As a writer and photographer (and as a human being), I’m constantly searching for ways to improve myself. I want to do more while being faster, smarter, and way more productive — all at the same time — which is why I love relying on apps for writers to help me along the way.
We all want to make shit happen, which is why it’s important to work smarter not just harder. Expanding on the traditional toolkit of time, energy, and a whole lot of pluck (because that’s how success happens, right?), here are five of my favorite apps people looking to get a little more done.
Staying organized can be difficult when you’re juggling projects, deadlines, work schedules, and a personal life. Wunderlist makes it all *crazy* easy. It’s the perfect tool for building to-do lists, yes, but also for setting reminders and even as a place to save your on-the-fly brainstorming sessions.
I keep lists separated into different folders for Home, Work, and Personal. It’s nice to be able to keep track of every piece of my life in one easy-to-use app, and I kinda like being able to segment things out.
I still use paper to-do lists on a daily basis, but Wunderlist is perfect for keeping those slightly more important tasks on your radar — especially since you can schedule a due date + reminder to keep you on your toes. Plus they have a desktop, online, and mobile app.
PRO TIP: Collaborate with others on Wunderlist by inviting them to join a list. (My partner and I have a joint grocery list!) Then, you can each add + complete tasks as you go, as well as assign who is responsible for what item!
Think Wunderlist on steroids. Trello is a planner’s dream where you can create ‘boards’ that organize all of your great ideas while getting a few cool functionalities that allow you to take them a step further. Trello’s like a virtual corkboard, only with way less paper to recycle, and it’s easy to share boards, sync them to your phone, and add a *lot* of information to each individual card.
I use Trello to track my workflow, organize my storylines, and give my creative juices just enough structure to avoid potentially disastrous roadblocks.
PRO TIP: There’s a Trello board dedicated to tips + tricks. For example: you can organize boards with labels + flag important items with stickers!
Managing social media on top of…everything else…can be exhausting, and Preview is one of my favorite apps for anyone who struggles to keep up. There are a lot of social media planner apps (if you’re using Facebook and Twitter, Hootsuite is a great free version), but Preview is my favorite Instagram-specific app.
It’s an Instagram planner, which allows you to schedule out your Instagram feed in advance, do basic edits and filters, and schedule reminders to post. Even better? The app also features a great hashtag finder, which is *super* helpful when you’re trying to grow your Instagram audience organically.
Not everyone cares about using Instagram on the regular, but — for those of us who do — Preview makes Instagram insanely easy.
PRO TIP: Batch your photos in advance. Next time you go to a trendy part of town, on vacation, or just outside to take photos — take as many as possible. Instead of uploading them all at once, add your favorites to Preview. You can drag-and-drop them to organize them into the aesthetic you prefer, add filters, etc. You can add new photos as you take them, organizing them however they fit in your “theme”, or rely on your batched content to get you through until you can get out to take photos again.
2) Google Drive
Pen + paper are great…except when it’s time to format, edit, and send your work. (I may or may not be the expert on this one, considering I wrote my first novel in pencil.)
You might use something like Microsoft Office or Apple’s versions, but nothing tops Google Docs for me.
The cloud functionality allows me to access my work anywhere, at any time, and on any device. I use Google Drive for almost *everything*. Writing articles, writing books, sharing photos with my clients, creating my monthly budget, and more.
PRO TIP: You can setup specific documents for offline access, meaning you can still work on them (and they’ll save) even when you aren’t connected to the internet. Next time you connect? The document will update to the cloud. I use this on flights when I want to write without paying for internet access!
I know what you’re thinking. A graphic design tool?
Abso-freaking-lutely. Here’s why.
Canva is hands-down the easiest tool you will ever encounter for making awesome graphics for the web and print. Need a presentation? They’ve got a template for that. Want to update your resume? Canva can help you create a gorgeous new resume that stands out from the pack. A temporary book cover that doesn’t skimp on quality? Done.
Not only that, Canva has the dimensions saved for every major type of social media image you could imagine. Create killer graphics that highlight your work and share them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest — without having to worry about whether your Facebook image is sized right for Twitter. (Hint: It’s not.)
I know that some of us have Photoshop and Illustrator, myself included, but we don’t all have the TIME to invest in creating something that looks great. Canva makes that pretty brainless.
PRO TIP: Canva has an entire library of FREE stock photography for your use, as well as their extensive template list. It completely changed my social media + online presence, and I use it in my day job to create blog titles, infographics, and even brochures + info sheets that look like we hired a professional graphic designer to throw ’em together. (Which we didn’t.)
Go forth and download, my fellow creatives. If you have any favorite apps for creating, enjoying life, and getting more stuff done that aren’t mentioned here (or if you have suggestions for me to check out), please leave ’em in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!