Everyone wants to do more in less time, and luckily in this day where technology is stapled to our hands – using apps to stay productive has become easy.
But before we get started, let’s define what productivity means. These are a few points that it should help you with:
- It will save you time, and cut out extra steps needed for similar tasks you do daily.
- It has the potential to be on multiple platforms allowing you to sync your apps together.
- It should make your life easier to manage and improve it in some way.
Here are 11 completely free apps in no particular order, that will increase your productivity, keep you on track, and help you achieve more.
Inkflow is for the personal artist or visual thinker. This is a personal favorite for me as it allows me to capture my ideas normally as I would with a pen, but also re-arrange them towards my liking and them upload the pictures so I can have my own personal idea as a picture. It’s also a great way to doodle your ideas and getting a better picture when you don’t have then pen and paper nearby. I use it sometimes to scratch little ideas, and pictures that I like for when I paint, or write. It also makes me feel like a child sometimes who gets to doodle. And doodling is proven to help make you focus. (Click here for the study and to learn more about the benefits of doodling)
Ink Flow is available for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch – You can download it here.
RescueTime is one of my favorite apps that happens to be free, but also has a paid option. I highly recommend this, so you can sign up for free and track how you spend your time. Each week you will receive a report of how you spend your time via the internet – which sites you browse, how frequently and for how long? You can also set personal productivity goals, and RescueTime will track it for you. You can see your progress in your dashboard, in your weekly report or the goals report section. The premium plan ($9 a month or $72 a year) gives you the option to block certain website if you want to get something done. For example, when I spend 6 hours a day on Facebook, I could definitely benefit from this and get Facebook blocked so I can move along with actually important matters (not liking strangers photos). I love it because I can start it and just let it track how I use my time without actually having to track my time. It’s a easy way for me to see where I spend most of my time, and from that point on I begin to cut out websites/and applications that I use too often. It’s a great way to find out how you’re using your time, or if you’re just on social media 80% of the day.
RescueTime is available for Mac, PC, Android and Linux. You can sign up here for free.
Evernote is a core app. By this, I mean it is the central housing for productivity, at least in my case – I put everything on it. I list everything I need to do on it, and Evernote has the ability to use it across all of your devices, which is helpful if you have different types of devices (like I do). It helps me stay organized with my daily schedule, and save any ideas I get when I’m out for a walk or I have a burst of creativity. Some really cool features that Evernote has: create to-do lists, record voice reminders, take notes, take pictures and add them to your notes. A really cool feature that evernote just got was the ability to record and take notes at the same time (a personal favorite!).
Evernote is free, but also has pricing plans which include a premium ($5 per month) and business plan ($10 per month). By paying a monthly or yearly fee, you can have access to many more features such as: added security, working offline, creating videos by using a full screen layout of your notes, and sharing and editing your notes between friends which can make it easier to work together and collaborate on projects with fellow students, classmates or even your boss(es).
Any.do is the on-the-go to do list. It’s perfect for keeping up with your busy schedule and knowing what you need to do, whether its today, tomorrow or something upcoming. The reason I use this app is because it let’s me clear my head of the things I don’t need to remember. It also lets me put the tasks, reminders and things that I need to do in one location, which lets me focus on the bigger tasks throughout my day. It’s great for list-making and managing your tasks. Any.do has a unique feature called the Any.do moment that encourages making a habit of reviewing your daily tasks, which is why it is one of my favorites. Ever since I got this app I’ve started getting in the habit of checking what I need to do daily, and then going through an elimination process and cutting out what I don’t really need to do, and focusing on the tasks that really matter.
Focusbooster focuses on the Pomodoro Technique (which alternates 25-minute long working blocks with short breaks) in order to maintain sustainable, long-term productivity. What is the Pomodoro Technique? The Pomodoro Technique® is a simple way to boost your productivity when performing mind-consuming tasks. It helps you keep yourself focused while reducing mental exhaustion. Read more about it at the official website. And while there are plenty of different Pomodoro timers out there, one of my favorites is the Focusbooster App. The reason being is it is free, has a very clean and simple to understand user interface, and it works.
An alternative to Focusbooster that I’ve started to use recently is Tomighty. It works in the same way, and is also completely free. And even though Focusbooster is simple and clean to use, I have found Tomighty to be easier to use, and it’s open source (meaning you can edit it and use anything to your liking). To find out more, click here.
Mailbox is your mailbox redesigned in a simple format to save you more time, and allow you to be more productive. It’s light, fast, on the go and mobile-friendly. It works like a messaging system where you swipe your e-mails to archive them, trash them. And it’s designed for you to be able to scan and understand the entire message as if it were a text message. This app falls under my mission statement of simplifying your lifestyle, which is why I use it. I really believe in decluttering, and living with less in order to do more. This is how I keep a clean inbox at all times and never have to worry if I’m ever late for a response. And here’s another reason if you’re not convinced. There has been a report from the McKinsey Global Institute, that said the average person spends 13 hours (a total of 28 percent of our workweek) dedicated towards reading, deleting, sorting and sending emails.
Mailbox is available for iPhone/iPad, Android, Gmail/iCloud. There is also a desktop beta going on. To download or signup – click here.
Lift is an app that helps you turn your goals into action. There are expert-led plans, community habits, and you can also add your own custom goals. Lift is check-in system which allows you to track, and record your progress. The reason this app works so well is because of the support. If you’re having troubles sticking to a new habit, or a new goal that you have in mind; when you have someone there to encourage you it makes it so much easier. With lift you will get peer coaching, support from friends, or family and as well as reminders to keep you going. It’s the perfect app for setting new goals and actually making them happen. One of the simplest, yet innovative apps that allow personal growth as well as productivity.
These are some bonus apps that deserve a mention as they have been great for keeping things organized, simple and allowed me to boost my productivity.
It shouldn’t be a surprise to see Dropbox on a list of recommended productivity apps. I’m sure everyone has heard of this, but it’s awesome for sharing, free, and easy to use. If you’re wondering what to use it for click here for a list of 62 ways to increase your productivity using by using Dropbox.
There are great articles on the Internet and that can be both a good and bad thing for our productivity. To still be productive, and not have to read the new articles, posts as soon as they are live, try Instapaper. Instapaper allows you to save them to your account, and then read them at a time convenient for you.
Quip allows you to edit and discuss in one place. This means you have both messages and documents together which allow you to work faster and be more productive. What I personally like about Quip is that the interface is almost identical across the mobile and desktop application, making the workflow and use of the app quite easy.
Wunderlist is available on almost everything (on iPhone, iPad, Mac, Windows, Android, Kindle Fire and the Web) which is why It’s so great to use. It allows for multipurpose use. It’s exactly as what the name states. It’s a wonderful list, that allows you to manage and share your to-do lists with friends, family or co-workers. It has a simple design that allows you to get the hang of it right away. You can also add reoccurring to-dos, create subtasks, print your to-dos, sync to other devices, and set due deadlines.
Productivity isn’t just about doing this in the quickest amount of time. It’s about managing your time, and using it to benefit yourself. Your life is short and time is precious, so it only makes sense that you would want to use your time wisely and efficiently. For the sake of productivity and your time, don’t overwhelm yourself by getting all of these apps and just making to-do lists and not getting anything done. Instead, try and give each one of these apps a fair trial (a week or so), and see which one works for you and allows you to become more productive.