It is no easy task to plan a busy day, schedule meetings, communicate with team members and organise files. Businesses are slowly moving away from expensive and dedicated servers and moving to apps instead. Productivity apps are designed to allow usage of multiple organisational and planning tools in one place. Just as de-cluttering your physical workspace can help you work better, reducing the number of open applications can help you stay focused and minimise stress.
Before choosing the app that appeals to you, make sure that you try the full trial period in order to evaluate the features and user-friendliness. A smart productivity app can help you organise files and information, plan your calendar and schedule events, track time and hold discussions and much more.
There are several reliable productivity apps available and you have to consider your own unique requirements before selecting one. Spending time on what you really want, clarifying your objectives and learning how to use a digital tool to its maximum can help save valuable money and time. Studying the features of each app, its ability to integrate with other platforms and flexibility level can help you decide on the most suitable productivity app.
In general, the following criteria will help you decide on the best app for your requirement:
- Flexibility (the app should be able to support different approaches to organisation)
- User-friendliness (you don’t want an app that is full of technical jargon)
- Scalability (the app should be able to perform at the same efficiency regardless of the workload)
- Specialised features (although most apps offer a set of features, some may offer special features that correspond to what you want)
- Integration with other apps and platforms (you want to be able to use on multiple devices)
- Consistency and strong offline functionality
Overall, you should ideally look for an app that guarantees longevity. Your search for a product will be successful when you hone in on an app that you are likely to use for a long time. The app will ideally offer ongoing value, meet your daily requirements and introduce improvements from time to time. These add-ons should be designed to help you work more efficiently than before. This article will describe the features and benefits of 7 popular apps that can help boost productivity.
Trello is one of the leading productivity apps in the market and one of the most popular. It utilises the concept of boards which consist of different cards. Each card is designed to track progress or for the purpose of categorisation. It’s a reasonably priced app that offers the free version, Business Class version and the Enterprise version. The Business and Enterprise versions are priced at roughly £7.60 and £15.90 per month respectively.
Trello is known for its flexible and scalable project management and collaborative features. For example, members of a project can discuss the project or tasks in real-time. In addition, everyone involved in a project can be kept updated with the help of task lists, email notifications and activity log. The card system is easy and efficient to use. The interface allows inline editing and the website is accessible from any browser regardless of whether it is web-based, mobile-based, Tablet or Smartphone. Trello also adapts to any screen size. The app is also compatible with iPhone as well as Android. The task lists are fully customisable and members are updated regarding changes in real time.
You can invite any number of people on board for free and the cards can be used to add comments, create checklists, upload file attachments, add in due dates and labels and much more. The user can add as many boards, cards or teams as he or she wishes to. Moreover, you can declare any number of teams or boards as public or private. Search features are powerful and fast with several operators that help you narrow down your search. You can also create cards and comments using email. When you do this, you can simply respond to the email without having to open Trello. Moreover, all data is transmitted over an SSL connection (SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer) which is the same connection used by banks and other sensitive agencies where security is a topmost priority.
This is an ideal app designed to help those who have to handle a barrage of emails on a regular basis.
Newton is a flexible app designed to help you gain control over emails and works on any platform including computers, Tablets and Smartphones. It’s not cluttered with multiple screens to confuse the user. You are able to see a list of messages or the current email that you happen to be reading or composing. The app is designed with a lot of keyboard shortcuts to perform functions such as deleting or archiving your emails. As a result, you are able to navigate your way, even without the aid of a mouse. Priced at about £38 per year (the free trial lasts for 14 days, but you can also use the free version) for the premium version, the app offers general features such as conversation view style, deleting, archiving and filing away emails.
Although the app appears simple and uncomplicated, it also packs a punch when it comes to offering add-on features when you click on the settings option. For example, you can snooze messages (this means that you can save the messages to read at a later time without missing them by mistake), read receipts (this will tell you if the message has been read and by whom) and schedule email messages to be sent at a later date. Newton interfaces with Android as well as iPhone platforms. In addition, it’s also compatible with an impressive array of other email providers such as Yahoo Mail, Gmail, Outlook and Google Apps among others. Newton also allows you to clip any work related tasks to Trello using a simple plug-in.
This is an extremely user-friendly and efficient app that helps you manage your time wisely. Whether you choose to work at a regular job or work on a freelance basis, the app helps re-evaluate your choices in order to help you focus on priorities. This app is especially ideal for those who are struggling to manage their time and use multiple devices to handle tasks. RescueTime is one of the most popular time-management apps. RescueTime provides a detailed as well as a general overview of your time in minutes and hours. This is an app that helps track time and your progress on tasks as well as allowing you access on multiple devices.
The app runs in the background and automatically records, classifies and tracks our activities. For example, RescueTime keeps a watch on the windows that have activity on, records the name and measures the time we spend on the window. So if you spend too much time moping around Facebook when you should be completing your reports, RescueTime will remind you of it. Similarly, the ‘Get Focused’ feature stops distracting apps and sites from popping up once you’ve selected the ones that you want blocked off while you work. Other pluses include the fact that it’s well-funded and more likely to have a longer lifespan and the interface is not cluttered with useless adverts and banners. The free model is available for use for a long period.
The premium version costs roughly £55 per year and offers some special features. These include detailed reports that tell you about your most productive times as well as your most distracted ones. You can also click to check on your time reports for a year back; this is extremely useful to track time management efficiency. You can also opt to view your time management in the form of pie charts and bar graphs. Another great positive is that RescueTime does not intrude on your contacts, emails, etc. and ask for ridiculous permissions to access personal information. It’s lightweight (in that it does not take up loads of memory space and use up your battery) and efficient. The different filters and overlays help you understand exactly how you are spending your time (this can be quite eye-opening). RescueTime also integrates seamlessly with several other software applications.
In professional life, there are very few tasks that prove to be as mind-numbing as scheduling meetings. You have to find a time that works for everyone that invariably results in a string of email responses and accidental double-bookings that throw your schedule off kilter. Keep in mind that the calendar on your computer or mobile is still confined to the device in question and it offers excellent flexibility if it is synced to an online functionality. This is exactly what Google Calendar does.
Google calendar is an erstwhile tool that helps you organise, share and manage meetings in an easy and user-friendly manner. Google calendar is well-integrated with Gmail as well as Google tasks and you can schedule your day personally or for a team. Features include organising events as separate calendars and inviting people to those calendars. The app is extremely useful because it helps synchronise all the appointments that you accepted or set up through your email. Google tasks help you keep track of events that you need to attend in each calendar. All you need to do is to type in the date and time and Google Calendar automatically converts the text into an event.
For those who use Google apps for work, the calendar will help you schedule meetings quickly and efficiently because it shows you other people’s schedules too; this way you can pick a time and day that works well for the whole team. While it’s a great app to use on its own, it works even better when you use it with Gmail. It automatically picks up dates and automatically integrates this information into your calendar.
FocusList is a simple, uncluttered app that helps you improve an extremely important attribute; it helps you focus on your tasks. The app is driven by your preferences and content and it displays your tasks, provides an estimated completion time and also furnishes a timer when you want. Along with your task list, there are a couple of handy features including the Pomodoro timer and estimation of project duration. Simply start your day by listing out tasks and the time that you’d like to dedicate to the task. We often underestimate or overestimate the time required for specific tasks. As a result, we accomplish less than we are able to.
For every task that you wish to complete, you can assign an estimated time and can adjust the time by half an hour by swiping to the right or left. The app follows the Pomodoro technique which involves 25 minutes of intense work followed by a five minute break. The timer will be displayed above the task list and you review your performance by clicking on the stats view. This will show you how well you worked and how close you were to the time estimates that you had entered at the beginning. FocusList works with Mac and iPhones.
One of the most important prerequisites for improved productivity is to be able to record your thoughts, ideas and inspirations as they strike you. We can very rarely (if at all) hold thoughts in our heads and many times, good ideas slip out of our memories and we lose them forever. Evernote is a versatile app where you can simply sync in your thoughts, notes and ideas as they arise. A seamless interface with Android, iPhone and other operating systems, the Evernote offers the free version as well as the paid one for premium features. However, with the free version, you can use it across two devices at most.
Plus and premium accounts come at a price of £26 and £53 per year respectively (which is reasonable). The plus and premium versions offer higher storage up to 200 MB. One of the strongest features of Evernote is its search functionality which is designed to be extremely intuitive and speedy. Moreover, Evernote is able to search text inside images as well and when you search for a particular word, the app highlights all the instances where the word is found. Evernote is also compatible with several other apps and software services, making it a versatile application for recording notes.
The biggest plus point is that Evernote helps transform a random thought that popped up in your head to a well-fleshed out thought that may get published. Evernote is also compatible with Trello which means you can workflow to your notes and notes to cards on Trello. This gives you the flexibility to use Trello for collaboration along with your important notes from Evernote.
While apps can help improve our productivity, what we really need is to work on habits that are holding us back from giving our best. The Strides app does just that; it is designed to help us track our goals and habits and is one of the most popular apps in the app store. What the app really does is remind you to report on your progress and then it refines the information and presents it to you on your dashboard. The dashboard helps you review your progress and make decisions. The app helps you make habit choices between better and worse and this helps you improve upon professional as well as personal habits that contribute to productivity.
At its core, Strides is a habit and goal tracking app that works well with iPhone, iPad and the web. It not only motivates you but also holds you accountable for your goals. For example, you may wish to inculcate a habit of waking earlier than you do. All you need to do is to click on the ‘+’ icon located at the top right of the screen. Then enter your goal and choose between a set of different categories including health and fitness, education, finance and so on. By simply scrolling through the list, you can get plenty of ideas on how you can achieve your goal and, in addition, you can set specific targets and milestones. The app offers a clutter-free and friendly interface that helps you achieve your goals without too much complication. The helpful charts help you incorporate changes where needed. While Strides is free, Strides Plus incorporates special features and costs approximately £31 a year. Overall, an excellent app that helps you monitor professional and personal goals that help upgrade productivity.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with endless to-do tasks during a typical work day. You may forget where you saved an important file and you may have to search through your laptop, tablet or even mobile phone. An app helps you perform multiple functions that would normally use different software applications. A productivity app helps you navigate tasks and multi-task efficiently and is a handy tool that boosts organisation and planning. They help you conquer impossibly lengthy to-do lists and manage new projects, etc. and help you manage your time in the most effective manner. Efficient apps help you become your most productive self by allowing you insights into your day in every aspect.
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