Tag Archives: productivity apps

Monday Fun Thing

This week it’s an app! I’m sure most of you know this one by now, but it doesn’t hurt to remind you.

classroomYes, Google Classroom can be downloaded onto your phone or tablet. I actually like the layout on the app – with the classes loaded in one column, as opposed to the grid on my laptop.  You can check your assignments, load papers, even type right into the assignment if you like typing on your device (I’m old, I don’t like the tiny keyboards on my phone).

You can download Google Classroom for free for both iThings and Android. (And while you’re at it, check out the apps for Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Drive. You never know when they might come in handy.)


App of the Week – Seconds

Since it’s Digital Citizenship Week here at Hill Top and we’re going to be talking about the ways in which our devices can distract us, I thought I’d look for an app that can help you manage your time better. Here’s what I found.

secondsTechnically, Seconds is a timer for interval workouts. So, you’ll see lots of gym-related vocabulary when you look it up. However, let’s think outside the box a little, shall we?

I know sometimes when I have a task to work on it’s easy to get distracted. Especially if I’m working on my computer, or have my phone or Nook nearby. Maybe I’m supposed to write a book review. But I’m stuck for what to say, so I’m just going to take a quick break and see what’s happening on Facebook. Oh and while I’m at it, anything new on Tumblr? And just one quick game of Bejeweled. And now an hour has passed and I haven’t made any progress on my book review.

With an interval timer I can set “work” and “break” intervals. So, I set it for 30 minutes and 10 minutes. I work on my book review until the beep. Then I have 10 minutes to blow stuff up in Bejeweled or check out my runners on Tumblr. Then it’s back to work when the alarm goes off again. The nice thing about an interval timer as opposed to a regular old timer is that you can set a bunch of intervals and they just roll into each other. So you’re not resetting your timer to 10 minutes after your 30 minutes of work. I’ve been using something like this since the summer, especially when I need to clean the house, and it works really well.

Seconds is free for iOS and Android. There’s also a professional version, although if you’re just using it for a task timer, I don’t know that you need to pay to upgrade.

App of the Week – Todoist

For those of you who may have made a New Year’s Resolution to be more organized, I present this week’s App of the Week: Todoist.

todoistI found Todoist as a web site a couple of years ago and loved it. It allows you to create an electronic to-do list. You can set up categories of things you need to do. For example, I have these categories set up for my lists:

categoriesSome of them are one time things (like Recommendations and Accommodations Requests) and others are recurring (like my Home Chores). Each day, Todoist shows me my tasks for the day and any that may be overdue. Here’s what’s on tape for today:

listAs I complete each task, I can check the box next to it and it will go away. Some of my tasks are recurring (see the little rounded arrows next to things like “litter” and “laundry”). So, when I clean the litter box today, it will automatically move to tomorrow’s list.

And, of course, they made an app for that. You can download Todoist for iOS, AndroidWindows, and several other platforms. Once you’ve loaded it on your device, you can set up a widget so that you can always see today’s to do list. I have it set up as the home screen on my phone and my Nook.


I’ve also downloaded the windows app and put it in my startup folder so that the list pops up on my screen as soon as I start up my computer.

I’ve found that it’s a great little website and app. I don’t have to worry about keeping track of a notebook or a pad of post-it notes. The list is always there and always in my face. The free service is, of course, basic, but I haven’t really found that I needed anything more than they offer.

So, if you’re looking to be a little more organized in 2015, this might work for you. Are you already organized? Do you have an app that really helps you track assignments and things you need to do? Let me know about it!

App of the Week – Evernote

This week’s app is one that I probably could not live without.


In my house, we call limes the uberfruit because you can use them for so many different things. Evernote is the uberapp. It’s what is called a productivity app. You can take notes, create lists, and save webpages and images. You can create a “notebook” for each topic or subject you need to keep track of. To get the full use of it, you should install it on your phone, your tablet, and your laptop. Once you create an account, it links the app on all of your devices.

So, for example, when I go to a workshop I don’t like to carry around my laptop. It’s too bulky, especially if I end up having to sit on the floor somewhere (which happens a lot at conferences for some reason). However, I have a keyboard for my Nook. So, I just open Evernote on my Nook, create a notebook for that workshop, and start taking my notes. Maybe partway through the day the battery on my Nook runs out. So, I whip out my phone and continue taking notes on there. Maybe I even use the microphone function to record a part of the session because I am so bad at using my touchscreen keyboard. At the end of the day, I log on to my laptop, open Evernote and sync my account. All of the notes that I’ve taken throughout the day on my Nook and my phone are now there on my computer where I can edit them. There’s also a social function where you can share notebooks with other people, which has been great at conferences. I went to a session that a friend could not attend, so I just shared the notebook with her so she could have all of my notes.

Here’re a few screenshots (pardon the typos, non-traditional keyboards are tough for me). This is what my account looks like on the website (click on the picture to embiggen it):

evernote webThe PC version looks pretty similar:

evernotepcAnd here it is on my Droid phone (my Nook battery is dead right now, so no screenshot from there)

evernotedroidYou can also highlight, color code, use your mic to dictate messages, snip a website, and use your camera to take a picture. Basically, there’s a lot to this little app and it’s definitely worth playing around in it.

Evernote is free and available for iOS, Android, Kindle, and desktop and web.