It’s that time of year again. Time to reassess our personal and professional practices and make some goals for 2014.
Most resolutions revolve around self-improvement, whether that means spending more time with family, starting a fitness regimen, spending less money or continuing our education. The common thread? Productivity. We all want to be better investors of our time. We want to spend more time doing things we love, and be more focused on tasks that lead to the greatest rewards in health, happiness and prosperity.
Those aspirations sure sound great, but it can be pretty challenging to manage all our competing priorities. With a healthy dose of efficiency, we can achieve our resolutions for a more productive 2014. All we need are the proper tools to help us break our goals into more manageable steps and stay organized.
Here are our top five productivity apps for your New Year’s resolution:
Any.do is an award-winning to-do planner that will help you actually organize your life. Syncing from all devices right into your browser and email, this powerful app helps you accomplish everything you need to do. Multitaskers will love its minimalistic design and intuitive, playful interface. Any.do helps you keep your goals organized, set reminders for individual tasks, and quickly swipe them off as you complete them.
This clever little Chrome extension helps painlessly manage your many important contacts. Formerly known as WriteThat.Name, EverContact got its start as a Gmail plugin that turned email signatures into contacts. It scans all of your emails and automatically imports them into your address book contacts, saves them to Evernote, Salesforce, or any other CRM.
Now, EverContact can grab contact details from anywhere on the web, like a website or LinkedIn profile. It captures details such as phone number, name, postal information, company, position and even social media profiles. Since EverContat syncs directly to your mobile and CRM apps, all your contact info is always right at your fingertips.
Caffeine isn’t the only reason we find ourselves more productive at coffee shops. Recent research shows a moderate level of background noise actually boosts creative brainstorming. Coffitivity brings the coffee shop to you, producing the ambient hum of milk being steamed and cappuccinos being savoured. The coffee shop soundtrack is just the right volume to get your creative juices flowing
Ever wish you could just find time? RescueTime may actually hold the power to make you into a more efficient person. This web-based app runs in the background on your computer and phone, tracking how much time you spend on certain tasks, websites and even categories, like “Communication.” It then provides you with an accurate report of your routine and shows what makes you more or less productive, so you can best allocate your time and energy.
Aside from the effortless analytics, RescueTime gives you the ability to set custom alerts, as well as time management goals on a daily or weekly basis. You can even set an amount of time you’d like to focus on a certain task and temporarily block the websites and apps you’re most distracted by. If you’re serious about improving your productivity, RescueTime will truly enlighten you about your work habits.
Carrot makes it fun to get things done. This app is essentially a gamified to-do list for iOS that offers over 400 prizes for completing tasks in real life – and reprimands you for falling behind. Carrot will shower you in compliments and honour your productivity with bonus points, levels and even upgrades. Fail to complete your tasks and you will feel the wrath of Carrot. You’ll quickly learn to be more vigilant with your to-dos, in order to avoid Carrot’s cruel and unusual punishments. Death by killer ants, anyone?
It’s minimalistic design and functionality make Carrot a simple to use, daily to-do list. With no options for tagging or setting due dates, it’s ideal for any single list of tasks. The fun and torment continues with the new CarrotAlarm, which makes it fun to get out of bed with over 30 songs and gifts for waking up on time.
Image courtesy of Sarah_Ackerman at Flickr.