The 4 Best Productivity Apps to Organize Your Information

Best Productivity Apps to Organize Information

Whether you’re setting up a new business or running an existing company, you have lots of information to manage and store. Much of this lives in apps such as your accounting app, CRM tool, or a database. But there’s a lot of disparate information that you and your team need to make your business run smoothly. In this article, we’re going to look at some of the best productivity apps 2018 has to offer for storing and organizing information, and especially to share it with the rest of your team.

You probably already use some sort of cloud storage service to share files: you may use Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, or Microsoft One Drive to keep your business documents available to your team 24/7. But these document repositories aren’t the most efficient way to store disparate bits of information, such as clippings from interesting articles, links to websites you want to check out and share, or information such as to-do lists or notes. Most of these platforms do offer apps for this purpose, and we’ll look at these tools.

Apple Notes vs. Microsoft OneNote vs. Google Keep vs. Evernote

You have two options when choosing a tool for organizing information: you can use the app provided by the platform your team uses for its documents, or you can use something else. If your entire team uses the Apple ecosystem, then Apple’s Notes app might work for you. If you work on Office 365, Microsoft OneNote will help you interface easily with your files. And if you’re a Google-based company, Google Keep might be what you need. However, these apps are not all created equally; not all of them are powerful enough for business needs.

Apple Notes

Apple’s Notes app is simple, and not designed to store a lot of information, but its simplistic design does make it one of the best productivity apps in the right environment. You can create individual notes with some formatting, using text, images, videos, and voice memos. You can use tables, and checklists, and you can password protect individual notes. And you can invite members of your team, or even clients, to share individual notes.

While you can create folders to file your notes, you cannot share an entire folder. Because of this, Apple Notes is not the best productivity app for collaborating in a business. Apple doesn’t pretend this is a business-ready tool, but it is streamlined and accessible on the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Web, so you might want to use it for some simple lists, text snippets, and other simple bits of information you need to have at hand. If you’re not wedded to the Apple ecosystem — if you or some of your team use Android phones or Windows tablets or computers — then Apple Notes probably isn’t for you.

Apple Notes

Google Keep

Google Keep, available for Android, iOS, Chrome, and on the web, doesn’t get a lot of attention, even though it’s been around for many years. It’s relatively simple — it’s more Apple than Microsoft — but if you work with Google’s G Suite, it fits in with your existing Google account and stores its content on Google Drive. Google Keep is the best productivity app for anyone who already streamlines everything through Google’s G Suite, as you can store text notes, photos, voice recordings, and more, but you don’t have a lot of formatting options. You can share notes, but you can’t organize your notes in folders or notebooks. It’s a sleek tool that’s easy to use when you just want to jot down some ideas, or save a link or article.

Google Keep

Microsoft OneNote

If you use Office 365, then you’ll probably be familiar with OneNote. But even if you don’t subscribe to Microsoft’s office suite, OneNote is a free download. It’s available for Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, and on the web, so it covers all the platforms you may use.

OneNote is a powerful tool, but for many users it may be overkill. It’s a note-taking and information organizing app that resembles Microsoft Word, with its buttons, toolbars, and tabs. You can do a lot with OneNote; you can make complex documents with tables, detailed formatting, drawings, and much more, and you can share notes and notebooks with collaborators. There are lots of templates, and you can create spiffy documents with OneNote. But you may get too hung up by the myriad features and find yourself overloaded by its options. If the simplicity of Apple Notes and Google Keep simply aren’t doing it for you, Microsoft OneNote might just be the best productivity app for you.

Microsoft OneNote

Evernote

Evernote is its own platform, and, as such, can work for you regardless of where you store your other documents. It’s available for iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, and on the web. With a wide range of features for formatting notes, organizing them in notebooks, and sharing them with collaborators, Evernote is designed for the business environment. You can share notebooks, so each collaborator can add new notes and see those added or updated by others. Evernote can scan files, perform optical-character recognition, and add geolocation information to your notes. And Evernote recently introduced templates, allowing you to create complex documents with a few clicks.

Evernote

One of the best features of Evernote is its web clipper, an extension that you can add to your browser — or use via share sheets on mobile devices — to save articles from the Internet. This is the best way to grab important information and news, save it to your notebook, and share it with others. Evernote’s Business plan also includes a feature called Work Chat, that your team can use to stay in touch. Think of it as a sort of Slack, but inside a tool that stores important information. For anyone that isn’t already locked into a suite of tools offered by Apple, Google, or Microsoft, Evernote is the best productivity app for businesses looking for a wide range of features to streamline their organization and collaboration process.

What’s the best productivity app for your business?

Depending on your needs, one or more of these apps will help you jot down ideas, store bits of texts, and keep track of interesting articles you’ve read. The best productivity app for your business may vary based on what suite of tools your company currently uses to streamline work and whether your specific needs are simple or complex. If your company already works exclusively with the tools offered by Apple, Google or Microsoft, it’s best to try out the productivity app offered within that suite of tools. If you find it to be too simplistic or complex in design for your specific needs, it’s worth venturing off the beaten path and exploring Evernote as a stand alone productivity app for your business. Whatever you do, pick the one that best suits the way you work, and the way your business works.

Kirk McElhearn has been writing about technology and business for more than 15 years. He has written for national publications, has authored or co-authored more than two dozen books about technology, and writes for a number of publications and blogs. Find out more about Kirk on his blog Kirkville, or follow him on Twitter @mcelhearn.