I’m writing you from my new laptop ~ the Macbook Pro with Retina. It used to take me a couple of days to set up a new computer, but now I’m getting better and picker about what I put into my workplace. Clutter is not good and too many apps can slow or freeze your computer.
I want to share with you the Top 7 aps I use to organize my life and go paperless. But first, I want to tell you why it should be relevant to your life. After being inspired by something I heard from Dr Mike Murdock, I began thinking about how to have a “Perfect Day”.
If you don’t know how to have a good day, you can’t have a good life. Life consists of a series of TODAY. There is no tomorrow. When it arrives you will rename it “today”. Today is the future you’ve been waiting for 20 years ago. So live your full life today! “How do I do that?” you ask.
I spoke at our church about the “12 Ingredients of a Perfect Day”. One of them is what I will share with you right now: ORGANIZATION. Order is the evidence of wisdom. Any movement towards order creates pleasure. You have to have a place to store and manage information in your life. Here’s a list of what I use:
1. SCRIVENER – this is what I use to collect, edit and compile my thoughts into blogs and books. It is the depository of my ideas and inspirations. I used Word for years, and tried Pages, but Scrivener is much more powerful and flexible. It is a word processor, file manager and research archive rolled into one.
2. WUNDERLIST – Whenever I work, distractions keep popping up, like reminding myself to shop for something or email someone. I tried jotting notes in third party apps like Errands, Sorted, Protaskinote, iProcrastinate, Wunderlist and Mac’s own native Notes and Reminders. Each has strengths that I liked, but when I took a second look at Wunderlist, I was sold. It’s the most intuitive design for me. Other apps want me to specify dates, priorities, alarms, notes – with Wunderlist I can too but I don’t have to right away. It’s the easiest place I can jot quick notes to myself, move on, and later find them synced on all my devices. After I have made a list, Wunderlist allows me to print it, email it, or even share it with my friends for collaboration. This app helps me divest my mind of extraneous thoughts and focus on my priority.
3. TWEETDECK – I went from social media-phobic to being actively engaged on the social media scene. Why? I wanted to interact with my tribe, respond to their needs, mentor them online, and take the limits off my ministry’s outreach. Technology’s given us an opportunity to touch more lives. But how to manage all our accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Goodreads, etc.? There’s no one solution out there yet. I’ve tried Tweetings, HootSuite, TweetCaster, MyPad, FacelyHD, Friendly for Facebook. All of them have strengths, but none of them have everything I wanted. I found TweetDeck did a couple of things for me: it combined my newsfeed from both Facebook and Twitter in an easy to follow column; it allows me to post to my Twitter and/or Facebook accounts (I have a personal page and two public fan pages). Surprising since this is not a third-party app, it is made by Twitter itself. Best of all, TweetDeck sits on my dock, while the others only on a mobile device.
Btw, I still use Tweetings on my iPad.
4. EWALLET – There’s got to be a place to store all those logins and passwords, and keep them accessible to you while inaccessible to others. The issue of access was most important; not many wallet apps give you access on both your computer and your mobile device. I tested MyWallet, LastPass Wallet, Password Safe, SafeWallet, Keeper, Walletx, and eWallet. I sent emails to the developers to see who would respond to their customers, as password safety is most important and I wanted to know if I ever had a problem, someone would help me. I ended up choosing eWallet. Though the interface of eWallet was not the prettiest, it did the job I needed. I can store information I don’t want to remember (or cannot remember) and have them synced across my computer and mobile device. Everyone claims to offer military grade encryption, but I still do not put my bank details or credit cards in there. So I have not completely gone “paperless” yet.
5. DOCUMENTS TO GO. I load Documents to Go on both my iPad and desktop to keep my files in sync. Whatever documents I work on (MS Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Apple’s Pages, Keynote, Numbers) can be synced with Documents to Go and I actually preach from this app (unless I need to show a visual presentation like Keynote). One convenience is I can instantly resize the font by the pinching gesture. I used to print a sermon every time before I speak, carry notes for my travels, shelve reams of messages from 15 years of studying and speaking. I no longer need to refer to them because I can now go paperless.
Btw, you cannot download Document To Go desktop application from the Mac App Store, so to save you time, I’ve pasted the link here: Dataviz’s Desktop App.
6. GOODREADER. Everyone knows that tablets are ideal for taking digital books with you and reading them on one device. But which app to read from? I have tried iBooks, Kindle, Kobo, PerfectReader, Instapaper, Offline Reader, Read It Later (now called Pocket). I still use some of them, but my top needs are: the ability to annotate (highlight, underline, bookmark, make notes) any book including PDFs and the ability to sync my iPad with my computer. Nothing beats Goodreader in these areas. I can also cut and paste from PDF, which neither iBook or Kindle currently allows.
7. BIBLE. Although this is not an app I need to load into my laptop, people like to ask me which Bible app I recommend. I have several Bible apps loaded in my iPad which allow me to travel without a Bible. (I still feel awkward traveling without a BIble and somewhat guilty showing up to a church to speak without a leather-bound Bible. I may never get used to going totally paperless!) I’ve tried the YouVersion Bible, Paul Avery Bible, Bible Gateway, Blue Letter Bible, Olive Tree Bible and Glo Bible. A lot of people like the YouVersion, and it has a pretty interface.
As a sermon writer, speaker and author, I need a Bible app that allows me to work offline, take lots of notes, and extract those notes easily. For a while I was a fan of Paul Avery’s Bible. It is still an excellent free app, but after it crashed a few times, losing some of my most recent notes, and I couldn’t open his “backup” files because they were not in a user-friendly format, I made the shift to Blue Letter Bible. It is very robust, has single touch functionalities (instead of clicking 2 or 3 times to get to what I want), and all my notes are backed up to iCloud and can be easily emailed to myself. I can contact the developer, request a new function, and he responds.
Our ministry worked with him to make Wayne Cordeiro’s Life Journal Reading Plan available for the BLB. When the update comes out, it’s going to be an app I depend on even more. For now I refer to the Bible reading plan online. You can download it for free at: Discover Bible Reading Plan.
(For accessing different Bible versions on a browser, I like both BibleGateway and Biblos.)
Photos are paperless for most people these days. If you’d like tips on digital organization, I organize my photos in Apple’s native iPhoto and my videos in PlayTube, which allows me to view videos offline and sort them into playlists.
So that’s it. 5 apps for the Mac and 2 for the iPad which help me go paperless and organize my life for another “Perfect Day”.
COMMENT: Which apps do you recommend for your desktop, laptop and mobile devices? I’m always looking for more apps to make my day better.