The world is obsessed with productivity. We all want to know how to get things done more quickly and with less effort; improve our time management skills; and lead more productive, fulfilling lives. Working online can mean distractions and loss of productivity, not least when multiple applications and software platforms need to be used and switched between. Luckily, a number of companies have come up with solutions to ensure that individuals and teams can work more productively and efficiently, by keeping communications on a single development platform, so that users don’t have to keep changing logins to use other ones.
For the purposes of this blog post, a productivity app is any piece of software that makes your job easier and allows you to get more work done in less time. Some of the applications listed below aren’t “productivity apps” in the true sense of the phrase. But each is worth having and will save you hours of precious time when used consistently.
The main features of productivity apps will focus on communications and project management, so that no matter where any individual is, they can remain in contact with the rest of their team and provide the latest updates and information that everyone needs. This can be done on per project or by department basis, so that managers can ensure that the right people are in the right place to get the job done.
ToDoist is the ultimate todo list app, having helped over 10 million people get more control over their lives. To start using the tool, first jot down everything you need to get done. The intelligent software will then interpret and categorize the tasks for you based on your entries. For example, if you create a task to “Have lunch with Bob at 12pm tomorrow #meetings”, ToDoist will automatically schedule a reminder for you tomorrow at 12pm, and file the task into your “meetings” section.
But ToDoist is more than just a personal productivity tool. It can also be used to keep your entire team on track. Plan projects and assign responsibility, discuss project details, and monitor deadlines all inside the app.
ToDoist is free for basic functionality, $36 a year for premium features, and $60 a year (per user) for full featured access for your entire team.
Asana’s Android app makes it simple to keep up with the state of your team’s work while you’re traveling or offsite. As a collaborative work-management app, Asana often contains a lot of information, and the design of the mobile app makes it easy to see what you need when you only have a small screen at hand. The app lets you tell your teammates the status of all tasks assign to you, letting you push them forward and assign the next steps no matter where you are. While some people refer to Asana as a project management app (and it certainly can be one), it also works extremely well for managing ongoing work—in other words, work that doesn’t necessarily have a fixed start date, end date, and deliverable. Its flexibility in helping you manage both projects and ongoing work makes it one of the best apps for aiding productivity. Asana is also available as a web app and iPhone app.
Trello is a smartly designed and popular service for managing, organizing and sharing everything from simple to-dos to major project management tasks.
Getting started is as easy as dragging cards onto a Trello board. Cards can represent single tasks, with priorities and deadlines attached. But they can also be more substantial checklists, with attached files and pictures, containing hyperlinks to point somewhere else.
And there’s a whole library of Power-Ups, custom cards which allow you to integrate a host of third-party services into your workflow: Box, Evernote, GIPHY, GitHub, Hangouts, Join.me, Mailchimp, OneDrive, Salesforce, Slack, SmartDraw, SurveyMonkey, Twitter, ZenDesk and more.
Trello has plenty of collaboration tools to help you manage your projects, and a stack of ingenious features to ensure it’s user-friendly. Just one example: the Cloud Aging power-up visibly ages cards if they’ve not been accessed for a while, fading them out, maybe turning them yellow and even cracking. This isn’t just a visual gimmick – it allows users to instantly see underused cards on even the busiest of boards, a real timesaver.
The basic version is free, with a business class version with more features available for $9.99 per user per month.
Having a reliable file syncing app is indispensable on your mobile device. File syncing and backup apps, such as Dropbox, give you access to your most important documents no matter where you are. When you need to show a proof of address or some other paperwork in a pinch, you can get it within seconds as long as you have the app installed. With Dropbox, you don’t even need an internet connection to reach your most important documents, as there’s an option to save them offline. The very best file syncing services can back up photos and videos from your phone automatically, and that includes Dropbox. For its speed, simple interface, and reliability, Dropbox is one of the best file syncing apps. Use it to sync across a variety of platforms, including iOS, Kindle Fire, macOS, Windows, and the web.
You’ve heard of Slack. The unicorn company, currently valued at over seven billion dollars, is one of the fastest growing of all time. Major corporations like Target, Capital One, and Oracle use the app on a regular basis because it’s an incredible productivity booster.
If you’ve never used the tool before, it’s a communication app that makes collaboration a breeze. Email is great for many things, but it can be cumbersome when conversing with colleagues. It’s too easy for messages get lost and buried beneath a mountain of other emails.
With Slack, all of your office communications are neatly organized and searchable. Different channels can be created for different projects, departments, and clients; and team members can jump in and out of conversations as needed. Meaning they won’t get notifications about conversations they’re no longer involved in.
But Slack is more than just an email alternative. You can also share documents, video chat, and send GIFs inside the application. To really boost productivity, integrate your other tools like Google Drive, Dropbox, and SalesForce. Plans range from $0 to $12.50 a month, per user.
Some productivity tools help you manage your ever-growing email inbox. Others automate various aspects of your life so you can focus on the work that requires actual thought. With the right productivity apps and services at your fingertips, you can easily improve your workflows and your life.