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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Productivity

7 Cheap Productivity Apps for People Who Never (Ever) Have Enough Time

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Inti St Clair/Getty Images.

Yes, you can accomplish a huge amount with nothing more than your phone in your hand. But, with that said, it can be very easy to get overwhelmed by all the app options out there that make that kind of productivity possible. I completely understand, and that’s why I rounded up seven awesome options based on your current needs.

1. For the Person Who Needs Time to Organize Tasks: FocusList

FocusList is an app that keeps you on task using the famous Pomodoro technique. If you’re unfamiliar, that’s the technique that suggests you focus on a task for 25 minutes, take a five-minute break, and then repeat that same process.

The app features a time tracker and the ability to log daily data, helping you look back at how productive each day was. For $2.99, it’s the perfect place to start if you’d like to try this technique out—but need something to keep you accountable so you actually work and take breaks when you’re supposed to.

2. For the Person Who Loves Swiping: Doo

Doo uses a Tinder-like swipe mechanism. Once you set up a to-do list, items are organized and prioritized using a list view. When reminders pop up, users can swipe up to complete the task or swipe down to save it for later. Need to email a client back, but have to finish a report first? Swipe down and save the email for later. It’s $2.99, so swap two coffees out for a brown bag one day this week, and it’ll pay for itself.

3. For the Person Trying to Save Time With Multiple Accounts: IF App

IF lets you create a series of “if and then” rules for your apps. For example, you can use IF to automatically post Instagram photos on Twitter. You could save tweets that you favorite to Evernote, post videos from Vimeo or YouTube to your blog, or post your Facebook status updates to Tumblr or LinkedIn. It takes some time to set up, but in the long run it's a major time saver that’ll help you automate consistent branding across your platforms. The best part: It’s free!

4. For the Person Who Always Has to Click “Forget Password:” 1Password

You know you need secure passwords, and yet, it takes so much time to create secure ones you’ll actually remember that most people give up and go with “123456” or “password”. This app helps you come up with strong passwords for multiple accounts, and keeps them secure behind one safe entry only you know. The app can also help remember other information such as safe combinations, credit card information, or street addresses. After the free trial, it’s $2.99 per month, but you’ll never again spend 30 minutes trying to find that piece of paper you wrote complex passwords on and then hid in your desk.

5. For the Person Who Hates Wasting Any Time at All: Chime

No one likes pointless meetings, so Amazon’s Chime is here to make them more productive and efficient. Rather than you call everyone, the meeting will call you, and notify anyone who’s running late from any device. You can also switch from phone to computer (or vice versa) during the call, as well as use this one application to present documents, screenshare, and video chat. Chime is free to use for a basic subscription, but you can also pay for a Pro version of the app.

6. For the Person Who Needs the Latest News: Kommute

Ready for a twist? The Kommute app delivers the news—even when you don’t have an internet connection. It includes customizable features, such as the ability to choose which sites and information you'd like to download to help save data usage. And, if you take a subway, you can also set it to alert you at a specific time each day so you can remember to download all the news before you head underground.

7. For the Person Who Yells “Human Being” Into the Phone: Lucy Phone

Don’t want to waste even five minutes being on hold? This free, automating queuing service does the waiting for you, ringing your phone when a real person finally picks up. Bonus: You get to skip the headache-inducing playback music, too!

Most likely, some of these make more sense for your situation than others do, but that’s a good thing! Trying to add seven new apps into your routine could actually backfire. So, don’t try to be an overachiever: Pick one or two that work best for your situation, and let me know on Twitter how they work for you.