“There’s an app for that, you know…”
Today, there are more ways than one to simplify your life with your smartphone. We may complain that we are over-connected online and under-connected in real life – but there’s a definite bright side to having our digital buddies. What, do you ask? These digital sidekicks (aka free productivity enhancing apps) work to bring some order on your chaotic days.
This list aims to help you work effectively whether you’re digging into a project, making lists, researching, creating, delegating or making decisions. Ready to reach new levels of productivity? Hack your day with the click or tap of a button on your desktop, Android or iOS devices.
1. Adblock Plus
On a scale of one to ten, how much do online advertisements bug you? If you ask me, it’s right up there with overused memes. Adblock Plus has got your back. This nifty browser extension blocks, pop-up ads, banners, malware and tracking on the websites you visit. You will still see nonintrusive ads but Adblock Plus cuts through a lot of the noise so you can surf in peace.
This one is for the team projects. Harvest helps you stay on top of your task time on the web and on your smartphone. The app has a reporting feature which keeps track of your project timeline and budget in real time. With Harvest, you can also create and invoices online, accept payments with PayPal, connect to business apps and track your expenses just by snapping photos of receipts.
The list of social media platforms available for you to connect to your audience keeps growing. So how can you keep track of the different strategies, approaches, and interactions without having to visit each platform individually? With Buffer of course! The app is designed to save time on social media management. You can schedule, analyse and create posts for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google +, Pinterest and Instagram.
Ever had trouble with keeping track of your passwords? Or do you use one (super secret) password for the majority of the sites you visit? Online safety (especially secure passwords) are vital in today’s digital world. While you can’t exactly have all your passwords written down and kept on your person at all times – you can, however, use LastPass. It securely remembers all your passwords for you, on all your devices, for free.
What’s a productivity app list without Evernote? (Am I right?). With Evernote, you can be sure that no idea gets left behind. Because you would have written it down. Create to-do lists for your projects, set reminders, snap a photo for design inspiration and put it all in your Evernote. Repeat as necessary. The app makes it easy to locate specific notes – even allowing you to search for handwritten words within them.
6. Google Keep
A 2016 make, Google Keep runs offline and allows you to save a webpage, quote or image for later. Think of it as Google’s version of the Evernote. Things that you ‘Keep’ on your browser are automatically synced across your devices (Android and iOS). Keeping track of your notes is easier with colour codes and labels. Everything you need quick access to is a click away. Think of it as a portable, digital version of your physical daily planner.
Related: 4 Must-try Productivity Apps
“Powerful enough to run your entire business.” As a first-hand user, I agree. Asana makes collaborating with teams across the globe seamless, transparent and productive. It essentially tracks your project from start to finish. Asana enables you to assign tasks, view next steps, schedule meetings, have discussions and the like in a way that makes goals achievable. Asana is easy to navigate, keeps you organised and works well for small or big teams.
To-Do Lists and tasks aplenty? Get Wunderlist to keep your affairs and life in sync. With Wunderlist in your pocket and on your desktop, you can group related lists in easily accessible folders, share lists with family, friends or colleagues, add reminders, set due dates, get push notifications and even use hashtags to add more context to what you’re trying to accomplish. Whether you’re collaborating on a project, putting together a grocery list or making travel plans – Wunderlist makes the processes easier.
9. Forest App
Think fast! Have you ever spent a few minutes browsing through your social media feed only to find out it has been about half an hour of nonstop scrolling and clicking? You’re not alone. We’ve all had moments where we somehow could not put our smartphone’s down. Here comes Forest with a solution for you to spend some mindful minutes away from your device. It’s easy, just plant a seed in the Forest and as time passes, the seed will grow into a tree. If you can’t wait and decide to close the app to check your Facebook feed or play a game? Your tree withers.
An intuitive find, If This Then That (IFTTT) creates an automatic chain with your favourite services or small tasks called Applets. You can customise applets to repost an update from one social media platform to another, set a reminder to text your roommate when you’re at the grocery store (triggered by your location), get forecast updates each morning, stay abreast on the headlines from your favourite publications and more. There are curated Applets for your home, car, office and more.
11. Do nothing for two minutes
How long has it been since you last left your seat? Our current work schedules have a sitting for the majority of our day and even then, we may forget to take a break from our screens. This app plays relaxing music and has the timer set for 2 minutes. The only rule is that you do not touch your mouse or your keyboard. Think you can last the full two minutes? Give it a try! It may be awhile before the habit sets in, but once it does you’ll find that your day goes by just a little bit smoother.
Say hello to Trello. Trello has boards, lists and cards to make prioritising projects and organising, flexible and fun. Similar to Asana, Trello allows you to set up different boards for different teams/departments and track tasks. You can work with any team, jump right in and create personal boards for collaboration too. Trello has apps you already use (Evernote, Slack, Dropbox, MailChimp and more) integrated so you can power-up your workflow and stay connected on the go.
13. Time Doctor
Subscribe here: Time Doctor
Here’s a wonderful option for employers who want to boost the team’s productivity strategically. This software enables you to track individual schedule, including time logs, screenshots, and more on a certain task. Time Doctor can help to manage and calculate payroll for your team too. Furthermore, it can be integrated with most of the top management apps such as Slack, Trello, Google apps and more.