Best Productivity Boosting Apps

By: Justin Soungie
We all get that feeling some days, if not most for quite a few, where we wonder where the day went. Some days that can be a good thing but many times the day is gone and we still have a seemingly full to-do list. Even with the best intentions time just gets the better of us and tasks fall to the wayside. RescueTime is the app to give answers when you are wondering if someone really did tamper with your clocks. It helps users by tracking the time spent on certain website, applications, etc. Where this app shines is after tracking this information it will generate detailed reports on where that time really went. With things like Facebook and Pinterest, our idle time can really get the best of us, RescueTime can set up alerts to warn when you have been social browsing too long, or even block websites altogether.
Cost:  Lite- Free  |  Full – $9.00/month
Platform: Mac | Android | Windows | BlackBerry
Music is one of the best tools for helping people focus. But in a generation where people skip breakfast and can’t find enough time to even brew a coffee at home before the commute, who really has time to download and put together a playlist? Songza not only has playlists at the touch of a finger, but it has a multitude of genres and even a concierge upon start-up that suggests music lists based on the time of the day. You can get music lists to get you in that optimal state-of-mind or just have something soothing as a mental outlet to let you focus on the task at hand. Found lists that you really love? Save them on your favorites and you can access those same playlists on your desktop or any mobile device.
Cost: Free (Ad Free- $4.00/month)
Platform: Mac | Android | Windows | BlackBerry
Any.Do is the assistant we all wish we could have. Need someone to help you stick to your to-do list? This app starts the day by prompting you to decide what tasks you will conquer that day and get you to build this list as new things come to you through the day. It even helps you to delegate tasks to others and/or just push them off until later. Not only does the app help you with what you need to do but it also keeps you connected to the people that it takes to get the tasks done. The app keeps you constantly aware of what it is you have to do instead of waiting for you to go looking for the “notes” you keep somewhere on your phone.
Cost: Free
Platform: Mac
For those who need the extra aggression from their phone to keep them to task list, try Due. It’s an app that forces you to attend to your commitments by constantly nudging you. You can set it to remind you every minute from the time you set the task for, fortunately it does come with a snooze button that you can set which determines the amount of time added. It’s simply the alarm clock of to-do lists.
Cost: Mobile – $4.99 | Mac Desktop – $9.99
Platform: Mac | Android
Tracking expenses is the least desirable part of spending money, other than having to spend the money in the first place, but both are needed. Abukai won’t save you any of that money but it does make tracking your expenses as easy as taking a picture. Take the pic, hit upload, and the expense report is already created. It emails you expense reports along the way as an excel spreadsheet and even attaches a copy of the receipt as a PDF. Then Abukai gives you a finished report with all relevant information filled out and sent to you as a CSV, QuickBooks file, and a multitude of other types for popular account/finance softwares.
Cost: $39.00/year
Platform: Mac | Android | BlackBerry
Ookla Speedtest
A simple application with an easy graphical interface that lets you test your devices connectivity to Wi-Fi and cellular service connections.  So whether in the basement floor of your office or some coffee shop on the highway in a city you can’t pronounce, Ookla will show you quick answers on your network speed.
Cost: Free
Platform: Mac | Android | Windows
Google Now
Google has done it again. This app is your own virtual assistant that takes the time to get to know you and what you like. This isn’t through some painstakingly long test with an infinite series of multiple-choice answers but through information cards based on your choices of cards, will find the knowledge most relevant to who you really are. It will recommend what TV shows are on and the ones you may like to watch in your free time, or even where you might like to try eating next time on your night out. Heading out with the family to Cottage Country? Google Now will check the weather there, as well as the traffic conditions.
Cost: Free
Platform: Mac | Android
This is your own password vault in your pocket. Not only will it store your passwords securely using authenticated AES 256-encryption, with one master password to login, but it will also help you create strong passwords for every site. This app stays in sync with your device as well as PC or Mac, so not only do you have access to it anywhere but it will also automatically log you so you don’t have to remember all your passwords. If you lose your device or it gets stolen the Auto-Lock protects your vault. In this day and age, one of the biggest downsides of technology is the need for strong passwords and worse, is having to remember them all. You even get the power to separate work passwords from personal and add team or family members you want to have specific passwords, and if you change the password it syncs with their record.
Cost:  App – $17.99 | Desktop Single User – $49.99
Platform: Mac | Android | Windows
Accelerated Speed Reading Trainer
Many apps are made to enhance your phone, making it a better device; this training app works to enhance you, the user. One of the most important productive skills many of us don’t actively work to enhance is how quickly we read. The app creator even claims you will see the results in about 10 days. It has received quite a bit of positive user feedback so far with people backing their claim. It doesn’t require a lot of time invested but the time you will save while reading anything day-to-day will be invaluable.
Cost: Free
Platform: Mac

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