market and publish your bookDear Fellow Writer,

Happy New Year!

There’s nothing like the changing of a calendar year to renew motivation and ramp up your goals.

I hope this year includes more writing for you, plus a large payoff in your marketing efforts.

But to get that payoff, you’ve got to put in the time.

So today I want to share five of the best time-saving apps for writers so you can make your marketing efforts more productive.

Time-Saving App #1: Forest

Forest is meant to help you “stay focused” and “be present.” I love this one. I’m a tree fan, true, but there’s more to it.

When you first open Forest, it tells you “whenever you want to focus on your work, plant a tree.” Then it explains your tree will grow while you work.

But if you leave the app … your tree dies!

Stay in the app for 30 minutes (ideally while focused on your book marketing), and you’ll have a grown tree by the end of your session. Do it often, and you’ll grow a whole forest. Just as Forest explains, “the harder you work, the lusher your forest is!”

You can adjust the 30-minute timer to longer, and you can even choose different tree species to grow.

The underlying goal is to develop a smart “no phone” working pattern that speeds your productivity.

Time-Saving App #2: IFTTT

The acronym for “If This Then That” titles this powerful app, which automates your online actions. By integrating with just about every other app on your phone, it takes care of all your regular tasks for you.

For example, say there’s a regular e-newsletter you tend to save to your Evernote reading list. This app can do that for you. Or maybe you habitually turn emails from a specific colleague into action items for your task list … this app can automatically take care of that. It also helps with setting up and syncing reminders, scheduling events in your calendar, cataloging specific emails, and tracking where you spend your time.

Time-Saving App #3: Wunderlist

I’m a personal fan of this app, having used it for a few years to stay on the same page of life as my husband. It’s a classic to-do list, only more powerful. You can divide it up into multiple lists, from your grocery list to your honey-do list to a list of what to pack on your next vacation. Plus, it lets you set reminders and assign to-dos.

Naturally, this makes it a great place to list and prioritize your book-marketing tasks. You can check off the tasks as you go, but there’s also a way to view all your completed tasks — which gives you a terrific visual of all you’ve accomplished as you plow through goals.

As a bonus, you can share lists and co-edit items with anybody you choose. Find a writing partner and use this feature to encourage each other to knock marketing tasks off your to-do lists.

Time-Saving App #4: Swipes

This one probably takes the cake for the busy writer, especially if you’re balancing multiple other things like a day job or a family.

Swipes was created for people who feel like they have way too much to do with no end in sight. And that’s a problem, especially since productivity gets shot when you get to the overloaded point. (Guilty here!)

Swipes helps by keeping track of everything you need to get done. Plus, it lets you “snooze” the things that aren’t your first priority, making it easier for you to focus on one task at a time.

Time-Saving App #5: 30/30

This app introduces the concept of “hustle time” — a great term for time-strapped creatives. Because, try as we might (and trust me, I’ve tried!), we can’t plow through six hours of focused writing time.

To help with that, 30/30 supports the concept that your most productive work cycle lasts about 30 minutes, and is best supported by a 30-minute break of something completely unrelated.

You start by listing tasks you want to get done in a certain time frame. Then you break them up with allotted time for a break. If it gives you more mental bang for each minute you’re awake … definitely worth trying.

And if an App Doesn’t Do the Trick …

Make sure you remember that all productivity apps aren’t created for everybody. It’s worth testing several till you find the one that’s right for you. And if you can’t seem to find one that jives with your needs, that’s fine too.

In fact, one successful writer and marketer I know maintains that a simple to-do list on a Post-It® Note is the best way for her to get things done.

So be open to new applications … but go with what works best for you, right now, to help you make this year your breakout year as an author.

To your time-saving success!

mindy mchorse, author and copywriter