Here at Fast Company, we are lucky to have access to some of the most productive people in business, entertainment, politics, and more. In our annual collection of their tips and tricks we also uncovered some of their go-to apps for getting more done. Here are eight you might want to consider downloading.
Put a reading app on your phone. A recent study by Asurion revealed that Americans check their phones, on average, 80 times a day. Use 10 of those reflexive scrolling breaks to read an article or a book. You can even tackle War and Peace on your Kindle app this way: Tolstoy’s chapters are really short, ideal for three-minute breaks.
“I use the Cozi app for my schedule. And the CNN and Washington Post apps for news.”–April Ryan, about productivity tools
Delegate where you can. Hiring an assistant to manage your calendar isn’t in everyone’s budget. Try a virtual assistant instead, or organize your life with tools like Calendly and Wunderlist. “There’s so much good help out there that doesn’t cost a lot of money,” says author and CEO Peter Shankman.
Check email three times a day: When you arrive at your desk, before lunch, and at the end of the day. Try a tool like Inbox Pause, which delivers emails at preset times.
Consider a service such as Shortwhale, which allows you to limit the length of emails and set up an FAQ page, reducing the number of messages you receive or need to respond to. “It ensures that they aren’t occupying your time needlessly,” says Adam Alter, author of Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked.
Social check-ins during a few minutes of downtime can become second nature, says author and social media expert Ana Homayoun. Apps like Flipd block time-sucking/time-wasting sites from your phone or computer either for a period of time you set—or for good.