These days, no matter what the task is, we can usually respond with the words, “there’s an app for that.” Regardless if it’s cleaning and cooking or corporate decision-making, someone will have designed a useful tool to help you organise your day more efficiently and productively, leaving you more time to achieve your goals. And it’s worth it, even if those goals are something as simple as getting more time to read a great book.
Anyway, these five apps struck as being among the cleverest in helping you make the most of your time:
A productivity app should be all about flow, and in that field, there are very few apps that can beat IFTTT. It stands for “If This Then That”, and that’s key to understanding the nature of the app. Basically, it works on the premise that it will do a thing if you do a thing. So, for example, if you got in the car to drive home from work, it might turn the heating on in your home. Or, if you finished a project, it might email your collaborators to let them know. People are rightly excited about IFTTT and similar apps, and it seems we are only beginning to realise their potential with the roll-out of artificial intelligence and the internet of things.
Household chore apps like Chorma have certainly taken off recently. They go far beyond the proverbial ‘list of chores on the fridge door’, helping you be smarter about household tasks. And, while Chorma requires a small subscription fee, there are free alternatives. Indeed, making sure you get the best deal you can is always smart when downloading any app, free or otherwise, so always be sure to read the reviews. Anyhow, what we like most about Chorma is its rewards system, which gives you – and others in your home – an incentive to collect points by completing tasks.
Sometimes time-saving ideas are so simple, yet incredibly useful. Calendly is essentially a digital calendar that acts to save time on the back and forth of appointments. The idea is that you send a link to the recipient, and they can see your availability and add the date, time and location of the meeting on your Calendly calendar. Of course, you can customise the calendar, and take steps to ensure that they don’t book inconvenient or undesirable times.
Trello is one of the leading players among countless productivity apps like Evernote and Wunderlist, but there are two main reasons why you might opt for Trello in an area where you are spoilt for choice. First is the unique interface, which allows you to organise tasks using a series of colour-coded cards and boards. Second, is the advanced automation feature, termed Butler. This is where Trello indeed finds its feet, as Butler will act on urgent tasks, reminding you – and others – through email if something has been overlooked.
For most of us, going green around the house has become more important in recent years. Sorting out the recycling is a necessary chore, of course, but iRecycle goes a bit further than sorting through the plastics from your weekly grocery trip. The app will tell you how to recycle everything, from where to send automotive parts to what to do with kids’ art supplies like paints and crayons. Clearly, it’s not an app to save time, but it will help you feel that you are doing your bit to save the planet.
Markus lives in San Francisco, California and is the video game and audio expert on Good e-Reader! He has a huge interest in new e-readers and tablets, and gaming.