Getting Started Professional Development

14 Free Apps That Will Make You Incredibly Productive


Doug Aamoth, writing for FastCompany, has done the hard work of sorting through the dozens of apps that promise to make your life easier to uncover the ones that actually can make your life easier! Here’s our roundup of the top 14 apps to have at your fingertips to maximize productivity and minimize chaos!

Emails and Communications


This easy-to-integrate app is essentially a snooze button for your email. You can dismiss an email from your inbox and set a time for it to return later, write a draft response at 1 am and schedule it to send right as you walk into the office, or set reminders to reply at a more reasonable hour. The free version gives you 10 email interactions a month.

Burner and MailDrop

This one is so neat—it generates disposable phone numbers (or email accounts) that you can use whenever you need to make a number publicly available (without leaving your own precious digits visible for mass consumption. MailDrop is a no-frills temporary email address that disappears after 24 inactive hours; it’s great for Craigslist or promotional blasts.


Chances are if you have the Apple iOS, you’ve accidentally mashed that little microphone button and sent an audio snippet from the inside of your pocket. Cord helps you do that on purpose and with a group—you can send 12-second voice messages back and forth with ease.

Group Me

Create and disband on-the-go private chat rooms when you need to chat with a group of people at once (and then make them stop flooding your text inbox with emoji conversations).


This converts your phone into a walkie-talkie without the strenuous button pushing or limited 30-foot radius for maintaining a connection. You can also leave voice messages in case they miss your rendezvous.

Scheduling and Meetings


This group scheduling app identifies available meeting times with just a list of participant emails, accommodates multiple time zones, and coordinates with existing calendars.


Many of my students used Prezi instead of Powerpoint this summer—it made me feel old. Retain your youth and relevancy by learning how to use this cloud-based presentation tool! It lets you stream to remote attendees and post public presentations.



For six months I had a defunct wireless client pop up whenever I booted up my Mac asking permission to run itself; I couldn’t seem to figure out where to uninstall it! CCleaner to the rescue! It will speed up your computer by deleting the flotsam and jetsam left behind in upgrades, file transfers, and browsing.


I am a sucker for an easily customizable form app. From invoices to other frequently used workplace templates, Canvas lets you make and share them easily.


If your business or your personal brand relies heavily on social media (which… it should), an app like Postfity may help you manage the myriad channels of posts and content you want to space out evenly. It has a scheduling tool and a linking functionality so you can share the same thing everywhere, or diversify your media presence.

(PSA: don’t have Twitter and Instagram post verbatim to your Facebook. Schedule slightly different content for each feed. Your family, friends, and colleagues will appreciate it).


Maybe you’re constantly going back and forth with how much data you think you’ll use versus how much you actually use. Onavo can help! It will not only help track usage, but will also compress files accordingly to save your data mileage for the cat gifs that really count.


Who doesn’t love a virtual whiteboard? It never gets old! It has everything but the marker fumes, lets you and your team collaborate on a shared visual document, then emails the changes around later.


Imagine AirBnb and ZipCar had a baby that let you hold meetings in it. Breather identifies available workspaces around cities like New York, San Francisco, Boston, Montreal, and Ottowa; your phone will unlock your insta-office for a half hour at a time so you can meet with clients, charge your phone, or just put your feet up before dashing off to the next appointment.

BRB scheduling a Breather to present my latest Prezi—everybody check their Voxer messages!

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About the author

Miranda Pennington

Miranda K. Pennington is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared on The Toast, The American Scholar, and the Ploughshares Writing Blog. She currently teaches creative nonfiction for Uptown Stories, a Morningside Heights nonprofit organization. She has an MFA from Columbia University, where she has also taught in the University Writing program and consulted in the Writing Center.

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