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5 smart tools that will seriously boost your productivity

Getting bogged down by work? These apps can help you become your own best project manager.

5 smart tools that will seriously boost your productivity

Sometimes your to-do list at work looks more like the first draft of a novel—messy, and unimaginably long.

With so much going on at work, it’s essential to track projects, not only to help you increase efficiency—but also to document what you’ve worked on when you eventually apply for another job and need to update your resume.

Luckily, there are a number of time management tools that can help boost your productivity and organization, as well as provide meaningful insight into how your daily work hours are segmented.

And with labor productivity on the decline nationwide, we can use all the help we can get.

No matter what the case—you’ve started a new job, you’re searching for work, or you’ve been given more responsibility at your current gig—these apps will help you manage your day-to-day more efficiently by keeping you on task.

This will help you answer, “Where did my time go?”

Understanding how you allocate your time at work is critical. Not knowing the breakdown is like going apple picking blindfolded—you’ll be grabbing at bare branches.  

Toggl, a time tracking software application (free for the basic version, Apple, Android, and desktop), syncs your activity real-time to the cloud and generates reports to analyze productivity.

This tracking feature is especially useful if you’re tracking billable hours and need to keep tight records. Toggl includes offline support, so if you’re not connected to Wi-Fi, no problem. Tap a button on your iPhone and the timer starts on your computer, syncing offline hours to your account once you’re back online.

This will help you make sure you never lose track of an idea

Boasting a minimal design, Evernote, a free note-taking and archiving software suite, is your favorite digital to-do list.

One of the snazziest features of Evernote is its web-clipping tool. Easily integrated into your web browser, you can capture elements of a web page—a screenshot, just the article, the full webpage—and manipulate them in Evernote. Annotate what you’ve captured, add tags to organize your notes, and select which “notebook” you want to place them in to get organized. No more searching for project elements across folders—it’s all in Evernote.

This will help you stay on top of team projects

Sometimes it can be difficult to remember what step comes next in the project you’re working on.

Trello, a free web-based project management application, is essentially a board of “cards” that you can organize to customize your workflow and determine which step you and your teammates are on.

The ability to add due dates, list labels, and color-code users makes organization simple. Visual learners and linear thinkers will find Trello’s stage-based workflow useful.

This will help you work ‘smart’er

Timeful, an app purchased by Google earlier this year (free on Apple and Android), is a “smart” calendar/to-do app that synthesizes your schedule with your behaviors and suggests more efficient ways to do things as well as open times in your day (when you’re most productive) to plug in time for tasks.

Developers are working on integration with the Google suite of products.

This will help you add some humor to your goal-setting

For many people, writing is a particular chore. Enter Write or Die, a site that “puts the prod in productivity.”

Set your writing goals—word count and time—and then pick your punishment: alarms that beep if you don’t meet your goal, a picture of grumpy cat that pops up, even “Kamikaze Mode,” which will start to delete what you’ve written until you start typing again.

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