6 Apps That Increase Your Productivity

best apps for productivity

By Rebecca Thorman

You might know about Dropbox, Evernote, and Highrise. But do you know about the next generation of apps poised to help you in the workplace and grow your business? These six apps are guaranteed to increase your productivity and maybe even help save your sanity:

1. WorkFlowy.
When you have a lot going on in your head, use WorkFlowy. This deceptively simple, browser-based tool claims to "organize your brain," and resembles a very large single sheet of paper. Get started by making a list or taking some notes. Then, keep going to discover the powerful functionality that lets you zoom in to focus on specific projects, and zoom out to get a full picture. You customize WorkFlowy to your needs, simply by using it day-in and day-out. If you're working on a team project, items can also be shared to collaborate.

2. Speek.
This app takes the work out of traditional conference calls. The super simple and visual conference platform gives users a personal or business link (i.e., speek.com/rebecca), rather than a traditional phone number and PIN to connect conference calls. Click the link to start or join a call from a phone, the web, mobile browser, and more. Once you're on the call you can enjoy the frictionless experience that lets you know who has dialed in and who is talking. Plus you can share files, view social profiles, and use call controls. Sign up is free, so say goodbye to PINs, downloads, and hold music.

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3. TurboScan.
If you ever find yourself without access to normal office equipment, whether you're working from home or on a business trip, try TurboScan. The app, which can be found in Apple's app store, turns your iPhone camera into a scanner so you can scan multi-page documents, receipts, whiteboards, and more. Or even just digitally save that article you read while waiting at the doctor's office. The scanner lets you crop the frame, adjust the coloring, and rotate images. Once your papers or notes are stored in the app, you can print or email them as PDF or JPEG files.

4. FastCustomer.
Never wait on hold again with FastCustomer, a free app that makes calling customer service painless. Simply tell the app whom you'd like to call, from airlines, to credit card companies, to your cable provider, and that's it-FastCustomer will have a customer service agent call you. Because you don't have to wait on hold or navigate menus, you can keep working. FastCustomer will also tell you approximately when to expect a call, and it's available as both an iPhone and Android app, and on the Web or via text.

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5. Rapportive.
This tool ensures you never have to stalk someone on Google again. As a free add-on available for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, Rapportive shows you everything about your contacts right inside your Gmail inbox. Simply hover over an email and your contact's photo, latest tweets, Facebook profile, LinkedIn profile, and more will show up in the sidebar. You can connect an email address to a face, and even use the tool as a super lightweight CRM by adding notes about your contacts if you so choose.

6. Action Method.
To-do apps like Teux Deux are attractive, but not full-featured. And others like GQueue are full-featured but not all that attractive. Action Method bridges the gap. Originally created as a productivity suite for creatives, this project management software is perfect for knowledge workers in any field. Plus, it's fast. Drag-and-drop tasks in multiple views, add ideas to the Backburner, and concentrate on the most important actions using the Focus Area. You can also share and collaborate on tasks with colleagues and team members.

These tech apps will help you save time, organize your life and manage your projects, not to mention impress your colleagues. Let us know how they change your workday, and share your favorite apps in the comments.

Rebecca Thorman's weekly blog Kontrary offers tips to create the career, bank account, and life you love, and is a popular destination for young professionals. Her goal is to help you find meaningful work, enjoy the heck out of it, and earn more money. She writes from Washington, D.C.

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