Top 7 Apps To Double Your Productivity

One of the biggest challenges that faces us every day is constant notifications. Emails, messages, and reminder on our devices.
 
On our phones. On our computers. In our inboxes. And even in our pockets.
 
The problem with this — you might lose sight of the goal and end up lost in all the things coming your way.
 
Today I want to share with you seven apps that have helped me double my productivity. These apps help me get more done in less time — and be stress-free, more.
 
These apps will help you become more productive — and focus on the right things.
 
Here are the top seven apps to double your productivity
 
1. Rescue Time = Track where you’re spending your time
 
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Rescue time has become one of my favorite apps since I installed this on my computer.
 
It runs in the background and tracks the time on your computer. Plus it gives you a daily / weekly report of where you’re spending your time.
 
This is great for two reasons;
 
First — I don’t have to track my time at all — and I know at the end of the day where I spent my time
 
Second — I can’t use the excuse ‘I was researching’ anymore with myself. Rescue time tells me exactly what I was doing and what I was not doing. You see it right there on the report.
 
Here’s a quick screenshot from a few days in October.
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You’ll notice it not only logged time that I was on my computer — but also logged what type of activities I was doing.
 
It told me the amount of time I was spending (wasting) on entertainment. And the actual time I spent on business activities.
 
But that’s not all. It further breaks down each of the categories into what specific applications I used. Check it out.
 
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Within ‘Reference & Learning’, it broke that down into the applications I was using. This was the biggest chunk of activities for me in the last week.
 
‘Preview’ is a Mac app that I use to read PDF documents — and this makes the sense.
 
I do spend time on Quora, which is a social Q&A website. But it is reference and learning because I use it for reference.
 
So I’ve changed the setting within RescueTime to treat it as a reference website. That’s another cool feature about Rescue time.
 
You can choose which application (and website) it should treat as a specific category.
 
In your business and life, there will be some apps that you use for a specific purpose. You can mark these with categories that you use.
 
Plus if you do work ‘offline’ you can log that in RescueTime also. Such as meetings, phone calls or networking events — you can log that in RescueTime also.
 
This is by far one of the best apps to have to get more productive.
 
2. Freedom = Block the internet
 
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The internet is a great tool — but it is also the rabbit’s hole that leads to a strange world where you can get lost.
 
I know I’ve been lost down the internet rabbit hole, only to look up 3 hours later and not know where my time went.

This is where Freedom comes in.
 
Freedom is an internet blocking tool that helps you block the internet. Or certain websites from all your devices during the time of the day that you chose.
 
You can install it on your phone, computer or iPad — and let it do the magic in the background. You do have to spend a few minutes setting it up. Which is where RescueTime can help with Freedom.
 
You can use the data from RescueTime to block all distracting websites. Using Freedom to block websites at the time when you need to focus. And during the time of the day when you become distracted.
 
Once you block the internet from your computer and phone — you will have no other choice but to get to work. And once you get to work — you’ll get in the flow of working and becoming more productive.
 
Kind of obvious, I know.
 
Plus, Freedom also has the ability to sync across your devices. So you can use the data from one device to lock-out all your devices and get work done.
 
But that’s not all. Once you’ve get in a steady flow of work, you can program Freedom to block certain websites at the certain time of the day.
 
Such as, if your typical day is 9-5. You can program Freedom as follows
 
a. Block internet access for the from 9am – 1030am.
b. Allow access for 15 minutes, when you can check your email or respond to any email you received
c. Block internet access again from 1045 – 12:15. This will give you access to the internet during your lunch hour and then some.
d. Block access from 1:30 to 3pm
e. Finally allow you to access the internet from 3:30 to respond to email and do any research that you might have to do
f. Block from 3:30pm to 5pm — which will give you another huge chunk of focused time to work
g. Then if you want – you can check your email one last time before you pack up for the day
 
The simple routine of blocking time for doing specific tasks will help you get more focused. When you do it on all your devices you will become more productive. Thus you will take action on important tasks.
 
You will realize the benefits of doing this once you start. Though it’s a good idea to start with a few sessions — so we don’t get any ‘internet-depravation-pangs’.
 
The best part is that it is set-and-forget. Once you put your schedule in, you won’t have to tweak it every day. You’ll be pretty much set.
 
Onwards
 
3. Pomodoro Timer / Kitchen Timer = Use time blocks to work on highest priority
 
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Using a timer has been the best device for my productivity. Whether you use a Pomodoro (Italian for Tomato) or a simple Kitchen Timer to time yourself.
 
This is a quick technique to get yourself to work faster, plus get more work done.
 
The Pomodoro technique comes from Francesco Cirillo. He developed this in the late 1980s. This technique states that you work in 25 minutes time blocks. With 5-minute break between each block. Each 25 minutes time block is a Pomodoro.
 
The 25 minutes are long enough to keep you focused and get some work done. But short enough to still have some urgency behind them in actually getting the work done.
 
For tasks that will take longer, keep tracking the number of Pomodoros. Then do multiple time blocks.
 
With a 20 minute break at the end of 4 Pomodoros.
 
Here’s a step by step of how this method works
 
There are six steps in the technique:
a. Decide on the task
b. Set the Pomodoro timer (to 25 minutes)
c. Work on the task until the timer rings. If a distraction pops into your head, write it down, but immediately get back on task
d. After the timer, rings – put a checkmark on a piece of paper
e. If you have fewer than four checkmarks, take a break (3–5 minutes), then go to step 1
f. After four Pomodoros, take a longer break (15–30 minutes), reset your checkmark count to zero, then go to step 1
 
Doing these simple steps will have you doing work quicker — and getting more things done.
 
Whether you use the Pomodoro Technique or not — is up to you. I’ve found that the days when I track my time I am more productive. You can use a kitchen timer or the Pomodoro app.
 
Give it a go — might work wonders for you.
 
Next up
 
4. Grammarly = Free Grammar Checker
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This has been a lifesaver for me over the last year. Especially since I’m a dyslexic speller. I still don’t know when to ‘i’ comes before ‘e’ and usually get it wrong.
 
Plus remembering the difference between ‘its’ and ‘it’s’ has made me lose more hair than anything else.
 
Grammarly is my ‘Knight-in-Shining-Armour’ (only it’s a she).
 
Grammarly has helped me avoid more mistakes than I can remember. 
It corrects any mistakes that I’ve made whether it is in an email, post, status update, or plain writing.
 
For e.g. in this text that you’re reading — it helped me correct 39 grammatical errors — and I’m not even halfway through.
 
Great tool. Highly recommended. Especially when you communicating in writing, sending emails, pushing updates, or publishing anything.
 
You can install it as a browser extension. Or use the desktop version which is always handy. I use both. The browser version tells me my errors every time I’m sending an email, post or status update.
 
But grammar isn’t the only place where I need help. Sometimes I write sentences that are too confusing — or that don’t make sense.
 
Which is where the next app comes in.
 
5. Hemingway App = Make your writing bold and clear
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This is a free online tool that helps you write bolder and clearer. Like, Hemingway.
 
It highlights the sentences which don’t make sense. Sentences which are too long. Or once which are in the passive tense. Allowing you to re-write your sentence to a better structure.
 
It also shows you the readability score. Which is a fancy way of saying, how many average syllables are there in your writing? The lower the score, the easier it is to understand.
 
But that’s not all — it also shows you the place where you’re using vague words or adverbs. Using specific words makes your writing stronger. Omitting adverbs makes your writing stronger.
 
It also shows you the places where you’re using passive voice. Turn this into active and your writing becomes stronger. Relatable.
 
It highlights sentences which are hard to read, based on their length. Or where you use commas. Shorten these sentences to make them more readable. Use a full stop instead and it makes the sentences easier to read.
 
Think of HemingwayApp as your editor. You write and send it to your editor. Your editor looks at it — and tells you what to change. By following the edits your final product will be much better.
 
Onwards.
 
6. Boomerang for Gmail = schedule email to send later
 
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Have you ever checked your email late at night and seen something that you want to respond to. But didn’t respond to it. Thinking that it’s too late to respond now, I’ll reply in the morning?
 
I’ve had days like that — when I see an email that I can reply to — but replying immediately would not be the right to do. Waiting and replying in the morning would be better.
 
What do you do in such situations? Well, use Boomerang For Gmail. (Unfortunately, it is only for Gmail, Outlook or Android)
 
Boomerang is a tool that lets you schedule your replies. You can schedule your email for a specific date, time and even remind of emails that you need to take action on later.
 
Now you can write out your email, then schedule it for later. This way you’re done with the task at hand — and don’t have to fret about another email you have to send ‘later’.
 
You’re done — right when you get the email.
 
It’s the perfect tool for when you have a ton of emails to plow through.
 
7. 1Password = Save all your passwords securely
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Remember a time when you had to dial someone’s phone number from memory. Then we got cell phones and didn’t have to remember phone numbers so much. But now a new problem came with the internet. Remembering passwords for every website.
 
This is the app that helps me keep organized with all the passwords that I have on my computer. I don’t have to remember any passwords except ONE. This one master password helps me save all the other ones.
 
This is something that I can remember — but not one anyone would be able to guess. Plus, now all the passwords on any of the websites that I register to can be unique. Without me having to memorize or write them down.
 
You can add your credit cards details. Your software licenses, your registrations, and your insurance details to this. This can be handy if you have other computers in the house.
 
It also syncs to your phone and iPad so you don’t have to remember your passwords on any of the devices. 
Clears up a ton of space in your head. I’ve been using this one app for the last 5 years or so and it has been a key to keeping my passwords organized.
 
BONUS: While we’re on the subject of clearing space in your head.
 
8. Headspace = Meditation app — to help clear your space in your head
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This is a great app that helps you get into the habit of meditation. Great app — has guided meditations for many goals that you might have in your life. Highly recommended.
 
Meditation by itself has some benefits. Including helping you get focused and more productive. But that’s a topic for another day.
 
For now — go check out the apps mentioned in this post.
 
Here’s a quick recap – with links to each of the app (open in a new window)
 
Now It’s Your Turn
 
Leave a comment below letting me know if I missed a productivity app that you find useful. Also, I love your feedback — so leave a comment below to let me know what you thought of this list.