We’re all about apps for productivity when it comes to running a business, especially when you’re a micropreneur going at it alone. And while we’ve got plenty of blogs that outline all of our favorite tools when it comes to being productive, today we’re going to focus on the underdogs: the things you didn’t realize would actually make you more successful and productive without even thinking about it. And more importantly, most of these are pretty enjoyable, too.
Get Productive with Your Confidential Info
LastPass is our favorite way to store passwords, and man does it save time. LastPass is one of those apps for productivity that allows you to store your passwords in an organized method on your laptop with a master password to make sure that these passwords aren’t accessible to anyone but you. You can store sites in different folders so you don’t get work confused with personal logins. You can also store passwords for multiple logins on the same site. If you’re anything like me, you have 5 different Gmail accounts, and those can all be saved separately on LastPass.
The best part is that these logins and passwords just automatically fill in when you go to a site. You literally just have to click login to get started. No more unproductive attempts at wrong passwords…no more getting locked out of your account. LastPass is your bouncer friend that lets you in the club for free even though there’s a $20 cover. Did I mention it’s free? It’s free.
Have you noticed something in the grocery stores lately? There seems to be a bit of a holdup in grocery lines lately, and I blame it all on the chip reader.
Yes, the chip reader is safer and protects your identity, but does it take an extra two minutes to buy a bag of chips now? Also yes. So what’s the workaround? Apple Pay. It takes that same two minutes to hook up your card to your iPhone, and then you can use your phone to pay at pretty much any establishment that’s not in the dark ages. And while you may have to wait in line, you’ll be 10x faster and more productive by paying with your phone. Bonus: you don’t have to carry your wallet or purse on you at all times now, just your phone.
Organized = Productive
We might be cheating on this one, since you may already assume that a cloud-based notebook would most definitely be on a list of the top apps for productivity, but we absolutely need to highlight it for those of you who aren’t using it yet.
Look, I spent the last 6 years of my life using my iPhone’s little notebook app. It was okay at best, and then I found Evernote. Evernote lets you organize your notes in folders, save images and web pages, share with anyone, and stays in the cloud so it’s on all of your devices. Honestly, it makes me so productive that I probably don’t do it justice trying to describe its features to you.
I got you here, right? How in the world can Pinterest actually be an app for productivity? I’ll tell you right now. If you’re anything like me, you’ve gone down a 2 am Pinterest hole consisting of cute outfits, dream website designs, and cake recipes. You can certainly waste hours on Pinterest, this is true. However, used correctly, Pinterest is seriously SO helpful and will make you more productive at work and at home.
Do you need a quick recipe for dinner? Pinterest. Do you need a list of Excel hacks? Pinterest. Do you need lightning-quick inspiration? Pinterest.
Smart Sound Apps for Productivity
Spotify is just the best. Period. This is another free app (or you can pay to get rid of those godawful commercials…the only thing we don’t like about Spotify) that lets you listen to ALL the music.
Ok, of course you know about Spotify. Everyone does. But did you know that Spotify has tailored playlists that make it one of our favorite apps for productivity? You can choose music created for writing, coding, writing a passive aggressive yet productive email to your coworker, impromptu dance parties…whatever you’re working on, they’ve got a playlist for it. You have access to both Spotify’s own lists, and any public playlists that other people have created, which are honestly pretty impressive.
Spotify also has a feature that makes Mondays actually worth waking up for – Discover Weekly. These playlists are cleverly curated based on your own listening habits over time. It updates with a brand new playlist every single week. It’s like having your ex-boyfriend make you a mixtape to win your heart back, but without the creepiness, and you don’t actually have to talk to your ex.
Headspace is an app that takes you through ten minutes a day (or more if you so choose) of meditation. If you’re thinking you couldn’t possibly have ten minutes free each day, or that there’s no way meditating is a productive use of time, well, you’re just plain wrong (sorry). Meditation has been proven to reduce stress and increase focus, and it’s also shown to help you be more productive.
So if you could exchange thirty minutes of slow, distracted work for twenty minutes of quick, inspired work and ten minutes of meditation, wouldn’t you? Practice every day and you’ll find that you become even more focused, clear-headed, and inspired. I’ll be honest, I used Headspace right before writing this blog. How do you think I came up with this idea?
Most Productive Research App
Quora is an app where people can ask questions, and anyone can answer them. Those answers get upvoted until a winner is chosen. It’s like Yahoo answers, but for smart people. Even Hillary Clinton has answered questions on Quora.
This is another tricky one, though. While this is one of the best apps for productivity, beware: you can spend hours reading Quora questions, answering them, learning everything you can. If you’re not careful, it can be a time-suck. But when used correctly, Quora can be another tool in your arsenal of knowledge.
Go ahead, ask a question. You’ll get hundreds of answers from people that are more knowledgeable than you within a day. Instead of searching on Google, reading hundreds of blogs, or testing without knowing, you’ll have an answer waiting for you from experienced professionals. Now that is not a time-suck.
Guess what? Most of these apps are free forever, and the ones that aren’t are minimal costs at best. Still looking for more great free tools? Subscribe for free lessons from Selz. Now go and download these babies, and realize that apps for productivity can actually be enjoyable.
This post was originally published in September 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.