THIS JUST IN! A seriously crappy epidemic of the 3 Steps Forward, 2 Steps Back syndrome has hit creative business owners everywhere…

Are you one of them?

Was the last time you updated your online business scheduled around your toddler’s nap? Do you set the alarm clock extra early to ship out some orders before the 9-5 starts? I bet even as you’re reading this there’s a to-do list, somewhere, waiting…

In the past I’ve said, “We all have the same number of hours in the day as Beyonce, and look at all the stuff she manages to get done”.

While meant to be inspirational, I had quite a few comments from people who definitely did NOT agree.

And you know what – they were right. Beyonce has loads of money and people that do stuff for her. Both of which, are not luxuries you happen to have right now.

But what you can have is help. And by help I don’t mean you can’t totally still be a one-woman, one-man show. What I mean is there are tools especially for helping creative business owners like you juggle everything you need and want to get done in the day.

I know you’ve heard of some, and maybe you’ve even tried some in the past. You know, you downloaded one on your phone that sounded really cool, but only ended up using it for like a week tops. I do that too.

So with a heck of a lot of research I’ve made a handy list of the BEST tried and true apps to help you with communicating within your biz, note taking, list making (and doing), you name it. Read on for the Top 30…

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  • To-do list apps
  • Productivity apps
  • Organizational apps
  • Team management apps
  • Calendar/Scheduling apps
  • Social Media management apps

Check ‘em out and find the app that’s right for your unique creative business:

Top 5 To-do List Apps

We weren’t all blessed with photographic memory. Bummer. Things slip our minds from time to time, and backtracking is never a productive use of time. So, for helpful reminders and organizing time management, a list is a must.

The ultimate way to visualize what you gotta get done, and remember it all, to-do lists are the pride, and bane, of many a side hustler. These awesome list-making apps make sure that list stays with you on the go, so you can keep on track and cross more tasks off. It’s ever so satisfying, am I right?!

Wunderlist

Never leave home without your list! Create tasks, reminders and to-do checklists from any device with this easy, “wunder”-ful app.

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Features for Maximum Hustle:

  • Set timed reminders for specific tasks throughout the day, just incase your busy brain gets sidetracked.

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  • Share and co-edit lists with team members for quick collaboration and tag-teaming tasks.

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Devices:

  • desktop
  • mobile apps for iOS and Android
  • Kindle Fire

Price:

Wunderlist is free

 Remember the Milk

A friendly app for organizing all your to-do notes and reminders in one place.

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Features for Maximum Hustle:

  • Out and about when you remember something to do later? Just email “Remember the Milk” and it’ll be automatically added to your collective list.

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  • Set up reminders for today and future days

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Devices:

  • Desktop
  • Mobile apps for iOS and Android

Price:

Free!

Swipes

Ever feel like when you have soooo much to do, it’s hard to even get one thing done? Sometimes being too busy overwhelms your productivity. That’s why Swipes is a great app for both keeping track of everything you need to get done, and then hiding what isn’t first priority to you can focus, one at a time.

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Features for Maximum Hustle:

  • Focus on one at a time – pick a task on the list, then snooze the others so they’re out of sight while you get that task done.

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  • If you keep notes with Evernote, tag your relevant notebooks with ‘swipes’ and you can convert these into tasks on a Swipes to-do list. Automatically.

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Devices:

  • Desktops
  • Mobile apps for iOS and Android

Price:

Swipes is budget-friendly at a whopping $Free.

Clear

If your creative brain is happiest around pretty designs, and your busy life is best managed through simple to read  lists, Clear is that beautiful solution to make sure nothing gets forgotten.

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Features for Maximum Hustle:

  • Adjust lists with easy gestures – simply swipe and slide to check off items quickly or move tasks around
  • Like a friendly personal assisting reminding you of important events, set timers so Clear pings you when you’ve got an immediate task or event to get started on.

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Devices:

  • mobile apps for iOS and Android

Price:

$4.99

 

Productivity Apps – Stay Focused in Short Amounts of Hustle Time

 30/30

Ever tried to pull an all-nighter and realize you’ve just lost all steam and brainpower before morning? 30/30 aims to solve that dwindling focus with a healthier work cycle.

There’s a common theory out there that the most productive work cycle is based on 30 straight minutes of totally focused, undistracted work, followed by 30 minutes of a break doing something completely unrelated.

30/30 lets you present specific tasks you want to get done in a certain time frame (perhaps 30 minutes) which you can break up with time allotted to a break. See how many tasks you can get done in YOUR 30 minutes!

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Features for Maximum Hustle:

  • Easy gesturing for adding new tasks, deleting old ones and adjusting times

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  • Totally adjustable time limits, task names, colors, icons and schedules

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Devices:

  • mobile app for iPhone and iPad

Price:

Get your 30/30 game on for free!

 RescueTime

When you look at the daily schedules of famous creatives, their work/sleep plans are pretty sporadic – because everyone is most focused and creative at different times of day. RescueTime tracks your time on your computer and lumps it into productivity and time-wasters, so you can start planning according to your daily peak as well as notice and shave down time drains.

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Features for Maximum Hustle:

  • Works in the background to track your time without distraction
  • Block distracting sites for certain amounts of time to boost productivity
  • Set alerts to let you know how long you’ve spent on a task, and check out the log to see what you accomplished in your hustle time

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Devices:

  • Mac
  • PC
  • Android
  • Linux

Price:

RescueTime has a free version, but to get the site blocking and alerts you’ll need to set aside $9 a month.

 Focusbooster

When you can only designate so much time to a task,  spend less time looking at the clock and let Focusbooster keep track for you. This app helps you keep track of your work/break sessions (similar to 30/30), plus customized graphs on productivity, and automatic invoices for time logged on your projects.

Features for Maximum Hustle:

  • An timer keeps track of your work time, changing colors to help you gauge how near you are to your break.

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  • Export time logged to invoice documents for billing, records and planning.
  • Review productivity charts showing how your time was spent and areas where you can improve focus.

Devices:

  • Windows and Mac Desktops

Price:

Focusbooster is free!

 Streaks

So everyday when you find some time to work… you decide to just scroll through Facebook real quick end up killing a few minutes (or an hour) before you get to hustlin’ – that’s a bad productive habit. What if you could change that bad habit to something good, whether it’s flossing your teeth or responding to customer questions. Now that’s productive!

Streaks is all about helping you create and incorporate good habits into your daily routine.

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Features for Maximum Hustle:

  • Create multiple calendars based on good habits you want to form (like habits for “social media” or “writing” or “health”)
  • Set the days a week and times you want to get in the habit of accomplishing your new habits (Ex: “Go to gym” every Tues and Thurs, or “Share blog post” every Monday)

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  • Track your “Streaks” – the app records the longest number of days you kept up your good habit. Go for the high score!

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Team Management – The Best Apps for Easy Collaborations

Does it sometimes seem like taking on help from other peeps ends up ADDING more work for you? Now you’ve got to delegate tasks, line up times to chat, chase up communications, send reminders, dig through old convo’s….

Sadly, you don’t have a fleet of clones or twenty arms to get EVERYTHING you need done yourself.

Luckily, there are some user-friendly apps make collaborations and teamwork a gazillion times easier (and speedier).

May the awesome results flow forth!

Basecamp

Got thirty minutes to check in on your designer’s progress on the new logo, but you wasted a good chunk searching your email for the last message and double checking that deadline you made him swear to? Would be kinda helpful if that was all already in one place for ya, huh?

Introducing Basecamp – all your delegated tasks, timelines and conversations in one. single. spot.

Here’s an image of a super productive project plan that went down with KEEN, using Basecamp to coordinate between 30 different team members:

Basecamp Work Room

Features for Maximum Hustle:

  • A shared calendar mapping out deadlines, schedules and task dates for all members to follow – no more reminders or casing around due dates!

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  • A shared To-do list with tasks that can be assigned to different team members

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  • Upload files fast and add comments on the go so progress keeps movin’ forward.

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Devices:

  • Desktops (through web browser)
  • Mobile apps for iOS and Android

Price:

You can nab a 60 day trial of Basecamp for free, then prices start at $20 a month for 10 projects (3GB of file storage included).

 

Podio

Worried that mastering a new management app might drain time in itself? I got you – Podio’s a friendly option for a digital workspace that embraces collaboration, and it’s a simpler design that’s easy to hit the ground running for you and your team members.

Features for Maximum Hustle:

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  • Instant messaging along the right for quick questions and updates from each team member
  • A task list of things to be done and who’s assigned to each
  • A shared calendar with upcoming deadlines to keep everyone on track

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Devices:

  • Desktops
  • Mobile apps for iOS and Android

Price:

Try Podio for free with up to 5 people, then plans start at $9 a month

 

3. Freedcamp

Another free (like the name says) app for managing tasks in a collaborative workspace. Freedcamp is visual and user friendly – another great budget option for keeping all your tasks managed from one spot.

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Features for Maximum Hustle:

  • Include time designations for tasks, so hours are tracked, managed and invoices are a breeze.

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  • The Wall works like a social media timeline for your projects – all updates and latest comments show up on each member’s workspace.

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Devices:

  • Desktop

Price:

Free (Heyo!), but you can expand storage space and add on special features for various, low, pricetags.

 

4. Asana

If you know one thing about productivity, it should be that big projects are easiest accomplished when broken up into smaller tasks. Asana’s workspace is designed in exactly this way! You designate workspaces with a specific overall focus (like Marketing, or Design), then break each workspace into projects, and add tasks to each project.

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Features for Maximum Hustle:

  • Search and find your documents fast with tags and a sweet search feature.

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  • Customize task organization by person, priority or tag to easily maneuver your current to-do lists.

Devices:

  • Desktop
  • Mobile apps to iOS and Android

Price:

Asana is free for teams up to 15 (yessss), and the Premium plan starts at $69 a month, offering expanded exporting capabilities, unlimited members and a premium dashboard.

 

5. Trello

If you’re a totally visually planner (and a big fan of post-its, like myself) say hello to Trello! The easy-to-read dashboard shows you projects, tasks, and to-do’s in an order that makes sense and shows your progress at any moment – less time organizing and more time gettin ‘er done.

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Features for Maximum Hustle:

  • Checklists let you see progress and break down projects into achievable goals.

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  • Sync with your email to add notes and tasks whenever and wherever the ideas pop into your head.

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Devices:

  • Desktop
  • Mobile apps for iOS and Android

Price:

It’s free y’all – and totally unlimited! Plus, they offer some sweet upgrades including features like calendars, voting and more storage space for as low as $5 a month.

 

6. Sqwiggle

You know how sometimes making, say, a dinner plan by text can take like… hours, when you coulda just made the decision with a quick phone call?

Working with a team remotely can drain time when you’re always waiting for a response – sometimes you just want all of your team in the same office! Sqwiggle makes it easy to communicate via video with a click, for immediate face-to-face interactions to catch-up with your team members as you all work on projects together.

Features for Maximum Hustle:

  • Video communication – Sqwiggle shows you all your team members who are working at the moment, and lets you quickly tap their image to go to video communication.

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Devices:

  • Desktop
  • Mobile app on Android

Price:

Sqwiggle’s got your video communication fo’ free! Up to 5 chats at once, and unlimited use – pro plans start at $9 a month.

 

Organizing Documents – Best Apps for Finding What You Need, Faster

Whether you’ve got an alphabetized file cabinet or a system of organized chaos, a true time waster is when you can’t locate that email, file or image you absolutely need for your current task.

Or what about settling into your favorite coffeeshop corner table, connecting to the wifi, only to realize you forgot to email yourself the latest draft of your project plan? Frustration station.

Check out these apps for easily collating and transferring files, organizing documents and sorting through clutter to focus on the really, truly productive stuff.

Google Docs

Yeah, you’ve probably heard of this guy, but are you taking advantage of all it’s features? It’s a total time-saver if you work from different devices, collaborate with other people, or struggle with keeping different draft versions organized.

Features for Maximum Hustle:

  • Google docs auto-saves all your work, PLUS saves the old versions, so you never have to waste time recovering from technical difficulties or a changed mind.

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  • Share your documents and spreadsheets with whoever you want via email, plus invite them to edit and comment right on your work without creating tons of confusing copies.

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  • The android app lets you photograph and file hardcopy documents like receipts, images and invoices, so your paper resources are labeled and searchable from the cloud.

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Devices:

  • Desktop
  • Mobile apps for iOS and Android

Price:

Woo hoo, it’s free!

Dropbox

Simple as it is (which is actually a GREAT thing when you’re lookin’ to save time) Dropbox makes sharing, transferring and organizing files a breeze. If you work from multiple devices or locations, a Dropbox is a mus- have, particularly for transferring large-sized files.

Features for Maximum Hustle:

  • Quickly share large files – just drag those bad boys to your D-box folder, and share that folder with your teammate’s email address. Voila!

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  • Automatically sync with all your devices – never leave the files you need at home again. Even access docs and images from your phone.

Devices:

  • Desktop
  • Apps for iOS and Android

Price:

Dropbox is free, happy day!

MobileFiles

If you work a lot in Excel documents and spreadsheets, it can be tricky to access that info when you’ve just got your phone on you. MobileFiles lets you download, read, and edit these documents right on your phone – almost like a viewable external hard drive.

Features for Maximum Hustle:

  • Quickly transfer each file back to your Mac – you just need a wifi connection and a few quick clicks.

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Devices:

  • Mac computers
  • iPhones and iPads

Price:

$9.99

 Scanner Pro

Whether you’re a constant napkin scribbler or just a fan of working with paper and pen, Scanner Pro is an awesome mobile app for scanning and filing paper resources. Take a photo of any notes, receipts or documents and convert it to pdf format. Great for capturing crucial info on the go and finding it easily later.

Features for Maximum Hustle:

  • Easy scanning – digitize important documents with a quick click – you can snap, rename, and organize your scans into pdf docs.

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  • Organize scans straight from the app. Either save ‘em to your phone, email them, or shoot them off to your Dropbox account with the tap of a finger.

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Devices:

  • iPhone and iPad

Price:

$2.99

 

Note Taking Apps – For organizing those brilliant ideas in one spot!

Remember when that conversation at the bank sparked a genius idea, but you didn’t have a pen on you? Thought of something genius while driving that you forgot once you got home?

Because an entrepreneurial brain never rests, and great ideas strike at any moment, these apps make taking notes and finding them again easy peasy, no matter where you are!

Evernote

Imagine your good ol’ paper notebook – now imagine you can search for items in that notebook fast, drag and drop images and files to new projects, and access it from anywhere, even when it’s sitting at home.

Evernote is an essential note-taking and journaling app for recording business ideas, inspiration, design plans and anything else you want recorded for later reference.

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Features for Maximum Hustle:

  • Advanced Search Options
      • Notetaking can come in a hurry, and sometimes it’s hard to find that note your remember taking down the other day and need to reference. Luckily Evernote offers an advanced search algorithm for finding all your chicken scratch with just a few keywords. Hello time saver.
  • Multiple file compatibility
    • Sometimes notes aren’t just words – you can capture and save photos to your evernote journals, as well as screenshots, scans of documents and links.

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  • Voice memos for fast recording
      • Thinking faster than you can type? Bust out that Evernote voice recorder to dictate what you want to remember for later, and save those fingers from cramping.
  • Share notebooks and pages
    • Compatible with email, dropbox and more, you can easily send over a page or whole notebook for easy collaboration.

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Devices:

  • desktop
  • mobile apps for iOS and Android

Price:

Evernote is free!

 Hackpad

Sometimes you just need to take a quick note – hence the collection of envelopes, napkins and odd scribbled-up receipts on your desk. Well, now you don’t need to scramble for a pen – just pull up your hackpad app – a simple, sleek app with one design in mind: taking fast and efficient notes.

Features for Maximum Hustle:

  • Easily organized notes with no bells and whistles

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  • Share your notes with others and let them comment, add to, and discuss your genius ideas right in the app.

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Devices:

  • Desktop
  • Mobile for iOS

Price:

Free for personal use, then $2 a user.

 Mindnode

Sometimes brainstorming and visualizing your plan needs something more visual that lists. Mindnode is a notetaker that creates webs of notes and tasks surrounding a main task or idea in a ‘mind map’ format.

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Features for Maximum Hustle:

  • Easily add new branches to a central thought – the app handles layout for you so you just type and brainstorm on. You can even add images.
  • Export your mind maps as text files or images, or send them to Dropbox to share with collaborators.

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Devices:

  • Mac desktops and laptops
  • iOS mobile devices (ipad and iphone)

 Price:

$19.99, with a free trial.

 Dragon Dictation

Talk to yourself much? If your brain comes up with ideas faster than you can type on a mobile screen, Dragon Dictation offers amazing speech-to-text software for fast note-taking without losing your train of thought. Even take notes while you drive!

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Features for Maximum Hustle:

  • Handsfree notes  as you speak for easy reference later
  • Save and share those notes as a Tweet, email or text message

Devices:

  • iOS only

Price:

Get dictatin’ for free!

 

Social Media Management

Social Media can be one of the biggest tasks that pulls you away from focusing on your business – but it’s TOTALLY essential for marketing your products and actually making sales. We’ve previously blogged about some awesome social media management apps and tricks before, but here’s a quick overview of our favorites.

Buffer

Manage multiple social media accounts from one place, and schedule future posts to go out while you work on anything else!

Features for Maximum Hustle:

  • Schedule posts for hands-off social media-ing – send out that juicy content at peak times. You can focus on other tasks while buffer sends out your tweets, FB updates and Pins.

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  • Buffer adds an icon to your browser, up on the toolbar, so when you come across an article or image you want to share on your social media, you can schedule it with the click of a button.

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IFTTT

Shortcuts are a busy entrepreneur’s best friend, and this magic little app is pretty much the king of shortcuts. Set up specific recipes, or automatic tasks, you want done automatically for you. For example, anytime you tweet a link you can set IFTTT to save that link in a spreadsheet, or anytime you tag a certain #hashtag on Instagram, IFTTT can save that photo to a Dropbox folder. Handy.

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Features for Maximum Hustle:

  • Sync with your evernote, dropbox, buffer, email… IFTTT is compatible with tons of apps so you can get work done across platforms

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Devices:

  • pretty much everything

Price:

Free, because it’s wonderful like that

 

 Tweetdeck

Twitter can become a pretty intense time consumer with an ever-updating feed and sooo much activity – luckily Tweetdeck lets you stay catch up on the Tweets you care about and engage with users you want to stay in contact with.

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Features for Maximum Hustle:

  • Create ‘lists’ within your twitter to include relevant people or hashtags you actually want to hear from
  • Easily switch from personal to business accounts – Tweetdeck lets you include more than one for faster maneuverability.

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Latergram.me

Is your work constantly interrupted by your nagging need to get another Instagram post out? Or maybe your Instagram game is struggling because you’re just too busy to post at the best times. Latergramme lets you queue up perfect posts and send them out later with a quick click – focus on your business without missing marketing opportunities.

Features for Maximum Hustle:

  • Schedule the date and time you want that perfect photo to go out. Create a full calendar of posts to prepare for the whole week.

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Devices:

  • Desktop
  • Mobile apps for iOS and Android

Price:

Free!

 

Meetings and Networking – Calendars and Networking apps to maximize your connections

Representing a brand means you’ve got to make connections – whether in meetings, networking events or industry events.

Managing a busy calendar yourself can get hectic, which is why these handy apps help you remain on-time and prepared for meetings no matter how long your to-do list is.

 

Sunrise

Where your wall calendar can tell you “meeting with Tom, Tuesday,” Sunrise brings up Tom’s picture and your recent conversations with him. Sunrise reminds you that the Giants’ game is on at 6, shows you when you’ve got free time with a glance, and travels around with you in your pocket.

This is the calendar for the Beyonce’s of the world – it does everything short of literally adding hours to the day.

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Features for Maximum Hustle:

  • Sync across Facebook, Linkedin, Wunderlist, Google Calendar, Basecamp and more for an all-inclusive calendar that covers EVERYTHING.

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  • Integration with Google Maps for instant directions to your next meeting location.

Devices

  • Desktops
  • Mobile for iOS and Android

Price:

Free

 

Doodle

When two busy people come into contact, scheduling a time to meet can be… well, time consuming! If you feel like you’re constantly scouring your calendar, or struggling to fit in times for important meetings and important people, Doodle makes scheduling a whole lot easier.

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Features for Maximum Hustle:

  • Let Doodle check your Calendar for you, as well as link to your colleagues calendars to easily match up a time to meet with less back-and-forth.

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  • Show other, non-doodlers your availability with the MeetMe page

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Devices:

  • Desktops
  • Mobile app for iOS and Android

Price:

Free!

 

ToutApp

Similar to Doodle, ToutApp helps eliminate the back-and-forth of scheduling meetings and lets you zero in on your availability quick. Plus, the app throws in some bonus features like reminders, scheduled emails and templates to save you even MORE time on the tasks you do a lot.

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Features for Maximum Hustle:

  • The easy-to-read calendar lets you check out your availability and send it off in a quick email for your connection to look over and select a time. Speed up the decision making.
  • Queue up a few common emails you often send, like a thank you to a customer or a confirmation of a meeting, so you can keep your emails consistent, efficient and fast. Plus, you can schedule them to go out at a more convenient time.

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  • Never forget to follow up after a meeting with helpful reminders to yourself – you’ll be wowing all your connections with your organization and efficiency.

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Devices:

  • Desktops
  • mobile apps for iOS and Android

Price:

Starts at $30 a month

 

Start Boosting Your Hustle Power with Your New Favorite Apps!

Whew that was a lot, and you don’t need ALL these apps mentioned to be the time master. Just take a moment to think about how you work best, areas you feel you could improve, and which of these apps could help get you there.

Which new apps are you excited to try? Leave a comment below with one you’re going to try, or one that I should totally add to this list!

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Rachel Daley
Rachel is the resident Content Fairy at MadeFreshly, the ecommerce platform that makes your passion pay off. Click here to get her actionable tips and inspiration for entrepreneurs every week!