Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/courtneyrian/

I have an illness. I download productivity apps like they were giving away money inside the app.

I’ve written about a few apps I like on my blog before, but I have to share with you these four treasures. Some of them I have used for months, some I just started using this week. I know, you are thinking how on earth can she rant and rave about an app she’s only been using for 5 days?

Just trust me!

These apps not only make me feel productive, but I actually knock things off my todo list…and let’s be honest, we all want to be awesomely productive!

Fantastical 2
I use Fantastical as both my calendar and my todo list. The tasks are technically pulled from the native Reminders app, but I never open it nor have I ever used it, so don’t let that deter you! (Unless you really like Reminders in which case this could be even more exciting for you!)

Regarding tasks, all you need to say what you need to do and when. Example: Task Email Mr Smith tomorrow by 11am.

And then it just adds it with a little box for you to check when you accomplish it! It’s way more fun to accomplish things when there is a visual response, like a checkbox.

20140216-211356.jpg

Organizing a choral program, particularly during the spring semester when everything in the choral universe happens at once, can take a toll on your brain. I put all my tasks for All State forms collection, sending registration materials, and any other task that pops into my brain as soon as I think of it. A piece of advice: always assign a due date.

I use this for my personal life todos as well. If you want to be ambitious and color code your tasks, all you need to do is create the list in Reminders, and then input your task in Fantastical with /(first letter of your list name) at the end. So, for my school tasks they will have /s at the end.

This is the first app I open when I get to school, as it helps me utilize my planning period more effectively. In fact, I have a recurring task that says, “Grading from previous week” scheduled for every Monday, so that I always do my grading on Mondays…otherwise I get behind!

This app is currently 40% off, and technically it’s only an iPhone app, though I use it on both my iPhone and iPad.

Week Agenda
While I use Fantastical as my task manager and where I input all of my calendar information, I prefer to view my calendar in the Week Agenda format. It is simple and neatly organized. I was pretty disappointed with the update to iCal, so this was my solution for my calendar view. You can also input appointments and events just as you would in iCal, and it actually pulls all of your iCal calendars and labels them the same, which I thought was very kind of the developers!

Weekagenda.jpg

I use this calendar to view my work life in relation to my personal life. If I have meetings after school or if I have my own rehearsals, etc. It helps me plan better for the week at school or even just simply when and what to cook for dinner…which can be a real headache sometimes! Viewing a week at a time is just enough to be mindful but not overwhelming. Yay for happy balance!

Google Drive
I used to use google docs in college/grad school solely to save documents from my laptop that I could print when I got to campus, and not use my own printer ink and paper, because I’m greedy like that. Now I can’t imagine a better way to collect and store information or documents! Google Drive is just awesome.

In the last week I’ve re-done my student contact information sheets. I have hard copies of everything in a binder in my office, but whenever I wanted to email something from home I had no way of doing so! I love how it creates a separate spreadsheet of the items from the forms you create…just brilliant!

20140216-211755.jpg

I’m really looking forward to using Google Drive at the beginning of the next school year to optimize organization and efficiency. I can already smell the productivity!

Planbook.com
This is an online service that I was just introduced to this weekend, and started using today. It is a lesson plan organizer that is just plain incredible.

When you sign up for Planbook you get a free 30-day trial, and from then you must decide if you want to pay the $12/year. I can already tell this is a tool I’m going to use.

The most amazing feature? It has every standard already programmed into it. Every state, subject, grade level, and even common core. You write your lesson and then simply click on the standards you are covering. It brought tears to my eyes.

I also love that you can create templates or extend your lesson so you don’t have to re-type things a million times.

It’s just a well organized and fairly easy to use app. I fiddled with it for 20 minutes to check out the features and was hooked immediately. I can’t wait to turn in my lesson plans this week!!

20140216-211841.jpg