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The Teaching Space Podcast

The podcast is on pause for a year (as of August 2021) as I am tackling the final year of my masters in education (which I am doing alongside my full-time job). In the meantime, please revisit the considerable back catalogue of episodes. Also, give me a follow on Twitter, where I am still very active and sign up for my personal newsletter here. You can visit The Teaching Space website here: theteachingspace.com.

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Jun 13, 2020

Episode 96 of The Teaching Space Podcast is a review of my current productivity toolkit in 2020.

Introduction

I make no secret that I love productivity tools and change my setup from time-to-time. This episode is a follow on to episode 59. In that episode I mentioned five apps: Todoist, Google Calendar, Notion, Forest and Ulysses. I will start by updating you on where I am with these apps, and then share additions to my toolkit.

Todoist

This is the biggest change - I no longer use Todoist as my task manager. I switched to TickTick some time ago; right after I interviewed Francesco D’Alessio actually. He highlighted some elements of TickTick that I might like. He was right, and I have been a TickTick fan ever since!

Initially I joined TickTick because I liked their calendar view. Ironically, I don't use that anymore, and their features are quite similar to Todoist. If you are unsure about which to choose between the two, they are both very solid task management apps. This review appears current and balanced. There's just one inaccuracy I spotted - I can use emojis in TickTick. I like the feel of TickTick and will be using it for the foreseeable future.

Google Calendar

I continue to be a massive fan of Google Calendar. I have recently streamlined my approach to using multiple calendars and time blocking and am very happy with it. I plan to revisit this topic in a future podcast. Other than streamlining, the other change I have made in this area is I use an app to view my Google Calendar (also my emails) when on desktop. The app is Boxy Suite. I managed to get a special deal on it through AppSumo. While it is not an essential addition to my toolkit, it's a "nice to have".

Notion

I am still using Notion and love it as a concept. It's the hub of my podcast and video production; it makes collaboration with my virtual assistant seamless. If I wrote blog posts regularly I would handle them through Notion too. I continue to do my big picture planning in Notion which include things like annual and quarterly targets. As a task manager, Notion never quite worked for me. Looking back on podcast episode 59, it seems I am using Notion in a similar way to how I was then.

Forest

Forest is one of my favourite focus apps and stops me using my mobile when I need to be in focus mode. It’s a gamified Pomodoro timer, essentially. While I still use Forest, I should probably use it more often than I do!

Ulysses

Back in episode 83 I reviewed three note-taking apps as I wanted to see I was missing anything, being a Ulysses user. The apps I reviewed were SimpleNote, OneNote and Bear. Bear and OneNote came out on top. I used Bear for a while but ended up finding the document organisation structure confusing and limiting (most people love it, for me, it just did not work). I went back to Ulysses and, with the help of a Shawn Blanc course (The Sweet Setup), I am using it well. My only bugbear is I wish I could use Ulysses on my PC at work. However, splitting work and non-work writing has its benefits. I have enjoyed using OneNote for my Open University study and continue to rate it highly.

What’s New?

  • Drafts is my quick capture writing ‘bucket’ as explained in episode 91.
  • I have reluctantly started using WhatsApp for some communication.
  • MindNode is now a really important part of my toolkit for mind-mapping as explained in episode 89.
  • In combination with OneNote for my OU study I have been using GoodNotes for organising and annotating PDFs. I explain this more in episode 88.
  • Noisli is now a firm favourite to help me focus, as discussed in episode 95.

Wrap Up

And that's it. If you have any questions about this episode or comments you'd like to share, please join The Teaching Space Community: community.theteachingspace.com. I'd love to hear about your productivity tool preferences.

The show notes for this episode include any links I’ve mentioned; you can find them at theteachingspace.com.

If you have enjoyed this episode, please consider supporting the show by making a small donation towards the running costs on my Ko-fi page which you can find at ko-fi.com/theteachingspace. Alternatively, please consider leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or whether you listen to the show. Thank you.

Thanks for listening and I hope you'll join me for the next episode.