There’s an app for everything, and when it comes to boosting your work productivity, there are more than a few. We pick out the crème de la crème of work apps so you can be more efficient wherever you go. Best of all, they’re free!
Communication – Mailbox (iOS, Android, Desktop, Tablet)
Emails are notorious offenders when it comes to time wastage. A Wall Street Journal article noted that up to “80% of email traffic is ‘waste’” – which is where Mailbox comes in handy.
Mailbox makes reaching inbox zero (a blissfully empty email inbox) totally attainable, ensuring that you’ll never be overwhelmed by a ton of emails piling up in your inbox. When you read a message, it gets moved into one of four states: archived, categorised, to return as a later reminder, or trashed. Navigation is all done through incredibly intuitive swiping gestures.
With everything cleanly laid out for you to see, Mailbox is a light and natural way to curb one of the biggest productivity sinks in the modern workplace.
Communication – Slack (iOS, Android, Desktop, Tablet)
Despite its curious – and seemingly counterintuitive name – Slack is a great tool to streamline office communications. Slack effectively does away with confusing email chains, allowing people to communicate with each other in an unlimited number of public or private chatrooms, all grouped under a single mega-chatroom for your company.
It also comes with lots of quirky features to jive things up. A programmable bot can be set to perform a slew of different functions, and custom emojis can be created as well (if you’ve ever wanted to see your boss with a taco emoji on his head).
Free for an unlimited amount of users, Slack syncs between desktop and mobile, ensuring that you’re always up to speed with the latest developments.
Time – Timeful (iOS only)
If you’re looking for a calendar app that does it all (and then some), Timeful has all the bases covered. Packaged in a clean, simple interface, Timeful lets you keep track of your events and targets easily using a simple drag-and-drop interface.
You can even schedule time to develop habits: just tell Timeful what you want to do, and how often you want to do it, and it will automatically allocate a free slot of time in your schedule for you. No more excuses for forgetting your weekly gym routine!
Timeful also synchronises with other calendar applications, such as Google Calendar, Microsoft Outlook, and Apple iCal.
Time – Forest (iOS and Android)
Who says all games are time wasters? Forest’s concept is simple: plant a seed in a virtual forest, and wait for it to grow. The only catch is that you can’t use your phone – the second you do, the tree withers away.
Despite relying on virtual (albeit adorable) trees as a primary means of motivation, Forest is a great way to keep your hands off your phone, and onto your work. The more time you spend away from your phone, the bigger your forest grows. You can even track the history of your forest to see which days you’re most productive.
Forest’s cute concept will make you think twice before reaching to check your Facebook timeline.
Notes – Letterspace (iOS, Tablet, Desktop)
Letterspace’s tagline is “Swipe. Edit. Note.”, which sums up all the features of this minimalistic note-taking app. And we mean all of them.
If that sounds easy, that’s because it is: Letterspace dispenses with pointless buttons with an intuitive gesture-based system, giving you more space to get your thoughts down on a page.
Group and organise your notes easily by using hashtags, or find something that you’ve been looking for with the app’s quick and thorough search feature. Letterspace lets you take your notes wherever you go thanks to synchronises with iCloud, letting you take your notes wherever you go.
A great clutter-free app that lets you take down that spur of the moment idea instantly, and allows you to review it in a beautiful interface later on.
Money – Mint (iOS, Android, Tablet, Desktop)
You don’t need a financial advisor to help you manage your money – just give Mint a spin.
More than just a simple app that lets you note down how much money you spend each day, Mint promises to help you make better financial decisions by giving you a bird’s eye view of your assets. You can link up all your bank account details into Mint, which utilises a 128-bit SSL encryption to safeguard your data, to get the big picture on your finances. There’s even an investment tracking feature to help you manage your portfolio.
Mint also comes equipped with other nifty features, such as alerts on suspiciously large transactions, reminders to pay bills, and a free credit report.
To round it all off, Mint breaks down your spending habits into colourful graphs, which certainly beats looking at boring bank account statements or plain spreadsheets.
Reading – Pocket (iOS, Android, Tablet, Desktop)
Too much to read, and not enough time (or WiFi connectivity) to read it all? Just save those articles to Pocket for easy reading later on.
Pocket is a straightforward app that does what it says on the tin: save articles from your browser, email, or one of the 500 apps that Pocket is integrated into, and read it at your leisure – no Internet connection needed.
Articles are stored neatly, in sleek, readable fashion. The app synchronises across a variety of platforms so that you can access your reading material anywhere you like, and even cleverly sorts your articles according to common categories, making it easier to find articles you’ve stored before. A great app to keep you company on long commutes.
List – Wunderlist (iOS, Android, Tablet, Desktop)
Wunderlist’s name speaks for itself: it makes lists, and is wondrously good at it. The app’s user-friendly interface makes creating new tasks a breeze, and also supports file uploads and cross-platform synchronisation to keep you on top of your tasks.
With its sleek, elegant design, Wunderlist makes looking at your to-do list a lot less daunting – meaning that you’re more likely to get things done. You can also share and comment on tasks that you’ve created with others, making “could you do this for me” or “I’m already handling this project” email chains a thing of the past.
For a free app, Wunderlist certainly goes the extra mile to help you stay productive.