I love productivity apps. Like… LOVE them. However, many of them aren’t actually that useful. Unfortunately, productivity apps are only useful if you actually use them and I tend to not do that if they’re not extremely well-designed. Have you been searching for the perfect apps to help you be your most productive, efficient self? Look no further. I’ve complied a list of the best five productivity apps that are not only functional and helpful, but beautiful as well! (What can I say? I’m an artist.)
Note: These are all for iOS and/or Mac, because I’m an Apple girl.
Here they are in no particular order:
My go to list app. I used to keep lists in Evernote, but I’ve deleted Evernote and switched to OneNote (more on that in a bit.) So now I use Wunderlist for any and all lists I need to keep with me at all times. The app is simple, easy to use, and easy to organize. You can keep lists in folders, or keep them separate, and you can drag and drop them to put them in any order you want. You can (satisfyingly) check off items as they’re finished and make notes within any task. This allows subtasks within each item, if you need it. You’re also able to sync across all your devices, so your lists are always up to date, no matter where you added to or edited them last!
From the app: “Pomodoro is a technique that is used to increase productivity that was created by a man named Francesco Cirillo. By combining relatively short periods of uninterrupted and focused work with frequent breaks you can maximize the amount of time you remain focused and your overall productivity.
First choose a task that you need to complete. Eliminate all distractions and set the timer for 25 minutes and work until it rings. Give your work your undivided attention. The world can wait 25 minutes for you to finish your tasks. Then take a break! Take a short 5-minute break. Do some push ups or take a breath of fresh air. This break is designed to let you regain your energy.
Repeat this cycle four times and then take a long break. The more you do this, the more productive you will become as your body gets used to this method and rhythm.”
Again, this app is simple and easy to use, and is based on the Pomodoro method, which increases your energy and productivity throughout the day. It’s helpful whether you’re a workaholic who tends to work for ten hours straight, or a procrastinator who can’t seem to stay focused for ten minutes.
For me, OneNote has replaced Evernote and good riddance! I can’t figure out what exactly irked me about Evernote, but I just couldn’t stand it. I liked the idea, but something about the execution seemed messy and disorganized to me. OneNote on the other hand, is exactly the app I wanted. It syncs across all devices, and it’s very intuitive. You can create various notebooks and within the notebooks are sections and within each section are pages.
I’m actually typing this up in OneNote in my Blogging notebook under the Blog Post Section in a new page titled “The Absolute Best Productivity Apps.” Within pages you can save audio, pictures, and video, as well as text and tables. There’s also a “draw” tool, which is especially useful for the iPad, so you can simply write out whatever it is you need to get down. The other thing I love about OneNote is the Chrome extension that allows you to “clip” articles, or webpages straight from the internet. None of that copying and pasting nonsense!
Unfortunately, Documents 5 doesn’t have a Mac version, but it does sync across iOS devices. It’s a document reader, PDF annotator, file organizer, and media player. It has a built-in web browser from which you can make any web page a PDF file for later reference. Within PDF documents you can strike out, underline, and highlight text. You can also use the excellent search mechanism to find the bits you need. Documents 5 integrates with multiple cloud services so you can easily back up and/or get to any files you need from the cloud. In addition to all that, it supports viewing movies, music, and photos! I love this app, and often use it when I need to do research, as it makes storing, managing, and marking up articles and webpages so easy!
Last, but certainly not least is Spark, an email app. I don’t know about you, but I hate email with a passion. I’ll avoid it for weeks and then get stressed out when I have hundreds of messages I need to sift through. Created by the same company that made Documents 5, Spark’s tagline is “Like your email again” and they’re not lying! The best feature on this app is the Smart Inbox. It automatically sorts your email into personal, notifications, and newsletters, so that you can easily get to the most important messages first and deal with the others when you have time. I have mine set so that it only notifies me when I get a personal message and it’s seriously helped lower my email-related stress.
Spark allows you to connect to multiple email accounts so you can see all your emails at once and it’s integrated with multiple cloud services, so you can easily attach photos, documents, or whatever else without ever having to leave the app! My only complaint about this app is that there’s no Mac version, so I’m stuck checking emails on my phone or iPad all the time, instead of the computer.
Well, that about wraps it up. What are your favorites? Are there any great ones that I missed? Let me know in the comments below!