5 Cloud Tools To Boost Productivity

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Technology and the economy have turned modern offices into a circus of demands. The professionals who staff these offices are expected to juggle a wide range of tasks for co-workers, clients, managers, executives and contractors. Fortunately, the very technology that stokes this stress can also bring some order.

This week, I’m showcasing five cloud tools for note taking, list making, collaboration building and otherwise organizing. I’ve found all of these apps to be very useful, and they come highly rated by the technorati who pay attention to these things. The best part is they’re either free or very inexpensive, though they do offer premium services for a price:

Remember the Milk — Remember the Milk was started in 2004 by a group of software engineers. That makes it one of the old pioneers of cloud computing, but this task app is still among the best. The interface feels a bit dated, but it’s flexible and intuitive. One of the most useful features is the list-making tool, which allows you to categorize your lists in all sorts of handy ways. They’ve also developed add-ons for iPhone, Android, Windows, Google and Twitter.

WorkFlowyWorkFlowy is based on one of those beautiful moments of clarity we all wish we’d have at least once in your life: everything can be boiled down to a list. This app seems almost too simple at first. Then something clicks and you start making lists of everything, and lists within lists. Recipes, projects, meetings, chores, all the stuff you must get done can be easily compiled and tackled with WorkFlowy. You simply have to try it to get it.

Wunderlist — Like Workflowy, Wunderlist is about…well…lists. Wunderlist’s interface is more graphic, and it’s very easy to move individual tasks or entire lists around and into other lists. It’s easy to collaborate remotely, share or print your lists and make notes. More importantly, Wunderlist helps you prioritize tasks. The developers have also very kindly created an app that plays well with multiple platforms.

ObjectiveliObjectiveli takes a different approach to organization and task management by focusing on the destination. You start by setting your goals, then work backwards by creating objectives to meet those marks. The objectives are in turn broken down into manageable and measurable milestones, and you track your progress with updates. Objectiveli will be a great choice if you’re a big-picture person who gets stuck in the weeds.

MurallyMurally is a whole other direction entirely. This is a creative app that allows the user to easily import and manipulate graphics and text into one digital canvass. It’s incredibly flexible, admitting an impressive array of formats. You can collaborate on projects and share the results by creating quick and slick video presentations with the zoomable interface. This could serve as a great bridge between your office’s creative wing and c-suite.

Like many cloud apps, the best thing to do is just jump in and discover which ones best suit your style. Try them out and start wrangling your three-ring office.

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