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Productivity Tools and Apps for the Small Business

Here's a roundup of popular tools and hidden gems to help you improve your workflow, organization and communication in your small business.

  • EvernoteYou have probably heard of Evernote, the cloud-based note-taking application. According to the company's website, "Evernote makes it easy to remember things big and small from your everyday life using your computer, phone, tablet and the web." Teachers use it to store lesson plans, shoppers make shopping lists, travelers plan trips and bloggers write stories. The possibilities are endless, and the best part is that Evernote is evolving and continues to grow. Price: Free for basic usage, or $5 per month/$45 per year premium version with a higher usage limit and other pro features. Note: Click here for a previous post with more information on Evernote & Microsoft's OneNote.
  • Dropbox is another popular tool that allows you to store and share your files in the cloud. Any file you save to your Dropbox will automatically save to all your computers, phones, and even the Dropbox website. Dropbox makes file sharing with coworkers simple, and your files are always backed up in case of emergency. Price: Free for up to 18 GB, or $9.99 per month with a higher usage limit and other pro features.
  • RescueTime is a web-based productivity tool that helps workers analyze and maximize their efficiency. The app sits in your status bar, measuring the windows and programs you actively use on your computer during a certain time period. You may also set the app to Focus Mode to block potentially distracting messages and sites, reminding you to stay focused. After you've used RescueTime for a while, access its Web interface for a dashboard of graphs and timesheets that analyzes how you spend your time at work. Price: Lite version, free; Pro version, $6 per month.
  • Coffee Break is a Mac and iOS app that reminds you to periodically take scheduled (and healthy) rests from your work. From a drop-down menu, set when you want to take a break and how long you want that break to last. You may also configure sound alerts and screen dimmers that further encourage you to step away from the computer. Price: $2.99
  • Developed by Francesco Cirillo in the '80s, the Pomodoro Technique maintains that productivity is best achieved in 25-minute intervals. Implement this technique with free Android and iOS apps, which help you segment your work projects into manageable and efficient timeframes. Price: Free
  • To-do-listTeuxDeux (pronounced to-do) is a simple and elegant "to-do" app. Price: free for the browser, $2.99 for iPhone
  • iDoneThis keeps a calendar of your completed tasks. Every day it emails you asking, "What'd you get done today?" Replying to the email automatically creates an entry, making it an easy way to keep track of your own accomplishments and your team's progress, while serving as a motivator based on what you have already managed to achieve. Price: $3 per perseon, per month
  • Instapaper is an app that allows you to save the contents of a page to read them later in a minimalist, clean format. When you find something you want to read, but you don't have time, click its Read Later button. Come back when you have time to read on your computer, or read your articles on the go from your tablet or smartphone. Price: Free
  • Pulse takes your favorite websites and transforms them into a colorful and interactive mosaic. Start by saving the stories you want to read later with the browser bookmarklet. Simply tap an article to see a clean and elegant view of any news story. Sharing stories on Facebook and Twitter takes only two taps. Price: Free

For even more productivity tools, check out this list of 40 apps that can make you more productive from PC Magazine.

Other credits:

Online Productivity Tools for the Small Business - Barb Dybwad

The 10 Best Productivity Apps of 2011 - Harrison Weber

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