Top Apps For Becoming Productive
Top Apps For Becoming Productive: So today we are going to breaking down some of the best productivity apps in specific categories. In this article, we’re going to get a bit more general because we want to talk about what we think are the best productivity apps overall.
Now we’re going to go over my top pick in each of 10 different categories, which means that by reading this article, you’re going to have at least my recommendation for a very usable productivity stack, a suite of apps that’s going to help you get things done, and stay organized. So let’s get into it. Let’s get started.
Every productivity system is incomplete without some way of writing the daily tasks that you need to do during the day and over the coming days and weeks. Now, some people are perfectly happy using whiteboards, or paper systems or bullet journals. But for those of you who want to use apps, my top pick is going to be Todoist. I have tested a lot of productivity apps over the years and Todoist is still by far my favorite to-do list app. we love that you can create different projects and even nest them, so you can separate your life into different categories.
For example, we have my personal list, but we also have sub-lists for my house for groceries, errands, that kind of thing. Now we also love how easy it is to get tasks into Todoist. This is what we think is its killer feature, its natural language interpretation. So instead of typing in the task, and then clicking a field to set the date, clicking the field to set the tag if you want, you can just write these things all in the text field or even speak them. Another thing we really like about Todoist is it has a fantastic amazon Echo integration, it has Siri integrations so you can easily get tasks into the system very, very quickly and get them to where they need to be.
The best app in this list of the top productive app is Google Calendar. we’ve been using Google Calendar for literally more than 10 years. Now we were forced to get really good at it in my freshman year of college because we had a job where my hours actually changed every single week. That’s what we loved about Google calendar was we could create separate calendars for each area of my life, which we will bet you can do this and most calendar apps, but we think Google Calendar is really, really full-featured, and obviously, it’s available on basically every platform.
But being able to do this allowed me to see when we had to work when I had to be to class, it allowed me to visually separate the different areas of my life and we really, really liked that. So sometimes you are dealing with a team or you’re working on a big enough project with so many moving parts that a traditional to-do list app like Todoist.
Now we tested ClickUp as a potential all in one to-do list and project management apps a few months ago. Now we found that it was a little bit hard to get tasks into the system quickly, it wasn’t quite as streamlined and smooth and quick as Todoist is. But for the lack of that streamlined quality, ClickUp really makes up for it in its flexibility and the number of different features it has.
So you can create so many different levels of hierarchy, which is really, really useful when you’re running an entire company or you’re working on a gigantic project. You can have specific projects, you can have listed within those projects. Tasks themselves can have lists of subtasks, those subtasks can have subtasks. So you can do a lot more as well. You can assign multiple people to one specific task if you’ve assigned maybe a group to get something done together. You can do task dependency.
So you can say this task needs to be done by this date, but this task over here must be done first. When you’re juggling a big project, these features can actually be very, very useful, especially when you’reworking with multiple people.
There’s one app that I just cannot leave out, and that is Notion. The reason we did not put Notion as the top recommendation in any one category is that Notion does so much, but we don’t feel that it is the best app in any one category. That being said, we useNotion every single day, and it’s absolutely indispensable to my workflow.
So we do wanna give a big shout out to Notion, it’s a very, very capable app. What we think it’s worth playing with. But again, we don’t think it really is specialized enough to be considered the best app in any one category. we would have put it in project management, which is why we’re talking now. we don’t use it as a note-taker personally, we are gonna get into the app that we do use as a note-taker later on in the article, but for me. Okay, so looking at my list here number four is note-taking.
My favorite note-taking app, as you are probably aware, is Evernote. Evernote has been my mainstay for about a decade, and nothing has dethroned it. The way that it organizes information just really works for my workflow. we love the writing experience, even though it doesn’t support Markdown, doesn’t have that nice hybrid Markdown features of some other editors, it just works for me.
Now the amount of different types of data that you can quickly get into Evernote is really the killer feature for me. we can take a picture of almost anything, we can scan a document, I can set it to Evernote, and if there’s handwriting or text on it, it’s actually going to be searchable. we also can easily record my voice and put that into Evernote. It’s just really full-featured. Now we haven’t found anything that can take all the same boxes for me.
So if you’re the kinda person who writes really long essays or articles or who wants to write a book at some point, my girlfriend is actually writing a novel right now and she’s using a serious writing app, not a note-taking app, then you might want to consider an app like Scrivener. Scrivener is my top favorite pick here because it has a lot of different features.
So it’s actually the app that we use to write my book, “10 Steps To Earning Awesome Grades.” This is a print edition, but there is a free version, you can get in the description down below. But Scrivener makes the writing process incredibly easy. So it’s great for the planning process. It’s great for making sure that things make sense in your timelines work. But you can also zero in on specific sections of your writing.
So we found that when writing in different apps, we’ll often get into 5000,6000-word territory, and it just gets kind of overwhelming, and we wish we could split my writing up. Now Scrivener lets you do this by default. You can just sort of drill into a specific section of your writing and work on that, and then see it in context. It also has lots of great export options. So if you want to export a PDF, or an EPUB or Kindle File, you can do that straight from Scrivener.
So now we come to habit trackers. Habit tracker is are among my favorite types of productivity apps, not least of which because back in 2014, when we had first gone full time as an entrepreneur, it was a habit tracker that really helped me take my work seriously and act like a professional and get things done on a schedule. The app which is the best habit tracker out there is Habitica.
Now we gotta say this upfront, Habitica is a very nerdy habit tracker, and we are a very nerdy guy. we like statistics, we like video games. So when we found a habit tracker where you get a little character and by doing your habits, you actually level that character up, get them to experience points, get the gear and allow them to go on quests, we were absolutely sold. But Habitica has a feature that we’ve seen in no other habit tracker, and that is the party system.
With this app, you will able to party up with your friends. This creates some very powerful accountability. Because if you’re on a quest, maybe you’re fighting a dragon or something, and you fail to do your habits on a specific day, the dragon is going to damage everyone in your party. So it will be your fault if someone else in your party happens to die from that hit. That creates a very powerful motivator to make sure you get all of your habits done every single day.
All right, let’s talk about time tracking apps. So this is gonna be a bit of a different section because there are two different types of time tracking apps, but we didn’t wanna create two separate categories. So we’re just gonna shove them into this one category. There is an active time tracking, then there’s passive time tracking.
So for active time tracking, my main recommendation is an app called Toggl. By using Toggl, it’s just like it sounds. You actively track your time. So we like Toggl more than any other time tracking app out there because it actually has a feature that will remind you to start time tracking if you have forgotten to do so. Now passive time tracking is different.
And for my money on the desktop side, we think the best app in this category is RescueTime. It will, again, track how much time you’re spending on specific apps and websites, but it will also categorize the time you spend as either productive or non-productive, and you can sort of see what percentage of your time during the workday that you are actually getting things done, staying on task instead of just going over to YouTube and distracting yourself.
Okay, so we are now at email management. Now you can probably guess my number one recommendation here because it is, of course, Gmail. Gmail is that old mainstay and it just works. It’s free, it’s fast, it’s reliable. That’s why we love the fact that you can label messages and create nested hierarchies of labels so you can easily organize things. Of course, it’s built on Google Search, so it’s so easy to search fora message if you’ve lost it or can’t remember what label you gave to it.
Gmail has really great keyboard shortcuts that are easy to learn. So once you learn these, such as hitting E to archive a message, or hitting the pound sign to delete one, you can process your email so, so quickly. Also, if you are a Todoist user, there is a Todoist Chrome extension for Gmail. So you can turn emails into tasks and get them out of your inbox. Team chat, it is time to talk about team chat.
So if you are a part of a team, or if you’re part of a group project in school, you might wanna have an easy way to chat with your group or with your team. Now my top recommendation there is Slack. As much as we like to complain about Slack, on Slack to my variousSlack teams, Slack is great. It allows you to chat in real-time with whoever you need to work with, it allows you to direct message people, create specific group chats, or create channels that have a specific topic. Now there are also lots of different integrations.
So you can have tweets come in, you can embed Google Drive documents, all kinds of really cool stuff. Now it will bring us to our final category, which is Cloud Sync. Now we think no productivity app stack is complete without some kind of Cloud Sync app if you use multiple devices. Or even if you just have a computer and a phone. You wanna be able to access all of your important working files on whatever device you happen to have with you at the moment.
So my big recommendation here is Google Drive, or we guess it’s called Google One now. There are a lot of different cloud Sync apps out there, and if you’re not familiar with what they do, they essentially sync all of your files within a specific folder to the cloud and then keep them synced between all of your devices and up to date on all of your devices, which is very, very important and useful. But we like Google Drive the best simply because it has the best pricing. For free, you get 15 gigabytes, which is higher than we think any other competitor out there. So that is, again, better than most of the other options out there.
Now, of course, you also get access to the entire Google Office Suite, you get Google Docs sheets. we forgot about their PowerPoint competitor is, but it’s pretty good. Now some people you will find that the Microsoft apps are better, so you might wanna go with One Drive. Some people are Apple only, so maybe iCloud Drive. we like Google Drive. Now, it’s important to remember that all these apps are just tools.
So yes, using and tweaking them and adding them into your system can definitely help make improvements to your efficiency in your workflow. But to make more significant improvements, you need to focus on the hardware up here. Now you have to do that by making sure you’re consistently learning new things, and also working on your problem-solving skills. There is one resource that can help you in both of those areas at the same time is Brilliant.
Brilliant is a learning platform that helps you efficiently master math, science, and computer science through a library of more than 50 in-depth courses that all focus on active learning. When you’re going through a course on Brilliant, you’re not just passively in taking information, you’re instead immediately tackling challenging, yet bite-size problems that are laid out in a logical order and they will help you stay interested longer and learn faster and boost your general problem-solving skills along the way.
Now, in their library, you’ll find courses on calculus, on Probability, Gravitational Physics, Python Programming, and lots, lots more. Plus their daily challenges feature gives you new problems to solve every single day in a variety of areas, which can help you make learning a daily habit.
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