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15 Productivity-Boosting Apps for Professionals

Whether you work in an office or at home, digital distractions are altering the workplace. Nearly one in four workers feel more distracted now than ever before, which begs the question: How can today’s workforce boost productivity?  

The simple answer is to avoid technology—but of course, that isn’t a realistic solution. Devices like smartphones have become essential for communication in the modern workplace and beyond. They do, however, make avoiding distractions increasingly difficult, especially for Millennial and Gen Z workers. 

Wouldn’t it be great to instead use this technology to boost our productivity, instead of hindering it? Fortunately, there are apps designed to help you maximize productivity in the workplace

Below are 15 of the best productivity apps available to help professionals collaborate more easily, manage their time effectively, stay organized, and make stronger interpersonal connections. 

Best Productivity Apps

1. Slack

Available on Apple and Android.

Rid your team of excessive emails and “be less busy,” courtesy of Slack. The app puts your team communication in one place, and lets you search conversations, whether they were held over direct message or a targeted, open “Channel.”

Features: Share files and videos seamlessly and set up integrations to avoid unnecessary toggling between apps. With a comprehensive view of tools all within a single database, Slack allows teams to stay productive while working remotely.

Ideal for: Collaboration and communication

2. Evernote

Available on Apple and Android. 

Evernote wants to “change the way you organize your work.” The company’s free “basic” tool lets users take notes anywhere and sync them across their computers and mobile devices. 

Features: If you regularly work in groups, you can use Evernote to share notes, track tasks, and discuss files in real-time without having to switch apps. Evernote also features offline project management and record-keeping from any device.

Ideal for: Collaboration and communication

3. Trello

Available on Apple and Android.

Your to-do list just got an upgrade. Trello allows you to create task “cards” that can then be augmented by adding checklists, labels, due dates, and comments. 

Features: Simply drag and drop cards between lists to highlight progress, give colleagues access to post instant feedback, or set notifications to be reminded of fast-approaching deadlines. The platform is a must-have for teams wanting to improve collaboration and messaging for global projects.

Ideal for: Project management

4. Any.do

Available on Apple and Android.

Another tool to help you master your to-do list is Any.do, which allows for shared projects and lists to increase team productivity. 

Features: The task management app features a daily planner, including a comprehensive view of a user’s schedule. The “subtasks” feature helps to break big projects down into smaller, more manageable tasks. For activities requiring multiple platforms, Any.do can sync tasks to remain compatible across all devices.

Ideal for: Project management

5. Airtable

Available on Apple and Android.

Touting the “perfect view for the task at hand,” Airtable provides users with a flexible spreadsheet and database system to help teams organize their work.

Features: Using a spreadsheet-style workflow, Airtable augments your existing project management strategies and tools. Users can customize their workflows with several different views including grid, calendar, Kanban, gallery, and form. Other features include dynamic fields and team collaboration tools which allow users to add links, messages, and status updates for each project. 

Ideal for: Project management

6. TickTick

Available on Apple and Android.

A comprehensive organizer designed to aid with both work and personal tasks, TickTick helps users stay organized and capture ideas in creative ways.

Features: TickTick allows users to assign tasks and share messages all within a flexible calendar view that sends notifications on a consistent basis. More than 30 unique features within TickTick are compatible with 10+ major platforms used in the workplace. By syncing these products, teams are able to customize and share smart lists across several platforms and projects. Achievement scores are also available to help track monthly or weekly progress.

Ideal for: Project management, communication, collaboration

7. RescueTime

Available on Apple and Android.

RescueTime tracks the time you spend on applications and websites and produces a detailed report of your activity. 

Features: RescueTime alerts users when they’ve spent a certain amount of time on a particular activity, to help keep professionals on track. It also blocks any distracting websites during user-designated focus periods. RescueTime’s notifications are designed to automatically start blocking certain distracting websites when a user strays off task. An interactive calendar also keeps track of focus sessions, which automatically puts other applications and programs in their respective do-not-disturb modes.

Ideal for: Time management

8. Loop Habit Tracker

Available on Android.

This ad-free app helps users develop and maintain good habits. Not sure which habits you should include? Loop Habit-Tracker can help with no limitations on the number of habits you want to track. 

Features: The lightweight interface tracks data and showcases results using easy-to-read charts and statistics. For users with unconventional schedules, Loop provides a flexible process to track habits. When good habits are met and consistently repeated, the results become stronger. The app also provides downloadable spreadsheets in CSV formats, and services can be accessed without an Internet connection or even account registration.

Ideal for: Time management

9. Chains.cc

Available on Apple.

Chains.cc offers a very visual way to “improve your habits.” The tool is based on a visual “don’t break the chain” method.

Features: Your “chain” will grow longer each day you stick to good habits and complete a task, with the hopes your main motivation will be to keep the chain from breaking. If you need help motivating yourself, join a group to push yourself further.

Ideal for: Time management

10. Email by Edison Mail

Available on Apple and Android.

Edison allows users to manage their inboxes with a fast, efficient, and organized email system.

Features: One of Edison’s main features includes a “one-click” unsubscribe option that allows users to quickly remove clutter and junk from their inbox. The AI software also includes Read Receipt Blocking, which protects users from unwelcomed advertisers by blocking tracking information. Email by Edison also improves your organizational capabilities, allowing users to manage unlimited accounts and prioritize important information such as travel, finances, and contact lists.

Ideal for: Email management

11. Spark

Available on Apple and Android.

Focus on what’s actually important in your inbox, and regain control of digital clutter with Spark.

Features: Spark uses a smart inbox to flag the most important messages. Emails are sorted into “personal,” “notifications,” and “newsletters” categories to help users avoid being bombarded with notifications.  Can’t answer an email right away? The “snooze” feature will send a reminder so that you can answer the message when it’s most convenient for you. 

Ideal for: Email management

12. Crystal

Available on Apple and Android.

Founded by Northeastern alumnus Drew D’Agostino, Crystal aims to put an end to miscommunication in the workplace. 

Features: Using advanced personality AI, Crystal guides users on how to best communicate via email with co-workers, prospects, or customers based on their personalities. The software is also designed to make corrections to your email as you type, changing your words, phrases, and tone to match the recipient’s style. Crystal is compatible with CRMs and also uses a Chrome extension to analyze millions of data points to help identify personalities.

Ideal for: Email communication

13. Detective by Charlie

Available on Apple.

Never feel unprepared walking into a meeting again with Detective by Charlie. Detective is a digital adoption platform that helps cut onboarding time and improve the overall adoption of a company’s software.

Features: The software sends users an informational one-pager about the person they’re scheduled to meet with prior to stepping into the conference room. This allows you to make a lasting impression with your attention to detail, knowing someone’s competitors, common connections, company statistics, and more. Detective also improves time management by eliminating the need for professionals to conduct thorough Google searches before each meeting, allowing for a better and more efficient sales process.

Ideal for: Meeting preparation

14. 1Password

Available on Apple and Android.

How often are you frustrated when trying to remember the many different variations of your passwords? Regardless of the device or platform, 1Password cuts down on the hassle by keeping all your information in one secure location.

Features: Using a single master password, users can gain access to their login credentials and other important information. Secure end-to-end encryption technology ensures each user is the only person with access to their own information. 1Password is also compatible with newer model smartphones that use FaceID technology. A 30-day trial is available for first-time users, and businesses can gain access to special trials as well. 

Ideal for: Password management

15. Zapier

Available as an extension on Google Chrome. 

For users with more than one productivity app on their devices, Zapier is a great way to connect your platforms into one comprehensive automated workflow.

Features: The easy-to-use interface allows users to integrate apps and password information with “Zaps” workflows. A key feature is the ability to build processes without any additional code requirements. Zapier includes “forever-free” or premium plans to match the needs and priorities of each user.

Ideal for: App integration

Find the Right App and Improve Productivity

If you’re looking to boost your productivity, start by downloading one (or several) of the apps listed. While this list is not exhaustive, it does include some of the most popular, widely used, and impactful productivity apps for your consideration. 

When choosing a productivity app, consider what features may best align with your vision and goals. Once you know precisely what you’re trying to achieve, you can decide which of these apps will best help you succeed.

 


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Editor’s note: This content was originally published in December 2016 and has since been updated for thoroughness, accuracy, and recency.