With apps popping up left, right and center, it often feels like you waste more time looking for the perfect productivity software than actually working efficiently. At I Done This, we’ve worked to improve our done lists and integrations to eliminate the need for meetings—but we realize that there are dozens more ways you can get more done in less time.
To spare you hours of internet sifting, here’s a collection of the best productivity software tools of 2016 to double output with minimal effort.
Time Management Tools
Checking your email, direct messaging your coworkers, and even clicking between screens each might take just a few seconds out of your day, but those interruptions are more costly than they seem. In fact, a University of California Irvine study has shown that it takes about 25 minutes to refocus after getting off track. We found some great productivity software that keep track of how you spend your time, and help you make calculated adjustments for better prioritization and focus.
Price: Free (Lite), $9/mo (Premium)
Type: Chrome Extension, Web, iOS and Android
RescueTime tracks the time you spend on different sites and apps. You can see your most productive hours, and the types of pages that tend to distract you. You can also schedule alerts for cases when you spend too much time on a page or block pages altogether.
Price: Free (without features), $19.99 (Pro), $39.99 (Pro 3)
Type: Windows Desktop, Chrome Extension
This software takes over your computer and lets you block time-wasting websites during work hours. You can track your most productive hours, and then schedule blockers in different time windows throughout the day.
Price: $10/user/mo (Pro), $20/user/mo (Pro Plus), $59/user/mo (Business)
Type: Windows, Mac, Android, iOs
If you don’t need an app to control how you spend your time, try Toggle. It’s a crazy simple time-tracking mechanism that allows you to time your own tasks and projects. You control when it’s in use so you can press begin or stop for each project. The report feature gives you insight into your work habits, so you get a better sense of what adjustments need to be made to maximize output. It also integrates with task-management apps such as Trello and Asana.
Type: Mac, Web, or iOS
This is the newest time management tool on the market. It places more of an emphasis on work-life balance than the other apps, so you can keep track of whether you’re maintaining a healthy lifestyle or not. It also has a place for notes, a scheduling feature and plays nicely with Google Calendar.
Everyone hates trying to plan a meeting via email. You have to coordinate several schedules, and someone always has to take initiative and finally pick a time. Whether it’s 3, 4, 9 or 10 emails, it’s a huge waste of everybody’s time with all the new productivity software out there. Here are a few apps that help you avert those scheduling crises.
Type: Web, Android and iOs
Do is a meetings app. It streamlines the entire process, both pre and post-meeting. Do covers everything from planning, to note-taking, to outcome lists, in order to make your meetings as productive as possible.
Price: Free for one user, $39 for one user (professional), $69 for teams (business)
Type: Web, iOS, Android
For something a bit more lightweight, try Doodle. Its sole focus is to coordinate schedules for big groups. You send out a chart with a series of possible times and the recipients can respond with their availability.
Email Management Tools
Emails have become the go-to medium for communication between coworkers, businesses and clients, and even friends. Not to mention it stores all those great newsletters you’ve signed up for and the discounts from your favorite stores. But the average American spends 6.4 hours a day, reading, checking, and sifting through emails. Here’s how to get those hours back.
Unroll.Me lets you organize your subscription emails, so you don’t have to spend time sifting through clutter. Their Rollup feature stops the newsletters from filling up your inbox and reorganizes them into one neat email. This way you can read through them at your own convenience and not as they come in.
Type: iOS and Android
Boxer is a mobile-only app that helps you re-organize your email on your phone. You can bulk edit, set up canned responses, or assign labels and categories. The app also integrates with Evernote, Drive, and Salesforce so you can forward email content to other tools that you use.
If you embrace behavior tracking and aren’t afraid of a robot takeover, then SaneBox is your app. It records your email habits over time and learns to filter unimportant emails to a separate folder. So not only are you spared all those irrelevant emails, you don’t have to make any difficult decisions either.
If you’re reading this article, we can assume that you wisely rely on apps for a slew of things—from brainstorming ideas, to smart alarms, to collaborative work. At a certain point, however, it’s easy for all those tools to feel overwhelming. You don’t want to power up 15 apps just to get your day started. Here are some jack-of-all-trades apps that combine the information from all your tools into one.
Taco pulls your to-do tasks from multiple apps and puts them into one friendly feed. It can be integrated with over 30 different apps—from Trello, to GitHub, to Basecamp. It keeps tasks from falling through the cracks and saves you from having to re-open and re-check several apps to stay on track.
IFTTT is a platform that lets you integrate hundreds of your favorite apps (357, to be exact). Instead of hosting the different app details on its own platform the way Taco does, it lets you push information from any one of your apps to another. It uses the “If this / then that” formula, so you could set up something like “if someone sends me an email attachment, then save the attachment to Dropbox.”
Price: Free (basic), $20 (“for work” plan), $100 (“for teams” plan)
Zapier helps you automate your workflows in a similar way to IFTTT, except it’s much more complex. Instead of a single if/then formula, Zapier lets you set up more complicated workflows with multiple triggers to set off any amount of actions. For example, whenever someone sends you an email, you can have it automatically saved to your Dropbox and then be alerted on both Slack and Trello.
Team Productivity Tools
Gone are the days of sending emails with Word documents, or scheduling all-hands meetings to delegate responsibilities. Everything can be done virtually and asynchronously. Here are some apps that do the best job of getting everyone on the same page.
FreedCamp is a brand new, user-friendly productivity tool. It includes features like to-do lists, sticky notes, and collaborative calendars. It serves as a platform where you organize things like invoices, project templates and wikis. It also has an intuitive interface that’s easy to look at.
Price: Free (basic), $8.33/member/mo
Type: Web, iOS, Android
Asana is an all-in-one heavy duty productivity tool. It lets teams assign emails or responsibilities and then turn them into actionable tasks. From there you can manage, delegate, or collaborate on projects, and check them off as you complete them.
Price: Free, $9.99/user/mo (business), $20.83/user/mo (enterprise)
Type: Web, iOS, Android
Trello is a great tool for project management and delegation. Each task or project is put into a card which you can then organize into columns and funnels across a board. These cards can be assigned members, due dates, and any relevant notes.
16. Process Street
Price: Free, $12.50/member/mo (business), $52.50 (enterprise)
Type: Web, Chrome Extension
Process Street is a great tool to set up company-wide documentation, walking employees through recurring procedures. You can set up documentation, broken into sections, and have checklists running parallel to the screen. It’s useful for onboarding new employees or adopting new policies or software.
BONUS: I Done This
We might be biased, but we consider I Done This to be pretty great tool. With simple daily status updates and progress reports, you can have cross-team transparency, and better overall communication. Easy to learn, easy to use, and useful for all kinds of teams. Oh, and their blog is a must-read
P.S. If you liked this article, you should subscribe to our newsletter. We’ll email you a daily blog post with actionable and unconventional advice on how to work better.