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Get back to work! StayFocusd, YouMail and other apps to keep you on task

Liane Cassavoy | June 4, 2014
Let's face it: working is hard. And getting stuff done, well, that can be the hardest part of it. Especially with so many distractions around. But while technology can be the biggest distraction of all (hello, Facebook!), it also can be a huge time saver. Each week, I'll round up a selection of apps that can help you stay organized, focused, and productive no matter what platform or device you're using.


iOS, Android, BlackBerry; free (ad-supported) or $5/month (ad-free)

Phone calls — and the resulting voicemails — can be a giant time suck. Enter YouMail, an app for Android, BlackBerry, and iOS smartphones (it also works on standard cell phones, but in a more limited form), that puts you in control of your voice messages. In its free version, YouMail offers up a personalized greeting to incoming callers (a nice touch that proved accurate in my tests) and lets you see a list of your voice messages, on your phone and via a Web browser, and plays them back with a single click or tap. If you upgrade to one of the $5/month YouMail Premium or Read-It plans, you'll also get voicemail messages transcribed and delivered via text. This is especially handy if you're in a meeting and can't pick up your phone but can glance quickly at the screen. Multi-tasking, after all, is a way to get more done!

Remember the Milk

Android, BlackBerry, iOS; free

If you were to judge Remember the Milk by its name, you might think this app — available for Android, BlackBerry, and iOS devices — is a simple shopping-list builder. But it's a lot more than that. RTM is a comprehensive task manager that helps organize your business and personal life. You can create tasks, set deadlines, share them with others, and get reminders via email or text. It can also be easily adapted to popular methodologies like Getting Things Done and Zen to Done for a one-two productivity punch.


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