Weekly post #48 – The four apps that everybody needs

I am not sure where I came across this approach first →

You should have four apps, one from each of the following areas: calendar, task manager, notes and read it later. This approach should help you be more (digitally) productive. You could use less than four as there are some really useful apps that tick more than one of the areas.

This is what I use – as well as some ideas for following the approach using Google Workspace apps.

Calendar

Google Calendar

Google Calendar is all that is needed here! I use a handful of different calendars – school, family etc – but all scheduled lessons, meetings and my daughter’s football practices are here.

I use Fantastical on my iPhone and iPad to display my Google Calendar as I prefer the layout – but the Google Calendar iOS app is also very capable.

Task manager

Todoist

I’m going to say it – your email inbox should not be your ‘job list’. An app where you can ‘capture’ and then organise all the things that you need to do can be hugely beneficial for your well-being.

There is no shortage of task manager apps available! Within the Google Workspace sphere you have Google Tasks and Google Keep. These apps also display scheduled tasks in your Google Calendar. A recent update allows you to manage overdue tasks in Google Calendar.

Personally I use todoist – and have done for a number of years now. I particularly like how the Gmail add-on allows me to quickly turn emails into tasks, the web and iOS apps and the integration with Google Calendar, Fantastical etc.

Notes

Roam Research

Notes in that nice notebook you got for your birthday, others on the back of an envelope and even some in an email you sent to yourself. One place (app) is needed where you make, organise and can quickly find your notes and thoughts.

In Google Workspace you could use a Google Doc. Utilising H1, H2 to give things structure and the document outline to quickly move around. Smart chips will also help you tie various things together.

I have tried GoodNotes on my iPad, various physical Moleskine type notebooks, Bear, Notion and Trello and more. All of them have good bits – but not the coverage that I was looking for.

I am about two weeks into using Roam Research as my note taking app of choice. It is a little geekier than some of the other options and maybe not as pretty. The speed of use and the automatic generation of connections between notes, topics, ideas is what is making it the app I keep going back to. There are ‘task manager’ options here too – but I am sticking with todoist for that side of things, at the minute.

Read it later

Pocket

You need somewhere to store links. That article that was shared by a colleague that you want to digest at a later date. The website you want to use next time to teach a certain topic to one of your classes. The website of that new restaurant you would like to try. All these links need to be stored and organised.

In Google Workspace you could use Chrome bookmarks and then use the Chrome Bookmark Manager to ensure links are organised into folders. Google Keep, and it’s Chrome extension, can also be useful here.

I prefer a dedicated app for such things. I want an app that is ‘cross platform’ – I can use it on my school Chromebook, my personal iPad, my phone etc.

I use Pocket. There is a Chrome extension so that I can quickly add websites that I am viewing to Pocket – so that later on I can read them and sort them out. With tags etc you can use Pocket as an organised store of your links. I do not tend to do this. For me links get added to Pocket and then every so often I sort them out. Sites that I want to integrate into my teaching resources get added to Trello and things I want to read (in depth) are added to the iOS app Matter.