Work-life balance looks different today than it did 20 years ago. More people than ever want to get things done with a smartphone in their hand, rather than be stuck to a computer. Not only that, but a lot of jobs move at a startling pace, thanks in great deal to the power of computer software. It’s easy, then, to feel left behind in the world of productivity software and mobile devices.
It’s almost as easy to fall into the “groove” of the productivity software though, as it is to fall behind. A little bit of effort on the front end to take stock of your busy day can help you find just the right productivity apps that enable you to work out of the office and still get more done.
15 Best Work Productivity Apps for Your Mobile Device
Here is our list of 15 of the best work productivity apps for your mobile device, along with links to free tutorials to help you get started.
If you lead a life where you tackle projects at odd times of the day or night, using cloud storage such as DropBox can make it easy for you to pass along completed projects from your smartphone. Simply backup your computer work in your DropBox drive, sign in from your smartphone or tablet, and you have access to these docs wherever you can access the Internet from your device.
Attaching documents (Word docs, spreadsheets, presentations, images, and more) from DropBox to an email or text is simple and fast. For those that like to work from the palm of their hand, DropBox (or a cloud storage equivalent) is a must have.
Click here for a free DropBox tutorial.
With the look and feel of Twitter merged with instant messenger, Slack allows a company to virtually connect departments and teams on projects. Especially for those that hire remotely or on flexible schedules, this app can keep you connected easily throughout the day. It effectively eliminates hours of unnecessary meetings and even integrates with other productivity software including (but not limited to):
Click here for a free Slack tutorial.
If your work requires signatures, HelloSign is one of the better (and cheaper options available). You can send and receive documents for legally-binding agreements. If you want to spend money for an entire team of users, there are a number of paid options. But for just yourself, it is free to use and sign. You can also use the app to send reminders or updated contracts and more.
Click here for instructional videos on getting started with HelloSign.
Trello organizes your life through lists and boards. You can create your own lists and boards or use a number of templates available. Signing up is free, and the user interface works similarly to Pinterest and Medium. While most people use this app to organize both their personal and professional lives, some companies use the app to collaborate on projects with employees and freelancers. If you’re a list person, this app is definitely for you.
Click here for a free Trello tutorial.
If you do not care for all the bells and whistles on Slack but want to be able to communicate with your team via an instant messenger, Google Hangouts is popular and simple to use. In addition to instant messages, the app allows you free video conferencing and screen sharing for presentations or tutorials. Also, if you do not care to share your personal phone number with clients and contractors, Hangouts integrates with Google Voice where you can create a separate phone number that routes to your cell for free.
Click here for a free Google Hangouts tutorial.
Instead of attaching a Word document or spreadsheet in an email, share them for free on Google Docs (also known as Google Drive). You can do word processing and many of the same Excel functions on Google Sheets, as well as build slide presentations on Google Slides. It works well for computer, tablet, and smartphone. If your office decides that they don’t care to pay for Microsoft Office anymore, you might get by just on Google Docs alone. All the documents are cloud-based and available for use to anyone that has been given permissions and has an Internet connection.
Click here for a free Google Docs tutorial.
If you are interested in new software or simply knowing how to fix a problem yourself, there are literally thousands of experts on YouTube making videos to help beginners. From changing your oil to becoming an expert computer coder, YouTube has everything, and as long as you don’t mind the occasional ad, it’s all free from the palm of your hand.
If you like the idea of Trello, but you work more comfortably using post-it notes and notebooks, then Evernote may be the better solution. Power users of the app swear by it, and are constantly amazed at the developments that allow them to save and organize everything that they need. This app tracks lists, photo reminders, document attachments, voice memos, and even has the ability to read text from an image.
For those that have a fast-paced life and a poor memory, Evernote is your second brain, easy to use, and completely free.
Click here for a free Evernote tutorial.
Isn’t it nice when your iCloud keychain helps you keep track of your passwords? Or maybe for you it’s Google Chrome? Or maybe it’s both. Wouldn’t it be nice if all of these security password systems could integrate and work together? That’s what LastPass is.
With a single password (or fingerprint), you can keep all your passwords in one place. This includes bank logins, social media, and even your WiFi passwords. You can activate and deactivate devices that you use and want to have access to your LastPass account. There is both a free version, as well as a few paid options for individuals, families, and organizations.
Click here for a free LastPass tutorial.
Do you feel that you waste time? Or, maybe you have an unusually long work day that wouldn’t be so long if you could focus just a little more during the day? If this is true of you, you may already be familiar with the Pomodoro Technique. According to this technique, you should learn to maintain superb focus for blocks of 25 minutes. However, after 25 minutes, you deserve a quick break in order to resume focus. That block of 25 minutes is called the pomodoro. After so many pomodoros, you deserve greater rewards and longer breaks.
Believers in the Pomodoro Technique developed the Focus Booster app that teaches you to access your powers of concentration in blocks of 25 minutes. Those that use the technique and the app find that they accomplish far more in far less time. It helps you keep distractions at bay while also making time for others (or other things) throughout the day. Finally, it also helps you stretch the concentration powers of your brain while also consistently giving it the break it needs to keep going at optimum levels.
Click here for a free Focus Booster tutorial.
CamScanner helps you send official-looking PDFs from images on your smartphone or tablet. It seems simple enough, but it happens to be one of the most helpful digital tools for people on the go. Whether you are needing to send identification or income documents to your mortgage lender or signature pages for a time-sensitive contract, all you need to do is snap a picture from the app using your mobile device’s camera. It will instantly convert the image into a professional-looking scanned PDF.
Click here for a quick guide to getting started with CamScanner.
For automatic scheduling, services like Calendly only allow you to set up and manage bookings on a computer. Square Appointments allows you to manage everything from your mobile device. Whether you are booking appointments with clients, consultations, or even onsite trade jobs, the app allows you to set your availability and then let clients and colleagues book times on your calendar that works best for them.
Also, if you already use Square as your merchant provider or point of sale system, Appointments will sync with those apps, as well. However, the service is not free. That being said, for those that provide services and manage a high volume of meetings each week, the convenience is well-worth the cost.
Click here for a free Square Appointments tutorial.
Do you want to track your hours for various projects but don’t want to feel restricted by the 25-minute pomodoros? Want to work with team members so that you can track their hours? Both are easily accomplished using the Toggl app.
Aside from a simple time tracker, there is an endless supply of features that allow for both auto time tracking and manual tracking. Whether keeping track of hours for a contracted project or simply wanting to boost your own productivity, Toggl tracks everything and gives you regular reports. The free version is itself quite extensive, but there are also paid versions that might work better for your team or company.
Click here for a free Toggl tutorial.
IFTTT is the name of the app and also an acronym, If This Then That. For those that love social media, digital tools, mobile devices, and wearables, IFTTT will not let you down. While each user’s needs are different, the app sets off a chain reaction of digital actions that you want it to take. And all you need to do is set up a “recipe” of the first action which triggers the next and then the next. This often includes social media posting, but can also include a wide variety of digital integrations, such as unlocking doors and turning on lights.
Of all the productivity apps in this list, this one is the most intense and best suited for the tech junkie. But be warned. Start slowly with one or two recipes until you get the hang of it. Once you feel comfortable, your life will become wildly more convenient than you thought possible.
Click here for a free IFTTT tutorial.
For the more robust version of an app that combines the collaborative potential of both Trello (lists and boards) and Slack (communication), Asana is a project manager’s best friend. It integrates with nearly all the leading productivity apps and is built for project teams with a wide variety of customizable needs.
If you’ve already been using a few of the productivity apps listed here and still feel less than efficient, getting started with Asana is likely your next step to streamlining your professional life. And best of all, it works perfectly with your smartphone.
Click here for a free Asana tutorial.
Here’s one more app that will help your productivity. Milanote is a tool for organizing creative projects into beautiful visual boards. By design, it feels a lot like working on the wall in a creative studio – visual, tactile and sometimes a bit messy – Milanote is a great fit for designers who work in teams remotely.Key Features:
- Write notes & to-do lists, upload images & files and save things you find on the web
- Organize visually using the flexible drag and drop interface.
- Boards by default are a private place to think, but with a single click you can create a shared workspace for collaboration with your team.
- Milanote is filled with hundreds of built-in templates to help you get started with a variety of different projects, from creating a moodboard to writing that perfect creative brief.
Pricing: Free version available with no time limit. PRO version $9.99 per month (monthly and annual plans).
Take Time to Practice
Many people that are determined to maintain their current workload while getting out of the office are making it work with these powerful productivity apps. Don’t be surprised if you feel confused at first as you try to integrate new technology into your daily routine. It’s like learning any new skill. Keep practicing and you’ll find that your work goes faster and looks more professional with the help of these productivity apps for your mobile device.
Our step-by-step guide to improving your productivity at work will help you get on the right track.