It’s hard to pretend this is a definitive list. The market is swamped with apps designed to help you be productive – or maybe just designed as an excuse to bring your iPad or tablet to work with you. Using apps to boost efficiency might seem a bit unnecessary at times, but with Sparrow being bought by Google this year, email and organisational apps are certainly hot property. But no one seems to agree on which ones are the best.
So here are our top five – what’s your go-to app for productivity?
With its handy ‘Read Later’ button, Instapaper is a one-click wonder. Saving any webpage as a text document (with perhaps a well-chosen picture), it turns difficult-to-navigate webpages into something you can digest more easily.
With Editor’s picks, social media integration and neat navigation (swiping to page-flip, for example), this is a single-function app that does a stellar job.
Some clever kids from a US university are working on MySocialCloud, a Richard Branson-sponsored alternative (and free at that), but for now 1Password is the best way to safely store passwords in the cloud.
The idea of storing all our sensitive information in one place still makes us a bit nervous, and if you want access from your BlackBerry or from a Linux computer, or if you want a version that runs from a USB key, look elsewhere. And it has to link with Dropbox. Not perfect, but a good concept.
Evernote has a whole family of apps, from Evernote itself to Skitch for annotation and Evernote Clearly for saving text to read later (although we prefer Instapaper for that, Evernote is more versatile). Evernote is a welcome weapon against paperwork and forgetfulness.
It’s also on the “Freemium” model, where the base software is free to users, with more advanced features offered if you fancy digging a bit deeper. You can sync documents and notes, back up data to the cloud… even if you’re not an organisational junkie, this app could be for you.
This one is still a bit of an experiment for us. Offering simplified task management, cloud syncing (we’re seeing a theme), and smooth cross-platform communication, Wunderlist is holding its own in a market getting increasingly saturated. It’s pretty, free and easy – although it can be unreliable when it comes to mobile syncing at times, and could do with a few basic features like repeat tasks. But we like.
Well, it had to be number 1. Ranking in the top ten in various lists, Dropbox has got to be the easiest way to store and share files in the cloud. And if the limited storage drives you crazy (or you don’t have enough friends and contacts to build up those 250MB extensions), you can always pay for more, starting from around £6 a month.
If you’ve never heard of Dropbox, here’s a creative video to introduce you to your new lifesaver:
Most importantly: there are a lot of tools out there to boost productivity. Have a play, find the right fit – and then share your thoughts with us!
And if you’d like to find out what everyone else is saying on productivity in the Twittersphere, check out this list of the top forty productivity experts to follow.