The 3 apps you need to work better: Evernote, Dropbox & IFTTT

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“All things will be produced in superior quantity and quality, and with greater ease, when each man works at a single occupation, in accordance with his natural gifts, and at the right moment, without meddling with anything else.” – Plato

Sounds pretty good! But with the increasing demands of today’s job descriptions, people are multitasking more than ever before.

Technology, used smartly, can give us a flying head start on our to-do lists. It can help us work smarter and concentrate on what’s important. It may be the ability to quickly collaborate with colleagues or programs that allow us to do creative work in completely new ways. We’re spoilt for choice, with new apps and platforms being constantly developed. But that choice can be overwhelming – which platforms should we pick?

Here are three essential apps: Evernote, Dropbox and IFTTT.

Evernote

There are whole longform blogs about how writers have set systems up to make Evernote work for them, whether it’s writing a book, or organising… everything! It’s certainly a powerful app.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Create a notebook or notebook ‘stack’ for a project and drop in everything (including images, PDFs and lists) to keep all your ideas in one place.
  • Install Evernote’s powerful Web Clipper and instantly save articles you read online to the notebook of your choice.
  • Consider upgrading to a Premium subscription and be able to access all your notes and notebooks offline, on any device – handy if you are a fan of working on the plane.

Dropbox

For most people working in the cloud, Dropbox is a lifesaver. Its file-sharing and storage facilities are powerful and easy-to-use and its free account may well provide all the features you need.

Apart from storing and sharing, one of its handiest uses for people on-the-go is the ability to preview files – whether on computer or mobile. Say you’re emailed a Photoshop file to preview, but you don’t have the right program to open it. No problems – preview it in Dropbox. The same goes if you’re on a mobile device and you need to open a PDF or Word file.

Check out some of Dropbox’s other hidden features here.

Automate, automate, automate: IFTTT

When discussing the future of how we work, automation is a hot topic. From robots to simple formulas, everyone from Fortune-500 companies right through to freelance writers are looking for ways to maximise efficiency and cut time spent on simple tasks. And the time saved can be significant. McKinsey estimates that 10 – 15 per cent of a marketing executive’s time could be automated by adapting current technology.

Robots aside, who doesn’t want to shift some of the more repetitive, manual tasks off their plate and leave time for the more important, creative tasks?

Introducing, IFTTT. Wondering about the acronym? It’s an abbreviation of ‘If This Then That’. The free platform connects to hundreds of services to let you create conditional statements, or ‘recipes’, to automate tasks for you. You can use it in your browser, or in one of their apps.

For example, you might employ the powerful Evernote/IFTTT combo to automate publishing some of your blog posts. IFTTT syncs with several online publishing platforms – here are some examples:

Or maybe you want to keep track of your writing ideas? No problem – use IFTTT to automatically generate your very own content repository.

Dropbox also fares well with IFTTT. A favourite hack is being able to sync files between Dropbox and Evernote – handy if you prefer to work in your Evernote notebooks, but also need files in Dropbox to share with clients or an agency. Here are some other recipes worth checking out:

Evernote and Dropbox are powerful platforms. Using IFTTT to bring them together makes them even greater. And, used cleverly, they can help you escape from meddling with your to-do list when you need to focus on your occupation – taking a little inspiration from Plato.

 

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About

Emma is a writer who works in Sydney and Melbourne.

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