6 Mobile Apps to Boost Your Productivity

by Jan Fletcher on January 12, 2012

Working to increase your productivity in 2012? These six mobile apps may help you conquer to-do lists, organize travel itineraries, move data to the cloud, and more.

  1. 2Do organizes those annoying to-do lists. If the enthusiastic reception that this iPhone and iPad app has received thus far is any indication, Eli Milchman isn’t exaggerating when he says that 2Do might be the best task-manager ever. “What makes 2Do great is that it miraculously seems to make everyone happy,” he notes, adding that “OCD types will quite possibly explode with joy” at the myriad ways to organize tasks. 2Do syncs with many other calendar and cloud services.
  2. Dropbox lets you avoid file-sharing via email. This cloud-based data sharing and storage service was founded in 2007 by Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi, two students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A fully functional alternative to Apple’s iCloud, Dropbox works across the Mac, Windows, and Linux platforms, and Dropbox mobile apps, including ones for the iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry, are available. So far, the service has signed up some 50 million users, each of whom receives 2GB of storage space for free and can purchase additional storage up to 100GB.
  3. Evernote eliminates those annoying sticky notes. This award-winning app, available for Mac and Windows desktop users, as well as an assortment of mobile devices, allows users to synchronize and share notes through Evernote’s cloud system. Multitaskers will appreciate the app’s versatility: Evernote captures images through mobile phone cameras, including hand-written items, and deciphers many words through text recognition. You can also key-in data or record a voice memo. The basic service is free; the premium service costs $45 per year, and enables PDF searches and faster storage and retrieval capabilities.
  4. iBlueSky captures creative sparks on the fly. This brainstorming app from the U.K.-based firm Tenero enables users to construct on-the-spot, intuitive mind maps. Using the iPhone’s touch-screen interface, small-business owners can capture nascent ideas, then link those concepts to other brainstorming ideas through easily manipulated mind maps. Optimized for both the iPhone and iPad, the maps can be readily shared with colleagues.
  5. Instapaper flags news that impacts your business. This web app for the iPhone and iPad bookmarks articles for later reading on a computer or an e-book reader. When you see a story that interests you, just click the “read later” function, and Instapaper stores the link. Accounts are free, and Instapaper documents are accessible through other digital devices, too, including e-book readers like Amazon’s Kindle. This app’s beauty is in its simplicity, so don’t expect lots of extra bells and whistles.
  6. TripIt tracks your travels. This handy app allows users to access travel itineraries across multiple devices, enables itinerary sharing, and syncs with iCal and Google calendars. “Before I found [TripIt], I always struggled with filing and arranging all my different travel details. Adding the stuff to my calendar was even worse,” says Christoph Papenfuss, manager of the IBM Cognos Innovation Center for Europe. “My wife, Jen, hardly ever knew where I was staying.” TripIt is available for the iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, Android, and Windows Phone 7.