There are a number of ways to boost productivity and kick-start your professional year. There are many productivity apps available to make your workday more efficient.Take some time to look into these productivity apps that we’ve so nicely categorised into their particular uses.
The new year is well and truly upon us, so it’s time to get that brain out of holiday mode! There are a number of ways to boost productivity and kick-start your professional year. Some of our favourites include creating a goal or vision board, revamping your office design (link to article if published), or even just getting new work clothes – nothing like a new watch or pair of shoes to show off at the office to boost your own morale! Then, if you’re really serious about out-performing your achievements from the previous year, there’s technology on your side. There are many productivity apps available to make your workday more efficient.
In recent years, especially with the rise of mobile and tablet technology, there has been a spike in app development. Currently, the Google Play Store contains 2.8 million apps, and the Apple App Store, falling slightly behind, has 2.2 million apps. With almost half of all mobile users opening at least one app over 11 times a day, it’s not surprising that these helpful online applications are the way of the future. Goodbye memory-consuming, computer-slowing downloadable software and programs, and hello cloud-based applications. The great thing about productivity apps is they translate well into laptops and computers, so you’re not limited to working off a mobile phone. Although, let’s be honest, today that’s totally possible.
So, are you ready to work smarter NOT harder? Take some time to look into these productivity apps that we’ve so nicely categorised into their particular uses.
Top Productivity Apps For The Office
Microsoft Office Suite
For a little while it seemed as if Microsoft was losing its footing in comparison to big tech companies gaining traction super fast (namely Google); however, it seems Microsoft has well and truly established itself as the superior office program. In fact, 1 in 5 corporate employees use Office 365’s cloud service, according to PTG. This makes Office 356 the most widely used cloud service by user count. In total, Office 365 holds 56% of market shares as of the third quarter of 2019. Undeniably, Microsoft Office is the MVP when it comes to its cloud-based suite which contains programs equipped for word-processing, creating spreadsheets, powerpoint presentations, and even communication (Microsoft Teams is an awesome collaboration platform that lets you create a work chat group, send instant messages, share files and even video conference).
A newer player and strong contender for all your office productivity needs is Google’s G Suite. Muchlike Office 365, G Suite is cloud based so you never need to install anything. As long as you’ve got internet, you’ve got access. Whether it be your laptop, tablet, or phone, you’ll be able to use all of G Suite’s features. In regards to the features available, you’ll be getting Google’s own equivalents to Microsoft’s features (even the communications platforms). So, all your decision really comes down to is which system you prefer. We’ll leave that up to you.
Ever feel like you could really use a personal assistant? Well, with 24me, you’ve got a little digital assistant right in your pocket. According to their site, “24me unites your calendar and tasks and uses artificial intelligence to tell you what to do and how to do it.” Connecting with your banks, service providers, social media, and utilities, 24me automatically tells you what you need to do in order of priority. To keep all of your data safe and private, 24me meets the highest standards of internet security. If there’s anything better than having a personal assistant, it’s having one that works for free. And that’s exactly what you get with 24me.
Come across a lot of important articles or videos in your line of work? Need a good place to store them for a later time? Well, that’s exactly what Pocket is. With Pocket, you can save content from any publication and organise it all in one space. This app is particularly helpful if you’re not always connected to the internet or need to catch up on work. All those frequent flyers out there – this is the app for you. Pocket comes in an annual or monthly premium subscription (where you get a handful of extra OKish features), but honestly, you’ll be fine just using the free option.
While it’s all well and good yelling out to your coworker from across the room (it’s really not), communication platforms now exist to make work discussions and collaborations easier (and more peaceful). Slack is a cloud-based instant messaging platform that lets you organise group chats according to project, client, or department. On slack, you are able to share pictures, files, and everyone’s favourite, GIFs. Slack also comes in a free version (which contains all of the features mentioned); however, you can upgrade to Standard, Plus, or Enterprise to unlock additional features (such as group calls with video sharing, extra storage, and extra security protocols).
If, like many, you didn’t pay so much attention in English class, or just never got the hang of commas, subject-verb agreement, or other technical grammar rules, then don’t sweat it: Grammarly is here to help. Grammarly proof-reads your work to ensure it is free of errors and your expression is as clear as possible. Grammarly works as an extension that can scan through emails, social media, instant messaging platforms, and online word-processing documents. Like all of our other apps thus far, Grammarly is free to use; however, should you need vocabulary enhancement and a plagiarism detector, then you can buy premium for $29USD a month.
Skype is the OG free video calling program that emerged in 2003 and became everyone’s go-to (before Facetime took the reigns, and then Facebook messenger grabbed them). After over a decade, the app is still popular amongst users for instant messaging, free calls, and free video conferencing. Also, thanks to Microsoft’s acquisition of the company, using the app is even easier to use. The process of creating an account and searching for contacts has become streamlined – all you need is your microsoft outlook account or a mobile phone number.
Imagine a hub where all of your employees, their departments, and separate projects are coordinated and effortlessly arranged. Well, that’s exactly what Basecamp is – and it’s all online. After you set up a project in Basecamp, members can exchange information on message boards, to-do lists, schedules, group chat, and file-exchange. Unlike our previous apps, with Basecamp, you’re better off getting the paid version. While there is a free version, it’s very limited in its use. You’re restricted to three projects and only have 1GB of storage. This might work for student projects, but not for an office. Upgrade to Basecamp Business for $99USD a month.
Mobile scanners are the best thing since… well, office scanners. Unlike their bulky predecessors, mobile scanners are efficient, lightweight, and available for use anytime, anywhere. One super reliable scanning app is CamScanner. This app is super easy to use. All you have to do is take a photo of your scanning material, crop the corners (although it’s edge detection is pretty spot on), filter it to your liking (though the auto filter is pretty impeccable), and send your PDF (or whichever file type you prefer) out to whomever you please. If you just need a scanning app for basic features (just old simple scanning), then the free version will cut it; however, if you want extra features, like an e-signature or auto-upload to Google Docs, then you’ll have to shell-out $4.99USD a month.
If you need one place for jotting down ideas, planning projects, creating to-do lists, and just generally organising tasks, then Evernote’s your app. Evernote lets you take notes anywhere, anytime, and lets you share your ideas with others. This is particularly useful for collaboration tasks and brainstorming sessions – you can keep all of your ideas and work on one page that can be easily accessed by all members. Depending on what you need and what you plan to use Evernote for, you can use the free app or purchase Evernote Premium or Business. For simple note taking, the free app is all you need; however, for collaborative uses in businesses, we recommend Premium ($9.99USD a month) or Business ($16.49USD a month).
Remember those days where you had to worry about saving your work to your internal memory and worry about storage or your computer crashing and deleting everything. Or, when you saved onto external harddrives, USBs, and memory cards, only to lose them or for them to go corrupt? Yeah, not good times. Thankfully, a wonderful thing called the cloud was invented and it saved our storage troubles. With the development of cloud storage, a number of great cloud-based harddrives were created. Ultimately, our favourite is Google Drive. The free version of this system alone gives you 15GB of storage, leading the way in comparison to Outlook and Dropbox which only provide 2–5GB of storage; however, this is only for personal use. For business use, you pay about $8USD per active user, per month. Google provides a price calculator to give you a more accurate summary. Check it out here.
Start your year RIGHT!
So, you’ve got the new office equipment, you’ve got the office design in check, and now, you’ve got the productivity apps to help get you motivated and smash some professional goals! Set that brain back into work-mode and get going – it’s going to be your best year yet!
What’s that? You DON’T have cool new office equipment? Well, that’s ok, and you’re in luck, because The Computer Market is ready and waiting to purchase your old office electronics so that you can replace it with brand new gear. Contact us today to hear about how you can Trade your IT.