It often feels as though we’re stuck in an endless sea of deadlines and commitments. It’s easy to get lost in current if you don’t commit to organizing your work, time, and commitments. As more and more people turn to technology to solve their organizational and productivity problems, there are a number of great apps and browser extensions available to help address your needs.
The idea of using an app to help you become more organized and productive might seem counterintuitive to some. Why would we need to spend more time on our phones and computers than we already do? There’s something to be said about that mentality, although using technology to our advantage can pay off more than we anticipate.
Timestats is an extension that monitors the time you spend on a website. It logs each different website you go to, and allows you to check in detail to see where you’re spending your time. It creates a pie chart that shows the amount of time you spend on each website in relation to other sites. It’s eye-opening to see how long you spend on certain websites, and is a great extension to contextualize your productivity.
If you’ve ever thought to yourself that you need a personal assistant, 24me might be the app for you. It acts as an automatic task handler, and manages your notes, accounts, calendars, and to-do lists in one centralized location. You can use the app to map out your day down to the minute, hence the name 24me. Use the app to set reminders about bills, payments, events, birthdays, and calls. The app can even pay your bills and send birthday gifts to your friends. It even lets you know what time you need to leave to get to your meeting on time based on the local traffic.
With SimpleMind, you can brainstorm ideas anytime you want through these digital mind maps. The app gives you space to edit your map as your creativity flows, adding images and visuals to amp up your vision. You can sync the app with Dropbox, another recommended organizational app, so you can store, edit, or share your vision with others in a variety of formats.
Slack is a great platform to integrate into your office and among your employees. Rather than sifting through dozens of emails to communicate with your team, you can use Slack as a chat room platform. You can tag users so they see specific information that you want them to, break down into multiple channels for smaller team projects, and to keep a running dialogue about projects going throughout the day. If you choose, the app will send a desktop notification to the corner of your screen so you can keep an eye on the conversation while you work.
Have a hectic calendar? Need to juggle multiple calendars at once? Check out Fantastical 2. This app lets you organize multiple calendars through an intuitive and convenient platform. You can use speech or text to create reminders and alerts, and can add a geofence to an alert so it will go off when you either leave or arrive at a certain location. Right now, the app is only available for iOS. If you have an Android device, check out CloudCal.
Momentum is a habit tracker that helps you monitor your activities so you can instill good productivity and work habits in your daily life. You create a task that you want to make a habit, such as spending 30 minutes each day devoted to clearing out your email inbox. The app will send you friendly reminders to stay on track and to meet your task on the days that you’ve selected, such as during the week. The free version of the app allows you to track three habits, but you have the option of adding more habits through an in-app purchase.
I’m personally a frequent user of this browser extension. After you install the extension, you create a blacklist of sites that you find yourself procrastinating on frequently. Then you select an amount of time that you want to blacklist these sites for, such as an hour or two.
The extension blocks you from accessing these sites while the timer is running. It’s great for people who find themselves mindlessly or subconsciously updating their social media, email, or any other sites that aren’t relevant to the immediate task at hand.
Google Keep is like Google’s answer to Evernote. Available for both iOS and Android, Google Keep lets you take notes, make lists, set reminders for events and tasks, and record audio. Many people use it as a way to organize their to-do lists, and to keep the notes they jot down throughout the day in a central location. You can use colored labels to organize your notes, and to categorize the information as well.
You’re probably familiar with Dropbox, or another similar platform such as Box, but this app’s organizational usefulness warrants a mention on this list. This app
keeps all of your files, documents, videos, and photos in one centralized location. You can share any of your files with anyone you choose, even if they don’t have a Dropbox account, all from your device. Dropbox automatically backs up and keeps your files synced to the app, so you can access your files at any time or in any place.
Think of this app as a “read later” memo for phone or laptop. You can either use it as a browser extension, or as an app. When you run across an article or paper worth reading, you hit the button and the app saves the information for offline use. Once you have some free time, you can return to any of your saved articles and read them.
This is great for people who find themselves easily distracted by the news or are tired of having dozens of browser tabs open. Instapaper operates in a similar way, but will make topic and article recommendations based on your saved articles.