Productivity Tools
I Currently Use

Last updated on Sep 16.

Design

Figma

Figma has become my primary design tool for wireframing and interactive prototypes, even brainstorming. I love web-based products which allow me to access my files through any device immediately and no worry about installation. Also, the collaboration experience is much better than Sketch.

Miro

Miro is my favorite whiteboarding tool for collaboration. We usually do research synthesis, brainstorming, and ideation on it. It has an extensive template library which saves a lot of time.

FontPlus

Font Plus is the only font tool I currently use. Compared to Right Font, its interface is more simple and clean. Besides, Font Plus has better supports for Chinese fonts.

Sketch

Sketch is a milestone product in my design career. I transferred to design from another field by learning Sketch. In the first three years of my design experience, I used Sketch to work on every design project, not only interface wireframes but also data visualization, poster design, even magazine typography. I'm a designer who is not proficient in Adobe Creative Suite, but Sketch has made the transferring way smoother. The first love was always memorable. However, I met a better one.

*Replaced with Figma

Documentation

Quip

Quip is my favorite document product since 2013. I'm honored to be an eight-year user growing with it. I use Quip to do all the writing work, including essays, blogs, project documentation, presentation outlines, research library, letters, etc. I'm always surprised when I found a new update feature when using it. Quip has so many invisible amazing designs that you will never notice unless you clicked the trigger. I love Quip all the time.

Notion

Notion is so powerful with unlimited potential. Because it's inclusive, I haven't got a clear intention to use it since I registered in 2017. Currently, I tried to use Notion to manage programs collaboratively and document my personal stuff independently. I'm transferring my property to Notion from Evernote and Quip slowly and secretly. 🤫

Airtable

Airtable is the best table tool ever! I use it to document my life-tracking programs, meal plans, house/apartment hunting, boba/coffee shops for study/work, etc. I'm a list and table lover. Airtable has done it insanely well.

Evernote

I use Evernote since 2011, and it has been ten years. Evernote was the only software product I cannot live without for many years. Although it's not the only one now, it's still an essential product for me because it has stored my ten years of life and knowledge. I'm transferring some of its work to Notion and Day One to make it lighter.

*Being replaced with Notion and Day One.

Note-Taking

Apple-Notes

Apple Notes is my draft paper for quick and informal notes. I only use the bullets, checklists, and the default body text.

Flomo

I was looking for a note-taking product to gather my draft notes, thoughts, instant ideas, reading reflections, and quotes from anyone for a long time until I met Flomo. I knew it was "the one" the first time I use it. It's a relatively new product, but it focuses on one thing and does it very well. I appreciate the team's values and focus.

Day-One

Day One was my temporary diary app for years. I have developed more uses since I upgraded to premium. I'm transferring notes about my life to Day One from Evernote.

Bear

I use Bear just because its good looking. The interface is so elegant that I couldn't bear to delete it. So, I only do one thing with it, tracking the moments of joy every day.

Get Things Done

Google-Calendar

I use Gmail, so I enjoy G Suite. Google Calendar integrates my life calendar and work/study calendar in one place. Because I prefer native applications, the only choices for me are Apple Calendar and Google Calendar. Google Calendar is web-based on desktop, and you are supposed to know how I like web-based products. So, Google.

Google-Tasks

Web-based Google Calendar pairing with Google Task meets all my expectations for schedule management.

Apple-Reminders

Apple Reminders is the only reminder product for me either for work/study or life. I'm not used to combining schedules and reminders. The reminders are only things I'm afraid to miss at an exact time. I'm not that forgetful, so I don't need excess notifications and reminders.

Things

There was a time I was so addicted to complex productivity tools. (Omni Suite is absolutely the representative.) Things was one of them. I had spent hours that night settling up my schedules, which was like reshaping my future life. Then I went to bed full of expectation. The end of the story is that I don't need multi-functional tools. What I need is as simple as possible—minimizing the time spent on tools.

*Replaced with Google Calendar and Tasks

Miscellaneous

Reeder

I was a fan of Google Reader. So you know how frustrated I was when Google closed it in 2013. I have used Feedly on iPad since 2011 due to the elegant interface. Then I switched to Reeder in 2014 because I switched to Mac from PC, and I need a desktop RSS app. Since then, Reeder has become the only RSS subscription product I use.

Xiaoyuzhou

小宇宙 (sorry, it doesn't have an English name) is the only podcast app I currently use. I like its charming feature of adding bookmarks when listening. So, I can relisten to the bookmarked places anytime and take notes on Flomo.

Befocused

I need a Pomodoro timer to help me be more concentrated at work or study. What's more important, I need it to remind me of standing up and relax my body once in a while. Be Focused is simple, and it's in Setapp, of which I'm an annual membership.

Forest

I have used Forest since 2016. It helps me focus on my work/study by preventing me from using my iPhone. I will keep Forest as the only focusing app if it launches the Mac app.

Raindrop

Raindrop is my web bookmarking tool only for design-related things. It's like other amazing apps I'm fascinated about; it only does one thing and does it excellently.

Instapaper

Instapaper and Pocket, which does better on "read it later"? I chose Instapaper because its design fits my taste.

Winno

I have been scouting for an alternative news app for years since Yahoo shut down News Digest. Finally I met Winno. It's a perfect alternative, even better!

Life first. Things second.
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