Productivity has a different meaning for each of us, as it depends on the goals we’ve set. Let’s define it as the process of efficiently accomplishing the tasks and goals that are important to you.
But why are we trying so hard to be productive in the first place?
Because it has become so easy to get distracted. As soon as you decide to focus on a specific task you receive a messenger notification from a friend, who sent you a link to an article on a topic you were debating about yesterday. While you scroll through it, you receive a message in Hangouts, you also notice you’ve got 5 new unread emails, you click it and your phone rings.. ?
When you return to your desk you find yourself with a dozens of opened tabs. It’s almost lunch time and you don’t even remember what you were doing before that first messenger notification popped out. What was the task you were working on?
To avoid these kind of situations we have prepared a list of apps that aim to keep you focused and less distracted from important work. Hopefully when this article pops up on your news feed, or gets sent as a recommendation by a friend – it won’t disturb you from any important project you were working on *wink*
LETZ is a multi-platform productivity app that assigns you an AI based personal assistant that helps you with the tasks you need to do by sending reminders at the perfect time and place. It does this by continuously analyzing your daily habits.
The first assistant developed by LETZ is called Lucy. Lucy keeps track of your tasks and events you plan to attend, she can even tell you a joke or two if you ask her. When you first meet Lucy, it feels like auditioning for a role in the next HER movie. The app was actually named the BOT of the 2016 by Product Hunt. Its entertaining and interactive enough, to give it a shot.
Available on: Аndroid, iOS, web, Facebook and Slack.
Forest provides an interesting solution to beat your phone addiction and the habit of constantly checking your phone. Whenever you want to focus on your work or simply stay away from your device – start the app. A seed will be planted and while you stay busy it will grow into a tree.
The tree will be killed if you leave the app.
You can even plant real trees with the credits you earn for not using your phone.
If you don’t want to buy the app you can install their extension, but it will only keep you away from Facebook.
Available: iOS, Android, Chrome, Firefox
Cost: 1,99 $ for iOS and FREE for Android
SaneBox is an email management software that helps you stay productive by learning to filter your emails based on their importance. There are a few folders:
1. SaneLater – for emails that are not so important to be opened right away
2. SaneNoReply – for emails that you haven’t received a reply to yet
3. SaneTomorrow and SaneNextWeek – for emails that can wait until the next day or next Monday
4. SaneBlackHole – for emails that will go to trash
5. and a couple more folders and features to help you sort your inbox.
With Sanebox, you don’t need to worry about missing valuable messages. You will receive a daily summary about unread or unimportant messages, and if you “train” the app to move certain emails to your inbox (from spam for example, or the SaneNoReply folders, etc), that’s where you will find it next time.
SaneBox is easy to set up and use. You can drag and drop emails from one folder to another, and there are no credit card requirements for the free trial.
Available: works with any device and email provider
Cost: 7, 12 and 36$ for monthly plans and 30% to 40% discount if you sign up for a yearly or biyearly plan. Two weeks free trial.
Momentum is a browser extension that aims to help you focus on one task at a time. It will ask you what is your focus for the day, and anytime you will open a new tab it will remind you of what you have planned to accomplish.
So next time you go on Facebook it will tell you: “Hey, finish that blog post first”, and it’s up to you how you’re typing that task/reminder in.
If you upgrade to Momentum Plus, you unlock more features: custom backgrounds with the possibility to add your own images, custom quotes, fonts and colors, etc. If you use todo lists, you can sync any external todos from Trello, Todoist, Wunderlist or Google Tasks.
Cost: Momentum – Free; Momentum Plus – $2.50/month (billed yearly) or $4.95/month (billed monthly)
This is a task manager that works online and offline across 10+ platforms. It is very simple to use with a minimalist, distraction-free interface.
With Todoist you can create projects and break them into sub projects, create and assign tasks/ sub tasks, share and discuss them with colleagues, family or friends. With the Todoist Apple Watch app, voice command is also available as a feature.
You will be able to track how successful you are with completing your tasks through the Todoist Karma – a visual tracking system that will watch over your task management activity / performance.
Available: Web, iOS, Android, Windows, Chrome,Firefox, Safari, Gmail, Outlook
Cost: the Basic plan is FREE, TODOIST Premium for Individuals – 28.99$/ year, TODOIST Business for teams – 28.99$/user/year
Evernote is an information collector. Use it to take notes, or save as notes captured content from the web: articles, photos, audio, video, PDFs or other web clippings.
What you saved in Evernote stays in Evernote, once you capture or make a note it is available on all your devices, and you can easily find it next time by searching or keywords. It can even search through image texts if you go for a Premium plan.
Use this digital notebook when you can’t simply keep everything in your head.
Available: iOS, Android, Web clipper, Web app
Cost: Basic FREE, Plus – 34,99$, Premium – 69,99 $
Have you ever wondered at the end of the day where did your time go? If you did, and your job is tied to a computer or a device, try installing Rescue Time next time you wonder.
This is a time-management software that aims to increase your productivity by monitoring your online activity. It tells you what websites and categories (business, social networking, communication) you visited and how much time did you spend on each and depending on all these it will show your productivity pulse.
If you are a Premium account user, you can also track the time you spend away from your computer for meetings or calls. You can get alerts when you achieve a goal or spend too much time on a specific website, and block the distracting ones.
Available: MAC, Windows, Android, Linux, Chrome, Firefox,
Cost: Lite – FREE & Premium (9$/month; 72$/month)
Trello is a collaboration tool that helps organize any personal projects or workflow into boards and lists with cards. A board is your whole project with all its complexity, the lists can be steps or stages of the project. In the case of a content calendar/planner – you can use lists as weeks of the month or days of the week.
Use Power-ups to integrate your favorite apps into Trello and make it even more easy and efficient to work on projects.
Available: iOS, Android, Slack
Cost: FREE; Business Class – 9.99$
Asana is a task management software that makes work on projects more organized. It was named after a Sanskrit word and it means “yoga pose”.
Asana allows you to break down projects into sections and organize tasks based on your workflow stages, priorities, milestones, deadlines and more. Along with Asana’s predefined templates which you can use for meetings, goals, event planning, project/event launches, content management, client tracking, you can also adapt a blank project to your own needs and workflow specifics.
With Asana, you can also collaborate on projects with other team members without using any emails. And you can express approval, enthusiasm or simply let your team members know you have seen their message by hearting/liking their tasks, comments and attachments.
You can work with it on your own, or add up to 15 members to the projects and still use it for free.
Available: iOS, Android
Cost: FREE, Premium – 8.33$/member/month, Enterprise.
This is a mind mapping tool built to help you manage your projects, brainstorm and take notes by visually representing concepts, projects, meetings, sales processes, monthly blogging schedules, blog posts, and tons of other creative tasks.
With the basic account you can create up to 3 mind maps for free.
Available: iOS, Android
Cost: Basic – Free & Personal, Pro, Business (6, 10, 15 $/user/month)
If you feel like you can’t do it all or can’t do it all well, alone – identify what you spend most of your time on, due to lack of skills or knowledge on that topic and outsource it. You can concentrate your time and efforts on other things that you know and do best.
That being said, do not forget to rest and disconnect completely once in a while, go on vacations, take breaks, spend time with family and friends and recharge your batteries. No definition of productivity makes sense when you’re not feeling yourself.