Boost your productivity with these handy apps

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Technology has brought a stunning amount of efficiency to our modern lives. From washboards to washing machines, snail mail to instant messaging, what used to take hours can now be done in seconds. But somehow, you still don’t quite have enough hours in the day. The problem with doing things efficiently is that we now try to cram more into our days than ever.

There are heaps of digital time-saving tools to help you increase productivity and save time. They can be endlessly helpful to students who are looking for a more efficient way to study, business people who are looking to streamline their processes, or really anyone who is looking to save time. Here are some of our favourites.

Evernote

Evernote is a cross-platform app designed for organising, archiving and note-taking. The basic version is completely free, and packed with features.

How will it help?

Evernote organises your entire digital life. It acts as a universal inbox, collating everything that is sent to your digital self, allowing access to emails, messages and collaborative documents. It is a digital filing cabinet, conveniently (and automatically) storing all of your files, whether they be emails, photos, notes or bookmarked web pages. Basically, you can dump your entire digital life into Evernote, arrange it and have it all backed up to the cloud. It’s also an excellent note-taker, with in-built audio capture and handwriting recognition.

Feedly

Feedly is a news aggregator app that compiles news feeds from sources you customise. It’s simple, it’s free, and it’s available on most web browsers and mobile devices.

How will it help?

It removes the need to switch between different feeds, or go actively searching for your content. You simply choose the sources that you’d like to see news from, and Feedly collates the content for you, presenting it in a beautiful magazine style you can quickly scan. You can sort different feeds into ‘collections’, allowing easy access to a particular subject. It also has great commercial capabilities, allowing businesses to collate news from clients’ RSS feeds.

Lastpass

Lastpass is a password manager, storing all of your encrypted passwords in the cloud, so you’ll never forget another password (even the really obscure ones) which is what makes it such a great app for saving time and productivity.

How will it help?

These days we are required to recall of a huge number of passwords, some we use every day, and some we use once only. Can’t remember your password? Lastpass offers an answer to that problem. You simply have to remember one ‘master’ password, and you’ll gain access to an encrypted vault of all of your passwords. You, of course, have to put the passwords in your vault at some point. It also offers password generation, site logging and site sharing features.

GoToMeeting

GoToMeeting is a meeting app that’s a bit like Skype, but with more functionality. It allows you increase productivity by being able to set-up an office anywhere and meet via video conference with other people.

How will it help?

For anyone with the need to gather together a team of people online, GoToMeeting provides a comprehensive solution. It allows for up to 100 people to meet at one time, engaging with each other via HD video conferencing and desktop sharing. Transmissions are protected with high-level encryptions thanks to GoToMeeting’s combination web hosting and software installed on host computers. VoIP and freephone facilities are also included.

Slack

Slack is a cloud-based team collaboration and communication tool, which works like an alternative to email. You can set up topics to discuss and message people you are working with.

How will it help?

Slack aims to open up communication channels for groups of people. It provides a multitude of ways to communicate, with chat rooms (organised by topic), private groups and direct messaging. All conversations are archived, making them easily searchable. Filesharing is simple, and Slack also allows for the integration of a whole host of third party applications, including Google Drive, Trello, DropBox and Zendesk. Increasing productivity by minimising the need to switch between apps.

Trello

Trello is a popular web-based project management application. It operates like a digital to-do list. You can make a variety of task lists with notes and deadlines, and then share them in project teams.

How will it help?

The focus for Trello is on projects. They are represented by ‘boards’, which contain ‘lists’ (lists of tasks that need to be completed), which are made up of ‘cards’ (the tasks themselves). The cards are designed to be ordered in a way that moves the project forward, and can be assigned to users. Trello simply provides a very clear visualisation of a project’s progression, from idea to completion, with a focus on accountability.

Head here for more tips for time management.