State of the Apps (2015)

The following list is not one of app recommendations per se. It’s more of a collection of apps that I use regularly and deem worth sharing. I hope that this post will help you discover some apps that change your digital life for the better.

I am a full-time college student. Quite a few of the apps listed below supercharge my college life. So, I think this list will offer added benefits to students.

I’m fortunate enough to own a Macbook Pro, an iPad 3rd gen and an Android phone. In the list below, the operating systems noted represent the platform on which I use the apps as opposed to where the apps are available. If you don’t use a Mac, I try to provide alternatives for Windows/web. Watch the space for italicised text.

State of the Apps 2015:

OmniFocus (OS X, iOS) – This app is my external brain. I use it to implement a task management methodology called Getting Things Done. (I don’t recommend the book, it is a boring read.)

 I recommend Wunderlist, but you can use any checklist app for starters. None meet the power of Omnifocus, though.

Quantus Tasks (Android) – Gets my OmniFocus database to my Android device. Helps me capture tasks on the go.

LastPass (OS X, iOS, Android) – Password manager of choice. Thanks to LastPass, no two websites get the same password.

 Lastpass is primarily a web app, so it will work with Windows. It’s free version is itself quite powerful.

Mailbox (OS X, iOS) – Email app of choice. I use its ‘swipe to archive’ feature to implement inbox zero. Lovely user interface.

Mailbox is all about boosting email productivity. If you cannot use Mailbox and you use Gmail, try using Gmail with shortcuts.

Fantastical (OS X) – Helps me input events to my calendar through natural language. Fantastical has been the most useful app for me in the past year of college. A definite must check out.

OmniOutliner (OS X) – A great outliner. First app that I go to for initiating any writing assignment. Brainstorming and brain dumping happens here. Then, a first outline is created which provides a blueprint for my Scrivener document. This blog post took birth in OmniOutliner.

I’ve used UVOutliner (Windows) with great satisfaction in the past.

Scrivener (OS X) – I use it to create a first draft of any paper/script that I write. It allows me to focus of specific chunks of my argument without worrying about the other details of the paper.

The work that I do in Scrivener can easily be done in Word, Google Docs, Pages, what have you. Just that spotlighting on chunks won’t be possible. I won’t advocate for using Scrivener as strongly as I would for using something like Lastpass.

Mendeley (OS X, iOS) – A free PDF and reference/citations manager. Syncs for-the-most-part well between devices. This app is especially helpful because I receive readings via email (which I check on my mac) but I my reading usually happens on the iPad; Mendeley bridges the gap.

Evernote (OS X, iOS, Android) – Any type of a reference note goes here. Is a bit slow, but great sync and inter platform presence makes compensates for the flaw.

TextExpander (OS X) – Expands tiny snippets into whatever I want. e.g. for me ;date expands into June 28, 2015. ;sig1 (signature 1) expands into Sincerely, Sankalp Garud. Ultra useful utility.

I’ve used PhaseExpress (Windows) — very good and powerful, yet sometimes felt a bit complex.

ClearFocus (Android) and Pomodoro One (OS X) –  I use it to implement a Pomodoro timer.

Flux (OS X) – Screen redenner. Reduces eye fatigue in long sittings and low light situation.

Bartender (OS X) – Creates a neater menu bar.

Have app recommendations for me? Drop ’em in the comments!

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