8 Free Apps to Boost Your Online Productivity

By Ashley Marcin on 21 November 2014 1 comment

I feel fortunate to be in my thirties. In my opinion, it's the sweet spot for all things related to technology. I'm old enough to remember life before computers took over entirely. Yet, I'm young enough to quickly adapt and learn new things that make my life happier and more productive. No matter your age, however, you could be using your computer (and time) more effectively and efficiently. (See also: 6 Tools That Stop Computer Distractions and Keep You on Task)

Here are some free applications you can download today to do just that.

1. Inbox Tamer

There's no greater distraction than those little email notifications popping up at the bottom of your screen. I used to waste a lot of time checking email whenever I'd get anything new. Eventually, I tried closing the application entirely, only to find I'd forget to check and miss important messages. Well, now there's Inbox Pause, which delays the notifications so they won't interrupt your workflow.

2. Social Director

There are a lot of tools out there to block social media and other programs while you work, but Cold Turkey happens to be free. You can even customize the settings to block certain pages during certain activities through specific groupings. There are upgraded versions with scheduling capabilities, the power to identify certain users (for parents), etc. — but the basic version gets the job done.

3. Blue Light Blocker

I downloaded f.lux just last month, and I already see it's the beginning of a beautiful relationship. The software makes the colors on your screen adapt to the time of day. If it's late and nearing bedtime, it'll filter out the blue light, which can disrupt sleep patterns, and replace it with an amber glow. You can customize how little or much you want your display to shift, but I'm already falling asleep much faster after firing off articles before my head hits the pillow.

4. Message Wrangler

If you use Gmail, Boomerang is your new best friend. It lets you draft messages now and schedule to send later. It reminds you if you don't hear back on that important email you sent last week. And it even lets you clear out your inbox — and mind — temporarily and return the messages when you're ready to read them.

5. Time Tracker

Do you know how you're spending your time on the computer? RescueTime can make it a lot easier to track. The Lite version (it's free) enables you to record your time on websites and in different applications and set goals for yourself. The application also provides you with a weekly email report of your progress (or lack thereof).

6. Program Launcher

Have you ever wanted to open your programs with just a few keystrokes? Launchy lets you do just that. You'll forget about your menu, the icons cluttering your desktop, and even your file manager with this smart application. With over 120K users, I'd say it's working well for the masses.

7. Image Manipulator

Can't afford the leading image manipulation software? Try GIMP for your photo retouching needs. You can paint, add text, create layers, rotate, scale, and much more. This application will save you time on creating images for your presentations and give you some powerful tools for personal use as well.

8. Password Keeper

Over time, all those passwords can get quite hard generate and remember. And keeping them in a book next to your laptop isn't exactly convenient — or safe. Enter LastPass — the last password you'll need to remember. The application manages all your login information for different sites and autofills for you. You can even streamline your online shopping experience by setting up secure payment accounts. Best of all, LastPass helps create unique passwords that follow the best security practices.

What's your favorite (and free!) computer productivity hack? Please share in comments!

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I just started using Pozzr and it works well so far. Has anyone else tried it?