I battle distraction on a daily basis: A funny video on Vine. An interesting article on Twitter. An inbox full of e-mails. Then Twitter again. After liking five pictures on Instagram, I finally got to writing this post.
While unplugging will help avoid online distractions, smartphones can also be a helpful productivity tool for simplifying tasks and organizing your work and personal life.
If you don’t have a system in place for getting things done, here are seven apps to help you save some time and boost your productivity.
Pocket: If you’re wasting time reading articles, watching videos or browsing the web, when you really should be working— but don't want to lose the site, the Pocket Android and iOS Pocket app lets you save directly from your browser, and return to it later (that’s once you’re finished with your tasks, of course).
The free app was made to help you stay organized, save ideas and improve your productivity. Similar to Evernote, Pocket syncs across all platforms, including your phone, tablet and computer so you can view it anytime on any device, even without an internet connection.
Coffitivity: As much as I love quiet environments, the mix of calm and commotion in an environment like a coffee shop gives me exactly what I need to get the those creative juices flowing. In fact, a new study suggests that moderate levels of ambient noise could boost productivity and creativity.
Coffitivity is a virtual coffee shop that brings its vibrant sounds of a coffee shop to those looking to tune out a noisy workspace or those looking to add life to a quiet space.
You can pick from a variety of vibes, including, ‘morning murmur,’ (a gentle hum gets the day started), or 'lunchtime lounge,' (bustling chatter of the lunchtime rush).The ambient noise of a coffee shop is available on iOS for $1.99; or right onto your desktop for $4.99.
Dunno: Don’t let this iOS app’s name fool you; it’s certainly no dummy. Dunno is a free iOS cloud-based app I like to call the ‘research-it-later’ app, which does research for you while you wait.
Instead of forgetting about that movie or ehem, latest app you just heard about from a co-worker, you can search for it in Dunno. Imagine every time something grabs your attention, you jot it down and the free app gets related research and notifies you when it’s done.
The information is similar to what a Google search would bring up, but it will save the search queue for later and let you get back to whatever is more important at that particular moment.
Pomodoro Timer Lite: So much to do, so little time. We’ve all burned the midnight oil as a result of procrastination. To help you get things done, the Pomodoro Android app is a productivity timer and method of working, in which you work for 25 minutes, than take a three to give minute break and then continue working for another 25 minutes.
The work intervals are called “pomodoros” (Italian for tomato, and based on the tomato-shaped timer often used). The principle behind the free app is to have you focus for a short, but not too short period of time, give you the chance to take a breather in between and provide you with a longer break to make sure you don’t wear yourself out.
1Password: Password security is very important nowadays, given the growing number of password hackers. If you have ever had a problem remembering your passwords, 1Password is an iOS and Android app that help you save the extra time you usually spend resetting or creating new passwords.
The app is especially helpful for creating and storing strong, unique passwords that are harder to crack. 1Password even has a built in browser allowing you to surf and login to your accounts without having to leave the app.
The Android app is free. The iOS version runs for a steep $17.99, but keep in mind that the more time you need to guess your forgotten passwords, the lower your productivity, right?
Bump: How much time have you spent sending pictures to all your friends from the night before? Probably, more time than you should. To help you save precious time, Bump is a free cross-platform sharing iOS and Android app that allows you to share information like contacts, photos or files just by bumping two phones together.
The best part about this app is that it doesn’t matter if one phone is Android and the other is iPhone.
Make me: Here’s another app for pushing you to get things done when you might otherwise procrastinate. The whole experience is gamified, so there’s an element of fun peer pressure to make sure you don’t get off track.
If there's something you really wish you could do more regularly, this is an interesting app to check out. The free app is in private beta, but will come out in iOS in the coming months.
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