Organize your life with these essential productivity apps
Everyone can benefit from being more productive in their everyday lives, but finding the right tools to do so can be difficult. Since the dawn of smartphones, many of use a variety of apps to get a handle on our daily lives. Indeed, productivity apps have been around since the beginning of apps. But over the years, certain apps have fallen in and out of popularity, or even disappeared completely. With new apps coming and going all the time, it’s hard to keep track of what the best ones are. So we made it easy for you. Here are our picks for the best productivity apps you should be using right now.
Best productivity apps for taking notes
Available across most platforms, including Android and iPhone, this app works essentially like Post-It notes, using a color-coded system to keep everything organized. Users are able to create text cards for simple note taking, checklists, sketches and can even include images, audio-recordings and PDF files. Users can combine these into a single card and store them using customizable cover images. Set up a free Zoho account to download the app with no restrictions on how many devices it can sync with.
Best productivity apps for making a budget
Owned by Intuit, the company behind Quickbooks and TurboTax, Mint’s capabilities make it easy to “see your complete financial picture.” Linking bank accounts, loans and investments, the app lets users track where their money is going and how it’s being spent. The app also sends alerts and notifications when a bill is due or if a subscription cost has increased. For those working with a strict budget, Mint will categorize every transaction and use Mindsights to suggest ways to avoid debt. The app is available for free on iOS with new features for Android expected soon.
Best productivity apps for managing your passwords
Whether you have a thousand different passwords you keep forgetting (bad) or you use the same single password for all of your accounts (worse!), you need a password manager. There are plenty from which to choose, but we like RoboForm. For $1.39/month, the app “securely stores all your passwords and logs you in with a single click (or tap).” The service is available for multiple platforms including Android and Mac, and includes a password generator for those times you can’t think of something strong enough. The app comes with a variety of features including unlimited logins, strong encryption, Cloud backup, and 24/7 support.
Best productivity apps for project management
Perfect for freelancers, office workers and large teams, Trello makes project management easier and more organized. Using customizable boards, lists and cards, users can plan events, prioritize tasks, and set personal goals. The app also features No-Code Automation designed to “reduce the number of tedious tasks (and clicks)” so users can focus on more important aspects of their project. Free membership includes unlimited cards, members and storage. Upgrading to Business Class for $10/ month allows for access to unlimited Power-Ups, allowing users to link apps like Slack and Dropbox with Trello.
Best productivity apps for staying focused
Seeking to stay on track with completing tasks and save the environment? Forest uses the suggestion of planting a tree with every task you want to complete. Your determination to get things done (or lack of it) influences the tree’s growth or gradual withering away. The more you focus, the more your forest grows. Partnering with Trees for the Future, users can spend virtual coins that become a donation to the tree-planting organization. The app is free on Chrome and Google Play but is $1.99 on the Apple Store.
Best calendar apps
Available on Mac, iPhone and Apple Watch, this app removes the hassle of planning and scheduling events. Fantastical allows users to check their contacts’ availability and send proposals about which days and times work best. Calendar Sets allow users to separate their home and work life events along with Tasks that prioritize what’s coming due and what can be pushed off until later. Plus, the app also comes with Conference Calls link detection that works with Skype (for business), Zoom, GoToMeeting and more and has Fantastic Family, linking up to five members for easy communication. Some of the app’s basic features are free. Upgrading to a Premium Account allows access to numerous customization and productivity features and priority email support. Individual plans start at $4.99 / month while Family plans are $7.99.
Best habit-building apps
Perhaps the most creative of the habit-tracking apps, Habitica combines the basics of to-do lists with the fun of RPGs. Users create an character that earns experience depending on how much (or how little) the user progresses in their tasks. In-game monsters represent their everyday tasks. And defeating the monsters, i.e., completing tasks, earns special gear and prizes. Also, the app lets users invite friends and strangers to compete, building relationships and strengthening accountability. The app is free to use on Android, iOS and Chrome.