6 Apps I can’t live without

General

Trello: Card based project management app

Many of us always have lots of projects on the go, whether they are personal or work based projects, and I don’t know about you, but I’ve always found it quite difficult to keep up to date on where I am with each of them. Enter Trello.

In a previous role, I was responsible for all of the marketing for a law firm, which meant that I had to keep track of the full marketing mix, as well as any extra projects that were thrown my way. I started using Trello and have never looked back.

Trello is a card based project management app and how it works is that you set up boards for each project you are working on, and add lists to the boards. These lists, for example, could be anything from ‘to do’, ‘doing’ and ‘done’ to ‘KPIs’ ‘Projects’ ‘briefing points’ and so on, all depending on the project itself.

You then add cards to each list of the tasks involved which helps you keep on top of what you need to do for each project. You are able to move the cards across the boards in line with when the tasks have been completed and once the project has been completed, you can archive the board.

One of the attractions of Trello is the ability to add multiple users to the boards, so if you are working on a project with members of a team, everyone can stay up to date with what everyone else is doing. If one person cannot complete a task until someone else has done their part, once the card has been moved over to the appropriate list, the other members of the board will receive notifications informing them, allowing them to move on with the next stage of the project.

Trello has a very intuitive user interface, and part of it’s brilliance is it’s simplicity. It does exactly what it needs to do to help you be more productive and stay on top of everything you have going on. The boards can be open to other people, or you can keep them private if it is for a personal project. Either way, it’s definitely an app I cannot live without.

Clear – To do list app

Up until quite recently, I was a big believer in writing down my to do list every week, and I took pleasure in being able to tick off tasks when they were done. That was until I found Clear.

Clear is another very simple app. You have lists that you can title whatever you need to, I personally have a ‘work list’ ‘personal list’ and ‘shopping list’ (the latter is because I remember that I need certain things at the strangest times!). As items crop up that I need to do, I pop them in my to do list.

The lists themselves are colour scaled from red to yellow, red being the most urgent items at the top of the list, to the yellow, not so important items at the bottom of the list. Reminders can be added so that you get notifications at a set time and date.

There are many to do list apps on the market, and really it is down to personal preference. I find Clear easy to use and has the ability to sync across platforms, which is great when I wake up at 3am remembering things I need to remember to do.

Dropbox – File sharing app

Whether I’m trying to send documents or videos, Dropbox makes my life a lot easier, even if I am just moving them from device to device. Dropbox can be installed on any device (currently it is installed on my iPad, Macbook, home laptop and work laptop) and instead of having to email documents back and forth to myself in order to work from different devices, I just drop them into Dropbox and access the file from there.

One of the useful attributes of Dropbox is the ability to control who can see the content in the application. As part of my job, I have to edit content and send it back for approval before it goes live to the public. With Dropbox, instead of having to send the entire file, I can generate a link and share that with the people that need to see it.

I’ve always found that the free version of Dropbox is enough for me, with 2GB of free storage space, I do not need any more. However there are priced options available for business users offering more space should that be what you need.

Feedly – News aggregator

A few years ago, I used to use Google reader, and when I found out they were shutting it down, I was heartbroken. Where on earth would I find something just as good that would collate all of the news stories that I needed to be reading? Feedly entered my life shortly after and I have not looked back since.

Part of running social channels includes content curation and Feedly really helps with all of that. When it comes to content I share on my personal accounts, I will sit on the train in the morning and go through my Feedly articles, tweeting/sharing the ones I find interesting which can range from Doctor Who to the new iPhone releases. Once I am in work, one of the first things I do is log into Feedly and schedule content that is relevant on a brand level.
For a small monthly fee, you can upgrade Feedly to Feedly Pro, but having signed up to it and used it for a while, it doesn’t really make much of a difference. The free version of Feedly fulfils what I need it for. One of the benefits that the Feedly Pro version does have, however, is the integration with Hootsuite, which is great if you are scheduling posts via multiple networks, which brings my nicely onto the next app.

Hootsuite – social media management tool

Managing multiple social media platforms can be time consuming and complicated at the best of times, which is why it’s important to have a great social media management tool to back you up.

Hootsuite integrates with the main social media platforms, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google + as well as Foursquare and WordPress although I mainly use Hootsuite for Twitter.

Hootsuite has a great iPad app which I use when I am out and about, checking in when I am at home in the evenings (as social media never sleeps) and so on. With the Hootsuite app, I can schedule out tweets regardless of where I am or what I am doing as well as keeping track of all engagements.

Personally, I do not pay for the upgraded Hootsuite account as it is not something I need at this point in time, especially now that Twitter has it’s own analytics, however should you decide that you need extra social media analytics, Hootsuite offers these as part of it’s premium services.

Flipboard – Content curation app

Flipboard is quite similar to Feedly in terms of it’s offering, however I find that the content that shows up on my Flipboard tends to be different to what shows up in my Feedly stream. Also, the content I read on Feedly tends to be what others are sharing on social media, and I always like to be a little bit different where I can.

I use Flipboard on a purely personal level, reading anything from tech, to start up business, to marketing and social media. The set up is that you subscribe to particular magazines, and when you find articles you like, you can ‘flip’ them into your own magazine, building up magazines particular to your interests.

One of the features that differentiates Flipboard from Feedly is the fact that you can integrate it with your social accounts such as Twitter and Facebook and it will pull in the content that is shared across your network. This is a useful feature if you are likely to miss some of the content, especially given the short lifecycle of a tweet.

So there you have it, the six apps I can’t live without. What are the apps you can’t live without? Let me know in the comments below!

About the Author

  • Nicky Humfress

    Nicky Humfress is Product Manager of SM Experts, a content authority platform bringing the experts in social media together. Previously, Nicky was the marketing manager for a law firm, responsible for all online and offline marketing including social media accounts, the website, all content writing and email marketing campaigns.

    Web: http://www.smexperts.co.uk

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