No such list is complete without a mention of Evernote, the fantastic note-taking app. What appeals to me most is the ability to keep everything in one place, so I no longer forget ideas for books or research that I would usually put in some document or piece of paper and never find again. With Evernote, I simply have to create a new note with my idea, and tag with a label like “writing ideas”, and then its instantly searchable.
The other way I use Evernote is to keep track of my goals for projects - usually with a simple table - and I simply update my progress on my phone, which syncs across all my devices.
Finally, something that I only started doing this year, is sending articles that are relevant directly from my RSS reader (Feedly) to my Evernote email address (you can find this in account information), which automatically creates a note with that article. I save articles related to tips and interviews on writers and thinkers that I want to re-read again in this way. It saves having to copy the article, open Evernote, create a note - it’s a one-step process instead.
Feedly is my new go-to RSS reader since Google Reader shut down. It’s really easy to add subscriptions, and has a great streamlined feel. Most importantly though, I can save to Pocket with one touch, or email articles directly to Evernote from within the app.
I had heard a lot about this app, but was initially reluctant to add yet another reading app. But this has slowly become invaluable, as I like to save not only articles I come across and want to read later, but also articles I have read and would like to read again later or reference for some reason.
This app I use exclusively on my iPhone, and I updated to the Paid version after a few weeks after I realised how useful it was for me. You can create activities to track, and each activity can be set up with a different icon and colour. With one touch, you can track the time on an activity, and again with one touch, you can end it. Over the course of the day, you can see different charts that add up what activities you did, and how much time you spent. The free version allows you 4 activities at a maximum, and the paid one allows unlimited. You can track more than one activity simultaneously, for the multi-taskers amongst us.
I use it to track how much time I am spending on any one project, and anything else I want to increase my time on - blogging for instance, or writing in my journal. I’ve noticed that whatever I activity I start to track, over time I increase how much I have been spending on it. Additionally, time tracking allows me to see how much time I have spent on each session on my project, and gauge how effective my work sessions are.
This last app is indirectly related to creativity - as I believe improved fitness helps to increase productivity and creativity in equal measure. This free app tracks the steps you take all day, and gives you an accurate picture of where you have been during the day, and how many steps you have walked at each point. As we all know, walking improves health and fitness, and also increases mental clarity, and often ideas for resolving our creative roadblocks appear while walking. Ever since using this app, I have increased my walking almost subconsciously, and feel guilty on days I don’t walk much or not at all, staying locked in my home office working. The app reminds me that I haven’t logged any steps, and am often compelled to go out for a quick 10-15 minute walk.
So there it is - my list of apps that I use daily to help me continue to improve my quality and quantity of creative work. Please leave comments below to add to this list, I would love to hear what apps help others on their creative quests.