Today, I thought I’d share with you some of the Apps and Programs that I use on a daily basis. These all help to keep me organised, productive and accountable.
This is my go-to writing program. I originally used Word (Works, before that, yes I’m THAT old!). But when I tried Scrivener (and gave it a real go) I found it much better. Since I write in scenes, having them all separate on a single Scrivener file is so much better than having hundreds of separate Word files.
I love the ease of it, the layout and the corkboard option. If you’ve never tried it, I have an older article that discusses the basics of Scrivener –> How To Use The Writing Program Scrivener.
This is an online program that challenges you with games meant to improve your memory, attention, problem solving etc. I love the look of this program, the games are engaging and there’s loads to choose from. Below is just a small sample of some of the games you can play. (I seriously LOVE Trouble Brewing!)
You also get a set of 5 daily challenge games and it keeps details of your scores and shows you how you are improving or where you need to improve.
One thing I like to do is stay challenged. Keeping your brain active is really important, especially as you get older. So, when I found out about Lumosity several years ago, I tried it and loved it.
I stopped for a few years during our move but then re-signed up. I enjoy the challenges and I am personally seeing an improvement. I think there is a free trial and then the plans are paid.
If Lumosity is for my brain, then I use SweatCoin to keep me physically motivated and helps me to get my steps in. I am not big on fitbits, so when I learnt I could download SweatCoin on my phone that counts your steps and gives your “Sweatcoins” I thought, why not.
There is a free and paid version, I just use the free version. The steps you take are converted into sweatcoins that you can then use at their Marketplace on the offers and deals there (no, you can’t get the sweatcoins added to your paypal etc).
Personally, I have no interest in the Marketplace, though there are some cool deals that pop up. However, you can also donate your sweatcoins to charities that are featured on the app. There are animal, environmental and humanitarian charities. I usually just go to each of the featured charities when I have a slew of coins and donate.
If you want to try SweatCoins I do have a referral link that will give me 5 sweatcoins for each person who signs up from it –> Join SweatCoins.
This is one of the best programs out there. Canva is a graphic design platform that allows you to create graphics, posters, documents and other visual content. There is a free version that gives you SO much.
I used the free version for ages and finally moved to the paid version, 1) to get more resources and 2) just to support the company because what they give you on the free option is awesome.
I use Canva to create all my social media graphics, all the graphics on my blog, for all the banners and more. If you haven’t tried it yet, I highly recommend it. I also created a tutorial post about How To Create Super Awesome Graphics With Canva.
I used to use Buffer a lot and when I was at my most active on social media, especially running the Twitter hashtag game #TheMerryWriter. I had a paid account that allowed me 10 platforms and 100 slots per platform.
It meant I could schedule all my social media content for a whole month sometimes two. It is still a great platform, but since I don’t visit Twitter much now and we finally brought the game to a close, I no longer need the paid version.
So I have reverted back to the free version that gives you 3 platforms and 10 slots per platform which works fine for me.
However, it is still really useful especially if you use lots of social media platforms and to anyone who wants to know more –> How To Use Buffer For Scheduling Your Social Media.
As a list-enthusiast, I was bound to like Trello. This is a list-making, web-based application that has really helped me stay organised. I have had it for ages, but only really started to get into it after reading the organising book Getting Things Done by David Allen.
I then found that there were people who used his method of productivity and organisation via Trello. Now, I don’t exactly do things the way David Allen suggests, due to my inability to stay focused for that long, so I worked out my own system.
I use Trello all the time, it keeps things organised and made the biggest difference when Rachel and I decided to start The Merry Writer Podcast. I use it to track my big projects, One Off Tasks, my bucket lists and a million and one other things.
As with buffer, there is a free and paid versions. I have only ever used the free version of Trello and it is enough!
As with a number of these programs, I wrote a post specifically about Trello –> How To Get Crazy Organised With Trello.
I may write in silence so that I don’t end up writing down the lyrics to songs I am listening to. But I do like having music on while I’m working, doing admin and even writing this blog post. I use Spotify for my music and have WAY too many playlists created.
The app is great on my phone, never have any problems with it and I really love the Weekly Discover. Where it gives you a playlist of songs it thinks you might like. I find so many new bands from this.
Now, sometimes I am feeling audibly-sensitive which means even songs I like can become too much for my brain. In those instances, I like to use Ambient Mixer. This is a library full of quality soundscapes, that you can choose.
These can be things like nature sounds, room sounds (like the noises in a cafe) to perfectly mixed music for your next boardgame night!
Again, there’s no lyrics so it’s less distracting than using songs. I know a number of writers that use these kinds of music when they are writing their scenes. I may try that but so far, I just use it when I need noise but also a break from songs.
Meditation can be really useful and it definitely has its benefits for helping me to stay calm and focused. I use the Serenity App that I have on my phone. There is a free version which is what I currently use and at this time, this works fine for me.
There are mini daily meditations that are just 2-3 mins long, which is perfect if you are just starting meditations or have little time. I like the mini meditations are the very start of my day, while I’m still in bed or just as I get up – starts the day right.
There are also longer sessions that include Foundation, Advanced, Sleep etc. Some of these are locked and can only be accessed in the paid accounts. Others are locked and you can’t get access to them until you complete the earlier session.
As I spend a lot of my time sitting, which is super unhealthy, I need to remind myself to get up regularly. Now, if I’m in the zone I won’t remember and having to set alarms on my phone is annoying and I do forget.
This is where MindBell comes in. It’s a free app that you can set to ring (I have it as a gentle gong sound) periodically. It’s designed as a mindfulness bell, allowing you the opportunity to hold on for a moment and consider what you are currently doing.
However, I have it set to ring every 30 mins. When it goes off, I just stand up, stretch and then sit back down. Yes, even just that little moment of not sitting makes a HUGE difference. If I’m not too deep in the zone, I may use its reminder to wander around my room, do some yoga stretches etc.
Thought I’d throw in an 11th. If you caught my April Goals post, you will notice I am learning French. This was on my bucket list and I eventually looked up Duolingo which has a free version which I didn’t realise.
It is really easy to use, fun (who would have thought that!?) and has enough bright colours to keep me engaged (I am a big child who needs the shiny’s to keep me focused).
I do about 10 mins a day, doesn’t even feel like 10 mins and I am seeing a massive improvement already. Again, I have it on my phone so its quick, easy and accessible. So far I’ve kept my full streak by doing it a little every day.
Happy writing & stay safe
I write articles on writing, marketing, blogging, organising, social media, books and some random stuff. I also create free printable resources. If you find my content helpful, entertaining and like what I do, consider supporting me on ko-fi (where you will also find extra content I post). All donations go to keeping my website running and helping me move towards publishing my novels.