It’s easy to get bogged down beneath the endless to-do list throughout the work day, leaving little time to connect with the outside world. And with so much information flooding the news cycle each minute, it’s nearly impossible to keep up. 13715615885_f0140d3845_m

But in our industry, staying informed is necessary in order to have informed conversations with clients, keep up-to-date with knowledge of changes and trends, and often for creative inspiration.

Luckily, there are ways to make it easier. These are a few of our favorite ways to stay up-to-date without the time commitment:

1. NYT Now

Format: App

Price: Free

How do I get it? Download it in the Apple and Android app marketplaces

This app is the perfect combination of high-quality journalism on a need-to-know basis. The free app takes the guess work out of what’s important because its editors decide for you. The app only displays about 20 stories at a time, located on one continuously scrolling screen on a variety of topics. As you scroll, each story has a photo and a brief description. If you want to know more, you can click on the story to read the entire thing without leaving the app. The app sources content from the New York Times, as well as other well-respected publications like the Washington Post, Bloomberg News, the Boston Globe and The Atlantic. The app updates throughout the day (think: morning coffee break, lunch and afternoon lull) to give you fresh content, but once you get to the end of the screen, there’s nowhere else to go. It’s oddly refreshing to have so little choice in the matter. You can bookmark stories to read later and share them with friends. And if you allow the app to send you notifications, you’ll get real-time updates on developing stories. It just doesn’t get any easier.

2. The Skimm

Format: Daily email newsletter

Price: Free

How do I get it? Enter your email at theskimm.com

This daily email newsletter will become your new best friend you didn’t know you were missing but won’t be able to live without. The Skimm was founded by two former broadcast producers who kept hearing from friends about two things: the limited amount of time they have to keep up with news and how boring news can be. The Skimm tries to change that by delivering a pre-determined number of story summaries directly to your inbox every morning using a voice imbued with attitude, sarcasm and friendly conversation. It breaks down hot topics into bite-sized pieces of information. The newsletter’s signature “Repeat After Me” section sets up each story as if it’s the answer to a question you’d hear in daily life with a smart, news-centric reply. There are links to outside news sources to learn more about each story, too. The newsletter has recently landed interviews with presidential candidates for quick-and-dirty, Skimm-style questionnaires and has even been endorsed by Oprah. And as we all know, Oprah knows best.

3. AP Mobile

Format: App

Price: Free

How do I get it? Download it in the Apple and Android app marketplaces

Sometimes all you have time for is a one-sentence update about what’s going on. That’s what AP Mobile is good at. Whenever a story breaks, AP Mobile is the quickest app to deliver a notification. It’s real-time, reliable information about the big headlines to keep you informed. You have the option to click on the notification to take you into the app for the full story, but they can easily be read and dismissed, too. And, most importantly, you’ll always be the co-worker who heard it first.

4. Facebook Trending Topics

Format: Website and/or App

Price: Free

How do I get it? You know the drill.

Like it or not, Facebook owns all of us. And since we’re all logged into it at work anyways, we’re lucky Facebook is doing a pretty good job of making the news experience quick, easy and relatively informative. The trending topics on the right hand side of your news feed display the most talked about topics at any given point throughout the day. If you click on a topic, you’ll be taken to its own news feed. Facebook provides a brief description of the topic at the top of the screen and then pulls information from your Facebook friends’ profiles who’ve shared something about it and other mainstream sources. And now with Facebook’s integrated articles that don’t make you leave the app (if that’s where you’re browsing) to read the full story, the process is even quicker. This is a great way to incorporate news into your routine with minimal effort.

5. FLIRT

Ok, so we’re not sharing news, per se, but we do have news about FLIRT. And since we’re talking about Facebook anyways, be sure to check out and ‘like’ FLIRT’s Facebook page at facebook.com/flirtcommunications to see our latest updates and blog posts.