You can’t add hours to your day, but you can make the most of the time you have.
Technology can be both a blessing and a curse when it comes to productivity. On one hand, it’s powerful and it takes a lot of the mess out of organization if you keep on top of it.
On the other hand, how often do you end up scrolling through TikTok for way too long when you meant to be updating your productivity app?
A good balance between physical productivity tools (like a planner or a notebook) and productivity apps can keep you at the top of your game.
Nothing works quite as well as a push notification reminder to give you a kick in the pants, but handwriting notes will be far better for recall.
We’ve collected some of the best apps that will help keep you organized, focused, and less stressed with your work so you can have the best of both worlds.
Taking Notes: Evernote
If there’s one productivity app that has a cult following, it's be Evernote. It’s long been a favorite of students for its ability to work across classes and keep everything organized in one place. It holds up just as well in professional settings, where startup founders and creatives alike find endless storage and organization for their many ideas.
A few especially helpful features are the ability to connect to your Google calendar, search notes, access across devices, and scan in important documents. Evernote is definitely a powerful tool, so if you’re needing something that will hold every idea - big and small, without chaos - this is it.
Promising review: “I love this app. The organization of notebooks is essential to my lifestyle. I use notebooks for school, work, and my writing hobby, as well as my songwriting. If evernote randomly vanished one day, I’d be in trouble. I absolutely love the app.”
To-Do Lists: Any.Do
If to-do lists are your secret weapon for productivity, you might want to give this virtual one a try. Any.do integrates all kinds of features like a calendar, reminders, daily tasks, and a notepad all into one app. It doesn't quite have the power of daily planner, but is a great tool to add on to your existing routine to integrate actionable moments into your larger planning process.
Promising review: “It works with both Alexa & Siri, nice clean interface, always sends my reminders, integrates my calendar no matter where I enter my event/reminder (through Alexa, Siri, Reminders, or Calendar), sub tasks works great, & I haven’t had any lagging.”
Writing: Just Write
Less is more when it comes to getting things done without distraction. If your work requires any sort of writing, then you probably know the struggle of sitting down to write when the internet is so close by, beckoning you to browse an hour or two away in procrastination.
Just Write takes that all away and feels a bit like a breath of fresh air. It’s just you and the page, the way it’s meant to be.
Features: While this app strives for minimalism, you can achieve all the basics like font size, text color. It supports RTF and TXT formats.
Staying Focused: Tomato Timer
Sometimes the simplest productivity hacks are the best. If you’re finding yourself getting distracted by everything around you, setting a timer is a great way to get focused and get things done.
There are tons of great options across app stores (and in real life — a physical timer will work too!), and Tomato Timer harnesses the simplicity and motivation that comes with working in bursts. Just create a work session and watch yourself snap to focused attention.
Pro features: A zen mode that removes all other elements for a simplified experience, 10 different notification sounds, simple to-do lists
Productive teams: Lucidspark
With remote work becoming more common than ever, it’s easy to lose the best parts of working with a team. Collaborating in real time is made easier with Lucidspark, which you can think of as a virtual whiteboard.
It’s built for those initial brainstorming sessions where you need to think creatively without getting lost in all the technical difficulties. The app features everything your team needs to succeed, like the ability to vote, a timer, an infinite canvas, and freehand drawing.
Promising review: “I think this app has amazing potential! I use lucidChart a lot and lucid spark to me feels more natural with a pen in hand to make it closer to a whiteboard.”
Tracking habits: Done: A Simple Habit Tracker
Repetition is the only way to build a habit, according to researchers. But with hectic lifestyles and busy schedules, keeping up that repetition can be difficult especially if you’re always on the go. A habit tracker like Done will help you stick to your good habit so you can have a more productive day.
Features: Done comes with customizable reminders, the ability to track any type of habit, and track it multiple times per day, so habits like drinking enough water are made even easier.
Save for later: Pocket
The world can be a noisy place. All day long push notifications are sending you the latest headlines and you’ve probably got way too many tabs open on your browser. Getting sucked in is easy to do. An app to bookmark all of the web pages and news stories you want to read but don’t have time for is a great way to be more productive. Work now. Read later. With Pocket you can even listen to articles you save — a great tool if you’ve got a long commute.
Promising review: “I used to have 200+ tabs open of articles I wanted to read but never had time, but now I can keep my safari tabs clear without losing any interesting things I wanted to read. I feel like this app was marketed directly to and for me, and it’s marvelous.”
Whether it’s a school paper, an article, or a project idea, brainstorming can be a messy process. IOS app Mindly helps you do all the things you need for a good mind map, including adding images, icons, and text. If you tend to be a messy brainstormer, an app can help you keep everything nice and organized so you don’t leave anything out.
Promising review: “There are endless opportunities on this fantastic app. I really enjoy using it. I would highly recommend it for all students and other people. I do not have the pro version, but I really do not have a need to get it because all it does is provide you with the ability to do more bubbles, but you can make plenty bubbles without it.”