The 15 Best Productivity Apps for Getting Things Done
Apps are more powerful than ever.
From fan-favorites to cutting-edge newcomers, it's never been easier to sketch out an idea, take detailed notes, or stay in touch with your team.
There's even an app that acts like your digital butler.
Whatever your day consists of, these apps will help you get more done, faster.
Humin acts like your digital butler.
Humin is an app that remembers all the tiny details about how and where you met someone, so you can focus on the moment instead of remembering. All you need is someone's number, and Humin will do the rest. You'll then be able to search through your contact using familiar phrases like "met last week" or "lives in Brooklyn."
Price: Free ( iOS)
Vesper is an elegant way to record your thoughts.
Vesper is a note-taking app that takes a lot of the hassle out of organizing your thoughts. You can easily tag each entry so you can search for a specific thought by keyword later, and all your notes will be synced to your Vesper account, free of charge. Reorganizing your notes is made simple with a hold-and-drag motion, and if you want to prevent a cluttered collection, a simple swipe archives your entry.
Price: $2.99 ( iOS)
Paper by Fifty Three wants to become your virtual sketchbook.
Paper is just as useful as it is beautiful. The app lets you draw out ideas and sketches on your iPad, and you can store them away in various virtual notebooks. It comes packed with a variety of brushes and pens for your ideas, and there's even an official Pencil stylus that responds to the pressure of your input. If you're looking for inspiration, you can check out the Mix ecosystem within the app, which is a creative commons space for remixing ideas.
Price: Free (iPad)
Evernote is your online notebook for everything.
Evernote is an online collection of everything you want to remember. It's like digital notebook that stores photos, web pages, notes, PDF files, audio clips, and to-do lists. What's great about Evernote is its indexing feature. Once you add things to your notebook they're completely searchable and can be accessed on your desktop, the Web, or your mobile device.
Mailbox will help get your inbox down to zero.
Mailbox is a clean and minimalistic take on mobile email that uses gestures to help you quickly get your inbox to zero. It works in tandem with Mailbox for Mac, and one of the coolest features is the ability to "Snooze" an email with just one swipe, which will send it to the top of your inbox at a designated time like "Later today," "This evening," and "Next week."
Timeful learns your behaviors in order to help you change your habits.
Timeful is an intelligent calendar app mixed with a to-do list. The app's algorithm learns how you get stuff done and smartly suggests ways to build new habits and get things taken care of, all on your own terms.
Price: Free ( iOS)
Sunrise is a calendar app that performs flawlessly.
Sunrise is another gorgeous calendar app that pulls directly from LinkedIn so you can see the picture and profile of who you're meeting with. It supports multiple Google Calendars in addition to iCloud and Exchange, and its Quick Add Event works just like Fantastical for quickly adding events as you type them in.
BONUS: A close second is Fantastical, which is an iPhone calendar app that's ridiculously easy to use. Besides keeping you organized, the app's best feature lets you enter simple phrases, which it will then translate into a calendar appointment automatically. For example you can type, "Meet with Steven for lunch at Chipotle at 3pm" and Fantastical will handle the rest.
Quip is an alternative to Microsoft Office for iPad.
Quip is a mobile word processing app created by Facebook's former chief technology officer. Quip infuses a messaging element into the app to make collaboration a breeze. You can use the app to create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. You can also use the app to collaborate on blog posts, manage projects, or even share a grocery list.
Price: Free (iOS)
Day One is a classy app for keeping a journal.
Day One brings the daily journal into the modern age, and it's great for micro-journaling or whatever you want your daily writing to look like. The app can record the weather conditions and location of your entry, and if you're particularly proud of a day's journal, you can upload it easily to Facebook in a gorgeous webpage format. Since you don't always know which device you'll be around when the urge to write hits, you can use Day One with your Mac, iPad, or iPhone.
Slack revolutionizes team communication by doing away with email.
Slack is a great way for keeping in touch with your team at work without sifting through dozens of emails. It is a chat room of sorts, and you can tag users and create multiple channels for smaller team projects. The desktop client sends non-intrusive desktop notifications to the corner of your screen, allowing you to stay on top of what's happening while keeping your eyes on your work.
Clear is a simple, well-designed, to-do list to help you stay on track.
Clear is one of the simplest ways to keep track of what you need to do. You can easily drag and re-order your to-dos, and adding a new item is as easy as pulling down your list and typing it in. When you're done with a task, just swipe right. Clear makes it easy to jot down a thing you need to do and pull it up on either your Mac, iPhone, or iPad, and it all syncs over iCloud.
Gmail is still one of the best ways to check email on the go.
Gmail's app gives you access to the arguably the most popular email service around, and it's lightning fast. The app supports up to five Gmail accounts, and searching through your mail is easier than ever with Google's predictions that fill in as you type. With a Gmail account, you get plenty of storage for free, meaning you likely never have to delete an email again. (You can always purchase extra storage just in case).
NotesPlus is note-taking app with an emphasis on natural gestures.
If you're a fan of old-fashioned, pencil-on-paper notes, NotesPlus is as close as you'll get to the real thing. The app's intuitive vector-based system turns your handwritten notes into text, and you can select multiple drawings and notes together by simply drawing a circle around them. There's a built-in web browser that you can swipe right to access, which makes grabbing images and details a cinch.
Price: $9.99 (iOS)
GoodReader is your trusty app for reading virtually any file. iTunesiTunes
You never know when you'll need to open up a random PDF or annotate a text file, and GoodReader is meant to process them all, and quickly. With the ability to add annotations, text boxes, sticky notes, highlights, and drawings, you'll never be caught with a file you can't fiddle with.
Price: $4.99 (iOS)
Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive are your best bets for storing files online.
Dropbox lives on your desktop as a virtual folder. You can drag and drop files into your Dropbox and they'll appear on all of your devices. You also have the option to store files in a public folder so you can easily share them with a simple download link.
Google Drive is an online productivity suite that can be accessed with any device that's connected to the internet, either through an app or on the web. You can share and collaborate on documents and presentations, and it's great when multiple people need to poke around a file at the same time, as you can always see who else is viewing or editing a document.
OneDrive is a great place to store all of your documents, photos, and videos, and you get 15 GB of free storage when you sign up. Since OneDrive is a Microsoft service, you'll always know that your files will play nicely with other Office apps, so you don't have to worry about if a document will open in Word or not.