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Best Free Apps to Be More Productive: A Goal-Oriented Guide

Best Free Apps to Be More Productive: A Goal-Oriented Guide

No matter whether you are a briefcase-carrying CEO or a side-hustling millenial, you're probably always looking to optimize your time, get everything done and still have some hours to yourself. Productivity apps for your portable devices can be your most trusted assistant; however, there are so many of them that it can be hard to find the best among the endless review lists.

Here at OneHowTo we'll give you a guide to the best free apps to be more productive according to your goals. We'll only list apps that work for both Android and iOS and that actually allow you to prioritize and manage your tasks while having an attractive, uncluttered design. There is a world beyond Microsoft suites - stay with us!

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Best Free Organization Apps

The most important thing to become more productive is to actually get organized - time management is everything, especially in our current climate in which work and private life are not actually separated. Luckily, there are plenty cross-platform, automatically syncing apps that allow you to plan events, lists and projects while keeping everything in its proper place.

Organize your cloud

First of all, don't risk losing your research or projects by forgetting to make backup copies. You'll free your devices by having a well-managed cloud storage app - they're all free, but investing in extra space is worth it.

  • Google Drive: Especially practical for Gmail users, its online view function makes it a very good choice.
  • Dropbox: This may be the most popular cloud storage app, which means that your class or teammates will probably already have an account with which to share all kinds of files.
  • Unclouded: Syncs different cloud accounts, except for iCloud.

To-Do list apps

We know - there are so many different to-do list apps, and many of them are actually pretty good. Since Astrid was shut down and Timeful was acquired by Google, substituted by Tasks and Reminders respectively and disappearing for iOS users, the best productivity apps are:

  • Any.Do: Simple and easy to use, it includes reminders, a calendar, and a goal tracker among other cool features like geolocation. The best thing about it is its minimalistic design, and it syncs with other apps as well!
  • Wunderlist: Even simpler, it keeps track of deadlines and smaller tasks through reminders. Lists can be shared with other users, and you can add comments to them.
  • Todoist: Although some important features are reserved for premium users, its simple design, different tasking levels, and integration with other widely used apps like Evernote and Google Calendar make it an excellent choice.

Other organization apps

Once you've arranged your files and prioritized your tasks, you can keep track of your expenses with Expensify (it even scans receipts!) and follow the packages you order online with Slice (which includes alerts for sales). Time is money - and money is time - when it comes to productivity apps.

Best Free Apps for Teamwork

If your business or personal projects require teamwork and you're tired of messy email threads, we have the best apps for teamwork that you can find:

  • Asana: Enhance team projects by organizing and dividing tasks as well as coordinating team mails. It is clear and visually attractive.
  • Trello: Set up different boards, share them and get to work! Each board is divided into lists, in which you can add to-do tasks, tags, and comments - plus it's very easy to move around.
  • Slack: Similar to a chat room, only cleaner and more practical and with fantastically non-annoying notifications. Divide conversations into different channels, share files and voice notes, and archive previous threads.
  • Google Docs and Google Sheets: Already widely used, these functions deserve their spot in our best teamwork apps list thanks to their popularity and clarity.

Best Free Apps for Academic Research

If you're not into business but into academia, as a high-level researcher or student, there are some productivity apps that can help you make the most of all those resources available online. Dusty libraries sure have their appeal - but you need to make time to visit them.

  • Mendeley: A widely-used digital library, it syncs all your articles - download them into your computer and read on your tablet - and lets you tag and categorize them, as well as highlighting and adding comments.
  • EasyBib: A bibliography and citation generator that can even scan bar codes.
  • BrowZine: Access e-journals through your institution, or take a look at their open-access library.

Best Free Time Management Apps

Google Calendar's popularity is well-deserved, especially with the Google Now function, which seems to know everything about your schedule - in fact, it always seems to know more than you, and let's face it, it's a bit unsettling.

Sunrise Calendar, an excellent app, has shut down and moved into Outlook (an email app with strong calendar functions). Cal, from the creators of our recommended to-do list app, is a clear and functional alternative for day-to-day events.

Best Free Note-Taking Apps

One of the best ways to be more productive is to seize your ideas as they pop up - and for that you need clear, manageable note-taking apps. The most popular one by far is the giant Evernote, a cross-platform, multimedia app that lets you create notebooks for different topics and projects.

An alternative is Google Keep, with a similar concept but more colorful and visually attractive. For better or worse, it's simpler. However, it allows you to share notes, add pictures and transcribes your voice memos, among other interesting functions.

Best Free Apps to Optimize your Time

You're not always at work - and you don't have to be! However, you can still make the most of your time and portable device to use your commute or slightly too-long Sunday evening to read, learn something or chase your goals and side projects.

  • Pocket: Save every article, video or site that you want to take a look at and sync it to all your devices. Texts are re-formatted and made easier to read, and you can tag and classify your favorites, creating a useful archive.
  • Medium: A simple writing platform in which you can write your own thoughts on literally any topic, read others' stories, and follow curators.
  • Duolingo: A very popular, always expanding language-learning app.
  • 7 Minute Workout: Exactly what it says on the tin - it plans a short workout for you.
  • TED Talks: Have 10 minutes? Be inspired and learn from experts in a wide variety of topics, and then get to work.
  • Not a math fan? Try Calorie Counter to keep track of what you eat easily, or install Photomath so that it solves calculations for you - you only have to take a picture of the numbers!
  • IF: Automates processes; if this happens, then do that. For instance, if you upload a picture to Facebook, it saves it to your cloud storage - or whatever you want. It saves so much time and effort!
  • Cloze: Social media can be overwhelming if you want to keep up with everything. This app prioritizes posts according to user - you'll never miss an update from your crush again.
  • Forest: If you get easily distracted, using your phone at the office or opening way too many tabs on your computer, this app will stop you from doing so. Plant a seed and let it grow for 25 minutes; if you open the wrong site, the tree will die. It's a surprisingly strong motivation to stay on course!

This has been a goal-oriented guide to the best free apps to be more productive; now you know how to manage your time, coordinate with your team and get organized through your portable devices.

If we forgot your favorite app, write us a comment below!

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