More Time, Please. Test Driving Apps for Life and Work Improvement

More Time, Please. Test Driving Apps for Life and Work Improvement

I have a time problem. There's not enough of it. The same thing goes for my clients.

It might be surprising to know most of my clients are actually very organized, type A, ambitious and energetic folks. But the time problem affects us all.

So we pick up speed wherever we can, we talk fast, walk fast, east fast and look for ways to cut corners. No time to sort the tupperware, figure out which cord connects the old cellphone to the computer to get the photos off of it, finish the bestseller we carry around or leave on the nightstand.

I also want to be more productive and efficient. As a small business owner, ideas for Tame Space are always percolating in the back of my mind no matter what I'm doing. I'm always longing to have done more than what I have accomplished in a day.

I can't really control how much time I have for the blog and business. I'm also a mom with school pick up duties and manager of all things domestic. My penchant for order means I don't let certain things slide. The many arguments for letting things (like housework) slide can't break the link between how my environment looks and how I feel and function.

Always looking for a way to improve the way I work, I stumbled onto an article about the Pomodoro technique and a tomato timer app. Intrigued, I read the premise for the  technique - it helps to break up my work into 25 minute chunks and gives me 5 minute breaks in between to do what I need to recharge or just dawdle on Twitter. 

Based on Francesco Cilrillo's Pomodoro technique, I skipped reading the book (I'm sorry! I have no time to read the whole book, I'm having a time problem here) and read the reviews on it. Then I googled a free pomodoro app, downloaded and just like that I was part of the Pomodoro action. I roped in a co-worker to test drive the technique who defines himself loosely as ADHD, to try it too. 

It was great. We used our five minute breaks to take brisk walks around the block. Then sat back down, threw our headphones back on and began typing away like maniacs racing against... tomato timers. I've used it mainly to force myself to write when I'm under a deadline. 

Now that I am at a new co-working space in Harlem, Harlem Garage, I've experienced serious gains in productivity compared to working from home. I plan to write about my experience in a co-working space shortly. Till then, co-working at Harlem Garage in a word: fantastic.

While I'm at it, I'll share some other work related apps that I've found to be really helpful lately. Many of them were suggested in the blogs for Freelancer's Union,  Fast Co., 99U, Ted, Creative Mornings...

Harvest - This app has made logging time on a project and invoicing recent writing gigs a breeze.

Breathe - initially designed for teens, I like the look and the simple way it presents getting meditation done.

TeuxDeux - I've followed Tina Roth Eisenberg's Swiss Miss for years. I like this to-do app enough to let go of my former to-do app aversion. I may be ready to recycle the paper Day Minder that I carry around everywhere.

Feedly - as a follower of blogs across many disciplines this has completely revolutionized my habits and reduced the many windows I used to have open at time on my laptop. Also set up at bloglovin, but I haven't fully utilized it yet. 

So many apps! So little time.

Actually, now that there are so many productivity apps I should have more time. As soon as I fully adjust (it always takes time to adjust to new ways of working) I'll report back on which of these apps had real staying power. And to let you know if I was able to squeeze more time out of using them.

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