5 Apps to Increase Productivity
Technology has quickly infiltrated our society as both a blessing and a curse. Our fingers, hands, and even our voices are capable of doing a wide array of things. These pocket personal assistants are great when used properly and efficiently. On the contrary, these devices can get us into trouble and decrease our productivity rather quickly. A “quick” look at our Facebook notifications can quickly turn into an hour of watching random videos that end up wasting our time. They may be fun in the moment, but our productivity suffers greatly.
Even though these smart devices have been around for over a decade, we are still in a stage of infancy. Technology is rapidly advancing at a pace that causes us to jump past the training wheel stage. Content Creators are strategizing and planning so that they can control your precious time. Our time is precious and we must figure out how to redeem our time. The plans of a pastor can quickly change with a phone call or text from a church member with a need that warrants our immediate attention. Our time must be used efficiently and effectively so that we are ready to ride those unplanned waves. These five apps (listed by category) will increase your productivity and help you take control of your day in the office and on the road.
Time Management: Screen Time
Screen Time is an under the radar app that takes some digging to access. Screen time should be easily accessible and hopefully one day will. For now, you will have to rely on going through your settings or possibly a widget. The day I found screen time, was the day that I began taking control back of how I used my phone, rather than it using me. Weekly notifications that indicate how much I used my phone quickly gave me a desire to reduce that number. I still end up using my phone a ton, but the little things that matter less, cause less distraction because I am weekly aware of how I spend my time. Having a grasp on your usage will enable you to be more productive. Setting app limits or denying access to certain apps at various times of the day will reduce distraction and induce productivity.
Graphic Design: Canva/Over
Not everyone will have a need for making graphics. As a Youth Pastor, I make them all the time. There are many free apps that enable you to create quality graphics on the go or in the office. Inspiration often comes when it is least expected. The ability to quickly create a graphic allows me to free up time later. Canva and Over both are easy to learn and both have access to a desktop version (for those moments of creating in the office or without access to a smartphone). Many free apps require a purchase to remove a watermark. These are two that do not. Note: Churches can acquire Canva premium for free as a nonprofit. Note: The Over desktop version is still quite new.
Bible Study: Logos
Okay, the Logos app is not as powerful as the desktop version, yet it still packs a punch. This app does enable you to increase productivity though. I like to regularly review my sermon or lesson notes. While you cannot make additional sermon notes using the sermon editor on the app (I hope this changes one day), you can review and make Bible highlights that will later be reflected on the desktop via the cloud. It is great being able to have access to the prayer list anywhere you go. Reading commentaries or other books on the go can increase your productivity. It is much easier to pull out your phone or tablet to catch up on reading instead of lugging around your computer. Logos comes with a steep price; however, many are not aware of the limited and cheaper options that are provided by Logos. Faithlife offers a rental option (https://connect.faithlife.
File Management: Files, Google Drive, etc.
I do not upload all of my files to a cloud, but I do upload ones that people will likely ask for when I am on the go. The ability to quickly forward a link via the cloud will make you more productive. Prior to doing this, I would have to send myself an e-mail or set a reminder. Doing that is not that difficult, but it takes processing time as you have to determine the best time for the reminder, etc. Some of these tasks can efficiently be executed by using an online storage system that you can access via an app. I use up to six devices on a given week. Knowing that I can access important documents and projects on any of these devices enable me to be more productive.
Member Management: Planning Center People
You are highly unlikely to carry around your printed church directory with you wherever you go. You are likely to take your phone. Some churches have directories built into their website and some use third party software for the church member database. The Planning Center Suite offers subscription based software for most of their platform. However, they offer Planning Center People for free. You can import your database and have access to church members on the go. From the app, you can quickly get directions to a home, or quickly call them as needs arise. Your productivity is increased when you reduce the steps required to complete a task. As an added bonus, you can create workflows from this app to track visitors or new member progress.
There are likely better apps out there to complete these tasks. However, I have found that these apps increase my productivity. Find apps that work for you! Declutter your apps, reduce your screen time, and use your phone to complete tasks instead of allowing your phone to control your precious time.