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Digital edge: Productivity apps to boost your efficiency

We’ve all had days at work where we feel stuck and unmotivated. Sometimes it’s a lack of inspiration, and sometimes it’s simply the result of being saddled with so many tasks that we don’t quite know where to begin. To get out of this helpless rut, perhaps it’s time to add some tools into the mix.

No, we’re not referring to games and photo-editing apps. We’re talking productivity apps that aim to improve your efficiency through features such as snazzy planners, task managers, and even currency converters. Some even come with functions that help organise your email inbox and retract sent messages.

In an effort to help you stay on track with the resolutions you made almost half a year ago, we’ve curated a list of the best productivity apps you need to download today. From simplified to-do lists to minimalistic calendars, have your pick, and get to work.

Productivity Apps

Moleskine has brought the iconic design of its planners into the digital world with the calendar app Timepage. The first thing you’d notice is the app’s use of colours. Each date becomes a heatmap with the colour of your choice increasing in intensity depending on how busy your day is. Other than its beautiful user interface and transitions, there are also easter eggs hidden around the app. If you wondered how long it’d take you to get from Paragon to Marina Bay Sands via a spaceship, Timepage will let you know.

Timepage is available on iOS and the Apple Watch at a subscription of S$16.48 per year.

productivity apps

For the jetsetters among us, Elk is a godsend. The stylish currency converter was developed by two Singaporeans — Li Junjie and Muh Hon Cheng of Clean Shaven Apps. Elk presents a list of preset values (ones, tens, hundreds, thousands) that increases tenfold with a swipe to the left. Its simple design and ease of use earned it an Apple Design Award at the company’s Worldwide Developer Conference in 2017.

Elk is available on iOS and the Apple Watch at S$5.98.

productivity apps

Which curation of productivity apps does not contain at least one to-do list? Taskful makes your typical task manager smarter. Have a health goal? Just enter “Walk 10,000 steps today” and it’ll automatically track your progress. You can also collectively do tasks with other Taskful users, like a daily push up challenge for example. The many colour options (including a dark mode) also makes completing a task less bleak and dull.

Taskful is available on iOS and Android for free, with the Pro version at S$6.48.

productivity apps

The default email app on our devices might suffice, but sometimes it’s just not enough. Enter Newton, a mail app that aims to supercharge your inbox. For a subscription of US$49.99 a year (S$66.60), you get a hefty chunk of features: Read receipts, an email scheduler, and the ability to undo any sent emails just in case you hit ‘Reply all’ by accident.

Newton is available on iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows for US$49.99 (S$66.60) per year.

productivity apps

Budding writers who feel shackled to Microsoft Word should check out Bear, a highly versatile writing app. The focus mode lets you concentrate on your creative process. Advanced markup options are waiting for you when you want to format your essay or prose. The pro version of Bear lets you sync your content across all your devices, and adds on beautiful themes and typography so your writing always looks good. Did we mention you can also export your notes as JPG and PDF files, too?

Bear is available on iOS and Mac for free, with the pro subscription at US$14.99 (S$19.97) per year.

productivity apps

If you can’t help sneaking a peek at your Instagram feed throughout the working day, Forest is the app for you. Unlike other apps that aim to help you focus, Forest plants and grows a tree in accordance with the time you spend focusing. Once you leave the app, the tree dies. The catch? You can earn virtual credits planting trees which in turn lets you plant a real tree. The developers have partnered with non-profit organisation Trees for the Future, and together they have planted over 271,000 trees (at the time of writing). Being productive and socially responsible at the same time? Count us in.

Forest is available on iOS and Android, as well as an extension on Google Chrome.

Digital edge: Productivity apps to boost your efficiency

Josiah Neo


Josiah Neo is a tech writer who contributes occasionally to the fashion, travel, and culture beats. When he’s not busy keeping up with the keynotes, he’s probably stuffing his face with the best Melbournian donuts (at Shortstop, BTW) or watching his favourite esports team, the Los Angeles Valiant, pummel their opponents into oblivion.

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