We are all so busy in our everyday lives that it can be difficult to get everything done. But thanks to technology, your to-do list has been upgraded from a pen and paper to helpful apps to organise your tasks, send you notifications, and even gamify the process.
Whether you need help deciding what to wear in the morning, get focused at work, or need to know the quickest route from A to B, there’s an app for that, or at least a plug-in for your browser.
Take a look through our list of the top productivity tools, from reminders and organisation to timesavers and lifestyle apps.
Reminders and organisation
‘The smart to-do app for busy people’
What is it? A handy reminder app so that you don’t forget anything (including the milk!).
What does it do? More than just a tick list, you can re-order your tasks by priority by simply using drag and drop, colour code, send tasks to others and create subtasks. You can also set reminders to pop up on your phone, on your desktop or email you– or other people. So you really won’t forget!
Why you need it. It’s super helpful for busy people and sends you a Daily Digest email to break down the things you need to do that day and in the upcoming days. It helps you feel like you’re really on top of everything and means you won’t forget any important tasks, no matter how big or small.
‘LastPass remembers your passwords, so you don’t have to’
What is it? A password safe that securely stores all your login details and even auto fills online forms for you
What does it do? LastPass is a browser extension that remembers your passwords for you and keeps them safe in the LastPass vault. It also helps you to create super safe passwords by combining memorable things personal to you, like song lyrics or your favourite drink.
Why you need it. Everyone has so many accounts for various purposes these days, it can be hard to remember all your different usernames and passwords – LastPass puts an end to this problem in a safe and secure manner.
‘The easiest way to schedule SMS reminders for yourself, your family, friends or customers’
What is it? An app that allows you to send a text and then schedule it for a later date as a reminder
What does it do? It sends texts to you or others as a reminder. Just log on, write the message and who you want to send it to and schedule a time.
Why you need it. Everyone always looks at their text messages, but may ignore emails or pop-ups, so this is a guaranteed way to remember something.
‘Instantly see a list of all your subscription emails. Unsubscribe emails from whatever you don’t want’
What is it? An app that easily lets you manage your inbox and subscription emails.
What does it do? It identifies your subscription emails and put them into category lists and a single daily digest email to put your inbox into a logical working order.
Why you need it. The average person spends 13 hours a week reading and responding to emails, time that could often be spent on more productive tasks. Unroll.me minimises the time you spend on going through your inbox, but makes sure you still see the important stuff.
‘An easy countdown timer so you don’t spend too long doing tasks’
What is it? A website that allows you to set a countdown timer, with recommended times for simple activities like brushing your teeth, to customisable timers for projects and work.
What does it do? It’s quite simply a countdown timer. It has suggested timings, such as 2 minutes to brush your teeth, and you can save timers for activities you do every day, whether it be 10 minutes max checking social networks, or 1 hour to spend on a work project before you take a break to refresh your mind.
Why you need it. It’s easier to spend longer than necessary on projects, at home or at work, but knowing you’re on the clock can make you work more efficiently and lets you know when you should take a break or move on to the next thing.
‘Productivity programme that you can use to temporarily block distractions so that you can get your work done’
What is it? Temporarily block websites, such as social media and news outlets so you can focus on the task in hand.
What does it do? You simply enter the sites you don’t want to go on into the schedule (built like a timetable, Monday-Friday with 5 minute slots) and the add on will stop you from going on these websites on your computer.
Why you need it. It’s so easy to get distracted by your Twitter feed or a breaking news story, or even a bit of online window shopping when you’re working. This ensures you stay focused on the task in hand. You can schedule it so that you can still visit your favourite sites on your lunch break.
“The to-do list with personality – turn your tasks into a game’
What is it? A bit of gamification for everyday mundane tasks
What does it do? Carrot presents itself as a sassy AI robot, you have to impress by completing tasks on your to-do list, which in turn earns you points. The more points you earn, the higher level you achieve. It’s quite a simple to-do list; there’s no categorising, deadlines or colour coding, but it makes things like taking out the rubbish bin feel a bit more satisfying!
Why you need it. “Greetings, lazy human. I am your new task master” Carrot greets you with funny messages and makes it strangely compelling to complete your humdrum daily chores.
‘Train your mind for a healthier, happier life’
What is it? Learn to meditate in just 10 minutes a day with the Headspace app. Clear your mind of worry so you can focus on the important things.
What does it do? Headspace talks you through 10 minute meditation sessions every day (free for 10 days, then you have to sign up) and explains the method behind meditation on the way.
Why you need it. With today’s busy lifestyle, it can be good for you to take a step back at the beginning of the day to set yourself up, in the middle of the day to refresh, or at the end of the day to clear your mind and unwind. It will help you feel more relaxed and happier, and as a result you’ll be much more productive.
‘Dress your best, every day’
What is it? A personal stylist and wardrobe manager, in an app, to save you time and money.
What does it do? It’s a wardrobe inventory that helps you plan outfits, based on weather and occasion, filtering your wardrobe by season and style. It also recommends items you may like to buy, based on your preferences and current wardrobe. You can put desired items from your favourite shops on your wishlist and Well Dressed notifies you when your item goes on sale – handy!
Why you need it. Eliminate time spent deciding what to wear for work in the morning and don’t waste time searching for the perfect outfit online, get Well Dressed to recommend the clothes for you.
‘The most accurate source of hyperlocal weather information’
What is it? A weather app that accurately tells you what the weather’s going to be like, so you know exactly when you need sun cream or a jumper.
What does it do? As great as the standard weather apps are, Dark Sky is better because it gives you very precise, granular data, so you know if you’re catching the 18.37 bus from outside your office, whether you will need your umbrella or not.
Why you need it. To help you perfectly plan your wardrobe and social activities around the weather.
‘The ultimate transport app making complex cities easy to use’
What is it? A transport app that tells you the easiest route from A to B in cities, be it public transport, bike, car, walking or taxi/Uber.
What does it do? Enter your start point and end point and the app will calculate the quickest route for you to get there via road, foot and public transport, and it will tell you the price and give a breakdown of directions, including the option to get an Uber. It even tells you the best carriage of the train to get on so you’re close to the exit at your platform.
Why you need it. Never get lost or be late again in a city.
‘The right insurance cover, at the right price.’
What is it? Buy and manage your insurance on the go with everything stored in one app, from purchasing to policy documents, and even initiating a claim.
What does it do? It lets you browse for insurance policies and buy your chosen one from within the app. You can then store, manage and renew (and claim if you have to!) on all your insurance policies from your phone using the app, saving you time and money.
Why you need it. It’s the modern ‘shoe box under the stairs’ for all your important insurance documents. And if you need to buy insurance, you can browse, compare and buy all in one place.