My Indispensable Tools (for Organization, Productivity, ... Sanity)

My Indispensable Tools (for Organization, Productivity, ... Sanity). App icons for Dropbox, Slack, Planta, Clear, Contrast)
Author
Kelley Olmedo
Kelley Olmedo
Designer

I’m a Graphic Designer, so naturally, design apps are the bread and butter of my career. But, on the heels of our Five Helpful Chrome Browser Extensions, from an Account Manager blog, I would like to share smaller niche apps that have managed to become indispensable in my daily life.

 

Clear

When we made the jump to work from home we lost the one simple item that helped me organize my job load: job jackets. Without that stack of jackets I found myself lost on a daily basis. I tried keeping a notepad, but it was lacking the flexibility of rearranging what I want, the ability to uncheck/remove items, and the convenience of reminders/alerts. After testing out a few apps I found Clear in the OS app store. Super simple design, easy to use, and checked off everything I needed (no pun intended).

Available on the Apple App store for $9.99, granted it hasn't been updated in years, but it’s still functioning for me! 

 

Contrast

Another app that I regularly use is Contrast. When we started working web accessibility into our design process, I found going to sites to manually input hex code colors to check compliance as clunky. They are rather time consuming and therefore overall disruptive to the design process. It made trying new colors, as well as editing and shifting colors, quite a chore. While searching for an easier way, I found this handy little OS app that I can easily eyedrop colors and check for contrast accessibility. 

(Note: there's more to accessibility here than just colors, if a font is large enough then the contrast rules are as stringent with smaller type. But, this gives a good general idea.) 

Available on the Apple App store for free.

 

Dropbox

During the largest project I have ever worked on, the World Heritage Nomination book, this app saved my sanity. Dropbox allows me to send files back and forth to a team member or client without the worry of uploading large files and having to send a separate link. It also allows multiple people to send files and keeps them stored together so that everyone on the project can see what's been sent. I also enjoy the benefits of working out a cloud-based folder that allows me to work on the same job at home or work without worrying if I brought copies of the files over with me.

Dropbox is available at Dropbox.com. There’s a basic free account for up to 2 GB of storage, paid accounts range in cost and cloud storage space.

 

Slack

We always used a chat program to make company-wide chatting easier but since we switched to WFH it’s become much more of a hub for announcements, small work conversations and generally any discussion that doesn't need to be a meeting. Plus, I *really* love Slack’s capability of scheduling messages to be sent at any time of my choosing.

On top of the work interaction aspect, Slack has hundreds of different communities with various topics that are all independently managed, and ranging from different design fields. From gaming and coding, to different regions of the country and world, to industry specific support communities (I am in a women specific one), and everything in between.

Slack is free to use and download from Slack.com. There are paid options for companies and communities.

 

Planta

This isn’t a work app at all, unless you consider the fact that my home office has several plants in it! I have about 20 plants throughout my house and all of them seem to be on different watering schedules (that’s an exaggeration, but there's quite a few). This app reminds me when to water my plants based on their individual needs, the time of year, the type of planter it's in, needed sunlight, and my location's climate! 

Available in the iOS app store for free. You can subscribe with an in-app purchase and get more capabilities.

 

Do you have any apps that make your daily life easier or help you stay productive? I am always on the lookout for new ones to incorporate into my life!

 

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