One of the great claims of technology is that it will free up more of our time by automating boring tasks. However, many office workers have the opposite experience. Productivity apps are designed to help us use our time more effectively.
Productivity apps are quite a broad category. For example, there are tools to help you make better decisions about how you plan your day. There are also tools specifically designed to keep you focused on important tasks.
Unlike games and other mobile software, productivity apps serve a purpose. They are very useful and contribute to our daily lives by reducing wasted time. Productivity apps are trendy nowadays, but what makes them special?
For business owners, this is all about getting the most out of your employees. As the name suggests, productivity apps aim to make workers more productive. This is important, as most workers waste incredible time on a given day.
This isn’t necessarily laziness. Simple, ineffective working habits make a huge impact. Think about how much time you waste switching between your work and checking your emails.
The average American worker spends 23 hours a week on emails alone:
That’s just one potential time savings from paying more attention to your productivity. Let’s look more in-depth at how productivity can help you achieve better results.
Table of Contents
What do Productivity Apps do?
A productivity app’s main purpose or goal is to help users become more efficient and productive and finish their tasks promptly. Now, you may wonder, how can productivity apps contribute or add value to my life?
Do they do my work for me?
Can they run errands while I am at work? While productivity apps help you become more productive, they do not do their work for you. The app’s purpose is merely to help organize and allow you to do your work and complete your tasks more efficiently.
There are hundreds of different productivity apps out there. Each is concerned with a different aspect of your life. For example, there are apps to help organize your meal plan if you’re on a diet. Other Apps to help keep track of your current tasks.
Another type that makes sharing and collaboration with co-workers much easier. There is a productivity app for every need. All you need to do is look for the one that fits you best.
Most Popular Productivity Apps
As noted, productivity apps can serve quite a broad range of functions, all with the same goal of helping you maximise the amount of work you get done in a given time. This includes:
- Time management tools,
- Planning tools,
- Project management tools,
- Tools to help you focus.
To better understand how each of these works in practice, let’s look at some of the most popular productivity tools on the market today.
Life can sometimes get a bit chaotic. Different tasks overlap, and some appointments get overlooked. It’s common for people not to be able to recall things they must do or appointments they have made.
For this reason, many apps containing to-do lists were created and categorized as productivity apps to help users stay on track.
Trello is one of the most popular productivity apps that help you organise tasks and finish your work. Trello lets you add your lists with different titles for different occasions. So, for example, if you have a few different core tasks you need to break into sub-tasks, you can create a list for each.
You might even create separate lists for appointments or deadlines and your daily work. You can even continue to add the birthday party you have on Tuesday or the Doctor’s appointment on Wednesday, and you order the app to remind you of the day you want.
Best for Task Management Asana provides a complete task management solution for individuals and teams to track tasks, set due dates, attach files, add comments and more.
- List and timeline views of tasks
- Teams and projects support
- Subtasks, dependencies, and statuses
- Robust filters and reporting
- Calendar view and due date reminders
- A great mix of simplicity and powerful features
- Improves clarity on team projects
- Flexible workflows and views
- Some interface clutter
- Steep learning curve
Best for Teams managing multiple projects and workflows
Let us come clean and admit that some, if not most, have a huge problem with keeping physical documents organised. Why may you ask? For one thing, papers get lost easily and frequently.
On the other hand, phones, tablets or laptops are always with us everywhere we go.
That is why one of the most efficient productivity apps you should get is the app that takes notes. A note to call your mom, a note to go to a dentist appointment, or even a note containing your grocery list.
There are probably hundreds of apps that help you do this, but Letterspace is one of the best. This app even uses a system of hashtags to help you find what you wrote quicker, which is why it is considered a productivity app.
Sometimes, it’s still necessary to transfer physical copies of documents quickly. This is especially true in industries like the legal or financial sectors.
Let us all agree that faxing papers is quite a lot of work and, frankly, an ancient method. Technology is upgrading rapidly every day, and almost everyone has a smartphone on them almost 24/7.
Let us say you are in a meeting, and a contract just got signed. Yet your boss, who is currently in another city, needs the contract immediately.
You now have two options: walk to your office, turn on the printer, scan the paper to your laptop, and send the email. B, you walk to your office, turn on the fax machine and fax it to his office. Those are really good solutions, but not in the modern world where everything is fast.
Additionally, most offices no longer have fax machines, and scanners never seem to work.
You’ve got a third option: to use an App called Scannable. Scannable is an app created to scan anything and have it appear on your phone. It takes a picture of a paper but in much higher quality, and you can export the document as a PDF anywhere in almost no time.
A company that is an expert in productivity apps, known as Abukai, developed an app called Abukai Expenses. This app facilitates calculating your business expense reports without you having to go through too much work.
It works by capturing your paper receipts for your business transactions, as opposed to you having to type every single transaction, which speeds up the process.
Most people have more than one email that they frequently use. Often, these are hosted by different providers. Wouldn’t it be easier to gather all emails in one app instead of jumping around from one app to the other?
Well, Cloud Magic made that dream come true!
It is an app that supports many email services, such as Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, and others. It shows all your emails from different accounts in one inbox, allowing you to fully control those emails and categorizing them by what is easier for you.
Cloud Magic values the privacy of its clients. Therefore, it lets you create a passcode to prevent anyone from accessing the app and reading your private email. Could it get any more productive than that?
We all have more than one electronic device, but have you ever bookmarked an article on your tablet to read later on vacation but then realized you forgot your tablet at home and all your bookmarked articles, videos or pictures were stuck at home with your tablet?
Well, Pocket is here to save you. Pocket facilitates things for you by allowing you to bookmark anything and being able to access them later on any device you have. And the best thing about it? You can access it without the use of the Internet.
For all the students out there, this app is definitely for you! Anki is a productivity app that allows you to create flashcards on your phone, tablet or laptop to ease up the studying process.
“Spaced Repetition” is the system Anki uses to evaluate your performance. Also, to save you time, it only shows the ones you might have forgotten and not every single card on there.
And the best thing about Anki is that you can review your cards on your way to class using the mobile app.
Microsoft Office has been with us for years. It first launched in 1988. It also has applications considered Productivity Apps, such as Excel, PowerPoint, word, publisher, and so much more.
These applications, all available for all phones, help its users be productive and organized and get everything done on time without hassle. For instance, if a college professor wants to make the lecture more interesting and not just stick to the textbook.
They may use PowerPoint to add visuals to the slides, videos, or pictures to make the lecture more interesting.
Moreover, suppose another teacher needs to show the students anything concerning science or math. In that case, they can use Excel and show some graphs or charts to elaborate more for the students without having a hard time creating that graph, as it is only a matter of inputting numbers and choosing the graph type and colours.
This is also useful for the students as they may use Microsoft Word to take notes while in class, which for some would be faster to type on their phone than to write with a pen. They also may use PowerPoint if they have a class presentation and want to keep the audience engaged.
So they use PowerPoint as a background while they present, and so much more on how Microsoft is a Productivity App that saves many teachers, students and even employees when it comes to being productive.
Microsoft Office also offers a range of productivity-focused collaboration features, which helps improve efficiency when multiple people work on the same project.
Table summarizing 8 other top productivity apps:
|App||Key Features||Pros||Cons||Best For|
|Evernote||Note organization/sharing, multiple formats, clipboard, reminders||Powerful note capabilities, clip anything||Busy interface, learning curve||Note taking and knowledge management|
|Todoist||Project and task management, schedules, reminders||Intuitive interface, great for planning||Flexible team workflows integrate with other apps||Individuals managing multiple projects|
|Slack||Team communication, channels, video calls, file sharing||Limit the number of active projects||It doesn’t work for all people, paid subscription||Team communication and collaboration|
|Focus@Will||Plays background music to boost focus||Scientifically optimized music, customizable||Automated transcription saves time in taking notes||Tuning out distractions and getting into the flow|
|RescueTime||Tracks app and web usage, blocks distracting sites||Quantifies productivity levels, identifies bad habits||It can get chaotic and distracting||Understanding daily workflow patterns|
|Otter.ai||Voice meeting notes and transcription||Note-taking and knowledge management||Accuracy isn’t perfect, limited free plan||Capturing notes from meetings and interviews|
|Grammarly||Checks writing for errors and enhancements||Helps produce clear, mistake-free writing||More focused on business than creative writing||Business and academic writing|
|Forest||Plants virtual trees to incentivize focus||Gamified focus, social motivation||Easy to ignore notifications||Avoiding distractions from phone|
Productivity Apps in a Nutshell
To sum up, smartphone apps all have a purpose. Whether it is a game to occupy your time or a book app so you can read. But what really helped us, smartphone users, was the productivity apps, which helped us get organized and more efficient.
To-do lists remind you of the appointment, meeting, or social gathering you set earlier. Notes apps that help you remember what was on your grocery list because, let’s face it, no one carries notepads anymore!
Scan apps that scan your document on your phone in no time instead of the hassle you had to go through to get a document scanned. The productivity apps took care of even financial issues, allowing you to finish your business transactions without losing your mind.
Let’s not forget about Microsoft Office, which just makes everything easier. From taking notes or calculating graphs to presenting for your class or team at the office. Let us all agree that productivity apps saved our lives.
Productivity Apps Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are the main benefits of using productivity apps?
A: Productivity apps help you organize tasks, manage time, collaborate with others, avoid distractions and optimize workflows for greater efficiency.
Q: Which productivity apps are best for teams vs individuals?
A: Apps like Trello, Asana, and Slack are great for team task management and communication. Apps like Todoist, Focus@Will, and RescueTime maximize personal productivity.
Q: Are productivity apps worth paying for?
A: Many powerful productivity apps have free versions. But if productivity is critical, premium versions can provide more features, customization, integrations and support.
Q: How do I avoid getting distracted by productivity apps?
A: Set time limits for app usage, configure notifications judiciously, use focus features to stay on-task, and choose apps with simple, clean interfaces.
Q: What metrics should I track to measure productivity and effectiveness?
A: Look at metrics like tasks completed, time spent focused, meetings summarized, projects delivered, and messages handled to optimize your workflows.
Productivity Apps Conclusion
With so many productivity apps now available, selecting tools aligned to your needs and workflows is important. When used effectively, the right apps can help you and your team gain back hours of productivity each week.
However, an overload of apps can be counterproductive. Determine which pain points are most hurting your efficiency before introducing new solutions. Routinely evaluate the apps against measurable productivity metrics. With the right tools and discipline, you can achieve higher output levels, focus and collaboration.