When it comes to productivity programs, you need to find the diamond in the rough.

When it comes to productivity programs, you need to find the diamond in the rough.

How many apps and programs do you have downloaded on your laptop and smartphone? Nine? 15? 20? According to Nielsen, smartphone owners typically use more than 26 apps every month, spending over 37 minutes with these various apps every 30 or so days.

But is the time spent with the apps and programs productive? Chances are, probably not. The Pew Research Center found that most people only turn to a small number of their apps on a consistent basis every week, and numbers from AppsFlyer show that barely over 3 percent of all apps are actively used 30 days after being downloaded.

“Less than 3.5% of apps are actively used 30 days after being downloaded.”

So what gives? Why are so many of your apps and programs sitting idly by? I find one problem to be recommendation overload. Friends and colleagues say that one program will change my life, only for it to be barely used after a week. Grammarly, Boomerang, Hootsuite, Slack, Evernote – the list of programs and apps I downloaded but never use fully is too long to name everything here.

Let’s break through the clutter! When it comes to productivity programs, you need to focus on just a few. Each of our PAs are trained on Salesforce.com CRM, Asana and others.

Here are three niche products that we like and that we find are powerful for individuals to adopt.

1) Wunderlist

If you’re anything like me, then lists are what keep you sane and on track during the day. Handwritten lists are too easily lost or forgotten, while lists in Notepad, Word or Gmail are hardly better than the old-fashioned alternative. I’ve tried lots of list-making apps too, but so many of them are cluttered and clunky to use.

Enter Wunderlist. This is the list app that you’ll actually love using. Its clean interface makes it simple to pick up, and it can be accessed and shared across devices. It combines all of the benefits of email, just with a whole lot more on top of it for creating and sharing all different kinds of lists. That means I never lose my lists, and I can always see what needs to be done next no matter where I am or who I’m working with.

The best productivity programs are the ones youThe best productivity programs are the ones you’ve never heard of before.

2) SwiftKey

While I definitely prefer to type out emails and quick messages on a keyboard, I don’t have that luxury. When I’m at the airport, on the train or anywhere else that isn’t my desk, I’m looking at my smartphone screen. This app is great at keeping me productive at all times, but it means that I’m writing short paragraphs that all too often have typos. My thumbs are only so dexterous.

If you’re anything like me when it comes to typing on a small screen, then SwiftKey is your savior. Not only does its AutoCorrect feature actually work, but it learns how you actually write in no time at all. This helps me type intelligible and coherent messages all the time no matter where I am.

3) Freckle

I’m not a big fan of this app’s name, but I love its functionality. I like to think of it as CRM for your time. Basically, it makes it super easy for you and your colleagues to precisely track how much time you’re spending on anything and everything you do in a day or a week. If time is money and knowledge is power, then Freckle may be one of the most cost-effective and powerful programs you use.