Think you shouldn’t spend any time on your phone if you’re trying to stay focused and get things done. Yet sometimes, your smartphone holds the key to productivity.
Productivity apps offer a burst of motivation, renewed focus, and inspired thinking. Whether designed to increase efficiency or make switching between tasks effortless, smartphone apps can keep you working and focused. In fact, some even turn productivity into a game, helping you better stimulate your brain and engage with tasks.
Here are 6 apps designed to spur productivity — and why you need to have them on your smartphone.
Evernote is one of the best apps ever created. With a legion of devoted users, Evernote makes absolutely everything more efficient. Designed as a notes app that allowed users to make searchable notes, this app ties together everything from to-do lists to meeting notes to content writing. And you can fill these “notes” with photos, screenshots, links, web articles, or even spreadsheets and graphs.
When it comes to productivity, Evernote makes it easy to stay on top of your most important tasks no matter how your brains works. You can set reminders, attaching them to notes so you never miss a task or an alert. You can create image-based idea lists to help with any project. With smart search tools and cross-device sinking, Evernote ensures you have absolutely everything you need for work or daily life in one place.
If you love a good to-do list, you absolutely need Trello on your smartphone, desktop, and every other gadget in your life. Trello is the ultimate to-do list for project management and different workflows. Incredibly easy to use and able to be shared and organized by many different users, you and your team — or your family — can create lists and tasks, include all of the details needed, and track progress on a single Trello board.
Trello is also integrated with plenty of other apps, including Evernote, Hangouts, Slack, OneDrive, MailChimp, ZenDesk, and more. Each Trello board can include hyperlinks, images, web snippets, and any customization you need. No matter how busy you are, this app gives you a little boost every time you move a card, or a task, another step closer to complete.
Want to turn your tasks into a little game? Todoist lets you do exactly that. This incredibly simple app allows you to create tasks, group tasks into projects, and organize everything with tags and simplified color-coding. Whether you need to fold some laundry before bed or send a few important emails before lunch, Todoist will set tasks and alert you with reminders every time you jot down a note for yourself.
And Todoist gives you a reward for every task you complete. You’ll get “Karma” points, which increase as you mark tasks finished. The more tasks you track in the app, the more Karma you’ll get — but only if you actually finish the job. It’s the perfect app for those who tend to get lost in their to-do lists or prefer breaking big projects up into little tasks.
Doodling is one of the best ways you can fidget for better productivity. By drawing out ideas — or drawing while ideas are discussed — you’ll improve your memory and recall ability, and you’ll stay more focused while you let your brain stay engaged with the shapes and figures you’re drawing. And one of the smartest ways to use doodling to your advantage is to create an idea map.
That’s what the Mindmeister app helps you do. Open this app while you’re brainstorming and Mindmeister will help you connect your brilliant ideas to one another. You can also map out a flow or process for a given team, task, or project. For example, if you’re trying to visualize what a project will look like, you can map out different steps right in the app. As an added bonus, being able to see concepts and ideas visually can spark greater creativity.
If you love listening to music while working, you aren’t alone. Many people need some kind of noise, whether it be music, background noise, or regular chatter to subtly distract their brains while they’re working on a repetitive task. It’s another proven fidget that engages the brain’s need for distraction to keep you productive.
And the Brain.fm app offers the perfect fidgeting solution: it plays music designed to enhance focus, help you relax, and spur better productivity. From upbeat songs to soothing meditative tracks to white noise, the Brain.fm app curates sounds that are both distracting yet calm enough to keep you working hard. Tune in to this app’s sounds when you’re feeling fidgety or unfocused, and let the music motivate you.
It’s so incredibly tempting to grab your smartphone every time you’re feeling distracted. And while there’s certainly merit in giving in to fun distractions like social media, sometimes it’s too easy to get wrapped in and wind up spending a half hour or longer wasting time on your phone. However, with the Forest app, you can control your urges and limit your distraction breaks.
When you open the Forest app, trees begin growing. If you grab your phone and open a new app — say, Instagram — the tress will slowly start to die. The longer you spend on your phone browsing, the more your digital forest will suffer. And if you add friends, like family members, coworkers, or your office team, your joint forest will only grow if you’re all on task and focused. While it’s cool to see your productivity literally grow, there’s a real world impact too. Forest plants real trees around the world for every forest of trees that thrives online.
Are you ready to get down to the workload before you? Use these apps to get to work right now. Each one of these apps can help you be more productive, think more creatively, and find a better balance between giving in to distraction and working hard. Remember, we all need a little fidgeting along the way! Try these apps to see how you can work smarter rather than harder.