At work, technology can be both a blessing and a curse.
It’s a curse when you find yourself cruising the Web or endlessly scrolling through Facebook or Twitter posts, but it can definitely be a blessing if you can tap into some new productivity apps that can help you work smarter and faster.
With a Smartphone now in nearly everyone’s pocket, productivity apps are a logical—and usually free — way to help get the most out of your workday. And with work and personal life now so intertwined, the apps can help manage your time and productivity on both fronts.
The key is to find apps that you will actually use after you download. The CEO of the popular productivity app Any.do recently did some research on the most successful and consistent users of the app. He found that the most productive users review their tasks first thing every morning to develop a game plan for the day. They also schedule tasks across a timeline of today, tomorrow and the near future so they can prioritize. And they attack projects by breaking them down into individual, manageable tasks.
Some of the most popular and productive apps you might want to consider as a means to get the most out of your workday include:
Pocket: Ever find yourself at work reading article after article on the Web? With Pocket instead of reading that content in the moment you can save articles, videos and Web pages to read later. That way you can focus on the work at hand, but read and view content that is of interest to you at a later time.
CloudOn: If you’re part of the mobile workforce, you know how challenging it can be sometimes to get in front of a laptop or desktop computer to work with Microsoft Office products. CloudOn allows you to use Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint to create documents using your iPhone, iPad or Droid. Users can also sync with Box, Dropbox, Google Drive and SkyDrive accounts and email file to contacts directly from mobile devices.
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Tempo: There are a gazillion calendar/planning apps, some better than others. For those who want an organization app that plays well with other calendars as well as email, phone, and social media contacts, Tempo is definitely worth a try.
Pomodoro Timer: Easily distracted? The Pomodoro Timer is a simple but effective way to help you focus on one task at a time. The app provides a timer to keep you on task for 25 minutes, then provides a 3 or 5 minute break before teeing up a new 25 minutes. Why 25 minutes? Research has shown that is the ideal time span for peak productivity without a break.
1Password: How many hours have you wasted typing in the wrong password and then having to create a new one? Probably plenty. 1Password is an iOS and Android app that will save you from the set-reset cycle and is especially helpful in creating and storing strong passwords that are tough to crack. The app also has a built-in browser that allows you to log into your accounts without having to leave the app itself.
By using these and other apps you can start tapping technology to work for you, not against you on the job.