constantly feel like you are buried? Under a pile of crap you need to do?
productive apps: Constant deadlines, email that pile up, chores that never get done… If all these sound familiar, whip out your phone or computer and start downloading these apps that will help you actually get stuff done and let you live your life.
1. Freedom (free, iOS, Android, Mac) blocks distractions on your phone or computer. The app is incredibly simple to use. Create a list of your app and website weaknesses (Instagram, Facebook, Reddit, the whole internet, etc.) Using Freedom, you can schedule sessions where you are not allowed to access those sites or start a distraction-free session on a demand.
2. Forest ($2, iOS and Android) is an app that forces you to put down your phone.
Curb your phone addiction by planting a seed in forest and watching it grow into a tree over the next 30 minutes. If you relapse, you will kill the tree. Sad.
As you spend time away from your phone, you will watch your forest become bigger and bigger.There is also a free Chrome and Firefox extension, through which you can blacklist certain time-sucking websites and watch your tree grow while you stay away from them.
3. Create your own recipe of ambient noises at Noisli (free, web) or listen on their pre-made productivity and relax mixes.It is a great source of background noise for those who cannot work if it is too quiet.
4. There is also Noiz.io, a free Mac and iOS app.
It comes with 15 different sounds that are played in an endless loop.
5. Coffitivity (free, iOS and Android) includes a variety of coffee shop noises to help you stay creative.
You can create your ideal work environment by adding coffee shop sounds to your favorite playlists.
6. Plan (free, web) forces you to make time for the things you need to do.
On the left, you can jot down your tasks and on the right, you will see your meetings and events on Google calendar. Just drag your tasks onto the calendar, so you can block off a time to work.
7. If your life runs on to do lists, use Todoist (free, iOS, Android) a powerful task management tool.
It’s an app that’s clean and simple which is exactly what you need when your to do list is a mile long. You can create sub tasks, share projects, delegate items (amazing for co-grocery shopping with your roommates), set notifications, and most importantly, access the list from essentially anywhere. Todoist is available on mobile (iOS and Android), as a browser extension (Safari, Firefox, and Chrome), and on desktop (Mac and Windows).
8. Pomotodo (free iOS and Android) encourages you to take breaks every 25 minutes, which will boost your productivity.
With this app, you can create a to-do list while running the timer. It will record how long it took you to do each task and remind you when it’s time to take a break. To unlock more timer sounds and advanced to-do functionality (like sub to-dos and repeats), you will need pro, which costs $3 a month or $30 a year. It’s also available as a free Chrome extension, as well as Mac and Windows app.
9. Doo ($5, iOS) turns your tasks into a stack of cards so you can focus on just one at a time.
I absolutely love this app. It’s beautiful and uses a lot of gestures that I find incredibly satisfying (like swiping up to complete something). I like that you can snooze tasks for later, too.
One feature that is unique to Doo is that, if it detects a to do that’s too ambitious, it will encourage you to break the item into smaller tasks.
10. If email is your Everest, try Sorted for Gmail (free, web) which transforms your inbox into a drag-and-drop work space.
This web-based tool efforts an interesting alternative to inbox organization. You can drop your your emails into different lists, rename the subject to an action item, read/reply the email from the list, and add non email tasks into your email workflow.
Sortd is still in private beta, so you will need to enter your email for an invite.
11. Speaking of email, Gorgias (free, Chrome) allows you to send email faster with templates and keyboard shortcuts for Gmail.
If there are certain items you always share (your personal website, phone number, etc.) This Chrome extension allows you to create templates that are accessible with keyboard shortcuts. The templates can also include variables so, for example, you can type “h”+TAB to get “Hello [Insert recipient’s name here].”
This app is a great tool for people who write the same types of emails everyday: people who run Etsy shops, have Airbnd listings, or are constantly reaching out to companies for job opportunities.
12. SwiftKey (free, iOS and Android) can predict phrases, emojis, and even words in other languages so you can text and email like a speed demon.
You will be able to type without lifting a finger.
13. Hello Alfred ($32/week, web and iOS) is a subscription service where people take care of your chores.
It starts at $32 for one weekly visit. Your Alfred can help with tasks like dog walking, home cleaning, laundry drop off, groceries, watering plants, gift shopping, returns, dish washing…you name it. At the end of every month, you pay for the items bought through Alfred, which promises no markups, only retail prices or better.
The service is available in NYC. Boston, San Francisco, and Los Angeles for now.
14. TaskRabbit (free to download, iOS and Android) has a team of “Taskers” on hand to help you with any one-off chores: from waiting in line at a restaurant to helping with spring cleaning.
Basic tasks cost about $30 an hour. Services are currently available in 19 cities including L.A., San Francisco, New York City, Austin, Chicago, and London.
15. Magic (free, all platforms) is a text-based concierge service that can fulfill almost any request.
This app is available anywhere in the U.S. and is the hands down easiest way to get things done. Here is how it works: you text “magic” to 83489 to get started, and enter in credit card and address information. Once the company has that on file, you can start texting Magic things like: “I need to fly to Los Angeles next Friday, and I want the cheapest flight”. An operator standing by will search for the most affordable flight, ask you if it looks good, then book it.