The Ultimate Cheat Sheet on Free Productivity Apps

By katie simpson on June 20, 2014

Photo credit: familymwr via photopin cc

No matter what business you’re in: there are never enough hours in the day. To help you make the most of your day, we’ve brought together 9 great free apps to help you concentrate, automate, or inspire you to finish the projects that matter to you.

1. Great music for better concentration

Focus@will: If you work in an open office like we do, it can be hard to concentrate. But is the music you’re using helping? This app will allow you to stream a variety of music types to help you get in the zone and stay there. Get an hour a day for free, and unlock an unlimited music supply for 3.75 a month.

2. Block the distractions

How often have you been mid-project, only to have your phone buzz or brighten with a notification? It may not be a large distraction, but it gets you out of focus. Then, it takes you even longer to get back on track.

Focus Lock is an app that allows you to stay on track. With it, you can select the apps you want to be locked out of. Give it a certain amount of time and then you have access again. You won’t be tempted by Facebook or Instagram, but will still be able to answer email and be responsive to your colleagues.

3. Automate it

With work, family, and other aspects of life, it’s easy to let things fall through the cracks. But what if you could have a free personal assistant to help gently remind you to pay rent? Or perhaps they could simply add all those photos from your Instagram into your google drive folder? It’s possible with If This Then That (IFTT).

IFTT allows you to create special automations, synchronizing different apps together. For instance, get a notification every month to pay your rent, or text your spouse as you’re leaving work. As you get bogged down with work, IFTT helps you take care of the little things whether in work or your personal life.

4. One Step at a Time

Being productive isn’t just about getting things done: it’s about choosing the right work to help move you forward. If you struggle with making a plan, Sociidot, is a great app to help you reach your goals. Laid out in a storyboard style, Sociidot helps you break down goals of all kinds into smaller achievable steps. Each of these steps is called a dot.

Sociidot harnesses the science of positive psychology to help people achieve their goals. With inspiring quotes, this is a great app for those larger tasks you’ve been avoiding.

5. Step Away from Social Media

We’ve all had these days: you have a lot of work to get done. But you try to take a quick break on Facebook or perhaps Twitter. You look up and it’s an hour later, and all you’ve done is enjoy the variety of cats that look like male models.

Self control isn’t always easy, but don’t worry: there’s an app for that. Self Control, is an open source app. It allows you to create a list of all kinds of sites you want to block. Whether it’s email, Buzzfeed, or Netflix, you won’t be tempted by those dangerous siren calls.

Unfortunately, Self Control is only available for Mac users. If you’re a PC user, Anti-Social is a great option. There’s a free trial version of that, but to get the full app, it’ll cost you $15.

6. Visual Collaboration Everywhere

Have you wanted to sketch an idea and was missing a whiteboard? Talkboard provides just that. Whether you’re brainstorming or trying to sketch out an idea, it’s easy. You can use it just for yourself on an iPad or, invite collaborators to brainstorm together. This free app from Citrix is a must have for visual brainstorming!

7. Remember the social details

When in meetings, connecting on the social details of someone’s life can help you forge a stronger relationship with a potential client or partner. Refresh syncs with your calendar and pulls information from the web including social networks. From there, you’ll get a clean list of talking points.

Only available right now on Google glass and iOS, they’re hoping to have an Android version soon. Either way, this free app is a must have for those spending time in a lot of meetings.

8. Take a (Timed) Breaks

Are you one of those people that love working hard for a set time and then taking a break? 30/30 is the app for you.

How it works: you create a list of tasks to get done and a set time for each. 30/30 creates a timer for the tasks. Times up? Time to move on. You can also give yourself an allotted break time too. So you can take some time to rest from all that concentration (and not let it run for 1-2 hours instead!).

While this app is free, it does ask for a donation. Still, this app is great for those who want an elegant timer and some help (and pressure) to get focused.

9. Get Inspired

Do you want more than to just get stuff done? If you’re looking for inspiration or staying grounded in mindfulness, Bloom might be the app for you.  These tasks come with music, photos, or inspiring videos to create not just a list, but an immersive experience to help inspire you. From paying one bill to calling a loved one, Bloom works to encourage you in various aspects of your life.

Productivity is more than just getting things done. It’s about inspiration, automating the trivial, and gentle reminders for things that slip through the cracks. Each of us can get a lot done, but also have our weaknesses. Whether your weakenss is a tendency towards social media, procrastination, or forgetting details, there’s a free app to help you make the most of today.

What’s your favorite free productivity app? Share your favorite in the comments.  

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