20 best apps to get you organised


During the Covid-19 lockdown, students and homeworkers alike have been discovering how apps from the likes of Zoom, Slack and Google have made collaboration and remote working possible.

When it comes to work and personal productivity, every little improvement can make a difference, which is why productivity is one of the busiest categories on Google and Apple’s app stores.

Some of those apps tackle the same tasks as the ones preloaded on your smartphone: calendar, contacts or notes, for example – but with better design and extra features. Others zero in on specific niches to organise your digital and/or physical life and work, from scanning and sorting your receipts or managing work projects through to planning your weekly food shopping or managing children’s pocket money.

This is a list of 20 of the best apps that may help, but productivity and organising apps are subjective: if something doesn’t work for you, there are usually two or three (or even a dozen) good options that might suit you more – so browse around.

FamilyWall logo


FamilyWall
(Android/Apple, free + optional subscription)
The bigger your household gets, the trickier it can be to coordinate who’s doing what when. FamilyWall is one of a cluster of family-management apps, with a shared calendar, chores and shopping lists, and messaging. A premium subscription adds more features if needed.

Focus logo


Focus
(Apple, subscription)
If you’re working from home for some or all of the time, Focus is a clever app for helping you manage time. It structures your day into 25-minute working chunks, with tasks and regular breaks. You can also use the app to track tasks, form housework to homework. After a three-day free trial, a subscription is required.

Kitche logo


Kitche
(Android/Apple, free)
Kitchen organisation is greatly underrated, but whether you’re just pushed for time or wanting a greener lifestyle, apps like Kitche can be a boon. You scan supermarket receipts so it knows what food you’ve bought, and then it will help you to plan meal based on what’s in the cupboards. It can also send you reminders that certain foods are nearing their use-by dates.

Slidebox logo

Slidebox
(Android/Apple, free + optional subscription)
Unless you’re ruthlessly organised with your smartphone life, at some point your device will become cluttered with photos. Slidebox is a clever way to scoot through your library deleting unwanted images, while sorting others into albums. It’s free, with a subscription removing ads and adding video support.

Actions by Moleskine logo


Actions by Moleskine
(Android/Apple, subscription)
Moleskine isn’t just about physical notebooks and diaries these days: it has a range of productivity apps too. Actions is a minimalist yet colourful to-do list app as handy for work projects as for your home life. It’s simple to set up reminders for regular tasks too. This also has a free trial, then a paid subscription.

Evernote logo


Evernote
(Android/Apple, free + optional subscription)
It’s been around since the earliest days of the app stores, but Evernote has just had a big redesign of its mobile apps to make them fit for 2020. It remains an excellent way to both take and store notes, but more importantly to find them again when you need to. A subscription offers more features and storage.

Anylist logo


AnyList
(Android/Apple, free + optional subscription)
A basic notes app on your smartphone is fine for quick shopping lists, but a dedicated tool like AnyList offers advantages. Among them: the option to have shared shopping lists with family members or housemates, and to cross-reference with favourite recipes. A subscription adds more features for power users.

CardHop logo


Cardhop
(Apple, £4.99)
Every smartphone comes with a built-in contacts app, so why would you pay for an extra one? Cardhop’s big selling point is its ease of use and impressive design: a beautifully crafted app for sorting your contacts, adding notes, and quickly searching twhen required. It also features an electronic business card which you can share via a QR code.

Smart


Smart Receipts
(Android/Apple, free + optional subscription)
OK, so if you’re working from home you’re unlikely to be accumulating many paper receipts. But as and when that changes, Smart Receipts and apps like it are really useful for scanning receipts in and keeping on top of your expenses, whether for tax purposes or your employer. The data it collects can be exported in various spreadsheet-friendly formats.

Toggl app


Toggl Track
(Android/Apple, free)
Particularly when working from home, the hours can blur into one. Not ideal if you’re a freelancer who needs to bill by the hour, or just want to know how your time has really been divided between tasks. Toggl Track is a nifty free app for tracking your time, then seeing a breakdown with simple, clear graphics.

Forest


Forest
(Android/Apple, £1.99 + optional in-app purchases)
Smartphone apps can be among the biggest distractions from work, so downloading another one to keep you focused may seem strange. Forest works well though, using a tree-planting metaphor to encourage you to ignore your phone. Plus, the developers use some of the profits to plant trees in the real world, which is worth supporting.

Notecircle logo


NoteCircle
(Apple, free)
This iPhone app is one of the most stripped-down organisation apps you’ll find, but that’s its appeal. You enter tasks, including the routine things you want to do every day or week, and it offers a simple way to remind yourself and check them off, as part of your efforts for getting everything done.

Files by Google

Files by Google
(Android, free)
The longer you own a smartphone, the more clutter it has: but few of us have the time to delete the unwanted photos and files. Google’s neat tool for Android smartphones reduces the hassle: it’s a matter of taps to get rid of duplicates and unwanted apps, and also to find the stuff you do still want.

Command logo

Command for Instagram
(Apple, subscription)
Instagram is a serious business for aspiring influencers and small enterprises looking to market themselves. Command is a clever app to organise your Insta-life, from stats to understanding when the best time to post is, to help with captions and hashtags. After a free trial, it costs a monthly or annual subscription.

Miro app icon


Miro
(Android/Apple, free + optional subscription)
Pitched as a “collaborative whiteboard”, Miro is an app designed for people who work in teams remotely – so ideal for the current time. Each infinitely stretching “board” can include virtual sticky notes and scribblings, but also uploaded images and documents. Its basic version is free, with subscriptions offering more features.

Any.do app logo

Any.do
(Android/Apple, free + optional subscription)
One of the Swiss army knives of the productivity apps world, this is part calendar and part to-do list, with smart features for syncing up with thousands of other apps – from note-takers to social networks. The free version gives you a taste, but a monthly subscription unlocks all of its features.

GoHenry logo

GoHenry
(Android/Apple, subscription)
Dishing out pocket money to children may not seem like it needs more organisation, but GoHenry and its rivals are growing in popularity as a way to manage the process. The app is the interface to a child’s bank account, with parents using it to pay money in, set spending limits and even create chores for extra moolah.

Things 3 logo

Things 3
(Apple, £9.99)
This Apple-only app works across iPhone, Macs and Apple Watches, and offers different layers of organisation. You can use it for simple to-do lists and reminders, but also to set goals and keep track of longer-term projects, with clear divisions between tasks you’ve set for your work and personal life.

Otter app logo

Otter
(Android/Apple, free + optional subscription)
If you’re someone who likes to think aloud while working, Otter is an excellent tool. It’s a voice-recording app, but it also handles transcribing your words, making it easy to search through your past recordings to find the bit you need. Upgrading to the premium version gets you 6,000 minutes of transcription a month.

Ayoa app logo


Ayoa
(Android/Apple, free + optional subscription)
Text-based lists don’t suit everyone: if you’re more of a visual person, Ayoa is worth a look. It’s a project-planning app that also helps you to flesh out your ideas in “maps” – and then share them with workmates digitally. Even if you don’t use the project tools, the mind maps can be very useful.



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