(Android/IOS, free/from $5)
Important emails have a habit of arriving at inconvenient times. Boomerang is a plugin for Gmail, Outlook and Android that lets you temporarily dismiss messages from your inbox, to reappear in a few hours or days when you’re better able to deal with them. You can also pause your inbox entirely, to suspend the torrent of interruptions while you’re busy, and schedule outgoing messages to be sent at specified times. You get 10 free uses a month; after that, monthly subscriptions start at $5.
This useful website and mobile app takes the pain out of scheduling meetings and events. The idea couldn’t be simpler: you set up a list of possible dates and times and then your invitees drop by the Doodle website and tick the options that work for them. You’ll quickly be able to see at a glance when everyone is available and since recipients don’t need to create their own Doodle accounts, it’s friction-free. For even easier scheduling, you can connect Doodle to your Google or Outlook calendar.
(macOS, $4.99, IOS, £4.99)
Much more than a to-do list, FocusList for iOS and macOS helps you plan your day, dividing it into a series of timed tasks. Once you start work a countdown timer appears, encouraging you to follow the “Pomodoro Technique” of working in 25-minute sessions with five-minute breaks in between, to keep your brain fresh and productive. At the end of the day, you can review how much time you spent on each task and track your productivity over weeks and months.
FocusWriter is a basic word processor for Windows, macOS and Linux that keeps distractions to a minimum, so you can focus on your work. The main screen is completely empty apart from your text (and, optionally, a tasteful background); controls and menus are tucked away at the edges of the screen. Spell-checking and word-count functions are built in, as well as a timer to encourage…