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5 software and applications to help you stay on top of things

(C) Mycobacteriophage database

(C) Mycobacteriophage database

When I first sat behind the helm of the R&D management, I had a lot on my mind and on my hands.

And the clock was ticking.

When the R&D team was composed of only myself, I had to be both efficient and very specific with my prioritization. A lab had to be secured, equipped, personnel brought in, regulations set and implemented, and not least important, setting the research goal, scope and stage for the practical stage. To keep myself focused on current tasks and keep the target’s ahead within sight I had used several software products and working methodologies.

1. Wunderlist (Free)

There are hundreds of To-Do list app our there, out of which only a handful has a solid and robust cross-platform support. I chose Wunderlist for the following reasons:

i. It is insanely simple. On the left side is a list of category To-Do lists, on the center is your tasks and on the right the details.

ii. While simple, it has two priority system (starred and non-starred) to highlight what’s urgent and what is not.

iii. It has subtasks and recurring events with due time and reminder. On due date reminder email is sent and notification is shown on both app and desktop (window).

iv. Search engine that drill downs through all lists (too bad not through completed tasks).

v. Attachments in the form of images, audio and files from Dropbox can be added to any task.

vi. It has a place for notes to complete the package, really handy for scribing comments in regard to the different subtasks or any other important info.

2. Evernote (Free)

Evernote is far more than a To-Do list and while it can act as one, I prefer to use it for my literature review “dump it all inside” app. It is more suitable for collecting snips of information from the web and to gather it under one notebook.

3. Stickies (Free)

While there is no real replacement for the habit of scribing a telephone number or any other information tip while on the phone, I mainly use Stickies. By far, the best digital stickies on windows. Just to name some of its attributes:

i. Customize appearance (font, background, style, default size).

ii Control of stickies behavior (hide, show, roll up, always on top).

iii. Sleep (define single and recurrent appearance at a certain time and date).

iv. paste text and images onto stickies (and resize easily with ctrl+mouse wheel!)

4. Outlook (follow up)

Many organizations and professionals use Microsoft’s Outlook software. One of the many effective tools hidden in follow-up (or flag) functions is the reminder function. It enables to set a reminder to virtually any message, whether in the inbox, in any folder, sent or draft. This is very handy when there is a need to follow up on a certain action/email.

5. Google Desktop (Free*)

One of the most valuable tools in my toolbox, and yet, the one that has been discontinued. Google desktop index the first 10,000 words in over 100,000 files on your computer and once it is completed, double hitting “ctrl” brings a search prompt for quick search. The first 5 results and shown with the ability to “right click” and either open the file or to open the folder in which the file is located. It saved me enormous amounts of time even when I knew where the file was located simply by avoiding to drill down through several sub folder levels.

Do you have any nifty software that makes you more efficient and productive?

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