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EPISODE 14| 5 Free Apps To Make You More Productive

Updated: Sep 20, 2021

In this episode I will present 5 awesome apps that you should download to boost your productivity.

Last week’s episode was all about habits and habit forming. One of the reasons that I started this podcast was to get back into the HABIT of creating again. It took drive, it took focus and it took vision, but once I got into the swing of it, I just kept on going and here we are. You wouldn’t be listening to this now if it wasn’t for the power of habit, so if you have a NEW HABIT YOU WANT TO FORM or a BAD HABIT YOU WANT TO BREAK and you missed that show - do check it out.

Every episode of the show can be accessed directly via or you can find it on any number of podcasting apps out there.

Feel free to get in touch and let me know how you are getting on, or if you have a moment, go to the contact page and let me know what you are struggling with. I’m very interested in what productivity techniques you are adopting or what matters you are struggling with, whether industry wise or personally, so that I can tailor future episodes to tackle them.


The format this week is a little bit different as I want to offer you suggestions on productivity apps which you can use to make your day to day life and work just a little bit easier. I’m not sponsored by any of these apps, at least not yet – anyone want to sponsor me? These are just the ones that I genuinely find useful and that I actually use.

Sadly I’ve not discovered any app to research and create podcast episodes, which I still do it one word at a time, but luckily there are a few awesome and mostly FREE apps out there that will make our lives easier along the way.

I’ll put links to the apps that I talk about in the show notes on the website so don’t panic, you can always grab them there. I’ll give the exact address at the end of the episode.

Peter Drucker the American-Austrian educator said “Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.”


And one of the greatest apps out there for managing time, in my opinion, is GOOGLE CALENDAR. It’s free, it works cross platform on PC and apple desktop, and on android and apple devices. I use it every single day, probably 10 times a day or more.

I use Google Calendar for all of my work bookings, all of my travel arrangements for jobs and all of my important deadlines and meetings. I stay on top of it and if a date moves and as soon as I get that information and I login and make the change.

I have several calendars for several email addresses. And they all can come up on the app simultaneously or you can toggle through them. For example you could have a calendar for work, which I have for my fight directing work, a calendar for family, for picking up kids and getting them to swimming lessons, dentist appointments or whatever and a calendar perhaps for your own projects.

You can even donate different colours to each calendar so you can tell at a glance what is what.

Google calendar also sends you reminders. There are reminders on mine that tell me 24 hours before something is going to happen and again 30 minutes before.

In order to get the best from Google Calendar you have to keep it updated, but it’s kinda like my old Filofax, which I updated religiously, and if you do commit to using it, it will make your life easier. Not having to retain the details every single date and time and place you have to be makes this app invaluable.

Whatever you can say in a meeting, you can put in an email. If I have questions, I'll tell you via email. - Mark Cuban

Following on from that, my second free productivity resource is Gmail. Yes Gmail. I get swamped by emails on my address. Most things come through that, but when I set up a new project, like this podcast for example, before I do anything else, I set up a Gmail account.

And why is that good for productivity? Because everything I have set up for this podcast is in the same place. My podbean account, my itunes account, my spotify, stitcher, blubrry, envato, speakpipe, mailchimp, twitter – everything to do with THIS PODCAST goes through my filmproproductivity@gmail address. And anything that doesn’t, there’s a few that got tied to my fightdirector account as I had a pre-existing relationship with them like wix - I just forward those to the podcast Gmail account so they are there too.

So if I need anything to do with this podcast, I go to the gmail account, login and it’s there. I don’t have to hunt and hunt in my main address. It just makes everything easy.

I do it for films too, and when I finish that film and no longer need it and when emails to that account become few and far between, I set up a forwarder in the gmail settings and it send any new emails to another kinda catchall address that I’ve set up. And if anything comes to these email addresses I get a nod that it’s there through my phone - Yeh, Gmail is my second awesome productivity app, and if you are clever about how to use it, it will save a lot of headaches

Next on my list, and it’s another app I use every single day is DROPBOX. I have all of my important – oh hold on – that’s my calendar app telling me that my friend Alasdair is picking me up in 30 minutes – see I told you it was good – where was I yes, DROPBOX is where I have all of my current work folders, all of my recent documents and also a few shared folders.


You get your first 2.5gb for free when you sign up and for some of you that may be enough, but I’ve actually got my free allotment up to 21.2 Gb by recommending friends and taking on various free offers that came up along the way. You can of course pay for it but I’ve not had to yet. I actually also use the other free app GOOGLE DRIVE which is similar to dropbox but different for overspill items I might need. With it you get 15gb free at first so you may prefer it.

Dropbox though is my weapon of choice as its simple I’m used to it and I like it’s format. I mainly use it on desktop when writing fight risk assessments but I also at least once a day access it through my phone app.

If I go into it now, I have a few random images and PDF’s dotting about, but I organise it quite specifically and have folders for every film and show that I work on. For example I have a folder for BBC Scotland’s River City which contains all of my risk assessments for the previous season and the current one. Previous seasons I’ve moved to backup folders in he google drive as I don’t need instant access to them. Last season has 20 episodes which contained fights, and so far this season has 9 episodes - each with it’s own sub folder which contains PDF’s of the scenes and my risk assessments for them in word format. I can access these anywhere and make alterations if necessary.

As I have set this up to view by date I have the podcast folder, with 15 sub folders containing notes and scripts etc for each episode, plus folders for music and show notes and marketing etc - all easily accessible and up to date. I have a folder for the TV show Shetland which I was shooting this week and last and a folder for Bannan which I shot this week and continue on next week, and folders for my feature films in development in Hong Kong with friend and colleague Bryan Larkin as well as in development for myself. It’s a very lively place for my very lively schedule. It’s not unusual for me to be shooting maybe 5 or 6 productions in any one month and dropbox in combination with the other free apps here keeps me on top of it all.

I have two shared folders here too. One is a family album created by my niece who is researching the family history and another which is created and updated by River City production as that is a very regular gig. In that folder my line manager updates a fight schedule and every time a date moves, or disappears or a script update is made that might affect me, rather than emailing me or calling me about it, I get an update via dropbox. It’s a very efficient system.

Dropbox, really is an essential productivity tool as far as I’m concerned.

Self help author ― Patti Digh says “Sometimes our STOP-DOING list needs to be bigger than our TO-DO list.” That’s another quote I can’t help but agree with.

Check out last week’s habit podcast for more advice on that or episode 2 which talks about the power of saying NO.

The quote does also have relevance to this list though as next up I suggest you try the free productivity app TO-DOIST – “To do – ist”


I discovered recently that you can tie this app, even the free version, into Google Calendar and that makes it all the more amazing. TODO-IST is a to do list organiser and reminder app.

If you have a list of things to do, grab this app and type them up. You can create separate lists within it based on your lists topics. What to do ist does though is not just hold onto your list, and allow you to cross things of fthat you complete, but it will remind you every day of what is still to be done. That daily reminder helps you to maintain the drive and will power required to complete them. For that reason and because I’ve been using it now for about 2 years, TODO-IST is number 4 on this list.

Mrs Beeton who wrote The Book Of Household Management famously said that there should be “A place for everything, and everything in its place”

So with that in mind the final App that I will recommend today is POCKET. It’s yet another free app which is available, like everything else on this list, across all platforms and its purpose, as Mrs Beeton says, is to give you a place for everything – everything on the web that you want to save and view later that is…


I use it every day when saving web pages, articles and YouTube vids that I’d like to read later or that might be useful for this podcast. I still do favourite and bookmark pages using browsers, but if it’s a quick read that I don’t want to lose, I drop it into pocket, where later on I can easily find it and view on any device without searching.

You can install Pocket on your mobile device or add it as an extension to Google chrome, which is my recommended browser incidentally – So - if there’s anything you see that you don’t have the time or the inclination to read then and there, you can simply save it to Pocket. If installed, it comes up in an option for you to save to in android and apple devices, and it’s a clickable button on the toolbar of Google chrome.

I know there are similar apps around but for me the standalone Pocket app which is fast and simple and free, tops the list.


Martha Stewart said that “Life is too complicated not to be orderly.” …and these 5 apps will definitely make your life more orderly and productive if you use them.

They are tried and tested and if you are willing to embrace them you are going to love them. That said, please remember that many apps are as bad for your productivity as these ones are good. As you try out some of these suggestions, perhaps you should think about losing some of the apps on your phone that really disrupt your productivity, or at the very least take them off your front page so that you have to hunt for them in the app menus instead. Make them a little less easy to access and perhaps you’ll eventually stop using them altogether.

I’ll have to do another one of these episodes as choosing the ones to talk about here has been really difficult. There are desktop extensions which are also awesome but I’ll leave all that for season 2.

I feel I should put a full stop on all this with a quote, and although the episode is a bit more factual than inspirational today I’ve got one that I rather like.

It’s another by Peter Drucker, who said “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”

He also said that

“Nothing is less productive than to make more efficient what should not be done at all.”

So I’ll leave you with that.


A link to every App that I’ve talk about here, and a full transcript of this episode is available at

Go there, try them out and see how they work for you. They’re all free but some have some in app purchases which can be used to expand their capabilities. I however only use the free versions.

Next week’s episode, episode 15, will be the final show of season 1, and I’ll be discussing the topic of setting and achieving goals.

Until then, take control of your own destiny, keep on shootin’ and join me next time on Film Pro Productivity.

· The podcast music is Adventures by A Himitsu.

· You can view the show notes for this episode at

· If you’re struggling with something you think I can help with or would like to tell me how you are getting on then please get in touch via the contact page on the website. Alternately you can get me on Twitter @fight_director or follow the show @filmproprodpod

· Please support this podcast by subscribing, leaving an AWESOME review and spreading the word. If you can get just one new person to tune in I’d really appreciate it.

Thanks: A Himitsu

Image: Main Photographs taken on the Giordano UK shoot by Bryan Larkin.

Music: Adventures by A Himitsu Creative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported— CC BY 3.0 Music released by Argofox Music provided by Audio Library ––– • Contact the artist:


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