We use different productive tools in our day to day life. As a full-time software engineer, part-time researcher, tiny-time tech entrepreneur, I mostly spend my daily life coding/typing on my MacBook or taking notes on my notepad. So when it comes to be productive, I am totally dependent on the apps I use on my laptop or mobile. I have done a lot of researches before resulting in the next few apps -
When it comes to productivity, hands down, Notion is the best app you can use. It is so versatile, that it can be used for anything. From your daily to-do list app, to your class note-taking app. How do you use it, why do you use it, when do you use it, it's totally up to you. The app has a high learning curve than other apps. But on the contrary, it's offering more options than the others and every bit of time you give behind it will be worth it. I mostly use it as my daily-note taking app, for planning long term tasks, for a checklist of next events. Here are some features that you will get with your Notion app -
- Take notes using different pages, organized them like the folder structure
- Use tables, databases
- You can use it as a to-do list app
- Add a reminder for anything
- Markdown Support
- Gallery view
- Calendar View
- Adding web bookmark from their browser extension
- Dark Theme ❤️
- Different font, Different page layout for different pages
- Share notion page publicly with anyone
- Pdf, Image, Video, Map embedding
- Web app, Mobile app to connect to every device every time
- Google Drive, Figma, Github Gist, Invision and many more...
Notion is free for personal use. For more premium options, like version history, you need to buy the personal pro version. It is free with the student email address. Even you can get referral credit by sharing your referral link. You will get 5 credit (1-month premium) and your friend will get 10 credit (2 months premium) when he signs up. Here is my referral link 😉
Todoist comes to the 2nd position when I think about productivity. It is a core to-do list app which I use for around 1.5+ years. It has all the features that you can want with a to-do app. I use it as my personal task tracker for my day to day life. The two reasons I use todoist beside Notion app are -
- It has Recurring task capability, I have some tasks which are recuring every day or every Sunday. I create it with todoist and forget about it. But with notion you have to add it everytime. Though I found out some workarounds on Reddit, but didn't found it worthy enough.
- It has reward-based task completion. It will reward you point (karma points). And on that point, you can level up. I am too much competitive minded. So it intrigued me to use it as my to-do list app.
Besides, other great features of todoist app are -
- You can add priority to the tasks
- Open different projects and assign different tasks to them
- It has some machine learning capability to understand what do you want to say, like if you write
Gym tom 7 am, it will add the task
Gymto tomorrow at 7am
- You can auto reschedule the overdue tasks using their AI scheduler (as they call it)
- You can have an upcoming overview of the next 7 days to plan your days ahead
- Dark Mode ❤️
- 2-way sync with the Google Calendar
- Gmail integration to add tasks from the inbox just with one click
- and many more...
You can use most of the features using the free account. But to avail of the full features, you have to buy the premium version. Like Notion, it also has a referral program, but it's much restricted than the previous one. Your referral person needs to buy a premium pack to give you 2 months premium account. So if someone is interested you can obviously use my referral link. I won't mind 😉
Google Calendar is the most common calendar among its other competitors. Most of the people, don't use calendar at its fullest. I am also continiously learning and evolving. In my short experience (1.5+ months), I am using it to block my time and keep a sense of free time in my everyday life. You can obviously create recurring tasks with it. So most of the time I schedule my office with the calendar and other recurring meetings or workout time. So, in the night when I start to plan for the next day, I know what are the free times tomorrow and what can I achieve with that free time. It gives you a clear vision of the next day/ If you are a student, you can also use it to schedule your classes or maybe meetings with professors. Just send an invitation with the calendar and google calendar will automatically generate a meet link for your upcoming meeting. It has also a reminder system that you can configure to give you a reminder before 10/15/custom minutes before the task.
Besides, there are many other custom calendars you can integrate with Google Calendar. If you add them to your Google calendar, all of the events of that calendar will be included in your Google Calendar, obviously, you can delete them any time. If you are in competitive programming, here is a shortlist of calendars you can use -
- Hakcerrank Calendar (Nearly includes all platforms) - https://www.hackerrank.com/calendar
- Codeforces - https://codeforces.com/calendar
- Google code jam - https://codingcompetitions.withgoogle.com/codejam/schedule
- Google kick start - https://codingcompetitions.withgoogle.com/kickstart/schedule
Google Calendar is totally free to use.
4. Google Drive + Dropbox
Once upon a time, we were totally dependent on our physical storage. But now is a time of cloud storage. We can find a few people who are not using cloud storage like Google Drive or Dropbox or Mega. The main benefit of using cloud storage is that they are synced on all of your devices. And they all have a mobile app, so that you can access your files from your Mobile Phone at the same time. Between Dropbox and Google Drive, I prefer Google Drive for its cheaper price and the integration with Google Colab. Most of my files are synced on Google Drive. But I must warn you, Google Drive is really super slow in terms of synching. Dropbox, on the other hand, is super fast as they use Incremental Backup. Dropbox gives some cool features too like smart sync - so that it won't take all of your physical storage. You can also configure it on Google Drive that. But the difference is that on Dropbox, you can see the file, but when you want to use it, it will download the file from their cloud. On their own term, it is called Smart Sync. If you want my suggestion, use the free version of Dropbox and use it for your most necessary files and use Google Drive for your big size files, which you don't need always and also as data storage to train models on Colab.
Google Drive gives 15 GB of free storage for every Gmail account. After that, you have to pay on a monthly or yearly basis. You can see the pricing plan here.
Dropbox is also free for only 2 GB. After that you have to pay an amont same as Google Drive. Here is the whole pricing plan. Unline Google Drive, Dropbox offers a referral program. You can get 500 MB per referral for the free account up to 16 GB. Here is my referral link, if you want to sign up for dropbox. 😉
Today I have gone through the apps that helped me to make myself better in my daily life. In the next part, I will talk about the apps that are helping me to be a better researcher every day. Let me know what apps do you use to be more productive in your daily life.
About the Author
I am currently a Full Stack Software Engineer at Sapien.Network. I also do researches on Deep Learning, Natural Language Processing, Bioinformatics. Besides these, I am a Founder and CTO of Helix Development Inc.
Feel free to post any Comments or Suggestions.
"I'M STILL LEARNING." – MICHELANGELO