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This Year’s Top 5 Productivity Apps for Entrepreneurs

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One founder lists her favorite apps that helped her get more stuff done in 2013. 

By Sian Morson (Founder & CEO, Kollective Mobile)

It’s a busy life for entrepreneurs, with meetings, calls, emails and life to manage. It can get hectic. Luckily, as our mobile devices become a bigger part of our lives, we can use them to help manage our busiest of days and bring some balance to our lives. Its been a(nother) great year for mobile and luckily apps are getting better not only in the way they look, but in functionality as well. Apps are able to assist with the simplest tasks but also with the more complicated ones, too. The following apps are my top picks for busy entrepreneurs that will help to make you even more productive that you already are.

Evernote

Platforms: iOS & Android
Cost: Free

Honestly, I’m sure I’ve only scratched the surface of all that Evernote is able to do. And it seems like every few months or so, they add new features. It allows you to save emails, thoughts, articles, notes – pretty much anything you find online (or can write in a notebook) and store it in notebooks you create. Evernote is the ultimate document management system. Your documents are stored in the cloud and synced across devices and there’s even a handy browser extension and integration with other apps such as IFTTT (next on the list). Yes, there are other apps to manage your documents, articles, notes etc., but none of them even come close to Evernote IMHO.

IFTTT (If This Then That)


Platforms: iOS & Android
Cost:  Free on iOS; $1.35 on Android

Those of you who are familiar with computer programming know this term as a conditional statement. Here, the creators of this ingenious app, let you create ‘recipes’ that allow you to automate tasks that you perform within and between applications you use every day. So, for instance, you may want to save all of the tweets you’ve favorited on Twitter to Evernote. Or save your screenshots to a specific folder in Dropbox.  Each recipe consists of a trigger and an action from any of the available channels. With multiple channels and services available for linking, IFTTT lets you automate tasks and takes the minutia out of everyday activities. If you can’t come up with your own recipe, don’t fret. Featured recipes are listed on the site. Just browse, activate a channel and add to make your life easier!

Mailbox

mailbox
Platforms: iOS (iPhone & iPad)
Cost: Free

I’ve tried many different approaches to taming my wild, email inbox situation. Some apps have come close, but none is as original as Mailbox. Mailbox is an email management application that does email like no other app does. With a unique interface and beautiful design, Mailbox takes email management to a whole, new level. What it does, is provide users with options for managing their emails. You are able to sort your messages into multiple categories like To Read, To Watch, To Buy, Follow Up etc. Each category represents a folder where the app will happily store the messages until you can get to them. You can also add your own categories, too. If you snooze a message, it reappears into your inbox later. The app uses colorful visual cues to let you know which gesture is initiating a particular task. For instance, a short swipe right will archive a message but a long swipe right will put a message into the trash. The bar will turn green for archive and red for trash. Mailbox isn’t a panacea; its still up to you to follow up and address those messages in folders. But it certainly makes it easier to manage a large number of emails from one sexy interface.

Dropbox


Platforms: iOS & Android
Cost: Free; Subscriptions are available

Most of you will already be familiar with Dropbox, the popular file synching and sharing service. The Dropbox app brings this service to your mobile devices with ease and simplicity. If you’re sharing files, photos or videos, the Dropbox app is a must have. You can have easy access to your most important files, right from your mobile device. The app has been recently redesigned for iOS 7 too and offers new features such as background uploading from your camera phone.

Any.do

Platforms: iOS & Android
Cost: Free

If you’re like me and making lists helps you to stay on top of things, then Any.do is for you. It’s the perfect list-making app. Make a list and set a due date for each task. The app lets you create folders to categorize your lists and add dates to them so that it can remind you when tasks are due. Then, every morning at a time of your choosing, Any.do neatly lists all of the tasks due on that day, giving you the ability to snooze tasks for a few hours or to put them off until later. Once a task as been completed, Any.do allows you to cross it off the list and congratulates you for a job well done. Any.do’s interface is simple, and it is easy to change the order of tasks in a list. You can type a task to add it to a list, or use the app’s handy dictation feature. This app is packed with great features and also integrates with Any.do’s Cal calendar app.

What were your top productivity apps of the year?

0f17bc4About the guest blogger: Sian Morson is the founder and CEO of Kollective Mobile. She is a mobile evangelist, tech entrepreneur and author. Her first book Learn Design for iOS has been published by Apress.