Take Note Team
From photo editors to news updates, online shopping to social media, apps have come a long way in the past decade. In fact, when Apple first launched its aptly titled ‘App Store’ in 2008, there were just 500 available for download, and by next year that number is expected to have hit 5 million.
Of course, according to the OED, an app, or application, is ‘designed to fulfil a particular purpose’, and if we’re being honest, that definition is being somewhat stretched by a couple of the options available to us these days. After all, it’s hard to see what purpose is being fulfilled by apps like Fan Cooler, which displays an image of a fan on your phone, but, unsurprisingly, emits no breeze, or Hold On, which does nothing more than display a button labelled ‘press me’, in some kind of weird social experiment to see how long the user will take to do just that!
So, to help you avoid wasting hours wading through the frivolous and inane, we’ve hunted down four of the best apps available for free on iOS and Android that actually fulfil a purpose by helping to improve your productivity.
If you’re anything like me, your desk is covered in brightly coloured sticky notes, each with some task you have yet to complete. But, let’s be honest, they don’t work; they’re often scrawled in illegible handwriting, and written in some code only past-you understands, leading them to soon become obsolete and destined for the rubbish. Todoist aims to fix that problem. Designed with a clear and clean interface that’s simple to navigate, this app exists to take all those tasks you’d otherwise forget and put them into a succinct, tidy list that you can actually read. Not only that, but it can integrate with other common workplace apps such as Slack and Dropbox, ensuring nothing falls off your radar.
Are you finding you’re getting to the end of the work day with lots of tasks left incomplete? One of the best ways to improve your productivity is to figure out what’s taking up all your time, and for that you need Toggl. With the ability to sync to both your phone and computer, Toggl is a time-tracking app that enables you to log how long you’re spending on tasks throughout the day. Particularly great if you’re self-employed or charge by the hour, it is designed with an easy-to-use interface which helps you figure out what’s taking up all your time, allowing you to refine your working habits and increase productivity.
If you work in a collaborative industry, productivity relies heavily on how organised and coordinated your team are. If you have five busy people running around all over the place, each with no idea what the other four are doing, you can end up with crossed wires and unfinished tasks. Asana is designed to counter that and optimise project management by putting everything in one place. Instead of tasks and discussions being spread out across multiple email threads and documents, this app takes everything and puts it all in one place, ensuring that the whole team knows what’s being done when. Asana can bring together teams of up to 15 people and make project management manageable.
These days, every second of your day is valuable, and this means fitting in as much as possible to get the job done to the best of your ability. However, this also means eight-hour days behind a desk are long gone. Instead, you can find yourself flying around all over the place (sometimes literally), meeting with different clients and colleagues the world over. Whilst this makes for a more collaborative working experience, it also makes it harder to keep track of everything, and that’s why Evernote exists. Evernote takes all the notes, posts and documents that have built up over the course of a project and puts them all in one place. So, whether it’s web links you’ve been told to check out, photos of prototypes and designs, or audio recordings of meetings with the boss waiting to be transcribed, everything gets collated into one easy-to-navigate location that can be synced across different devices via the Cloud. So, when you eventually get back into the office after a long week travelling the breadth of the planet, everything you collected along the way will be there on your computer ready and waiting.