The 10 Best Windows Productivity Apps in 2022

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In this video we’ll be digging into the best productivity apps for Windows in 2022.

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00:00 – Intro
01:05 – ShareX
02:50 – QuickLook
03:58 – Notion
05:58 – Microsoft Edge
07:18 – Clipboard Manager
08:09 – Flow Launcher
08:57 – Espanso
10:10 – Everything
10:53 – Google Drive
11:46 – F.Lux

Microsoft Edge:
Clipboard Manager:
Flow Launcher:
Google Drive:

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– I have a central tenant that I follow for any kind
of work that I’m doing. And it’s this. If I find myself doing
something repeatedly, there is a process I have
to follow all the time over and over again, then anything I can do to make
that process more efficient either by making it faster, removing steps or automating
steps, I should do. And with that idea in mind that today, I would like to share with you my top 10 favorite productivity apps, specifically for Windows. Now I’ve got a couple of friends who have done these kind of
app roundup lists for the Mac. And I do use Mac OS. I use a lot of those apps, but I actually use Windows more often. I prefer on the desktop platforms and I haven’t seen a
whole lot of these videos for us Windows folk. So today I’m gonna be
breaking down my top 10, including the one that I think is probably gonna be the
most interesting for you. My surprise pick, one
that you’re probably not expecting, a pair that work
insanely well together. They’re the ones that
I’m most excited to share with you in this video. And finally, the one that is objectively the most useful app on this list. One other great thing about this list is that every app on it is actually free. So let’s get into this list, starting with the one that I think you might find most interesting which is an app called Sharex. Sharex is a screenshot tool for Windows. It’s free, it’s open source. And I use the heck out of it because I take a ton of
screenshots in my work and I do this for multiple
different purposes. I do it for content creation. If you’ve seen any of my written Notion tutorial over on my website you’ve probably seen my
screenshots and animated GIFs but I also use it to
communicate more efficiently with my team. For instance, the other day my personal website had a bug on it and I was able to just take screenshots of the bug and send them in
Slack to my developer, Martin, to show him exactly what was going on. It’s a lot more efficient
than trying to type up a long description,
but Sharex has a trick up its sleeve that a lot of other
screenshot apps do not have which is optical character recognition. You can actually take a screenshot of some text within a
picture or YouTube video and it will pull that text out and put it right on your clipboard. So you can then paste it into
your note taking application. Now I should mention that there
is a builtin screenshot tool within Windows called Snip and Sketch and it’s honestly very capable. You can use it by hitting Windows, Key, shift S. You can take screenshots put ’em on your clipboard, draw on them. But the editor that comes within Sharex is just vastly more powerful and lets you do things like
adding boxes, drawing arrows adding pixelation and
blurring for sensitive info. It’s just overall a lot better. And that’s why I personally like using it over Snip and Sketch. Now there are a couple of little tweaks that I add to share X to
make it a little bit better. First I add multiple hot
keys for different jobs. So I like to use control
shift F to add a screenshot directly to my clipboard or control shift C to open up the editor so I can make boxes or
arrows or what have you. And then I use control shift alt C if I want to use the optical
character recognition and pull text out of an image. And I also configure
my default screenshots to live inside of Google drive. So all my screenshots are available to me across all my different devices. App number two on this
list is called Quick Look. And if you’ve ever used
Mac OS you probably know there is a function built into the operating
system called Quick Look which is sadly absent on Windows. Well, this app brings it in there. Now in Mac OS Quick Look is a function in finder where you can basically click on a file without opening it and see information about
that file in the sidebar. You can see an image preview, if it’s an image, you can see
text inside of a text file. And the Quick Look app inside the Microsoft Windows
store adds this to Windows. You can click on a file
and without opening it you can just hit the
space bar to preview it. Now, this is less useful
for really simple file types like images or text because notepad and the Windows photo
viewer open pretty quickly but this also works on Photoshop files. So I can preview Photoshop files in a very big window
without open up Photoshop. I can open up animated GIFs or videos and preview them without
launching a dedicated app for it. So overall really useful tool. And I love that it has
a button that’ll let me make the preview stay
on top of other windows, as I sometimes want to
say, take a screenshot and make sure it floats
on top of something else, just so I can reference it. App number three on this list and you probably saw
this coming, is Notion. I can’t make this list complete without Notion because I
use it every single day. And there is in fact desktop app. So I can use it directly on Windows which means I’m not breaking
the rules of this list. Now I do have a confession to make, which is that I think that
Mac OS has a greater number of top tier note-taking
applications than Windows does. It has Ulysses, it has Bear and has Apple Notes, which
is frankly fantastic. But at this point, notion has
made enough improvements both in its speed and in fixing some of the annoyances I used to have with it that it is now my favorite
note taking application, in particular, just recently, they fixed the bug where you
couldn’t select text precisely across blocks, which was
actually kind of a bug in pretty much all based text editors. I think Whimsical was the
first one to really fix it at least that I noticed, but
now Notion has done as well which means that I can select text like I could in a regular word
processor like Google docs. And that means I can write and I can edit precisely inside of Notion and Notion runs a lot more
than just my note taking. In fact, I run my entire content creation process inside of Notion. We capture ideas there, we run
the entire content pipeline in there from research,
to scripting to editing. And we even have a library
of all of our past videos so we can pull information
from them when we need it. That system is called Creators Companion. I’ve actually turned it into a template and you can check it out
[email protected]/cc. And for personal productivity, I like to manage my tasks in notion. I have a full template for that. I do my note taking in Notion, but what I’ve really wanted ever since I discovered this app is a full on second brain template. Something would marry tasks
and projects and notes and goals and have them
all work in harmony. I’ve been kicking around with this design in my head for a very long time. It’s very tough to get right to get the UX to be easily usable, so it won’t turn into a mess later on but I think I’m just about
done designing this template. And I’ve got a second channel
called Thomas Frank explains. It’s all about Notion
build guides and tutorials. So if you are interested in that kind of thing,
check that channel out. I’ll have it link the
description down below and let’s move on to our
fourth app in this list which actually takes our award for the most surprising app on the list. And it’s actually Microsoft Edge. The browser that comes built into Windows. Yes, I have had Microsoft
popping up little things telling me to switch over from
Chrome to edge for years now but I’ve always ignored it until I looked up some stats and found out that Edge is actually a
faster browser than Chrome. And I was getting kind of tired of Chrome just hogging up tons of
resources on my system. So I decided to give Edge a try. And what do you know? It’s actually kind of great. At this point, it’s
built on top of Chromium which is the engine
that Chrome is built on. So it’s very familiar. All the keyboard shortcuts
are the same and crucially you can install extensions from the Chrome Web store into Edge. Pretty much any extension
that works inside of Chrome now works in Edge, which means that I’m not losing anything by making the switch. And I’m gaining quite a few things. Number one, Edge does
feel snappier and it feels like it takes up less
resources than Chrome does. There’s even a built in feature
that will put tabs to sleep after two hours by default,
if you’re not using them which frees up system resources even more. But maybe my favorite feature on Edge is if you go up to your
tab bar and right click you can turn on vertical tabs, which will move your tabs
from being a horizontal list across the top of the bar to
a vertical list on the side, which means that even if you
are a tab hoarder like I am, you can still see the names of all your tabs, which
you cannot do in Chrome without a third party extension. App number five on the list is actually one that is built right into Windows and it’s
the Windows Clipboard Manager. So if you’ve ever used a clipboard before if you’ve ever copied and pasted you probably know that
the clipboard is one of the most useful functions
in any operating system. But by default, it has
one major limitation. It only remembers the
last thing you copied. It’s a lot more useful if you have clipboard history turned on so you can see everything you’ve copied and you can go back and
paste something old. And that is exactly what the
clipboard history feature does. So if you wanna turn it on all you gotta do is hit Windows key V. It will ask you if you wanna turn it on, and then you can even sync
your clipboard history across devices, if you want to. I don’t do that because
I put passwords on my clipboard and I don’t really like the idea of having it transmitted across anything that isn’t into my Password Manager but it is an option if you want to use it. And that brings us to one of two apps that I am
personally most excited to share with you in this video. These two apps work really well as a pair. So that first app is called Flow Launcher. And all Flow Launcher does is
bring up a small text window on your computer when
you hit a key command by default alt space. But once it’s there, you can type commands to do pretty much
anything on your computer quite a bit faster than you
would by doing it normally. Again, we’re going back to that concept of taking repeat processes and
making them more efficient. So with Flow Launcher,
I can launch websites. I can do Google searches. I can bring up files or
directories on my computer. I can even do calculations
quite a bit faster than I would with the
stock calculator app. And I can even control Spotify. I can type SP in the name of a playlist or a song
and I can start playing it. I can turn on shuffle. I can do all kinds of cool stuff. I absolutely love Flow Launcher. And you can customize the
heck out of it to just bring up this little thing and do
stuff quite a bit faster. And I’m just gonna roll right into the seventh app of the list which is called Espanso. And Espanso is a text expander app which you’ll find very useful if you often find yourself
typing the same long strings of text, like your email
address or common URLs or if you do customer
support or something, the same exact response to customers. You can define these
very short key snippets that when you type they
automatically expand into that longer snippet of text. So for instance I can type EMT to auto
expand my email address. I can type PWF to auto expand
my Notion fundamentals URL which I’m constantly
pasting inside of comments. I can even expand really really long strings of text as well. And I personally love
Espanso more than then say Auto Hot Key, which I used
to use for this purpose because Espanso also comes with a search bar that you can bring up very similar to Flow Launchers, but you can search your snippets and then automatically
paste them without having to type the entire thing,
which is really, really nice. And I’m putting Flow
Launcher and Espanso together because in my workflow, they
work very well in tandem. Personally, I have to bring up a lot of different directories
on my computer very often. I’ve got one for video thumbnails. I’ve got one for current
projects being edited. I’ve got one for my second channel. So I’ve defined little
key snippets in Espanso that I can type into Flow
Launcher to automatically launch those directories way quicker than I would get to them if
I was navigating normally and to continue my complaints about Windows Explorer,
we’re gonna move on to app number eight, which
is called Everything. And Everything is a simple
utility that lets you search your files and folders and Windows because
Windows’s folder search and file search is famously slow. It takes forever. And for whatever reason,
everything indexes your hard drive and lets you search pretty much instantly. Now there was also an Everything
plugin for Flow Launcher. So you can actually use Flow Launcher to search your computer pretty well, but sometimes you’re looking for a file and you wanna be able to browse a lot more on your screen than Flow
Launcher will show you. So I also recommend having
everything installed by default so you can
use it when you need it. App number nine on this list
is good old Google Drive. I don’t think this list
would be complete without an app that gets files off of your computer and syncs
them to another destination, so they’re backed up and also available on
other devices as well. Google Drive, I think
is the best option still even though there is also a Dropbox and OneDrive and other
options because for free, they give you the most storage space. They give you 15 gigs versus OneDrive’s five
and Dropbox is paltry two. And my tip for using
Google Drive efficiently is to ignore the
documents, pictures, music all those different
directories on your computer and instead create a sort of root file system within
your Google Drive folder. That way you’re gonna have
a single place that you know to go to, to start looking for files, if you’re not choosing to search for them using say Everything. And that brings us to our
final app on this list which is probably objectively
the most useful app out of any that I’ve covered here. And that is F.lux or maybe F.lux if you wanna pronounce it that way. This is a very small tiny
utility that does one thing as it gets closer to dark, to your bedtime, it dims your
screen and it makes it warmer. And the reason it does this is that light, be it artificial light or sunlight messes with
our circadian rhythms. There’s a little part of your brand called the suprachiasmatic nucleus
that is connected to your eyes and when your eyes intake light waves it essentially adjusts
your circadian rhythm and it can make it harder to fall asleep or to get quality sleep, if you’re exposed to
artificial light late at night. And as it turns out, blue
light affects this more than other types of visible light. So the idea behind F.lux and the idea behind those blue blocker
glasses you probably heard about is it gets rid of some of that blue light and
possibly makes it easier for you to fall asleep or to
have better quality sleep. So if you find yourself
on the computer late at night or on your phone late at night, using something like F.lux may actually help you sleep better. And as we’ve talked about
in many different videos sleep is one of the
three pillars of health with the other two being your nutrition and your exercise, that really form the foundation of your ability to get things done. So all these other tools we’ve talked about are kind of just,
you know, extra icing on the cake. F.lux may actually help you live a more healthy life and hence
a more productive one. Now, earlier I talked about how Notion was my constant companion for my video production process. One of my most essential tools for getting these videos done
and done more efficiently. Let me share one additional
resource that really helps with my video production process as well. And that is Story Blocks, who have kindly sponsored this video. If you are a creator, if
you make videos like I do you definitely want to
check out Story Blocks because they give you access to a library of more than 1 million creative assets that you get unlimited access
to use inside your content. That includes a B roll and stock footage. It includes sound effects and music. So you can level up your sound design. It includes After Effects
templates, motion graphics templates, tons of stuff that
can level up your content. And to give you a bit of an insight to our actual
video production process we cut down this talking head footage to what we call an A roll cut. At that point, my team and
I come up with B roll ideas to go on top of that A roll and we do shoot some of that B or selves but often there are shots that
we just can’t get on our own. And Story Blocks allows
us to get a lot of that which allows us to make our
content a lot more engaging. And another great thing about Story Blocks is that they are extremely affordable. Normally if you wanna
license stock footage a lot of sites wanna charge you hundreds of dollars per clip, seriously,
but with Story Blocks you have one low subscription
that gets you unlimited access to as many assets as you want. And they have plans to
fit pretty much any budget whether you’re a solo creator
or running a large team. So if you wanna start
leveling up your content and get started, go over
to to sign up or go to the
link right there on screen. If you do choose to use Story
Blocks, thank you so much for supporting my sponsors. This is a great to support
this channel as well. Hopefully you enjoyed this. If you found something useful, maybe a brand new tool that’s gonna help your workflow hit that like button for the algorithm. And if you’re looking for
something else to watch I’ve got a great companion
video for this one on the best browser
extensions for productivity or if you are a Notion user,
I just made a brand new video on 10 things you might be doing wrong in your Notion workspace. check those out and I’ll
see yet in the next one.

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