Six of the best time-saving apps

Too busy to cook? Clean? Find birthday presents? Repent, with help from these time-saving apps

Not enough hours in the day to do everything on your to-do list? We feel your pain. 

The pace of life in today's always-on world regularly leaves us scrabbling around trying to find time for those everyday chores. You know the ones: they're not important, but they do need doing at some point in the future. Things like putting the washing in, paying the bills and feeding the kids. 

From apps that send couriers to pick up your takeaway to ones that fool your friends into pretending you haven’t forgotten their birthday, here are six to help solve your first world problems. 

READ MORE: The six best apps for video editing

1. Mopp

Panicking over the state of your En Suite of Doom? Book a cleaner for £10 an hour using Mopp instead of doing the dirty work yourself. The payment process is speedy - just a case of tapping in the number of hours, whether you have cleaning products and the time you want - Mopp even captures your card details via your iThing's camera.

Unlike most service apps, it’s also already operating in ten UK cities - London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Birmingham and more. Mopp cleaners (background checked and reliable) need at least 24 hours’ notice so it's not truly last-minute but we say that's fair enough. A blemish-free service.

Stuff says ✭✭✭✭✭

Platform iOS (optimised for iPhone) Price £free

Download Mopp here

2. Rooster

For £3 a month, this book club for the busy sends bite-sized chunks of one classic and one contemporary ebook to get you to read during that half-hour lunch break. The monthly choices are curated by the founders, two ex-journalists Jennifer Lee and Yael Goldstein Love, and the clean, white and grey aesthetic fits the fiction. Rooster looks and feels more lit chic than chick lit. 

Push notifications at your preferred time of day are just the nudge that’s needed to get you to actually read your 15 minute or so daily chunk and stay on track. Plus to help you concentrate, you can only read one of the titles at a time. Kindle-style customisation is a bonus but we hope they're working on an optimised iPad version too. 

Stuff says ✭✭✭✭✭

Platform iOS Price £free with sub

Download Rooster here

3. Jinn

London-only for now, Jinn takes the First World Problems solving crown.

It's an idea that's been around for a while but nobody's cracked yet - superfast deliveries of physical items to give you that same instant hit as digital. Type in any exact item (that fits in a car) from any open shop/restaurant plus your postcode and it will turn up at your door in less than an hour.  

After a few texts to confirm the items and keep you updated, Jinn sends a ‘genie’ (courier) to buy and deliver it for £5.95 plus 10% of the item's value. It's perfect for restaurants that don't deliver or getting a present before the shops shut if you're stuck at work.

The money is taken from the card linked to your Jinn account - this is a bit disconcerting as there's nowhere in-app to give you the exact amount paid but we're sure they're working on this feature. And when the Jinn genie shows up, you get the receipt from the store or restaurant anyway.

The best bit? It works. Even when we didn't text Jinn back straightaway, we still received our delivery from across London within 60 minutes. Mmm, Nandos on the sofa. 

Stuff says ✭✭✭✭✭

Platform iOS, Android Price £free

Download Jinn for iOS here

Download Jinn for Android here

More after the break...

4. Utter!

Can’t get the (virtual) staff? Chances are that if you want to use voice control on your smartphone to turn it into a true virtual PA, you want it to work with every app and be fast enough to register all your orders. 

This Android voice app, utter!, is quicker than Google’s own voice offering, always listening and even able to defer to Google Now when it gets stuck. It works with Facebook, Spotify, YouTube, Dropbox and tons more apps too. We tested the slightly buggy beta, often picking up phrases that weren't meant for it, but a version 1.0 Google Play app is due to land soon. 

Stuff says ✭✭✭✭✩

Platform Android Price £free

Download Utter! here

5. Bizzby

Jinn finds stuff quickly… Bizzby finds people. Handymen, movers, plumbers – this friendly app guides you through query dropdowns to determine what you need, shows available prices per hour and alerts its army of vetted contacts. No Facebook pleas for recommendations, no trawling through suspect links on Google. 

There's also a small section on beauty treatments - we wouldn't be surprised to see Bizzby expanding beyond burst pipes to give you the best price for any local expert, no matter what you're willing to pay for. Just be careful when hitting the 'Bizzby it' button - after the price screen, placing an order is a tap away. 

It’s London-only for now, with Manchester, Bristol and maybe NYC coming soon. Lifesaver. 

Stuff says ✭✭✭✭✭

Platform iOS, Android (beta) Price £free

Download Bizzby here

6. Gift Fix!

If you order a present by the date of the birthday, that counts as on time. Fact.

Gift Fix! sells last-minute Firebox gifts with zero fuss. All you need is a mate’s number, Firebox then texts them to let them know they've received a gift and your buddy enters the delivery address themselves.

A snag: the nicely curated catalogue of £35 and under tech toys is regularly refreshed but there are only around 50 things to choose from. This isn't full Firebox - more choice, please.  

Stuff says ✭✭✭✭✩

Platform iOS, Android Price £free

Download Gift Fix! for iOS here

Download Gift Fix! for Android here

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