for work but HootSuite takes pride of place in managing her personal accounts too, read her review below!

"As Social & Content Coordinator it would be bad form for me not to practice what I preach. When training clients I always suggest HootSuite as a social media management tool, there are many reasons for this but mainly I recommend it for scheduling, managing multiple channels and its built-in analytics.

Managing social media channels isn’t a 9-5 job; even when I’m out of the office I still need easy access to Quadra’s social pages. In an ideal world I would simply stay logged in to my work accounts but I have my own social media addiction to feed and there’s just not enough time (and attention span) for it all.

This is where my app in shining armour comes in and saves my weary eyes from too much screen time! HootSuite’s app allows me to add multiple streams; some personal and some work-related and manage them from one friendly interface.

I prefer the clean look of the app to the web version and for basic scheduling and monitoring the free version is great. One of my favourite features is the auto-schedule; HootSuite will calculate the best time to post to your followers, ensuring maximum engagement."

SleepBot

Its no surprise that our Digital Analyst Callum enjoys analysing aspects of his personal life as well as the work we do for our clients. He's a bit of a night owl and prefers working late into the evening, he found SleepBot and uses it to ensure he gets the best nights sleep possible even after working until the early hours...

"Ask anyone in the office – I’m not a natural early bird by any definition. I regularly find myself up late reading blogs or working on a new project and I’ve never been much use first thing in the morning (at least until I’ve had my first cup of coffee!)

I found out about SleepBot by accident, reading about sleep cycles at about 1AM (oh, the irony). People sleep in stages alternating between REM sleep and “deep” sleep, which is why some mornings you are awake as soon as your alarm goes off, other mornings you’re a zombie. If you wake up whilst in deep sleep, you’re more likely to want to hit the snooze button and lose another 10 minutes of the day.

SleepBot takes this fact and allows you to optimise your sleep schedule around these sleep cycles. Traditional alarms go off at a set time every morning, regardless of when you went to sleep or what stage of sleep you are in. SleepBot tracks your progress through the sleep cycles (using the fact that you move less during REM sleep) and schedules your alarm to wake you during REM sleep. Rather than setting a specific time, the user sets a 30 minute window for the alarm, and the app will plan the best time within this window. Optimised sleep? Now we’re talking!

The app has all the standard features that you’d expect – custom alarm tones, the ability to set multiple alarms, snooze and quick cancel. I’m a bit of a stats geek, so it’s probably not a surprise that the thing that made me finally convert was the “sleep debt” tracker. The user enters a sleep target (8 hours, in my case) and the app tracks how many hours you actually get per night and totals it, giving you an idea of why you’re feeling so tired by Friday evening.

Our office is pretty flexible and our work patterns differ from person to person, if you’re like me and mornings aren’t your thing, grab this app. It might not change your life, but it definitely makes my mornings easier!

Wunderlist

Will is our Account Manager and like Ping needs to stay on top of his tasks to keep things at Quadra HQ running smoothly. Having tried Anydo in the past only to realise he didn't use the Gmail reminder feature, he went in search of something with the same features that suited him better. Cue Wunderlist...

"Wunderlist sells itself as the easiest way to get stuff done, targeting family fuss-pots & aspirational dreamers alike with its ability to share a shopping list or make a list of places in the world to see. Currently I’m using Wunderlist Basic to manage task lists for our clients. I set tasks and reminders both per day and per week and hashtag clients to add them to group tasks.

If (like me) you’re occasionally in denial about needing to be reminded to collect dog food by machines but still miss the supermarket on the way home, fear not! Set your reminders for a subtle notification and Fido need not go hungry. However if (again, like me) you actually need a belt & braces approach; add Wunderlist to your mobile, computer or tablet and setup email and desktop notifications. Be peppered by reminders from yourself or up to 25 significant others using wanderlust’s assign functionality.

Wunderlist offers three account structures; basic for free, pro for $4.99 per month and business for $4.99 per user a month. Along with a hat load of other options at ‘pro’ level; keen Wunderlisters can customise their interface, assign unlimited tasks and take advantage of 'unlimited subtasks' too. Wunderlist can be a whole project management solution allowing businesses to assign tasks to unlimited users with options for subsequent discussion and all the features mentioned above.

As with any app it’s worth bearing in mind that the value and impact to your productivity are directly related to how its applied. So far the belt & braces approach has helped me avoid getting caught with my trousers down...wunderbar!"

Kindle 

 
Jack is one of our developers, while i'm sure he'd agree that there are many perks to working at Quadra, one of the pitfalls must be the relentless comments he gets about his Windows Phone. As you may know Windows Phones are notoriously bad for apps which means writing this review has been somewhat of a struggle for Jack (understatement of the century)...

"When it comes to life hack apps, admittedly I don't use many on my Windows Phone as they don't generally exist. I do use some apps regularly including Facebook Messenger and Netflix but i'd say they make me slightly less productive so i've chosen an app that benefits my work instead, Kindle!

The Kindle app is basically a substitute for carrying your Kindle device everywhere you go so you can read when you have a moment. The app allows you to retrieve all of the books you have purchased through the Kindle book store and read as you travel or wait. The best thing about this app is that you could probably get away with not needing a Kindle at all and just use your phone instead. 

When it comes to developing you will find that there is ALWAYS something new to learn, always something changing and new technology arising. As a mainly self-taught developer I rely heavily on resources that are easily accessible and spend a lot of my time both in work and at home reading up on advances in development. With the Kindle app on my mobile I am able to keep up to date and read on the go exactly where I left off from on my other devices."
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