7 Productivity Apps You Can't Live Without
Get Organized FasterMagnetoEasilyDoTempo Smart CalendarMailboxCortanaiA WriterLift
Whether you're an avid user of personal productivity apps already, or you're just downloading one for the first time, consider this refreshed list of options. -- Laura Montini
A Magneto Calendar was designed for quick meeting scheduling. It gives users a clearer idea of each other's available times by allowing them to share snapshots of their calendars -- with the option of leaving out all of the details. After one user draws a box on the calendar to propose a meeting time, the other accepts or rejects it. The iOS app syncs with both Microsoft Exchange and Google Calendar and is available for free in Beta.
This app promises to automate up to 40 tasks. For example, EasilyDo notes those regular weekly dial-in conference meetings and offers to dial in for the user when the time comes. The app can call up other details like package tracking information, flight status and public transportation times. EasilyDo has raised $4.3 million to date from the Mayfield Fund and U.S. Venture Partners. The app is available for free on Apple and Android devices.
In addition to schedule organization features, the Tempo Smart Calendar helps users to quickly read up on the people they're scheduled to walk into their next meeting with. The app pulls details about the person from Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, reveals any mutual contacts and displays related news from sources like Crunchbase and AngelList. Tempo, available for free in the App Store, comes from research institute SRI, the same organization from which the Siri technology emerged.
Mailbox is an old favorite with new updates. Dropbox acquired the mobile email app last year after the system generated lots of buzz right after launch -- it was soon delivering more than 100 million emails daily. The app aims to help users organize emails fast by letting them perform different swipes to archive, delete or snooze mail to be dealt with later. The newest feature is auto-swipe, a learning system that automates these classifications based on an individuals's past usage patters. Mailbox syncs with iCloud and Gmail and is now available for both iOS and Android devices for free.
This one is for Microsoft phone users, as Cortana is a personal assistant build into the Windows Phone 8.1 operating system. The OS just recently became publicly available to developers, so the verdict is still out on whether users like their new digital assistant. Cortana is able to perform voice-activated search, just like Siri. However, The Verge reports that Cortana is a bit more advanced, as users can allow the system to use personal data and emails to provide alerts reminders automatically.
IA Writer is a text editor that aims to strip away distractions. It literally forces users to hone in on what they're doing by highlighting the latest line of text and making everything else fade in order to discourage the temptation to edit. Additionally iA Writer includes written formatting commands so that a user's hands don't leave the keyboard. It's for professionals that need to turn out copy fast. IA Writer is available for $4.99 at the App Store.
This app is for those who want to apply Quantified Self principles to productivity. Lift lets users log and track daily progress related to long habits like running, writing and learning. Users can also interact with others to cheer each other on or to provide feedback. According to TechCrunch, Lift is backed by the Obvious Corporation, a venture fund and startup accelerator founded by Twitter's cofounders. The app is available for free for iOS and Android devices.