One of the best ways to stay productive is to stay organized. After all, more work gets done when you do away with the distractions. Distractions like trying to remember what needs to be done—and when it needs to be done. Or where your files are. Or what your passwords are. Here are five apps that can help.
EasilyDo aims high: its tagline promises “Never Miss Anything.” That’s why I was skeptical about this app. But in the end, I was quite impressed with just how useful it actually is. EasilyDo, available free for Android and iOS, connects with your calendar, email, and social networks to bring all of that information to one place. It tells you when it’s time to leave for an upcoming meeting (taking traffic into account), lets you send birthday wishes and congratulations notices directly to Facebook, and stores information for upcoming trips (including tickets and boarding passes). It even manages your contacts in helpful ways, such as matching profile pictures with contacts and merging duplicates. And it’s easy to use. The Premium version is pricey at $5 per month, but it does add several features, including the ability to automatically add new contacts based on emails you receive and travel alerts about upcoming flights.
A lot of task managers and to-do list apps are great at managing short-term projects and items. But when your tasks and projects get a bit bigger, it’s easy to outgrow those tools. That’s where OmniFocus comes in. Available for Macs and iPhones (the iPad version is in development), OmniFocus is based on David Allen’s GTD (Getting Things Done) system, which involves capturing the list of things you need to do, processing those items, organizing them, and then completing them. It’s easier than it may sound, and OmniFocus can make it even easier, even though this full-featured app may be overwhelming at first. Take the time to try it out and get used to it: I was happy I did. OmniFocus 2 for Mac costs $40 and a free trial is available; the iPhone app is $20.
Nothing makes you look more unorganized than showing up to a meeting without the files you need. With Dropbox, you don’t have to worry about that. It offers one central place to store all of the files you may need—and even the ones you think you won’t. Once files are stored in Dropbox, they can be accessed on another computer or a mobile device, or shared with others. A whole eco-system of apps also has developed around Dropbox, which make this insanely useful app even more so, by adding extra security, music playback features, and more. Dropbox Basic (2GB of space) is free; paid versions start at $10 per month.
Sometimes, the tasks involved with day-to-day life manage to distract us from work. Thinking about who’s going to weed your lawn, pick up your dry cleaning, or assemble your next desk isn’t going to help you get your work done. Instead of worrying about how you’ll manage all of it, outsource it with TaskRabbit. Available on the web and as an app for Android and iOS, TaskRabbit lets you post a task that you need help with and shows who in your area is available to help you and how much they’ll charge. TaskRabbit screens all taskers by verifying their identity and checking criminal records.
You probably have more passwords than you can possibly keep track of mentally. That’s why a password manager like Dashlane can come in handy. This online tool, also available as an app for Android and iOS, stores your passwords for you, freeing your brain from the taxing job of remembering them. Dashlane is easy to use and free in either the web or mobile version, but syncing data between devices costs $20. That may seem steep, but it’s a small price to pay for lightening the load of all that stuff you need to remember.
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Liane Cassavoy is a veteran technology and business journalist. She contributes regularly to PCWorld and has written about business issues and products for Entrepreneur Magazine and other publications. She is the author of two business start-up guides published by Entrepreneur Press.