Productivity123

Admit it: for all the time you spend playing Candy Crush on your phone, you probably have something more important that you should be doing. Instead of allowing technology to serve as a massive time-suck, make it work for you by turning it into a productivity machine. And hey, who said productivity apps had to be boring?

  • Lift: This is a powerful, yet simple tool that allows you to track habits and keeps you accountable with a guilt-free environment. As you tally activities, it records progress so you can visually see your accomplishments. It also has an integrated social aspect to keep you motivated in your goals. Unfortunately, it’s only available for iPhone and online. Android users can substitute with Google Keep; it won’t be as cool or rewarding, but it gets the job done and syncs with Drive.

  • Pocket: If you’re an Internet browsing junkie, you know the feeling of stumbling across an interesting read at the wrong moment. You could bookmark it or email it to yourself, but there’s a good chance it’ll be forgotten by the end of the day. This handy tool stores websites and articles so you can read them at a more opportune time. Pocket has cross-functionality with many popular apps. Optional browser extensions and in-app sharing gives you the ease of one-click saving, and the elegant magazine-styled design helps you visually connect with your headlines.

  • Nanny (Chrome) or LeechBlock (Firefox): When you know you should really focus on your work but can’t resist the urge to browse social media—and being right at your fingertips makes it all the more tempting—turn on the Nanny or LeechBlock browser add-on to force yourself to behave. You define the parameters, including which sites to block and when. Both will let you set a specified time period to block access, or if you’re afraid of going completely cold turkey, they allow you to set access to a site for a duration (ex: one hour max).  It won’t be as fun, but it’ll cut off those pesky deterrents and let you get back to work uninterrupted.

  • IFTTT: If This Than That and is a powerful automation tool. The website has a series of “channels” that consist of other apps and websites. Each channel has predefined triggers you can set to cause an action to occur. For example, you can set it to automatically save photos that you’ve been tagged in on Facebook to your Dropbox account. If you’re not feeling particularly creative, there are loads of pre-made “recipes” to choose from. They’re always adding new services, so it’s easy to find something that works with products you’re currently using.

  • Dropbox: As far as cloud storage goes, Dropbox is one of the best free services available. Not only does it function as a personal space to store important documents and photos that can be accessed from any device with the app installed, but you can collaborate with peers on project folders. You can easily create hyperlinks for items in public folders, so if you want to share that really awesome photo you found with a friend, you can simply message them a link instead of an attachment. There’s also an nifty option that will auto-sync all photos taken with your phone in a separate folder.

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What are some of your favorite productivity apps?