The best productivity apps for time and task management
At a time when getting distracted is easier than ever, we need tools that facilitate productivity both personally and professionally. These days, there are countless apps claiming to do just that, making choosing the best ones a distraction unto itself.
Whether you need help managing workflows, time or focus, the apps below are effective tools to boost productivity for professional and personal use alike.
Many of these apps offer their free version alongside paid alternatives with additional features, so it’s worth noting that some features described come at a cost.
1. Zapier (web app, browser extension)
While this list mostly covers free productivity apps for iPhone, Android and desktop, Zapier exists only as a web app and Chrome extension.
Zapier isn't really an app. It's an automation platform that moves info between the apps you use every day, so you can save time, reduce tedious tasks and focus on your most important work. Zapier's automated workflows are called **Zaps**, and you can either create a Zap from scratch or choose from a library of pre-made templates – no code required.
With Zapier, you can connect Dropbox to thousands of the most popular apps to boost productivity. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Save new email attachments to Dropbox
- Instantly upload videos saved in Dropbox to YouTube
- Add a new row to a Google Sheet for every new Dropbox upload
- Back up incoming emails as files on Dropbox
2. Trello (iOS, Android, web app)
Trello makes work management simple, digestible and attractive by enabling you to organise and prioritise projects in a fun, flexible and rewarding way. Trello’s intuitive boards, lists and cards make it easy to organise ideas and track progress.
For example, let’s say your Marketing team is managing their editorial calendar in Trello. They can create lists for each step in the process, like ‘Ideas’, ‘Writing’, ‘Editing’ and ‘Published’, and then add a card for each article. Cards can be assigned to members of the team, include dates for when each step of the process is due and all of the attachments for Dropbox files and Dropbox Paper files. This keeps everything organised in one central location, so you don’t need to dig through endless email chains to get things done.
Of course, that’s just the start. Trello’s flexibility means it can be adapted for any team. Plus, with over 150+ integrations to your favourite apps and services with Power-Ups and built-in automation, Trello is the productivity hub for teams everywhere.
Integrate your Dropbox account with Trello to attach files and folders to Trello cards directly from Dropbox, preview attached Dropbox files without leaving Trello and have Trello activity for any attached Dropbox files reflected directly in Dropbox.
3. Slack (macOS, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, web app, browser extension)
Slack has long been a productivity powerhouse, touted by major corporations as an essential all-in-one solution for facilitating efficient, productive team collaboration.
Create channels for teams and projects and enjoy specialised tools to fuel collaboration. Channels don’t only streamline communication internally, they also allow you to collaborate with partners outside your company, including clients, partners or service providers.
Enabling fluid communication for remote teams, on Slack, you can make voice and video calls, create channels for projects, share screens and send files with ease – so everything can happen in one comprehensive app.
Seamless app extensions allow you to integrate your Dropbox account with Slack to start Slack conversations within Dropbox, send files to Slack directly from Dropbox at the click of a button and synchronise Dropbox Paper files so you can post, preview and edit within Slack itself.
4. Asana (Browser extension, iOS, Android)
Asana facilitates productivity with a huge range of work management tools, helping you see a project from start to finish with features that bolster tracking, communication, team management and more.
In Asana, you can create different groups for each team or department in your business. Then create projects, and within those projects, you can add tasks and subtasks and a time frame or deadline for each. You can assign tasks and projects to specific teams or individuals, comment on tasks with extra info or instructions and add other teammates as followers so they’re notified about any updates.
Add milestones so that the goals of the project are always clear, dependencies so everyone knows which tasks must be completed in order for others to begin, timelines so that a complete overview of a project is easy to access and analyse and much more.
That’s a bare-bones summary of what Asana has to offer, but there are so many more intricate, intuitive features within the app that make project management a breeze. From time tracking to proofing to scheduling to note-taking, Asana covers all bases.
When you connect Asana with Dropbox, you can attach and share Dropbox files directly through Asana, making it even more efficient.
5. HelloSign (web app, API, iOS, Android)
Gone are the days where documents need to be printed, signed, scanned and sent to the next signee. HelloSign, a Dropbox Company, allows you to digitally sign documents, saving you a lot of time and simplifying the process, which is especially useful these days when it’s unlikely that every signee is in one workspace.
You can use HelloSign for any document, be it NDAs, tenancy agreements or employment contracts. With 17 accepted file types, you can send pretty much anything that may require a signature through HelloSign. E-Signatures on HelloSign are legally binding and heavily encrypted, so you can be sure that everything is legitimate and your personal data is secure.
You can send mass requests, either in a particular order so only once one person signs is it sent to the next, or all at once. Recipients simply need to log in, read the document and add their electronic signature, and the document will be automatically returned to you, signed, sealed and delivered in an instant.
Streamline the process further by creating or using pre-existing templates, and add custom logos and branding at the click of a button.
Team management tools allow you to grant access to different groups or individuals; set optional, required and CC’d signees; set up reminders to make sure everything is signed on time and more.
With the HelloSign extension for Dropbox, you can send documents out for signatures directly from Dropbox itself, and once they’re signed, they’ll be saved in your Dropbox automatically.
6. Dropbox Passwords (Browser extension, macOS, Windows, iOS, Android)
We’d save lots of time if we didn’t have to constantly remember passwords for the myriad of accounts we have to log into in both our professional and personal lives. It’s easy to forget a password – especially these days when we’ve got more than ever, which also require regular updates.
Dropbox Passwords is a powerful new password management app. While it might seem daunting to save all your passwords in one place, your private data is heavily encrypted and extremely secure – only you can access them. Passwords gives an extra layer of protection to secure personal information online.
Add accounts to Dropbox Passwords with usernames, passwords and any other information you need to remember, or import a CSV with all of your accounts at once. Dropbox Passwords can generate strong passwords for you too, so whenever it’s time to update one, you don’t have to worry. You can create profiles for credit cards for quick and easy online shopping, and add offline data like gate codes, prescriptions and Wi-Fi passwords.
The app securely stores your passwords, and as you sign into any account you’ve added, it’ll auto-fill the login fields for you.
Once this is all set up, password breach notifications can be enabled to provide an additional fail-safe.
In the event of a breach, Dropbox Passwords users will receive alerts when their account details are at risk, with instructions on how to respond quickly to fraud, theft and security breaches.
7. IFTTT (Android and iOS devices only)
IFTTT is an intuitive productivity app. It’ll literally be productive on your behalf.
IFTTT establishes automated, conditional functions based on its ‘If This Then That’ model. With IFTTT’s pre-built ‘Applets’, if one thing happens in one place, then a specific action will be taken in another, similar to Zapier, but simpler.
For example, you can have songs from YouTube automatically added to Spotify playlists whenever you ‘like’ videos. Integrate IFTTT with smart home technology so you can, for instance, have your heat turned on whenever you approach your street. Whenever you’re tagged in a Facebook photo, IFTTT can save it to Dropbox.
This level of automation undoubtedly boosts productivity, taking care of tasks you shouldn’t have to give up valuable time and resources for.
IFTTT works with many smart home devices and mobile apps that Zapier doesn’t, and vice versa, and has better smartphone functionality while Zapier works predominantly on desktop, so they’re both handy in their own way.
Using Dropbox to assist productivity
Dropbox is also a productivity booster, with tools that facilitate project management, file management and remote collaboration. With Dropbox, you can take any project from early strategy stages to production to feedback and beyond – all in one space.
Use the free app on any device – Apple, Microsoft or otherwise – to access, edit and manage your work from anywhere while keeping your data secure. Create project plans and to-do lists, take notes, leave real-time feedback and keep stakeholders in the loop with Dropbox’s variety of communication and collaboration tools.
All of the aforementioned productivity apps can be easily integrated with your Dropbox account, which means you can truly streamline workflows, improve visibility and efficiency and, in turn, boost workplace productivity.