Top 5 productivity apps

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There’s just so much to do and so little time! Thankfully, there are productivity apps to help you get through the day (photo credit: gailjadehamilton, flickr).

There’s just so much to do and so little time! Thankfully, there are productivity apps to help you get through the day (photo credit: gailjadehamilton, flickr).

oon yeohBy Oon Yeoh

What do urbanites have in common? For one thing, time seems to fly by too quickly while the work keeps piling up. There’s too much to do and too little time!

But there’s something else we all have in common. Most of us own smartphones and/or tablets. Through the use of apps on these devices, we can vastly improve our productivity throughout the day. Here are five apps that I believe will help you get more done in less time (not in any order of merit):

Any.do
With so much to do and so little time, a “To Do” list is crucial. Some of us might just create such a list using a simple note-taking program. But if you really want an effective way of keeping track of and prioritise what you need to do for the day, the best app for that in my opinion is Any.do.

Any.do is more than just a list. It has a functionality called Any.do Moment, which allows you to decide which task you’ll complete, which ones you’ll delegate to others and which will be put on hold for the time being. In other words, it actually forces you to think about what you have to do and how important each task is. You can also set time and location reminders and even share your lists with others. And yes, it’s free!

Microsoft Office for iPad
MS Office’s absence in Apple’s App Store was something that many people wanted fixing. That’s not surprising. The iPad is the world’s most popular tablet and MS Office is the world’s most popular productivity suite. At last, Office for iPad is available.

As we all know, MS Office consists of a bunch of productivity products. The three big ones are MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint. And it’s these three that are now available for iPad as separate apps: Word for iPad, Excel for iPad and PowerPoint for iPad.

Best of all is that they are all free of charge although it must be pointed out that their functionality is severely limited if you’re not an Office subscriber. You are able to read documents but you cannot edit them (it goes without saying that you can’t create new documents with them either). To unlock their full functionality, you’ll have to buy an Office 365 Home subscription, which costs US$99 a year.

Evernote
Evernote is the best cross-platform note-taking software around. If you’re browsing different websites and want to copy clips of information to access later on more than one device, Evernote is the software to use.

Content is stored in the form of entries in “notebooks” that you create within the app. This content is then sync onto the cloud and will be available to you on any device that has Evernote installed. All you have to do is login to enable the syncing, which is done automatically.

Like many popular apps, Evernote has a free version that offers 60Mb of space per month. If you opt for the premium version, which costs US$45 per year, you’ll get 16GB of space.

Dropbox
I don’t think Dropbox, the most popular cloud storage system around, needs any introduction. If you want to make your files (text, images, audio or video files) available for access on any Internet-enabled device you own, Dropbox is the way to go. It’s secure, it’s super easy to use and yes, there is a basic free version, which gives you 2Gb of free storage.

For iPad users, Dropbox is particularly handy because unlike Android of Windows tablets, the iPad doesn’t have a USB port. So transferring files to and from the iPad is not as simple or straightforward as sticking in a thumbdrive. Dropbox is a remarkably easy way to achieve file transfers. Just put in whatever you want to transfer into it and it will be available in all your other devices that have Dropbox installed. It is that simple and really, quite indispensable if you are an iPad user.

Google Maps
I know what you’re thinking. How can Maps be a productivity tool? Well, in the course of our work, we do have to go out and meet people. Sometimes these people are at places that we are not familiar with. Getting lost in traffic curbs productivity, knowing how to get somewhere boosts it.

There are many map programs out there and Apple itself has got Apple Maps but frankly, by all accounts, it’s not as good as Google Maps, which is the map application most people use (there are already more than 500 million downloads of its app) when they want to figure out how to get to somewhere unfamiliar. Best of all, it’s completely free!
Oon Yeoh is a new media consultant.

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