Busy people of the world, these 11 apps will change your life

You’re a busy person. I understand.

Some weeks you just can’t deal with the flood of notes, phone calls, and sales tickets demanding your attention. You’re treading water in a to-do list the size of an enterprise DropBox account, and you need a life preserver.

Let me show you the light.

workflowy

WorkFlowy

Slate called it ‘the note-taking app that changed the way I organize my life’. Quick, what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about the field of note-taking apps? That’s right, Evernote.

And you know what? I love Evernote. I’d chuck my phone into the Chicago river before letting anything happen to the data in my Evernote account. But while Evernote has great organization for notes and notebooks, individual notes have a way of just looking like a chunk of text.

And if you can’t imagine your notes looking like anything else than a chunk of text — take 46 seconds to watch the Workflowy intro video. I even told you exactly how much time it would take, you busy person you.

I can type into a single page on Workflowy for hours without feeling too overwhelmed, because that’s just how it was designed. Also, Evernote requires an app download and takes up real estate on my screen, while Workflowy just sits in a tab in my browser.

swiftkey

SwiftKey

SwiftKey replaces the Android keyboard to make typing easier, faster, and less frustrating. AKA, gives Android phones the predictive engine of an iOS device. Boom.

Actually, that was what I thought — until I checked it out and I realized that SwiftKey actually helps Android users become far more efficient typists than I am on my iPhone. Now I’m jealous, and I want SwiftKey to be available on iOS.

peopleperhour

PeoplePerHour

A beautifully designed service that helps you hire freelancers to take care of the extra work you need to do. PeoplePerHour is most popular with designers, but also includes writing, web development, business support services, and more.

Sometimes you’re too busy to take care of the minor details of your business all by yourself, but you’re all out of underlings to push around. Some of those requests belong to Mechanical Turk for sure, but some tasks require a little more… Finesse.

Do this right and you could end up like the guy who outsourced his own job to China so he could watch cat videos at his six-figure job. Remember that guy?

Capitalism, baby.

yammer

Yammer

Like Facebook for your company, but with less cats and memes. Actually, YMMV, depending on where you work. The internal news feed at the Cracked office might be a real circus.

How does a workplace social network make you more productive?

Well, it gives team members an easy way to share articles and achievements without resorting to an email blast, collaborate on projects with groups and messages, and overall boosts morale by creating that tight-knit sense of kinship you feel with your Facebook friends. You know.

cloudon

CloudOn

Google Drive has been gaining popularity for some time, but still falls short of the raw power of the MS Office suite in some situations.

Example: spreadsheet-centric situations where Excel, well, excels.

CloudOn lets you bring your MS Office applications with you on your tablet, phone and share them seamlessly— just like in Drive! All the cross-platform, cloud-sharing goodness of Drive, but with the omnipotence of Office — and Excel — behind it.

wave

Wave Accounting

One day, a company was having breakfast (pancakes with sweet and spicy bacon) and thought to itself, ‘you know what — today, I’m going to make accounting software sexy.’ That company is Wave.

Wave promises to set you free from the tedium of managing your own accounts and finances, giving you more time to spend snowboarding or snowplowing or whatever it is you do best.

Wave also includes a special package for you startups out there (because I guess Wave loves startups?) but even if you think of yourself as a person and not a startup, they got your back too. Wave has personal finance software to help with your budgeting and your investments and for some reason it’s completely free.

Or as they put it, un-priced.

mailbox

Mailbox

Ever had an app that threatened to fix your bad email habits… And actually made good on that threat? If not, Mailbox might be the one you’re looking for, and get you from 46,191 unread emails to zero. Lauren, get Mailbox. Please.

I’ve personally known scores of entrepreneurs who told me some day that they were going to ‘fix email’. How many of them pulled it off? None.

But Mailbox does, and maintains pixel perfection in its interface while doing it. In fact, it’s so pretty I wanted to download it just to look at it, but I ended up using it because it just had to be useful too. Overachievers, right?

My only gripe with Mailbox? The girl in their beautifully made product video sends an email to her friends that she’s ‘on a hike’ but she’s not dressed in hiking attire. I mean, come on.

zendesk

ZenDesk

There’s nothing more important to business than customers.

ZenDesk helps your customers find the answers they’re looking for, your agents maximize their customer-helping efficiency, and your managers the right insight into what exactly needs to be done. That’s right, ZenDesk is customer service software.

Oh, and Disney uses them. You know. If it’s good enough for His Mousiness Himself, it’s probably good enough for you.

Like Wave, ZenDesk also includes a special deal for startups — in fact, it’s part of the same startup tools package.

fuzebox

FuzeBox

If you’ve ever been frustrated with the quality of video provided by Skype or Google Hangouts, FuzeBox provides HD video for your conference calls, making sure you never leave embarrassing items out in the open when working from home ever again.

The service boasts HD video AND audio, which suggests to me that Fuze might be great for team members working on a project remotely and also help couples in long distance relationships optimize that crucial remote movie experience.

The people on this page, for example, seem to be watching a car ad together in full HD. Either that or the eleventh participant in the call is KITT and Knight Rider technology has finally arrived.

buffer

Buffer

Buffer is like a helpful friend that posts to your social media accounts for you, at times of the day or week when more people are likely to see your activity — if that friend also gave you analytics about your posts/tweets and told you how many people clicked on the links you shared.

It’s like Buffer wants you to be popular and successful on social media. Try finding a friend willing to help you with that.

I even have the Buffer Chrome extension installed in my toolbar so I can share whatever it is I happen to be looking at — and without having to tab out to a URL-shortener because Buffer does that automatically too.

Base CRM Logo

Base CRM

So CRM, for the uninitiated, stands for Customer Relationship Management. Base is software that helps you manage your relationships with customers. But you don’t need customers to use Base.

I know a guy (that’s right, I know a guy personally) who used this very CRM to streamline his apartment search process — that’s right, turning CRM back on the salespeople bam.

And when I heard that I was mad, because I’d just gone through an incredibly painful apartment search process where I’d kept my notes in a Google Drive spreadsheet and on paper and it had all been just unnecessarily frustrating.

 


So now that you have all this free time from perfectly optimizing your workflows with the best of productivity technology, what are you going to do with it?

Not more work please. Trying to squeeze more work into a day just won’t push you as far – you need an underlying motivator to really get the most of your productivity. For some people, it’s spending time with their kids. For you it might be building your collection of Harry Potter Legos. Or spending time with other people’s kids. Whatever floats your boat.

After all, you only get 25,000 mornings in your entire adult life. Didn’t know that? Well now you know, and you have the tools to make the most of them.

So get to it.

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