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Category: Technology

How I use productivity apps to manage digital content

I’ve always been a list maker. It’s probably because I feel a sense of accomplishment starting the day with a lengthy list of to-do’s and then seeing the items slowly get completed. Sometimes, I still prefer the old fashioned pen and paper approach. But keeping up with multiple pieces of paper, sticky notes and various notebooks is not efficient or in some cases, practical. Even with the abundance of mobile productivity apps, I have adopted a systematic approach to keeping track of my digital content.

Productivity apps make your work and personal tasks easier and more efficient to complete.

I’ve tried many news aggregator apps in the past but I finally have landed on my favorite, Google News. It has the cleanest interface, is easy to use and the content customization features in both the mobile app and browser versions rank it high on my requirements list. This is where my news reading and information gathering begins.

If I read an article that is tweet-worthy, I push it to Twitter. I also use the Twitter news feature (magnifying glass icon) quite often for additional viewpoints on current events. The Lists feature helps organize accounts I follow by grouping them into specific topics. I have separate lists for Tech, Beer, and Sports that I can quickly scan through the tweets of the accounts I added if I want to focus on a specific topic.

If it an article captures my attention but I don’t have time to read right away, it gets saved over to Pocket. I review, read and clean up my saved articles in Pocket on a semi-occasional basis. My favorite feature is the ability to tag articles for quick reference when need to refer to it later on. Pocket is very easy to use, organize and save articles with the browser extension add-on.

Pocket
Pocket

The newest addition to my productivity arsenal is a very user-friendly organization and to-do app called, Trello from the Atlassian suite of collaboration tools. I’ve been using Jira and Confluence, the popular agile development and collaboration tools, for a few years and really like the clean, easy to follow UI. After giving Trello a try for a few weeks, I ditched my other to-do apps (Todo Cloud, Google Tasks) and haven’t looked back.

I’m a visual person so being able to see lists and task in a column format helps me to keep organized and have the ability to see the progress of a task as it moves from left to right. Agilists will relate that to a Kanban board approach (To Do –> In Progress –> Done). Much of my content preparation for these blog posts originate from the steps mentioned above. I have a Trello list for “Blog Ideas” and can add additional content, bullet points or links as I work on the content.

by Trello
By Trello

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Essential Podcasts for Startups

pod·cast – /ˈpädˌkast/
definition: a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device, typically available as a series, new installments of which can be received by subscribers automatically.

I find that listening to audio podcasts are a great way to kill time while commuting, doing chores around the house or exercising. While podcasts have been available since 2004, it is only in the last 4-5 years that they have really increased in popularity and in the wide range of available content.

If someone opened my Overcast app (IMHO, the BEST podcasting app available) they would notice it consists primarily of business, startup and technical programs. There are also popular daily and series programs like CBS Sunday Morning with Jane Pauley, Homecoming, Serial, Heavyweight, This American Life, and WSJ Tech News Briefing.

But by far, my playlist is dominated by these excellent startup based programs:

NOTE: Gimlet Media is obviously doing something very well.  I am subscribed to 7 of their 24 shows (as of 1/22/19 2/11/19). 

Let me know what you think of any of the podcasts I’ve mentioned in this post.

UPDATE: If you haven’t listened to Gimlet Media’s Start Up podcast, listen to episodes 1-5 then read this news about Spotify’s purchase announced on 2/6/19. It’s such an awesome story for the Gimlet’s founders. The struggles that were plaguing them in the early days have been solved with this acquisition.

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