Apps-olutely Helpful!

These apps will help you be more productive and do more in less time.

September 2018

Laura Emery, Field Editor

Apps have been around for a while now, and they’re not going anywhere. There are apps that can pretty much help you do anything, from learning a new language to telling you when to brush your teeth and take your pills. Here are a few of our favorite apps that can help you do more in less time.

Want to learn a new language, but don’t have the time? Memrise is a language-learning app that helps you attain basic conversational fluency in a variety of languages. Developers call the process “elaborate encoding,” and it works by using word associations to lock in information. There is a free tier, with a variety of courses to get you started, as well as a pro level.

If you’ve ever visited a library, you know there’s so much to be learned within the pages of books. But it takes time to read books, right? Time that most of us don’t have. This is why an app like Blinkist was invented. It takes a non-fiction book, summarizes it and reads it back to you (in audio or text) within 15 minutes. This is an excellent resource for researching or just acquiring new knowledge. With the help of this app you could devour multiple books in a matter of weeks.

Life is filled with things to do and to remember. It can be overwhelming for those who aren’t naturally organized. The ToDoist app keeps track of everything for you — from simple errands to important projects — so you can get everything done and, as a result, enjoy more peace of mind.

Shopkick is a digital coupon app that can also help stretch the budget. With Shopkick, you earn points that you can later redeem for gift cards. It’s not that hard to earn the points, either. You do things you would normally do while shopping, like walking into certain stores, scanning a barcode of a featured item, or photographing your receipt after you purchase your weekly groceries. It sounds crazy, but it’s true.

Let’s say you write an email or an important post on Facebook, or you’re finishing up your latest article … Grammarly makes sure everything you type is clear, effective and mistake-free. Grammarly offers accurate, context-specific suggestions to make your work shine. The app helps you write mistake-free on Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and nearly anywhere else you write on the web. Grammarly scans your text for common and complex grammatical mistakes, spanning everything from subject-verb agreement to article use to modifier placement. The basic function offered by Grammarly — identifying most spelling and grammar errors — is free of charge. But if you want the more robust version you need to pay a monthly fee.

SiteBlocker is a Chrome plug-in that lets you block your favorite sites for a period of time while you focus on getting your work done. It quickly does away with your bad “clicking habits” and forces you to concentrate on a task. So if you can’t help checking your Facebook or Instagram every five minutes, this is the app for you.

Ever think of something you need to do while in the middle of another task? Many people write down the thought that came to mind so it can be referenced later at a better time. This technique has been called “brain dumping.” Well, Pocket helps you brain dump. It prevents you from forgetting useful tasks and lets you write down a task and reference it later. This is not only useful for work tasks, but personal curiosity too. Let’s say you see a YouTube video or an article you want to read, you can save it for later without getting distracted from your current task.

Hours Time Tracking
The first step to getting more organized and being more productive is knowing exactly how you spend your day. Hours makes this easy by tracking the time you spend on tasks versus the time you spend on distractions. At the end of the week it will give you a break-down of how you spend your time. This will help you see how you utilize your hours each day and eliminate that excuse we all use, “I just don’t have the time.” It’s the first step to becoming more productive.

Forest – Stay Focused
ForestApp encourages you to “stop phubbing” around on your phone. You set a timer and lay your phone down. You may not check messages, answer calls or visit sites on your phone for that period of time. If you stick to your task without getting distracted by your phone, you grow a tree. If you fail, the tree dies. The point of the app is to build a forest of trees and look back later to see how productive you’ve been over the weeks.

Wunderlist is the easiest way to get stuff done and keep your life in sync. Whether you’re planning a holiday, sharing a shopping list with a partner or managing multiple work projects, Wunderlist is here to help you tick off all your personal and professional to-dos.