5 apps to improve productivity and collaboration

If you’re like me, your to-do list has taken on a life of its own, and after several failed attempts at taming it, you’re now simply looking for a way to peacefully co-exist.

Fortunately, new apps and devices are being created almost daily to help us improve our productivity and collaboration.


Coolendar is attempting to go where no calendar has gone before, integrating traditional calendar and task apps into a “planning experience.” It works as a simple list, instead of the standard calendar view, and provides alerts of tasks and plans via email, messenger, desktop, mobile and Twitter notifications. One interesting feature is its use of tags to organize items and create group plans so that events are more social (think Twitter meets Google Calendar (s goog)).

Making task entries is seamless and intuitive (the example it gives: “tomorrow 8am make sure to grab the #umbrella!”) and allow for one-click rescheduling and recurrence.

Let’s Crate

We all love the days we stumble on solutions that make some aspect of our work “ridiculously easy,” and that’s exactly what Let’s Crate claims to do for file-sharing. Create an account, select a crate for storing your files, drag and drop to upload them, and then send the link to the individual file or crate you want to share. It’s that easy, and the free plan of 1 GB of space includes six crates, 1000 downloads, and a 50 MB file-size limit, with higher-capacity plans being very inexpensive.


MyDataNest is another online storage and file-sharing solution, but unlike Let’s Crate, it offers the ability to edit files online without installing any software. Files are stored online and are available to your team through shared online work spaces.

Using similar functionality to Let’s Crate, you simply upload your files and then share a link with members of your team. With their basic and free plan, you can upload files up to 50 MB in size, and that includes three collaboration folders, 2 GB of online storage, and 10 GB of monthly transfer. As with Let’s Crate, higher-capacity plans are still very affordable.


GroupZap takes the “cool factor” award in this roundup of apps, offering real-time brainstorming and online collaboration, as if you were in the same room with your team. Quickly set up your group’s whiteboard by simply entering your email address and sharing a link. Then use sticky notes to each add your own ideas and thoughts to the board. Team members can also upload images and files by dragging and dropping them onto the board or use boxes and arrows to further annotate concepts, processes, and dependencies.

Once all the ideas are in place, your team can then use stickers to vote on different items within the board, and when the meeting is over, you can create a PDF (s adbe) to send to your team as a record of the meeting or for follow-up. It even records the brainstorming session to show the progression of ideas throughout the meeting.

GroupZap is free for up to 100 MB per board, with each board remaining active for seven days. There are also pay-as-you-go and subscription options, which extend the life of a board to one year and include increases in storage capacity.


Social networking has become the distraction of late, but if you want to keep a pulse on what’s being said about you or your company, it’s hard to navigate away from the live feed for fear of missing something. Enter Twilert, an online app that sends email updates of new tweets on topics of interest to you. Advanced search options allow for monitoring of specific keywords, people, locations, and even links and attitudes (positive or negative posts or questions).

What are some of your favorite productivity and collaboration apps?

Image courtesy of Flickr user imglighting