3 appealing productivity apps

November 17, 2016
Brendan Howard, Business Channel Director

Brendan Howard oversees veterinary business, practice management and life-balance content for dvm360.com, dvm360 magazine, Firstline and Vetted, and plans the Practice Management track at all three Fetch dvm360 conferences.Brendan has proudly served under the Veterinary Economics and dvm360 banners for more than 10 years. Before that, he worked as a journalist, writer and editor at Entrepreneur magazine and a top filmed entertainment magazine in Southern California. Brendan received a Masters in English Literature from University of California, Riverside, in 1999.

Make your day in veterinary practice and life easier. Get your urgent work reminders, big life projects and personal #goals out of your head and into a reminder and task management system.

These time management, project managers and todo list apps come on your favorite platform ... on the desk, in your lap or in your hand. (Shutterstock.com)If you're into business or practice management or just self-improvement in your veterinary job and personal life-or you just had that killer burst of New Year's inspiration one year-there's a good chance you've wandered down the internet rabbit holes of online and paper calendars and planners as well as systems of organizing and inspiration that collectively receive the politically incorrect name "productivity porn."

Well, have we got the hottest thing for you: apps. Apps merge to-do capabilities with shared projects with calendar connectivity with always-available cross-platform capabilities. Honestly, we're getting kinda hot talking about it.

Have you tried ... ?

King of the to-do lists: Asana

If you are all about the deadline and the sub-deadline and the sub-sub-deadline-a gleeful follower of David Allen's "Getting Things Done" methods, where you get thoughts, ideas and next actions out of your head and into lists-then Asana is for you. It shows visual progress on goals and projects, allows you to add due dates for anything and collect all those due dates on a single list or calendar. Do it on your desktop, your laptop or your smartphone (Apple or Android).

Try it for free, with a basic dashboard and up to 15 team members, at asana.com. (Yes, you can even give team members little emoticon "hearts," if that's your bag.) If it changes your life and you need more than 15 folks and more functionality and more integration with other web-based things (like Google Docs), prices range from about $4 to $8 per person per month.

Queen of dreaming: Trello

I'm a to-do/"Next Action" lister, so I'm still a little miffed I had to switch to this platform to accommodate the visual thinkers and learners in our location. Heavy users of dream boards, folks who like to write things down on cards and move them around to order them-basically, people who like the freedom to move their thoughts and ideas around instead of having them time-bound-are going to want to hug Trello and hold it close.

It's easy: You make a board. You put lists on the board. You add cards to the board. You can put due dates or checklists or attachments or members or comments or lots of other things on cards. And you can move them around with your finger or mouse. It's visual, it's pretty ... it's fun!

Trello is free at trello.com to use for any number of team members, any number of cards, any number of boards, etc. Use it on all your devices (or give yourself a break, and keep your work at work). If you want all the integration with other cloud-based apps or better security or other things, you'll pay $9.99 per person per month. (We still don't, and we're a pretty complicated operation sometimes.)

Princess of checking things off: Remember the Milk

OK, you don't need the complicated team capabilities (you're the resident productivity weirdo and no one else wants to play) or project management (that's what your file cabinet, corkboard and whiteboard are for). You just want a stable todo list that keeps track on your desktop PC, your laptop at home and the smartphone in your pocket. It's been around for years. It's Remember the Milk.

Since its first days many years ago, the team behind this cloud-based service has added better search capabilities and many ways to add tasks from many places, but maintained its adorable simplicity. Let's get real, folks, this app says, you just don't want to forget the milk on the way.

Try it out at rememberthemilk.com. If you need more- sub-tasks, tag colors, advanced sorting and smartphone reminders-pay $39.99 a year.