Five Great Productivity Apps to Start the New Year

Productivity is the holy grail in business. Do more with less. Work less, play more. The cliches are endless. Whether it’s a more efficient way to digest information or apps to manage your to-do list, we’ve rounded up five killer productivity tools that will make you look like a rockstar at work.

Voxer Executives at startup accelerator TechStar rave about Voxer, an app that lets you leave “instant voicemails for each other.” TechStars cofounder David Cohen says it’s dramatically cut down on the email and internal meetings they need. Says Cohen: “You still get all the nuance of voice communications for important subjects, but everyone gets to listen and reply when they want to. I can’t recommend it highly enough for distributed teams.”

Trello Joanne Wichern, VP of customer success at Denver innovation firm Iterate.ai, swears by Trello, which helps teams organize project assignments and track progress. Teams can collaborate with notes, shared files, and comments on individual tasks. “I organize the work in swim lanes. I can track progress, assign owners, and store documents. I also love the graphics you can use for each card and find the tool incredibly easy to use.”

Clear Sometimes apps can try to do too much. That’s not the case for Clear, an Apple-based to-do organizer. It is a favorite of Jay Steinfeld, CEO and founder of Blinds.com. Why? “It’s unencumbered with unnecessary features. Works from my phone, has a user interface that’s intuitive. Does exactly what I need and no more.”

Blinkist Knowledge is power, but how do you know which books are worth the time? Blinkist gives you audio summaries of great nonfiction books. This $80 per year subscription lets you learn as much as you can as fast as you can. Kevin O’Donnell, CEO of custom home builder Beck Building Co., says he can “read” two books on a morning run.

Pocket Sometimes you don’t have time to read every smart article when you see it. Pocket lets you save those articles, videos, and stories from any publication, page or app. It’s perfect for a busy CEO like Kathryn Minshew, founder of career site TheMuse.com. “It allows me to save great articles I want to read for later so they don't interrupt my flow or clutter up my desktop.”