Best Productivity Apps: 5 Apps You Must Have on Your Phone

Being more productive isn’t just a matter of gritting your teeth and grinding through the day; it is about leveraging the right tools to help you get things done. Whether you’re taking notes, creating to-do lists or storing your files in the cloud, there are plenty of productivity apps you can use to boost productivity and get more done, faster.

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In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the top five productivity apps for mobile devices (Android, iPhone and iPad):

1. Evernote

Available on: iPhone, iPad, Android

What is it: A note taking app that stores all your notes in the cloud.

Price: Free

Evernote is a cloud-based note taking app that helps you “remember everything”. Think of it as an always-online, free version of Microsoft OneNote. It was first launched in 2008 when ‘Cloud’ still referred to fluffy balls of water vapor and Google Docs was another two years away. In less than five years, Evernote has become the de-facto note taking app online with millions of users and deep integration into the very fabric of the internet.

Evernote organizes notes in convenient ‘Notebooks’. You can create as many notebooks as you want and fill them up with text, images or links. You can also clip sections of a web page directly into your notebooks and share them with friends or colleagues. And of course, as a cloud-based service, every word you type into the app will be viewable across all your devices.

Use Evernote to:

  • Clip images, articles and screenshots from the internet.

  • Save articles for reading later.

  • Take copious amounts of notes and access them from any website, anywhere

Alternatives:

  • OneNote

  • WorkFlowy

  • Springpad

2. Clear+

clearAvailable on: iPhone, iPad

What is it: To-do list making app

Price: $3.99

There are to-do apps, and then there is ‘Clear+’. Beloved of productivity geeks and lifehackers, Clear+ has quickly climbed the charts to become arguably the best to-do list app on the market. Its best feature is the stunning, gesture-friendly UI. You can create, edit, delete and move tasks with a single flick of a finger. Tasks are also color coded by priority – important tasks are red, lesser tasks are orange.

You can also create multiple lists which can be synced with your iCloud account – all for the price of a Happy Meal.

There’s also a cheaper version – ‘Clear’ – which doesn’t let you make multiple lists. It costs $0.99.

Use Clear+ to:

  • Manage daily tasks.

  • Create multiple lists to track long-term goals.

  • Sync lists automatically between your iDevices.

Alternatives:

  • Wunderlist

  • Remember the Milk

  • Things for iPhone

Clear+ can only help you make apps. To give a real boost to your productivity, try this course on implementing the Getting Things Done system in 30 minutes.

3. DropBox

dropboxAvailable on: iPhone, iPad, Android

What is it: Cloud storage app

Price: Free

Remember those days of carrying USB pen drives to presentations and backing up your data on bulky external hard drives? That’s all a thing of the past, thanks to DropBox. This pioneering cloud storage service creates a virtual folder on your computer that’s synchronized with a (free) DropBox account. Anything you copy into this folder gets automatically uploaded online. This means no matter where you are and what device you are using, you will always have access to your files – provided you’re connected to the internet, of course.

This app is the official client for DropBox. It gives you ready access to all the files in your account, synchronized in real time. You can move, delete, and upload files directly through the app, or open them in a third-party application for editing. It’s not pretty like Clear or as feature-rich as Evernote, but it remains incredibly useful, especially for heavy users of the app.

Use DropBox to:

  • Upload pictures from your photo stream to your DropBox account.

  • View, delete and move documents.

  • Edit files through supported third-party applications.

  • Share and collaborate with friends and colleagues.

Alternatives:

  • Google Drive

  • SkyDrive

  • iCloud

4. Pocket

pocketAvailable on: iPhone, iPad, Android

What is it: Bookmarking and ‘Save for Later’ app

Price: Free

Bookmarking apps are a dime a dozen (remember when Delicious was the hottest startup in town?), but Pocket does something much better than bookmarking: it saves articles to a central, cloud-based repository and strips them of all superfluous stylistic elements. The result? Easy access to all the articles you never managed to read without annoying ads, garish colors and useless navigation menus. It’s like having your very own personal assistant who helpfully clips out newspaper stories for you.

But if that wasn’t enough, Pocket also integrates with apps like FlipBoard, TweetBot, Pulse and Reeder to make saving articles even easier. Heavy readers and obsessive bookmarkers – this is one app you shouldn’t live without.

Use Pocket to:

  • Save articles you read on Pulse, Flipboard, etc.

  • Read, edit, favorite and archive articles.

  • Share articles, images and videos with friends.

P.S.: Pocket was earlier called ‘Read it Later’; many publications still refer to it by the old name.

Alternatives:

  • InstaPaper

  • Readability

5. MailBox

Available on: iPhone, iPad

What is it: Email Management Application

Price: Free

If the thought of overflowing inboxes wakes you up with cold sweats in the middle of the night, this app is for you. MailBox helps you achieve the Zen-like state of ‘Inbox Zero’ by labelling your email and organizing it for later attention. Want to reply to an email before the evening? Just swipe to the right, select the appropriate label and the email will be removed from your inbox. Would you rather put off the mail until the weekend? Sure, there’s a label for that too. Dealing with too much spam? Just swipe left to delete the mail altogether.

It’s an intuitive, fun, and time saving way to deal with an age old problem. It also makes use of the gesture controls Apple pioneered to perfection. Little wonder that the company was acquired by DropBox after just a few short months of operation.

The app works only with Gmail right now, though there are plans to implement Ymail and Outlook.com support soon. Get this app if you use Gmail. You can also learn how to boost your productivity 10x by using Gmail, IFTTT and virtual assistants.

Use MailBox to:

  • Label and organize emails.

  • Delete mails with a swipe of the finger.

  • Achieve ‘Inbox Zero’, reach nirvana.

Alternatives:

  • MailPilot

  • Evomail

  • Boxer

  • Dispatch

Productivity is all about making the best use of the tools that you already have. For Mac users, this means taking advantage of using all the hidden tips and tricks to use your Mac to the fullest. Those who get regularly bogged down by email, on the other hand, will benefit greatly from this course on boosting Gmail productivity by 10x.

Do any of these apps make your personal ‘Top 5’ list? Let us know in the comments below!