Todoist Launches Gmail Plugin

todoist gmail plugin Todoist has launched a Gmail plugin to make organizing your life a little easier. The to-do list app integrates your task list into your email account, so everything is in one place.

As someone who hates having to use several different apps and tools to organize my life, I love the idea of having everything all in one place. The new Todoist plugin places a little window within your Gmail interface that lets you view, add, and check-off tasks. Basically, everything you use Todoist for, you can now do right from your inbox.

Even more impressively is the "Add Task" button that comes with the plugin. As you are reading emails, you can add tasks to your list with a quick click of a button. The plugin also makes it super easy to send out emails. If you've added a task that involves sending an email, you simply click on the task in your list and the plugin will take you straight to a new window to compose the message, with the recipient's email address already added.

Overall, the Todoist Gmail plugin will certainly help streamline your productivity tools and will even help reduce the number of steps it takes to add and delete things from your to-do list.

Learn more about Todoist's Gmail plugin in the video below.

Keep Track of Your Time With Toggl

Keep Track of Your Time With Toggl

Time is a funny thing. One minute you're working on blog post and the next thing you know you're on YouTube watching videos of adorable puppies. The smallest of distractions can send us into a vortex of wasted time, all while we somehow think we're still working. Toggl is a new way to help you track your time and can easily be used to figure out how you really spend your day.

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Tick To-Do App is Easy and Customizable

tick to do app Some productivity apps are just too complicated. Sometimes, all you need is a simple way to keep track of the many different things you have to do. Tick is a to-do app that does just that.

Tick took inspiration from the way we traditionally used sticky notes for their to-do app. Everything has it's own category, from travel, to the phone calls you need to make and even Christmas gifts. And, instead of using a slew of gestural controls, Tick goes back to basics with buttons.

"What are the main functions a user needs to perform in a to-do app (and in our app): create a list, customize a list, add a to-do, mark a to-do, and share a list," Asem Hassan, Tick's designer, told Fast Company. "This meant every operation of these absolutely must have a dedicated button to perform."

But, don't worry. This isn't just a basic app. You can use gestural commands if you want them, and subtle animation plus a simple yet impressive UI makes this an organizational app that can battle the best of them. As an added bonus, there's a 'night mode' that inverts the colors and makes it a bit easier to use in the dark.

Tick is currently only available for iOS. You can learn more about it in the video below.

Post-it Notes Teams Up With Evernote To Combine the Old and New School

post it notes Post-it has teamed up with Evernote to bridge the gap between the old-school sticky notes and the new school Evernote. The two companies are now offering co-branded products that allow users to digitize their hand-written Post-it Notes by simply taking a picture with your smartphone.

Evernote is a note-taking app that basically keeps your pile of notes organized and in one place. The new Post-it Super Sticky Notes works with Evernote's app to organize and categorize your notes. Evernote uses  the note's colors (electric blue, electric yellow, neon pink and limeade) to put your notes into different categories. Plus, Post-it has also introduced new note dispensers to help keep your desk clean and tidy, as well as larger 11x11 inch versions of the Super Sticky Notes.

The collaboration between Evernote and Post-it will garner more products that will license both brands -- be prepared to see both logos on products on a variety of products.

Are you a Post-it Note or Evernote user? What do you think of this collaboration?

Take Coffee Shop Sounds With You Everywhere With Coffitivity

coffee and a newspaper Research has shown that working out of a coffee shop can boost your creativity and productivity because of all the background noise. Well, now you can take those noises without everywhere you go, thanks to Coffitivity.

Coffitivity is an app that provides 'sounds for work' that resemble that of a typical coffee shop. You can choose from the Morning Murmur, Lunchtime Lounge or University Undertones, which all provide slightly different background sounds to help get you through your work day.

"Research shows it's pretty hard to be creative in a quiet space," the Coffitivity website reads. "And a loud workplace can be frustrating and distracting. But, the mix of calm and commotion in an environment like a coffee house is proven to be just what you need to get those creative juices flowing."

The Coffitivity app is available for iPhone and iPad, allowing you to listen to the coffee shop sounds right from your iTunes, so you don't need an Internet connection. They also have a desktop app for Mac users. All other users can make use of the audio provided on Coffitivity's website.

Have you tried Coffitivity? Did it help boost your creativity? Tell us in the comments below!

Carrot To-Do App Gamifies Your Day

Photo Credit: Business Insider Carrot is a different kind of to-do list app that turns your day into a game. The app, which happens to be female, gives you rewards when you complete your tasks. But, if you start to slack off, Carrot becomes very upset.

This is one task manager app that will keep you on your toes. Users are rewarded when tasks are completed with points and levels that also unlock mini games and 'happy pills' that help calm Carrot down when you haven't been ticking off your tasks. As your tasks are completed, you receive 'fortunes', that are quite odd -- including being killed by killer ants (I assume these get a bit nicer as you reach higher levels).

At the core of Carrot is a very simple to-do list app. There are no categories, sub-tasks or any of that other fancy stuff. You simply have one list and you swipe away tasks as they are completed, and add tasks as needed. Carrot simply makes things a bit more interesting by rewarding you and/or getting on your case, which can be quite effective for many users.

When creating the app, Brian Mueller said he wanted to go beyond a gamified to-do list that simply unlocks badges. He wanted something that went to the next level.

"There’d be a character – this funny/sarcastic/sadistic artificial intelligence named CARROT – at the heart of the app," Mueller told Lifehacker when recalling his original vision. "She’d be almost like a virtual pet, this malevolent supercomputer you have to keep happy by getting stuff done in real life. If you’re successful and efficient, she’d reward you. If you’re lazy, though, she’d get pissed off. And there’d be a central story that revolves around this pet cat that CARROT gives you; the story gets revealed bit by bit as you use the app and changes based on whether she’s happy or angry with you. What I was envisioning was much more game-like than any other 'gamification' system I’d ever seen."

Carrot is currently only available on iTunes for $1.99. There is also an alarm clock version that makes pressing the snooze button pretty difficult.

Freelancer.com: Dirty Deeds, Done Dirt Cheap

© Jorgophotography - Fotolia.comI enthusiastically recommend outsourcing or delegating tasks you're not passionate about doing yourself -- the pain-in-the-butt tasks that are necessary yet don't fall into your areas of interest (or skill) -- and I have to share a pleasant case study I just experienced firsthand with Freelancer.com.

I'll be offering workshops again in the late summer, and needed a list of small businesses in the San Diego area in specific industries. I posted a project on Freelancer.com, set a budget range of $30-200, and watched the bids fly in within seconds. (I'm not joking -- in the hour I had this project open, it got 795 views and nine bids.)

One user sent a sample database with 35 items, promising that he had 800 more ready to send. The sample looked good, so I picked his firm. As promised, the database came right back a minute or so later, as described, up to spec and for a cost of $53.

In the span of a single hour, I posted a simple job, vetted and picked a contractor, and had my 835-item database in hand, saving me hours (and possibly days) of hassle. Incredible.

If you have any PITA tasks that you've been dreading, consider outsourcing some or part of the process to a Freelancer.com contractor. You'll be amazed at how much time you save.

Marissa Brassfield

Marissa Brassfield is a productivity expert, branding consultant and communication efficiency specialist who helps entrepreneurs and high-performance teams become ridiculously efficient.

Marissa has worked with some of the most visionary entrepreneurs on the planet. She’s dialed in to the frustrations these results-oriented, interrupt-driven individuals have with bureaucracy and suboptimal team performance. Her coaching helps entrepreneurs counteract growth-killing practices and unlock unparalleled performance from their support staff.

Google Launches ‘Keep,’ a New Note-Taking App for Android

google keep Google is finally getting into the list-making market with its new app, Google Keep. What is being described as Evernote’s biggest new rival, Keep gives users an easy way to make notes and create reminders for upcoming tasks.

Keep is integrated with Google Drive, extending the company’s cloud services. This allows you to make notes through the app on your mobile phone, or on the Web at drive.google.com/keep. The app also lets you record voice memos, which it automatically transcribes into text. You can also take photos through the app and edit them using Android’s features, and share them through email, text message or a myriad of social networks.

Google Keep takes note-taking apps to the next level by adding a search feature, color-coding, drag-and-drop, tap-in edits and widgets for your home screen to easily add notes when you’re in a hurry. One of the most exciting features of Google Keep is the ability to turn notes into checklists with checkboxes -- a definite must for all us incessant list-makers out there.

The new app is currently only available on Google Play for Android users with 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich or newer operating systems. It probably won’t be too long before Google Keep is available on iOS and Windows Phone as well.

You can learn more about Google Keep in the video below.

What is Your Google Reader Replacement Recommendation?

Screenshot of my Google ReaderCount me among the many avid Google Reader users who were bummed by yesterday's news that Google is shutting down the RSS reader service. If you're in the same boat, what RSS readers would you recommend I replace Reader with? On iOS, I've been using Feeddler and enjoy it, so this would be mostly for my browser or a MacBook Air app. Typically, I embrace change, but I'm cranky about this one. I've used Reader since 2008 and in that time have taught several dozen editorial professionals how to use Reader to generally stay on top of the news and dramatically increase their productivity in research and story-digging.

What's more, according to my Trends tab on Reader, I've personally used it to read 174,000 items. I've even configured a few IFTTT recipes that rely on Reader.

Google Reader users, what will your replacement service be?

Marissa Brassfield

Marissa Brassfield is a productivity expert, branding consultant and communication efficiency specialist who helps entrepreneurs and high-performance teams become ridiculously efficient.

Marissa has worked with some of the most visionary entrepreneurs on the planet. She’s dialed in to the frustrations these results-oriented, interrupt-driven individuals have with bureaucracy and suboptimal team performance. Her coaching helps entrepreneurs counteract growth-killing practices and unlock unparalleled performance from their support staff.

5 Productivity Apps for Android

remember the milk android widget Increase your productivity and stay on top of your tasks with the help of these five apps for Android. Each of these apps works great for managing to-do lists and making sure you never forget a task.

1. Remember the Milk

Remember the Milk is an online task management tool that lets you keep track of everything you have to do in one place. You can take the app with you on your Android phone, where you can add and complete tasks, organize your priorities and search through your notes. There is also a pro option that has widgets, notifications and auto-syncs with your online account.

2. Any.Do

Any.Do is a simple to-do list app with a nice interface that helps you stay on top of the many things you have to do. This app can sync across all your devices and gives you a little reminder when something is due.

3. Evernote

Evernote is the app that makes sure you never forget anything ever again. Keep track of your on-going tasks, take notes, capture and attach pictures, and record your own voice reminders. All your notes are searchable and you can sync your notes across all your devices.

4. Wunderlist

Wunderlist is the list manager of all list managers. This app comes equipped with reminder notifications, subtasks and notes to make sure you are always organized. The app syncs across all your devices and you can even use the app to collaborate with colleagues and friends.

5. Asana

Asana, the collaborative task management tool, has just released its app for Android. The app lets you create new projects and tasks right from your phone, as well as complete, re-assign and edit existing tasks. Asana’s big selling point is the ability to create several workspaces -- one for each client, separating work and personal, or one to share with your friends.

Karotz Social Media-Savvy Robots Save Time on Tech Tasks

karotz

Karotz ($129.99), adorable Internet-connected rabbits by U.K. company Violet, are now fully integrated with social networks, per the company's announcement at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show. The "house robots" boast a camera, webcam, microphone, voice-recognition software and the ability to conduct Internet searches. This enables them to read your horoscope, weather forecast, tweets or RSS feeds aloud.

Karotz can also play music and wake you up with music. Its latest generation adds the ability to send emails, read text messages aloud, and update Twitter and Facebook statuses with text, photos or both.

These features are fun and might save you a few steps in the morning, but for families who must coordinate hectic afternoon schedules, Karotz has an even more innovative solution in its RFID chip-enabled keychain tags. You can program these chips to perform tasks when they're swiped: for example, they could automatically send you an email or text message when your child gets home from school and swipes his keychain against the Karotz.

Check out a Karotz trailer below:

ToutApp Year in Review Analyzes Your Email Habits

ToutApp Year in Review

The free ToutApp Year in Review service analyzes your Gmail or Google Apps account to suss out useful statistics that can help you handle email more effectively. You'll learn your busiest days and hours in terms of email volume, as well as the percentage of your emails that get replies. You'll even see which notifications and email marketers contacted you most over the past year.

Use your ToutApp Year in Review report to schedule your day. For example, if you know that your peak times for email are between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. during the week and 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the weekends, you can dedicate those times to tackling your inbox, thereby freeing up the rest of your day from email.

"I think one of the keys to happiness is to stop counting down and actually be in the moment of living," says ToutApp founder TK Kader. See Kader introduce Tout, the company's breakthrough email management tool, below.

Marissa Brassfield

Marissa Brassfield is a productivity expert, branding consultant and communication efficiency specialist who helps entrepreneurs and high-performance teams become ridiculously efficient.

Marissa has worked with some of the most visionary entrepreneurs on the planet. She’s dialed in to the frustrations these results-oriented, interrupt-driven individuals have with bureaucracy and suboptimal team performance. Her coaching helps entrepreneurs counteract growth-killing practices and unlock unparalleled performance from their support staff.

IFTTT Stitches Internet Services Seamlessly

if this then that

IFTTT, or If This Then That, is a productivity service that aims to streamline common Internet tasks by stringing together services like Dropbox, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. IFTTT lets you combine channels, triggers and actions into tasks; for example, you could configure IFTTT to send you an email if tomorrow's forecast calls for rain, automatically send a thank-you tweet each time you're mentioned or retweeted, or cross-post all of your new TwitPics to Flickr.

IFTTT is getting a lot of attention from the tech community; most recently, it raised over $1.5 million in funding from top venture capitalists and angels. Founder Linden Tibbets hopes to one day transform IFTTT into a service that connects the Internet to physical devices.

Several IFTTT recipes can boost productivity. Here are a few I found during a quick perusal of the Recipes page:

I'm currently testing Recipe No. 4 above to automate posting to Google+. IFTTT users, what are your favorite recipes?

The Email Game Makes Tackling Your Inbox Fun

The Email Game

The Email Game is a free tool for Gmail and Google Apps users that adds competitive elements to tackling your inbox. You get 3 minutes to process each email; just reply to or delete an email before the timer is up to accumulate points. If you fail to process an email before the timer runs out, you'll lose points, but there are options to pause or add more time for longer emails.

The Email Game has standard email features -- Send, Send Later, Label, Reply, Reply All, Forward, Archive, Delete -- and new ones. The Boomerang feature, for example, temporarily archives the email and returns it to your inbox at a later date.

By gamifying the increasingly tedious process of handling email, The Email Game incentivizes email efficiency and reinforces good practices. Check out a video of The Email Game in action below:

Marissa Brassfield

Marissa Brassfield is a productivity expert, branding consultant and communication efficiency specialist who helps entrepreneurs and high-performance teams become ridiculously efficient.

Marissa has worked with some of the most visionary entrepreneurs on the planet. She’s dialed in to the frustrations these results-oriented, interrupt-driven individuals have with bureaucracy and suboptimal team performance. Her coaching helps entrepreneurs counteract growth-killing practices and unlock unparalleled performance from their support staff.

Visualize Your Day With the Angry Productive Birds App

Angry Productive Birds App

I've written about the old adage that you cannot improve what you cannot measure, and the Angry Productive Birds app helps you visualize how your time is spent on projects and other work. Michal Migurski is the creative mind behind the app, which essentially turns time-tracking sheets into a graph with icons inspired by Angry Birds.

To use the Angry Productive Birds app, Migurski's team at Stamen records the time they spend on projects, business development and other work-related activities. The app transforms this data into a graph, with the following guidelines:

1. The object of the game is to hit the pig with the bird. 2. Bird over the pig means the project is at risk of losing money. 3. Bird past the pig means it's at risk of being late.

Each week, the graphs get printed out and posted to keep the team apprised of each other's progress in various projects. Check out sample graphs from past projects below, and see the app's files at GitHub.

[pointelleslider id="6" set="4"]

All About Evernote [INFOGRAPHIC]

Evernote features

The Evernote productivity app has exploded in popularity, and this InfoGlyphs infographic shares some key features, fun facts and other tidbits. Evernote essentially helps you capture everything -- like files, images, websites, notes and audio -- in a nifty cloud-based account that syncs with your computers and devices seamlessly. You can organize your discoveries with tags and easily share items with others.

Evernote operates on a freemium model: Free accounts get 60 MB/month of storage, while Premium accounts get 1,000 MB/month and a few added features for $5 monthly or $45 annually. Check out the infographic below for more (click for a larger version).

Evernote infographic

Marissa Brassfield

Marissa Brassfield is a productivity expert, branding consultant and communication efficiency specialist who helps entrepreneurs and high-performance teams become ridiculously efficient.

Marissa has worked with some of the most visionary entrepreneurs on the planet. She’s dialed in to the frustrations these results-oriented, interrupt-driven individuals have with bureaucracy and suboptimal team performance. Her coaching helps entrepreneurs counteract growth-killing practices and unlock unparalleled performance from their support staff.

The Unstuck App is a Problem-Solving Productivity Tool

Unstuck AppThe free Unstuck app for iPad helps you solve prickly issues by acting like a virtual coach. Users answer questions about how they're feeling and what they're thinking; Unstuck then offers tips, quotes and tools to help users lift themselves out and move forward.

The Unstuck app lets users save up to five "stuck moments" for easy reference later, and login credentials keep these moments secret on shared iPads.

Check out screenshots of Unstuck in action below.

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Marissa Brassfield

Marissa Brassfield is a productivity expert, branding consultant and communication efficiency specialist who helps entrepreneurs and high-performance teams become ridiculously efficient.

Marissa has worked with some of the most visionary entrepreneurs on the planet. She’s dialed in to the frustrations these results-oriented, interrupt-driven individuals have with bureaucracy and suboptimal team performance. Her coaching helps entrepreneurs counteract growth-killing practices and unlock unparalleled performance from their support staff.

Is Kred the New Klout?

efficient kredentials

Kred is a new tool to measure Twitter influence in a far more transparent way than rival Klout. I learned about Kred last night after reading this Mashable post on the startup, and it looks promising. For starters, Kred uses a points system to tabulate its influence scores, and the tool shows a full breakdown of your Twitter activity and the points each action earns -- a feature Klout keeps secret.

Kred badges display two scores: the Influence score, which is out of 1,000, and the Outreach Level, which is out of 10. Raise your Outreach level by following Twitter users or lists, retweeting others or sending @replies. Your Influence score grows when users in your social graph follow you, retweet your posts or @reply you. Simple enough, right?

Another fun Kred feature is the ability to upload evidence of offline Kred, such as charity work, sports participation, degrees, memberships, ceremonies and even frequent flyer medals.

kred dashboard

Marissa Brassfield

Marissa Brassfield is a productivity expert, branding consultant and communication efficiency specialist who helps entrepreneurs and high-performance teams become ridiculously efficient.

Marissa has worked with some of the most visionary entrepreneurs on the planet. She’s dialed in to the frustrations these results-oriented, interrupt-driven individuals have with bureaucracy and suboptimal team performance. Her coaching helps entrepreneurs counteract growth-killing practices and unlock unparalleled performance from their support staff.

5 Social Media Strategy Must-Reads

social media strategy - flipboard on an ipad

Today's must-reads zero in on the top issues and ideas in social media strategy. Social media has played an increasingly large role in business, whether it's used by a startup for publicity or a major corporation for customer service. Stay tuned as we focus on social media all week long here at Ridiculously Efficient.

  • The top three reasons to splurge on executive social media training in 2012. [Huffington Post]
  • The top 10 most significant search and social marketing stories of 2011. [Search Engine Watch]
  • Are Path and Pinterest the next Facebook and Twitter? [The Chronicle Herald]
  • Why recognizing your employees on social media is great for business. [Mashable]
  • Facebook, Google and Apple are among the best places to work. Find out why here. [CNET]

Comunitee is a Social Network for News Discovery

Comunitee

Comunitee is a social network that blends features from StumbleUpon, Google+, Flipboard, Facebook, Twitter and Digg to simplify news discovery. New users pick topic areas of interest, akin to StumbleUpon, and Comunitee will gradually learn your reading preferences and display content accordingly.

Taking a page from the Circles feature in Google+, you can also organize friends from other social networks into comunitees (the term fuses "community" and "committee") and allow certain comunitees to curate news in a particular category. For example, you could organize your Apple-loving friends into a comunitee and have them curate the news for your Apple section.

"Our goal with Comunitee is to make consuming personalized/social news as simple as possible," Don Daszkowski, the CEO of Comunitee, told ReadWriteWeb. "Every time we think about incorporating a new feature, we ask ourselves if it fits our model, which is 'users are expected to read news and invite friends.' We want to make the user experience as easy as possible."

Will Comunitee become your next social network of choice?

Comunitee select interests sign-up