Digital tools to increase productivity and free up time for fun

Digital tools to increase productivity and free up time for fun

Holiday weekends are about decompressing, recharging, and disconnecting from work. For many, the latter can be hard to do. Studies show that 80 percent of Americans put in the equivalent of a full day of overtime every week by bringing their work home with them. But according to researchers at Kansas State University, "people who are able to unplug from work activities when off the job experience lower levels of fatigue and job burnout."

In other words, taking a break from work is good for your health.

One solution is to increase at-work - and off-site meeting, and train-commute - productivity so that you don't have to play catch up at home. Try Mailbox, a free app that helps you swipe your way through messages on the spot to save you time in the long run. You can choose to reply to emails immediately, or archive them for later, this evening, tomorrow, this weekend, and so on. The touch-screen format makes it fun to use, but at the moment Mailbox is only available for iPhones, iPads, and Gmail users (the developer promises to support more devices as it grows).

There's also Triage, a new app that's touted as "first-aid for your inbox." It takes a hard-line approach to managing email: delete a message or keep it for later - and you're done. You can use it for Gmail, Yahoo, iCloud, or other email, setting it up much the same way as you would any account on your mobile device. The app is available in Apple's App Store for $1.99.

Evernote - basically the surface of your desk in digital form - is growing in popularity among both corporate and creative types; I'm seeing it used by everyone from product managers to authors researching their next book. The free app allows users to write reminders, notes, and grocery lists; turn physical documents into digital notes using a Page Camera; and record audio notes. It's a cross-platform tool so everything can be accessed on your mobile device, tablet, and laptop.

Just this week Evernote's appeal was ratcheted up some when it launched a new Reminders feature. It includes in-app and email alarms, note-based to-dos, and the ability to pin important notes to the top of your list. You can watch a demo of the new feature here.

Evernote launches Reminders

Evernote launches Reminders

These tools don't take much getting used to, and all three can simplify your work life to free you up for fun...just in time for a day off.

Filed under: Applications, Mobile

Tags: iPad, iPhone, productivity, work

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