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5 of the Best Productivity Apps

September 18, 2014
| Articles

It’s been said that the lines between work and play are gradually blurring. For some of us, this idea elicits a massive groan of despair, whilst for others, it’s a sigh of relief. The work/play divide and its importance to you depends on many things – what position you hold at work, if you have a family, perhaps it really depends largely on if you actually like your job.


Whatever the case, the modern world of work isn’t a terrible place to be for many of us, thanks to technology. Now we have remote working, we can access our work intranets from anywhere with an internet connection and there’s even a thing called BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) that means that you’re always working on a machine that you’re familiar with.
Of course this brings its own issues, but let’s brush those aside today and look instead on how apps can help to make your job even easier.


#1: focus@will (iOS, Android, PC)

focusatwill app


As my office has become busier I’ve been forced to listen to music whilst penning articles rather than allow background noise and talking to interrupt work. This is all very well but it seems that the music I like to listen to is more likely to get me up and dancing than anything else, so a rethink has been necessary.apple


Enter Focus@will – available from iTunes, Google Play or you can get it at the website. It’s an app that uses neuroscience to help you to focus and “increase your attention span up to 400%” when you’re working or studying. It’s a paid app that you can choose to pay for monthly at $4.99 per month, or annually at $44.99 per year. Of course, you could also just visit YouTube or get together your own playlist, but this app has an inbuilt productivity tracker that could help to justify the price tag.


You can also sign up for a free trial if you’re not convinced at the developer’s website above.


#2: OfficeTime (iOS)

officetime app


If you’re a small business owner or a freelancer then OfficeTime is one for you. Many time trackers that you find are really not very good but OfficeTime has rave reviews all over the place and all those people surely can’t be wrong if you don’t want to take my word for it.


With OfficeTime, you can track time and expenses by project and category and even run multiple timers for those times when you’re multitasking. You can work offline too, so those hours you’ve been spending on work whilst commuting will all be trackable and more importantly, billable.


You can choose to download the free version or subscribe to the full version, which of course has more features. There’s a Mac and PC version too for easy syncing and your can also get team reports which is handy for those that work remotely or with partners around the world.


#3: MailTracker (iOS)

mailtracker app


Everyone with an email account has surely at least once sent a mail and then sat there watching their email account with anticipation only to be disappointed as the person doesn’t immediately reply?


MailTracker allows you to see when people have opened your mail so that you can take action whilst you have their attention (or you can track unruly colleagues who are relentlessly ignoring you.)


There’s a free and a pro version available with the latter priced at $4.99 per month. MailTracker can tell you where the person was when they read your mail, as well as what device they were viewing it on and how long they read it for. It also shows you how many times your mail was read and the pro version allows you to do all of this with 5 email accounts. It’s compatible with all of the major email clients and a must for sales people as they can catch leads when they are more receptive to chatting. For example, if it’s clear that someone is back at the office, then there’s a much better chance they’ll speak to you than if they’re out and about.


#4: Dropbox (iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Kindle Fire)

Dropbox Dual Screenshots app


OK, so Dropbox is now a well-known app but this shouldn’t stop you installing it on every device you own. Dropbox is a great app, allowing you to access all of your files on the go and even automatically upload your photos to a folder so that nothing’s ever lost.


Syncing between devices is simple; so long as you have a connection, you can access a file that someone from work has just ‘dropped’ in there. If you work with a team, you can access any documents remotely too, making it ideal for meetings, working on the road and much more.


Dropbox is of course a cloud storage service, so all of your documents and files are hosted in a secure data centre. It has had its critics when it comes to using it for business, but there is a business account available for additional security.


When it comes to hosted cloud storage services, there are plenty available but sometimes, you need to separate out your Microsoft, Google and Apple accounts and try something new. Dropbox also gives users of its free app more space when they invite a friend (mine is huge now), all you need to do is share a folder and enter that persons email address and when they access it, you have more storage.


#5: ETA (iOS)

ETA app


Are you one of those people that’s late everywhere you go? Or perhaps you like to phone ahead and say “I’ll be five minutes” when really it’s going to take ten? If so, then at $0.99 ETA is the app for you.


Using GPS, the app gives you speedy access to all of the travel information you need in order to get to that all-important meeting on time and without fuss.


It also acts as a navigation assistant and provides directions as well as, of course, the estimated time of arrival. It works in conjunction with existing navigation apps such as Google Maps, Apple Maps and Waze so that you can get detailed directions too.


So there’s my round-up of some of the best productivity apps out there. However, there are plenty of others out there so why not get involved and let us know in the comments section what apps help to make your working day more bearable.

By Kerry Butters
Categories: Articles
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