Working from home has become an integral part of everyone’s lives owing to the pandemic lockdown. The percentage of professionals working from home has risen significantly over the past few months. More and more tasks are being assigned at home; according to 2019 State of Remote Report, despite giving workers the full freedom to work from anywhere, eighty-four percent of the people still chose to work from home. To improve our time management skills it’s important to use these 10 apps to boost productivity while working from home.
However, being at home and working at home is quite different from each other. Working from home comes with a lot of challenges – getting tasks done from the comfort of your home; it is crucial to consider these challenges when engaging in such activities. It’s hard to unwind right after work and sometimes that eats up most of your time. People may think this is not that big a problem as more work means more productivity, right? Not really.
Productivity is measured by efficiency and it is important to know that there is a reason why office hours are nine to five instead of nine to eight. In order to get an optimum amount of work done in a given time, rest and relaxation are essential for your productivity to shine through.
Motivation also becomes a problem when you nudge some key factors like having bosses or managers to report to or having teammates. Even the environment itself can serve as a demotivating factor and become a distraction.
In this article, we bring to you a list of 10 apps to boost productivity while working from home. These apps will help you boost your productivity and overcome the barriers that are stopping your from delivering your best during this lockdown.
What are “Productivity Apps” and how do they help us?
Any software that makes your job easier and boosts your efficiency is a ‘productivity app’. These apps contribute in easing fractional aspects of work which ultimately help you finish your work in time. Encouraging you to take breaks, blocking distracting sites, keeping track of what you need to know and submit in time. All of this is just the tip of the iceberg to what these apps can do for you. Below are the 10 Apps to Boost Your Productivity.
1: Calendar (for web, Android, iOS)
While our phone calendar is doing the best it can, for a more feature-rich alternative, try out the aptly named application Calendar which integrates all of your other calendars information in one place.
· You can schedule meetings directly in the Calendar while avoiding collision with other scheduled events as Calendar shows availability hours.
· If you create an event in your phone or google calendar, the app will sync them, and you will have them all in one place.
· The free version is available, and the paid version is available at $10 per month.
2: Serene (Mac)
Serene was crafted solely to help users attain utmost efficiency every working day.
• Serene focuses on setting daily goals and lets you focus on them individually as studies have shown that multitasking can reduce productivity to a huge extent.
• Blocks websites that could potentially cost you crucial time; sites like social media and news websites are closed off.
• The application also encourages you to take breaks between 20-60-minute sessions to maximise productivity.
• Serene maintains to-do lists and a day planner where you can set your goal and get work done.
• Count-down timer shows you how much time you have left to complete tasks which acts a motivational boost towards the end of each session.
• Serene is free for Mac. Since it is only in its beta stage of development; you can request an invitation to try it out.
These are just some of the features of the application. The foundational concept is so well established that it stimulates a solid working pace which quickly enhances your productivity.
3: Slack (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Web)
Slack is a messaging platform used by companies worldwide like Target, Oracle, Airbnb. It is developed for making communication among colleagues easier.
• Keeps away the hassle of sorting through hundreds of email notifications to communicate with your teammates. Messages are neatly organised and searchable for better access.
• Different channels can be created for various projects and individuals can join and leave projects as per needed.
• Video calling along with voice calling is available directly from within the application.
• Share your screen with your colleagues and let the collaboration become easier in real-time.
• Slack is free for small teams whereas paid versions go for $6.30/ month per user.
4: Zoom (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and Web)
Specially made for video conferencing and communication, Zoom allows the full suite of real-time communication.
• You can host webinars in the app.
• Hosts can run meetings with up to 100 participants at the same time.
• You can share files during and outside of the video and voice chat in Zoom.
• Zoom is free for participants and the host but only up till 40 minutes; after that, the host will have to upgrade the meeting to a paid version if he wishes to last longer than 40 minutes.
5: Daywise (Android)
One of the biggest concerns cited by workers is how to unplug after work, so it doesn’t affect your time. Daywise helps you in scheduling automation for specific applications, letting you pull through your work sessions without distractions.
• You can schedule notifications for individual apps as you want.
• You can choose people as exceptions who can contact you at any time even if the app is restricting its activity.
• A phone analysis report is produced for you to know how much time you’re spending on your phone and which apps you use the most.
6: Trello (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and Web)
Trello is a project management application that makes organising projects hassle-free and fun. Using the Kanban philosophy, Trello utilises visuals to a great extent which makes it very engaging.
• Break down big projects into small chunks and tag cards for every task to keep track.
• Task completion is smooth and motivating.
• Divide your process and distribute the work pressure evenly through columns to properly navigate your workflow.
• Trello is free of cost; although, they also provide premium plans with additional features at $9.99 a month.
7: Toggl (Web, Windows, Mac, iOS, Android)
Toggl is a time tracking application explicitly crafted for people working from home like freelancers who should be aware of how much time they were spending on tasks so they can bill accurately. It is a worthy investment for those who are generally remote workers, and the application helps you quoting a price more precisely in the future.
• Toggl helps you boost your profits by keeping your work time in check and help you charge for your services properly.
• Analysis reports how productive you’re being and how profitable your tasks are.
• Keeps track of the time of how long it takes for you to complete tasks.
• Toggl starts at $9 per month per user.
8: Spark (Mac, Android)
For those of you who are getting lost in distracting emails, this one is for you. Spark is a smart email client that automatically categorises every email you receive, which it also prioritises. This app will boost your productivity while working from home.
• Filter out the unnecessary and unimportant emails. You can snooze them for checking them out later.
• You will only receive notifications for emails on the priority list.
• Lets you schedule your email to send them at a time then people are most likely to read them.
• Collaborate with your team with private comments, shared drafts and instant chat.
• Get Reminders of when to send or reply to relevant emails.
• Spark is available for free. Paid version goes for $6.36 per month per user, letting you use premium features.
9: Google Drive (Web, Android, Windows, Mac, iOS)
Google drive has come across as quintessential in many professionals’ lives. Saving your files on the computer and sending it to people manually can be quite a task.
• Cloud storage is what makes Drive so useful. You can upload, share, edit, collaborate from any device with as many people as you want.
• Essentials tools like word documents, spreadsheets, presentations are available to you at free of cost.
• Real-time editing and participation are observed in Drive with no lag.
• Google Drive is free.
10: Zapier (Web, Android, Windows, Mac, iOS)
Zapier allows integrations of platforms that would not normally communicate with each other. Instead of constantly switching between apps, Zapier can automate basic functions for you; for example, if you receive a mail on Gmail, it can be programmed to download all included attachments to an OneDrive folder and alert you via Slack.
• Automate repetitive tasks.
• Zapier has a pre-built automation library with pre-programmed workflows for your apps.
• You can customise the automation if you cannot find one in the library.
• Zapier is free for 100 tasks a month. They charge $19.99/month for 750 tasks.
Now it is up to you to see which app benefits you the most as we all have different requirements. It may be difficult for you to get started right off the bat, but when you use anyone of the apps from these 10 Apps to Boost Your Productivity, with daily usage, you will get more accustomed and your productivity will increase.