Five apps to give your productivity a boost

As working life settles into its new patterns following the pandemic, it’s a great time to take another look at your working habits and the tools you use to get things done.

Whether you’re looking for help in staying focused while you work from home, or you’re trying to juggle all your growing commitments as society opens back up, there’s an app for that.

We’ve taken a look at some expert recommendations to find a few of the best apps for maximising productivity and making the best use of your time.

Planning your day

It’s no use having a plan for the next five years if you don’t know what you’re going to do tomorrow. Todoist has been one of the most-recommended to-do list apps for years, for its powerful set of tools to keep track of your priorities so you can focus on getting things done.

Wired Magazine says it “takes the simplicity of to-do list creation and supercharges its function by keeping track of all your entries – letting you document long-term trends, view what’s coming up in your calendar and help you keep up with weekly and daily goals”. It’s free, with extra features available for £4 a month.

Keeping track of your ideas

Every project starts with great ideas. So, when they arrive you want to be able to get them down quickly and easily, wherever you are. Evernote lets you store notes, photos, digital sketches and snippets of audio and video on your phone and in the cloud so you can capture that moment of inspiration.

Tom’s Guide calls it “one of the best productivity apps to have on your phone” and says it’s “loaded with powerful organization, formatting and sharing options” that help to keep your ideas neatly filed in one place – and shared across all your devices.

Staying focused

You get a lot more done when you stay on task but maintaining focus can be one of the big challenges of WFH. Freedom is here to help: it blocks distracting and time-wasting apps and websites for a set time period while you blast through your tasks.

Business Insider calls it “one of the most popular social media blocker apps” and says its “main appeal is that it allows users to set their own limits” by blocking specific websites, every website except the ones you need, or the entire internet. Freedom isn’t free, though: it’s £29.99 a year.

Managing your time

If you want to maximise your productivity, you need to know if you’re using your time well, even if you’re on-task. Toggl Track helps you effortlessly monitor how long each task takes – perfect for freelancers and solo entrepreneurs who need to work out their billable time, or anyone who wants to plan their time better.

PC Mag says calls it “intuitive” and says: “If you record time spent on any task, you have a better indication in the future of how long it will take, and that means you can better plan the rest of your time, too. What a way to make the most of your day.” It’s free for up to five users.

Tracking your projects

Sometimes when you need to keep tabs on bigger project management tasks or collaborate with your team, even the best to-do list tracker isn’t enough. Enter Trello, an app which helps you manage tasks by posting cards on a shared board, all with priorities, deadlines and checklists attached.

Techradar says it’s “smartly designed” and “dead easy to use” with “plenty of collaboration tools to help you manage your projects, and a stack of ingenious features to ensure it’s user-friendly”. It’s free to get started, with a range of monthly prices for bigger teams.