Productivity apps are on the increase. And according to a study carried by Penn State University, such apps really can help organize our lives. Let’s face it, with the amount we all have to get done in the average day, anything that can help us streamline what we do, and therefore save time, will be gratefully received.
And while we all have different needs when it comes to streamlining our tasks, what we do have in common is that we want apps to give a solution to a specific problem.
This might range from simple tasks such as diary organization, through to file sharing, to collaborating with a team… The list is pretty endless.
Below is a selection of what we consider to be 9 of the most truly useful apps that are available on the market today.
1. Email and Calendar integration: Microsoft Outlook
Every email provider (Yahoo, Google, etc.) provides email apps. But the best without question has to be Microsoft’s Outlook. Available free on both iOS and Android, it seamlessly integrates your emails with its calendar, and allows you to carry out all the regular actions such as archiving and deleting. In addition, a very handy function is the ability to delay an email and schedule it to return to your inbox at a time that suits you.
2. Google Drive
With more and more of the world’s workforce becoming ‘Googlized’, the company’s cloud sharing app becomes increasingly valuable to all of us. It integrates into all of Google’s products, and makes it simple to upload and download files, work on products collaboratively, configure settings, as well as to store photos, videos, PDFs etc. Versatile, easy to navigate and available for free on both iOS and Android.
No list of productivity apps would be complete without Evernote, which has been a player since its launch some years ago. It’s a cross platform app that allows you to store pretty much everything you want or need to remember. From photos to audio clips, to-do lists to web pages, its USP is the awesome indexing feature. This allows you to search out and retrieve everything you’ve saved. Get it free on iOS or Android.
Slack (free on iOS and Android) takes group conversations and messaging to another level. Working in real time and with the ability to sync across all your devices, you can organize personalized chat channels and set up groups and sub-groups. You can also share and edit files, integrate with various cloud storage products, and search through old conversations.
Such type of messaging service is truly beginning to take over from email – something that many now consider to be outdated. After all, how many times do you fail to get an answer to an email? Yet a short instant message often gets a reply instantly. An interesting article was published in the Wall Street Journal regarding this very subject, and extols the virtues of collaboration tools such as Slack to increase productivity.
5. Password Manager – Safeincloud
Undoubtedly you’ve got a ton of passwords and logins. And if you’re like many of us, they’re written down. Not so secure now, are they! Password Manager provides you with a method to keep all those details with you at all times – all safe and secure in an encrypted database. In fact, the encryption technology used is the same as that used by the US Government for all their top-secret information!
In addition, you can synchronize the app with another phone, tablet, Mac, or PC via your own cloud account. And while there is an initial (small) purchase price, there’s no subscriptions or fees once bought. Available on both iOS and Android.
Dropbox has been around for a while now, but still remains one of the best cloud storage and sharing apps out there. Works seamlessly across all your devices, and provides a secure place to store files, documents, photos, and other data so you can share it with others. It’s a great way to share and send large files without the need for an email attachment. Get it free on iOS and Android.
7. Join Me
There’s a bunch of meeting and web conference apps out there, but many don’t work well on mobile devices. Join Me bucks the trend and is an excellent tool that allows you unlimited video conferencing and free screen sharing. It also has a ‘whiteboard’ setting so everyone can chip in with virtual ideas. Available free on both iOS and Android.
Doodle is a schedule planner that cleverly tries to juggle meeting times to suit all-comers. It’s simple to use – you simply set up a meeting and suggest various times. Those who’re invited note down the most convenient to them, and Doodle tries to organize the best time to suit everyone. A helpful app that can assist with doing away with double bookings… Available free on iOS and Android.
9. RealCalc Plus
For anyone who’s in need of a true scientific calculator, then there’s nothing better out there right now than RealCalc Plus. Designed to both look and operate like a physical scientific calculator, it has all the functions you’d expect.
In addition, you can customize unit conversions and constants, it has a history, memories, and supports binary, octal and hexadecimal calculations. You can work in traditional algebraic or RPN operation, it will do fraction calculations and convert to and from decimal. You can also choose from a number of different display styles and formats.
That’s only a small example of how much this calculator can do. Sadly only currently available on Android, it’s easy to use. But just in case you need any instruction it comes with a full help function included in the app. Although there is a small charge for the initial purchase, it’s well worth it and far superior to the free version.