My Favorite Tools To Be Productive

If it’s any evidence, I am an absolute workflow nerd and like to be efficient and careful about my tools. Here are the following tools that for me allow me to be most productive as a college student and future teacher.

My favorite apps are the following:
Omnifocus
Text Expander
– Calendar
Ulysses
Hazel
Drafts

Now as to some of the key features I use for each tool and the scenarios I have already utilized for it.

1) Omnifocus
This first app is a Getting Things Done app for Mac. I utilize the project view in order to manage the various responsibilities I have as a student. Personally I feel that this will help me keep my sanity when it comes to student teaching and when I have my own classroom.

IMG_0665

2) Text Expander

I use text expander a lot from listening to the Mac Power Users podcast has a flight

This can help me in the classroom in the future by saving some time on some key emails so that they can allow me to officially live through some easy frequently asked questions or other ideas so here’s what I’ve got.

IMG_0671
3) Calendar

I’m huge into my planning. Being able to plan out my life and schedule things keeps my sanity. Calendars help me keep on task and allows me to complete a lot more work then I normally would without using a calendar.

IMG_0677

4) Ulysses
The app Ulysses is actually the writing app that I am using to write this post now. It’s a Markdown text editor that is great for distraction free writing and a good way to manage the tons of text files that many people have strewn about on their computer. I separate my personal and student life so there can be some balance.

IMG_0669

5) Hazel
Hazel is a tool that is used to manage your files. It has different workflows that go on throughout my day that make life easier. One of which is getting things out of my downloads folder. Another is to delete movies that have been in the folder for a week or longer.

Screenshot 2015-07-04 10.35.33

6) Drafts
Capturing is key in a GTD system. Being able to use Drafts for both iPad and iOS, it allows you to get the thoughts out of your head and into the app to then process later.

Here is an example of what my Drafts inbox looks like. Often I have more but right now it’s early enough in the day I haven’t entered as much.

2015-07-04 10.26.21

When opening the app you can immediately add text to a blank sheet. It’s great for entering in quick thoughts to remember later.

Although I will go into this more in another post, at the end of the day, I open up Drafts and look through them. I quickly archive ones that I’ve either completed or delete ones that aren’t relevant anymore. Then I tend to do two things. I either share the note with Evernote or I share the note with Omnifocus. If it’s something that is just something I want to save for later as reference, I end up sending it into Evernote. If it’s something I have to do or is a task, I send it to Omnifocus. I will go over this workflow some more in a further post.

As you can see I’m reliant on certain apps for my productivity. Can’t wait to divulge more about my process.

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My Favorite Tools To Be Productive

The Overwhelming Realization I’m Addicted to Productivity Porn

Currently I’m frustrated, let me tell you why. I’m frustrated because I’ve figured out that I spend way too much time investigating and thinking about new productive methods. I have to realize what works and what doesn’t work. This means admitting to myself that I shouldn’t change systems just because it’s the new cool thing to do. Right now I’m in a sweet spot of using Getting Things Done using Omnifocus and a implementation of a bullet journal for my daily things.

If I’m being perfectly honest I nerd out on productivity stuff . I end up thinking it is going to change my life and often times I just need to realize what works and what doesn’t work.

As for podcasts of decided that I’m going to get rid of the productivity podcasts since often times they just take up space in my day. I don’t actually enjoy them, they just create more stress. I need to figure out my own productivity methods instead.

I’ve created three special projects that will get done using Mac, iPhone, and iPad apps. I hope over the summer to blog about these experiences. As long as I break things up I should complete them all.

The Overwhelming Realization I’m Addicted to Productivity Porn

## My iPhone Homescreen

**Automation**
[Launch Center Pro](http://contrast.co/launch-center-pro/)-A launcher for the iPhone that can be used to launch workflows.
[Workflow](https://workflow.is/)-An automation app for iPhone. Makes life much easier and expands the capability of the iPhone. It connects actions that work together like making a button to call home, select directions to your work, and retrieve the top news for the day. It truly can change how you use your iPhone.

**Email**
[Mailbox](http://www.mailboxapp.com/)-This app I use to get to mostly inbox zero. I tend to prefer the swiping gestures then in Dispatch listed below. Mailbox doesn’t allow me to enter items into my to-do list manager, Omnifocus however hence the need for two apps.
[Dispatch](http://www.dispatchapp.net/)-This is the app that helps me add my emails as to-do’s into Omnifocus.

**Cloud Based**
[Feedly](https://feedly.com/)-My RSS reader of choice on iOS. Works great and have yet to find a better option.
[Evernote](https://evernote.com/)-This is as Getting Things Done refers to as my reference bin. It stores tons of digital notes that are all mostly tagged so I can easily find them again. I try to clean out this inbox daily so things don’t pile up.
[DayOne](http://dayoneapp.com/)-This is my journaling app I use. Although I don’t primarily use this on iOS it still is nice to see my previous entries.
[Carousel](https://carousel.dropbox.com/)-An app that is used to view your Dropbox photos. I use it to ensure my photos are uploaded to Dropbox from my iOS device.
[Chrome](http://www.google.com/chrome/)-It works and I’ve had no problems with it. Prefer it over Safari. Syncs bookmarks and open tabs with the computer too.

**Navigation**
[Waze](https://www.waze.com/)- Easily the best GPS app ever. It is based on user data and allows people to report accidents as they occur, rerouting you when needed.
[Glympse](https://www.glympse.com/)- Use this app all the time when traveling from school to home by Amtrak. I can send my location to my mother and then she’s able to see in realtime my location.
[Google Maps](https://www.google.com/maps)-Use this app mostly for transit and general walking directions. It integrates into many public transit systems which makes life tremendously easier.

**Productivity/Utilities**
[Drafts](http://agiletortoise.com/drafts/)-This is my brain on iOS. I throw in random ideas and to-do’s into here. It has many export options and such. In a later post I can detail how as teachers Drafts is useful.
[Omnifocus](https://www.omnigroup.com/omnifocus)- This is my personal to-do list app that I use. It utilizes David Allen’s famous Getting Things Done productivity system. It involves many folders and projects which makes organizing all the things I have to do very useful.
[1 Password](https://agilebits.com/onepassword)-I would be lost without this app. I have nearly 80 passwords in here for tons of sites that I use. It can generate passwords for you via certain criteria and makes life so much easier. It even notify’s you if passwords are the same or accounts have been compromised. Plus the interface is really nice.
[SleepCycle](http://www.sleepcycle.com/)-I use this every night to track my sleep cycles. Although it’s accuracy I make sure not to take for gospel for the most part it ensures I’m on track.
[Fantastical](https://flexibits.com/fantastical-iphone)-This is my calendar app of choice on my iPhone. I like the interface and it makes life easy.

**Other**
[Overcast](https://overcast.fm/)-This is by far my favorite podcast app. The developer is heavily involved in the podcast community and he really values the user experience. He has two key features that make it worth wild, increased volume controls and an ability to speed up the podcasts.
[Stronglifts](http://stronglifts.com/apps/)-My workout app I use to follow the Stronglists program.

test post

## My iPhone Homescreen

**Automation**
[Launch Center Pro](http://contrast.co/launch-center-pro/)-A launcher for the iPhone that can be used to launch workflows.
[Workflow](https://workflow.is/)-An automation app for iPhone. Makes life much easier and expands the capability of the iPhone. It connects actions that work together like making a button to call home, select directions to your work, and retrieve the top news for the day. It truly can change how you use your iPhone.

**Email**
[Mailbox](http://www.mailboxapp.com/)-This app I use to get to mostly inbox zero. I tend to prefer the swiping gestures then in Dispatch listed below. Mailbox doesn’t allow me to enter items into my to-do list manager, Omnifocus however hence the need for two apps.
[Dispatch](http://www.dispatchapp.net/)-This is the app that helps me add my emails as to-do’s into Omnifocus.

**Cloud Based**
[Feedly](https://feedly.com/)-My RSS reader of choice on iOS. Works great and have yet to find a better option.
[Evernote](https://evernote.com/)-This is as Getting Things Done refers to as my reference bin. It stores tons of digital notes that are all mostly tagged so I can easily find them again. I try to clean out this inbox daily so things don’t pile up.
[DayOne](http://dayoneapp.com/)-This is my journaling app I use. Although I don’t primarily use this on iOS it still is nice to see my previous entries.
[Carousel](https://carousel.dropbox.com/)-An app that is used to view your Dropbox photos. I use it to ensure my photos are uploaded to Dropbox from my iOS device.
[Chrome](http://www.google.com/chrome/)-It works and I’ve had no problems with it. Prefer it over Safari. Syncs bookmarks and open tabs with the computer too.

**Navigation**
[Waze](https://www.waze.com/)- Easily the best GPS app ever. It is based on user data and allows people to report accidents as they occur, rerouting you when needed.
[Glympse](https://www.glympse.com/)- Use this app all the time when traveling from school to home by Amtrak. I can send my location to my mother and then she’s able to see in realtime my location.
[Google Maps](https://www.google.com/maps)-Use this app mostly for transit and general walking directions. It integrates into many public transit systems which makes life tremendously easier.

**Productivity/Utilities**
[Drafts](http://agiletortoise.com/drafts/)-This is my brain on iOS. I throw in random ideas and to-do’s into here. It has many export options and such. In a later post I can detail how as teachers Drafts is useful.
[Omnifocus](https://www.omnigroup.com/omnifocus)- This is my personal to-do list app that I use. It utilizes David Allen’s famous Getting Things Done productivity system. It involves many folders and projects which makes organizing all the things I have to do very useful.
[1 Password](https://agilebits.com/onepassword)-I would be lost without this app. I have nearly 80 passwords in here for tons of sites that I use. It can generate passwords for you via certain criteria and makes life so much easier. It even notify’s you if passwords are the same or accounts have been compromised. Plus the interface is really nice.
[SleepCycle](http://www.sleepcycle.com/)-I use this every night to track my sleep cycles. Although it’s accuracy I make sure not to take for gospel for the most part it ensures I’m on track.
[Fantastical](https://flexibits.com/fantastical-iphone)-This is my calendar app of choice on my iPhone. I like the interface and it makes life easy.

**Other**
[Overcast](https://overcast.fm/)-This is by far my favorite podcast app. The developer is heavily involved in the podcast community and he really values the user experience. He has two key features that make it worth wild, increased volume controls and an ability to speed up the podcasts.
[Stronglifts](http://stronglifts.com/apps/)-My workout app I use to follow the Stronglists program.

test post

My iPhone Homescreen

2015-03-30 12.08.48

Automation

Launch Center Pro-A launcher for the iPhone that can be used to launch workflows.

Workflow-An automation app for iPhone. Makes life much easier and expands the capability of the iPhone. It connects actions that work together like making a button to call home, select directions to your work, and retrieve the top news for the day. It truly can change how you use your iPhone.

Email

Mailbox-This app I use to get to mostly inbox zero. I tend to prefer the swiping gestures then in Dispatch listed below. Mailbox doesn’t allow me to enter items into my to-do list manager, Omnifocus however hence the need for two apps.

Dispatch-This is the app that helps me add my emails as to-do’s into Omnifocus.

Cloud Based

Feedly-My RSS reader of choice on iOS. Works great and have yet to find a better option.

Evernote-This is as Getting Things Done refers to as my reference bin. It stores tons of digital notes that are all mostly tagged so I can easily find them again. I try to clean out this inbox daily so things don’t pile up.[DayOne](http://dayoneapp.com/)-This is my journaling app I use. Although I don’t primarily use this on iOS it still is nice to see my previous entries.

Carousel-An app that is used to view your Dropbox photos. I use it to ensure my photos are uploaded to Dropbox from my iOS device.

Chrome-It works and I’ve had no problems with it. Prefer it over Safari. Syncs bookmarks and open tabs with the computer too.

Navigation

Waze– Easily the best GPS app ever. It is based on user data and allows people to report accidents as they occur, rerouting you when needed.

Glympse– Use this app all the time when traveling from school to home by Amtrak. I can send my location to my mother and then she’s able to see in realtime my location.

Google Maps-Use this app mostly for transit and general walking directions. It integrates into many public transit systems which makes life tremendously easier.

Productivity/Utilities

Drafts-This is my brain on iOS. I throw in random ideas and to-do’s into here. It has many export options and such. In a later post I can detail how as teachers Drafts is useful.

Omnifocus– This is my personal to-do list app that I use. It utilizes David Allen’s famous Getting Things Done productivity system. It involves many folders and projects which makes organizing all the things I have to do very useful.

1 Password-I would be lost without this app. I have nearly 80 passwords in here for tons of sites that I use. It can generate passwords for you via certain criteria and makes life so much easier. It even notify’s you if passwords are the same or accounts have been compromised. Plus the interface is really nice.

SleepCycle-I use this every night to track my sleep cycles. Although it’s accuracy I make sure not to take for gospel for the most part it ensures I’m on track.

Fantastical-This is my calendar app of choice on my iPhone. I like the interface and it makes life easy.

Other

Overcast-This is by far my favorite podcast app. The developer is heavily involved in the podcast community and he really values the user experience. He has two key features that make it worth wild, increased volume controls and an ability to speed up the podcasts.

Stronglifts-My workout app I use to follow the Stronglists program.

My iPhone Homescreen

Using DayOne In Reflective Teaching

Today I want to talk about using one of my favorite apps for journaling and reflecting in teaching. The app is called DayOne.

hero-dayone-icon@2xA lot’s been said already about DayOne. Most notably was being named the best journaling app from The Sweet Setup and  an older post by David Sparks on MacSparky. A additional writeup of how the app was made is from Lifehacker’s Behind the App series. In short summary it’s an app that is for Mac and iOS that is a journaling app. It syncs with iCloud and Dropbox and allows a beautiful journaling application for Apple devices. It has a menu bar icon that can be used to add quick entries or you can click on the actual app that can support full screen mode.

You might say now, how great sounds good. How in the world does this apply to teaching? I’m a large proponent of reflective teaching. What is meant by this is that I find tremendous value in having teaching being a constant cycle of improvement and improvement. One great way of doing so is through journaling. Journaling in itself shouldn’t be thought of as a chore and it also should feel like something natural that you want to do. It should be simple to use with whatever tools at your disposal easily available. In this case DayOne fits all that criteria.


Here are the essential questions that I brainstormed that are useful after a long day of teaching. Obviously these can be adjusted to be for using on a weekly basis too.

So some essential questions to ask when reflecting on your teaching
Date:
In one word describe the day of teaching
What was something good today that happened?
What was something that could use improvement?
What was something that didn’t go as expected today?
What important conversations with parents, students, or administrative occurred today?
If you gave yourself advice at the start of the day what would it have been?
What would you like to do better next time?
What’s something you are excited about upcoming whether in teaching or in your personal life?

By being able to reflect on one’s teaching it makes the idea of reflection that much easier using DayOne. Coming up in a upcoming post is the basic’s of TextExpander and how to utilize creating a shortcut for these essential questions to put into your DayOne journal.

Using DayOne In Reflective Teaching