Improve Your Productivity With These 5 Apps
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of apps out there that claim to save you time and increase your productivity. In this blog, Billy takes a look at our favourite top five – all of which are available to download and try for free.
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We live in unprecedented times. Specially designed technology exists to help us with just about every conceivable task. You’d think the combined effect of this tech revolution would be a major advancement of human productivity and intelligence. But strangely, people seem to be more harried than ever before.
So we decided to summarise five extremely useful time saving apps, all of which are available for free.
Doodle is perfect for anyone who’s ever spent hours scheduling then rescheduling a meeting or event in an effort to satisfy everyone’s preferences. Easy to use as both a web app and on mobile devices, Doodle defines itself as a polling app. It’s highly applicable to the modern workplace, vastly speeding up meeting-planning by enabling all invitees to easily input their availability.
That’s not the limit of its usefulness, though: Doodle polls can also help determine the ideal event venue, favoured type of entertainment (jukebox or karaoke?) and the theme of a friend’s surprise birthday party. Plus, people don’t need to be registered to the app to contribute to a poll you’ve created.
RescueTime is basically a tool for spying on yourself in order to find out where all of your time disappears. The app runs in the background on your phone, computer or tablet, taking note of the websites and apps utilised and the duration of access. It then delivers a weekly report with a detailed summary of your activity.
You can easily customise RescueTime to send alerts whenever a certain amount of time on a website/program is reached or to block distracting websites while you’re working. It can be paused anytime though, which is handy for when you absolutely need to go on a YouTube binge.
Loop Habit Tracker
I’d say we’ve all got bad habits that we’re desperate to break out of and replace with something more productive. Enter the Loop Habit Tracker: an app that helps you achieve long-term goals via the development of good habits, providing graphs and statistics to illustrate progress along the way.
It’s not an overnight solution, so don’t expect your customary Instagram-scrolling to immediately vanish upon downloading the app. Rather, Loop asks you to set goals and then tracks your efforts to achieve them. In coordination with these goals, Loop suggests and reminds you of the appropriate behaviours and activities required for forming the new habits.
FocusList is one of numerous apps based on the pomodoro time management method. Simply put, the pomodoro technique divides the working day into short chunks of productivity – usually 25 minutes in length – following each with a short break. This is done with the assistance of a timer, which has traditionally been shaped like a tomato.
The FocusList app works by asking you to make a daily list of tasks along with the approximate time you expect each to take. Then, as you go about completing each task, the FocusList timer counts down each 25-minute block of concentration. The 25-minute spells are followed by a five-minute break, also timed, during which you can take a breather or check whether anything urgent has come up.
FocusList records the total time devoted to each task that’s saved in your to-do list and generates data to highlight your productivity. It sounds straightforward, but it’s a very effective app for maintaining focus and no tomatoes are required.
Another app indebted to the pomodoro technique is Focus Booster, which endeavours to cut out procrastination and ward off anxiety towards the daily to-do list. Again by dividing time into segments of productivity, Focus Booster helps manage distractions and keeps track of how you’re spending your time.
A chief feature is its reporting system which effectively measures progress and provides stats on where productivity is lagging. Focus Booster’s pomodoro session data is also especially useful for freelancers and business heads as the app easily converts it into invoices or reports to send to clients or managers.
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Billy has been writing blogs for Happy since 2017, covering mindfulness, stress management, confidence building and emotional intelligence as well as offering handy tips for Office 365 users. He's also an established arts, culture and lifestyle writer.
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