There seems to be an online tool for pretty much everything these days. From the somewhat pointless (celebrity height comparison, anyone?!) to the most downloaded app of all time (Facebook, in case you weren’t sure), there’s certainly something for everyone.

But how do you work out which are truly worth the investment of your time and money? I’ve put together a list of my tried and tested top ten, and only one will cost you the price of a coffee:

 

1. LastPass (free)

We have password security drilled into us and know we shouldn’t use that same memorable password over and over, but having a 12 character combo consisting of capitals, lowercase, numbers and symbols can make passwords incredibly hard to remember.

LastPass has a freebie version that allows you to generate and store all of your difficult to remember passwords in your encrypted vault. All you have to remember is the password to enter your LastPass account. Then, the next time you access a website associated with a password stored in LastPass, the log-in details you need will populate automatically and BOOM, you’re in.

Personally, I’m not a fan of the desktop app, but I do use the LastPass extension in my browser.

So now you have peace of mind with security AND you’ve saved time.

 

2. Dropbox (free)

With the rise of the digital nomad comes the rise of cloud-based file storage.

Buh-bye c-drive. Hello Dropbox.

Dropbox is a personal favourite of mine and, as long as there’s wifi signal available, all files sync beautifully and can be accessed and shared from multiple devices anywhere in the world.

The free version does have limited file storage but, as I don’t use it for large files (such as photos), it’s more than enough for me.

The big draw with cloud-based storage is that if your computer breaks, you know you haven’t lost your data, as everything’s stored elsewhere.

 

3. Tomato Timer (free)

No, no, this isn’t a test to see if you’re still reading. The Tomato Timer is a genuine favourite of mine and is based on the Pomodoro time management method which involves intense but short periods of concentration, followed by a brief break.

So, set the Tomato Timer for 25 minutes of work and five minutes of rest, and you’ll find yourself more motivated than ever by being up against the clock.

Try it for yourself – I think you’ll be surprised at the results.

 

4. Buddhify app (£3.99 – available on iPhone and Android)

This app was recommended to me by a friend and I now use it at various points throughout the day.

Buddhify has been developed to help reduce stress by encouraging people to be present. Using mindfulness techniques, there are 11 custom meditations for 15 different times of the day.

So whether you’re walking the dog, feeling stressed, or can’t sleep at night, this little app will help realign your thoughts, all for the price of a cup of coffee.

Money well spent.

 

5. Pocket (free)

Do you ever read something online and want to save it for future reference? But you know if you just email it to yourself then you’re likely to totally forget about it?

Adding a Pocket extension to your web browser allows you to quickly save and categorise a webpage so that you can store all your reading material in the same place for future reference.

Never lose an interesting article again.

 

6. Toggl Timer (free)

Do you reach the end of your day and wonder where the day has gone? Or perhaps you charge by the hour like I do and it’s imperative you offer complete transparency when it comes to usage.

With Toggl, you have a free time tracking system which integrates nicely with your web browser. Once you’re in the habit of clicking your personal timer categories on and off, it’s a breeze to generate reports. I ALWAYS like to see where my time’s been spent to reassess my priorities, so any kind of reporting is incredibly useful to me.

Although I’ve since moved to another timing software due to additional functionality, Toggl is a real winner for any freelancers out there because it’s freeeeee.

 

7. IFTTT (free)

I’ll be honest, it took me a little while to get to grips with If This Then That (IFTTT), but now I LOVE it!

There are various ‘recipes’ which pair up two different systems or apps to generate something useful.

Such as:

IF a new event gets added to my calendar, THEN send me an email.

IF I star an email in gmail, THEN add that task to Todoist

Or, my personal favourite:

IF it’s going to rain today, THEN send me a notification by 6:30am (so I don’t get drenched on the dog walk!)

Take a look around and see which applets could add to your productivity and save you time.

 

8. ToDoist

There are so many to-do list options out there that it can be difficult to know which one best suits your needs.

I’ve trialled a LOT of systems over the years and have a lot of love for ToDoist.

With ToDoist, you will have a super simple system where you can add deadlines, categories and tags. All for free.

The best thing? The premium version integrates with my Google Calendar meaning I always have an overview of what’s on my plate at any given time. Seriously game-changing stuff.

 

9. Spotify (free)

If you’re anything like me, you’ll be sat at your desk in absolute silence for the majority of the day. But then you’ll have an urge to listen to some 90s dance anthems, and Spotify lets us indulge in those guilty pleasures at the touch of a button.

Download the free version of Spotify and you’ll have to listen to a brief ad every 30 minutes, but you’ll also have access to thousands of songs, categorised by artist, and genre, as well as pre-defined playlists for motivation, concentration, or whatever else floats your boat.

 

10. Buffer (free)

This nifty tool integrates with your social media accounts and allows you to stack up your posts at optimised times to ensure you’re never a slave to your social media. It will analyse your audience and suggest the best posting times for maximum engagement. What’s not to love?!

The freebie version allows up to ten posts in your queue at any one time. However, I lurve Buffer so much that I’ve recently upgraded to the paid version which allows me to stack a whole month of tweets at a time.

 

So, over to you: which apps and tools could you not live without?