A defining trait in humans is our use of complex tools. If we can find a way to make our work easier, we use it.  Now that we have a powerful computer in the form of a smartphone with us wherever we go, apps are used more often than just about any other tool we have at our disposal. While the market is flooded with games, social media and other time-wasting apps, there are others that can boost your productivity both in the office and outside of it. These apps range from smart schedulers to document storage to mobile versions of full software suites. Though some are more complicated to use than others, each brings value and can boost productivity.  Be sure to give these a trial if they answer an issue that you have been noticing is dragging down your productivity.

1. Evernote

Evernote has been one of the hottest apps on the market for a couple of years now, and for good reason. It is an easy place to store every idea that comes to mind. You can jot down notes, store photos and videos, make task lists and even upload audio. W henever you sign into the service on a new device, whether mobile or desktop, everything is there, waiting for you.  Evernote is on iOS, Android and desktop and has a free basic model that allows for 60 MB of data upload every month, with paid options available.

2. Freedom

Let’s face it: Getting distracted by social media, the news and other sites and apps is way too easy. If you simply can’t resist the urge to look at anything but the work at hand, Freedom may be worth considering.  Freedom uses a VPN system to block distracting apps and websites on your phone and computer. It comes with a few sites already built into a list, but you can also add your own — even blocking all online content. What’s more, you can create a schedule so you can use social media on your breaks.  Right now, Freedom is only available on iOS, Mac and Windows, with an Android version being developed. The app costs $6.99 a month.

3. Microsoft Office Mobile Suite

Who says you need to be in front of a computer to use Microsoft Word, Powerpoint or Excel? With the mobile version of the suite, you can take your documents, slideshows and spreadsheets anywhere. Never again worry about trying to make last-minute changes to a client presentation when you’ve left your laptop in the office. Microsoft does offer a free version of these apps on iOS and Android, which allows you to make simple edits. But if you have an Office 365 subscription for your home or office, you get many more editing options with the mobile apps.

4.  Team Collaboration Software

There are any number of collaboration apps and software available for your small business. As such, it’s important to find one that works just as well on desktop as it does on mobile. Essentially, you want a product that can act as a team calendar, social media platform and storage system. That way, whatever your team needs, they can find it in one place, without having to look through five different programs to do so. Before you download 20 new apps and programs to boost your productivity, consider your needs and that of your company. If you aren’t one to get easily distracted, paying a monthly fee for an app that blocks certain websites may not be worth it. If you already are invested in a document storage and note-taking program, switching to Evernote might not be wise.