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Year in Review: Our 16 Most Popular Productivity and Apps Posts of 2016

Melanie Pinola
Melanie Pinola / December 23, 2016

Did you hear that? That's the sound of 2016 whooshing by. We can't believe it's almost the new year either. Before it ends, though, we wanted to take a look back and share the most popular blog posts we've published in 2016.

This year, we posted 161 articles on our favorite topics: productivity, apps, and workflows. Of those, the ones below got the most traffic. We hope this roundup will help you discover a new tip that you might have missed.

Beyond Google Calendar and Apple Calendar: The 18 Best Apps to Manage Your Schedule: The default calendar app on your phone or computer might not be the best for your needs. Here are alternatives to Google Calendar, Apple Calendar, and Microsoft Outlook that are quicker to use, easier on the eyes, and can do more than just show you upcoming events. There's a PDF cheat sheet too.

Inspect Element: How to Temporarily Edit Any Webpage: Did you know there's a powerful tool hidden in your browser? With Inspect Element you can see the code behind any web page–and even change the page. It's handy not just for designers, but marketers, writers, and support agents as well.

The Beginner's Guide to Dictation Software: Write Without Typing: You probably think and speak faster than you type. With voice dictation, you can get your ideas onto the page faster, even when you're busy doing other things like cooking or walking to the store. In this guide, find the best dictation software, mobile apps, microphones, and tips on dictating text.

Find Files Faster: How to Organize Files and Folders: It's always a good time to get more organized–and that's especially true of the files on your computer. Learn what makes a good folder structure and see step-by-step examples of how to organize your folders efficiently.

file folders
Doesn't this look nice?

Remember Everything with Evernote: 30+ of the Best Tips and Tricks: Few note-taking apps are as powerful as Evernote, the app that can stand in for your second brain. With these tips and tricks, you might get more mileage out of Evernote, taking your notes to the next level. (Confession: I'm partial to this post, as it was the first one I wrote for the Zapier Blog.)

The Science of Memory: Top 10 Proven Techniques to Remember More and Learn Faster: Probably everyone could stand to improve their memory. Well, unless your a memory competition champion, like a couple of the people we spoke to for this article. Improving your memory is actually easier than you might think and can keep you mentally sharp. TL;DR: use mnemonics and imagery to memorize anything–helpful also when learning a new language.

Productivity and Ergonomics: The Best Way to Organize Your Desk: How you set up your workspace affects not just your productivity but also your health. If you've ever worked in an office with glaring fluorescent lights or uncomfortable chairs, you probably understand. Here are the best ways to organize and set up your desk, based on ergonomic and productivity research. TL;DR:

desk infographic

Search Smarter: 30+ Google Search Tricks You Might Not Already Know: Sure, everyone knows how to Google. But are you searching Google efficiently? Or ever click through to the second or third page of results without finding what you were looking for? Improve your Google-fu with these tips. Bonus: there's an infographic you can save for future reference.

50 Google Sheets Add-Ons to Supercharge Your Spreadsheets: Add-ons help you do more in your spreadsheets. We reviewed the best Google Sheets add-ons for forms, data gathering, spreadsheet formatting, text, number crunching, email and communication, and more. Plus, we point you to how to build your own add-on.

Introducing Push by Zapier: A Universal Chrome Extension for All Your Apps: Push by Zapier is our new Chrome extension that lets you quickly create a workflow with any of the 750+ apps supported on Zapier. It's my favorite tool for instantly adding a card to Trello, appending an Evernote note, or sending a text message–without needing to leave the page I'm on in the browser or switch to another app. Seriously, give it a try.

Master Your Time: 5 Daily Scheduling Methods to Bring More Focus to Your Day: Setting up a routine will help you boost your productivity and find more time in your day. In this post, we cover scheduling methods that could help you get more done, from the time blocking method to the polyphasic sleep method.

Tagging Tips: How to Organize Files and Other Information with Tags: Tags and labels are the easiest way to instantly find files no matter where you save them. Discover the best tagging practices for emails, photos, notes, folders, and more. Pro tip: If you use more than 10 tags, it's helpful to create a master list you can use to keep track of all of your tags.

How Trello Uses Trello to Collaborate, Plan, and Communicate as a Team: Are you a Trello user? So are we and, unsurprisingly, the 100-person team behind Trello. Get tips on using Trello straight from the source, such as using Trello background to find your boards at a glance.

Trello boards

14 Tools to Help You Avoid Distractions and Stay Focused at Work: Did you know it can take 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to where you left off after just one distraction or interruption? Distractions also make us less happy. Willpower alone isn't enough to stay focused, which is why we've gathered these 14 apps and tools to help you stay on track every day.

How to Build Your Own Chat Bot in Slack: Bots are handy little assistants that wait for your command and then do your bidding, such as automatically responding to trigger words in Slack or looking up information. In this guide, we show you how to make customized bots in Slack for replies, notifications, and commands without writing a single line of code.

How to Create Effective Document Templates: You don't have to start from scratch every time you need to create something new. Document templates guarantee consistency and help you create a new document in a fraction of the time it would take if you started with a blank page. Here are guidelines for the best templates and how to create different kinds of templates.

Did we miss any of your favorite posts from this year? Share them with us in the comments. Enjoy the rest of 2016 and see you in the new year!

Photo by Matthew Guay.

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Nir Eyal, bestselling author

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Take the Work out of Workflow

Zapier is the easiest way to automate powerful workflows with more than 750 apps.

Workflow

Take the Work out of Workflow

Zapier is the easiest way to automate powerful workflows with more than 750 apps.