Productivity is personal. You can read advice from others about how they get things done, but productivity tips that work for one person might not work for you and your work style. The same goes for productivity apps. With so many different apps and tools available, it’s important to identify what exactly you are looking for. Maybe you are an efficient note-taker, but you have a really hard time focusing on tasks. Or perhaps you have a great system to communicate with teammates and contacts, but you don’t have an effective way to schedule meetings with them.
Here at Hive, we’ve done some research to help you narrow down all of the apps out there. In this article, we are breaking down the best productivity apps for each of your different needs. From digital notebooks to project management tools, here are 11 apps that can help address your needs and ultimately get more done.
Best For: Managing your to-do lists
Todoist is a simple task manager app that allows you to record and group tasks together based on projects. Consider this an upgraded version of your traditional to-do list. In addition to recording and organizing your own tasks, you can use the app to collaborate with other people by sharing and assigning tasks.
Cost: Free for the basic version (limited number of projects); Premium version is $3.99 monthly or $35.99 annually
2. Google Docs
Best For: Collaborating on documents
Google Docs is one of the best tools for sharing documents and collaborating in real-time. This online word processor eliminates the need to save and send files back and forth throughout the writing and editing process. Depending on your settings, documents can be shared inside and outside of your organization. This lets team members work together from anywhere, reduces redundant documents, and helps minimize miscommunication.
Google Docs also has a comment feature for highlighting and making notes about a specific piece of text. Comments directed at specific users will also trigger an email notification to make sure everyone stays in the loop. To protect privacy and security, Google lets the document owner determine the editing capabilities of each user shared on the doc.
3. IFTTT (If This Then That)
Best For: Automating tasks
If This Then That (IFTTT) is an automation tool that seamlessly connects different apps and experiences. You can set up a range of different automations in IFTTT, from everyday tasks to more niche occurrences. For example, you can have google add a reminder to your calendar if it’s going to rain tomorrow or set a reminder to drink more water. If you want to get really creative, you can also do things like set it up to get a notification every time the International Space Station passes your house.
This app helps you automate repetitive tasks, which ultimately gives you more time to focus on other, more important aspects of your work.
Best For: Scheduling meetings
Calendly helps you schedule meetings without the back-and-forth emails.
When you register for an account with Calendly, you’ll be asked to sync your calendar and choose your availability preferences, including time slots (15 min/30 min/45 min/etc) when you’re available. Then, when you need to schedule a meeting, you simply give the person your Calendly link and they can choose the best time slot for them. No back and forth. How amazing?
Cost: Free for Basic Plan users. Upgrade to the Premium Plan for $8/month and the Pro plan for $12/month
Best For: Project management
Hive’s productivity platform is one of the best tools on the market. When synced with Hive’s desktop and web applications, the mobile app provides yet another way to improve work ethic and productivity throughout the day. With Hive, team members can check their to-do lists, communicate with one another in real time, collaborate on schedules, share files, and check up on the latest project progress.
In addition to the mobile app, Hive’s desktop and web applications have even more features to boost productivity. Every project can be viewed in multiple ways depending on someone’s personal work style– including Gantt Chart, Kanban Board, Calendar, and more. Updates are reflected across all project views so everyone can work how they want, and the whole team stays informed. Tasks assigned to you across all projects also populate in your own personal to-do list, therefore holding you accountable and helping you prioritize upcoming tasks.
Cost: Free to download. Packages start at $12/month per user
Best For: Focusing with music
Brain.fm is an app that plays music designed for the brain to enhance focus, relaxation, meditation, naps and sleep within 10 to 15 minutes of use. It’s not a myth, certain types of music really can help you focus, relax and sleep better. Brain.fm uses scientific research to design and play music based on your desired outcome. Just turn on some tunes and let this app do the rest.
Cost: Free to download. Upgrades to Pro versions starting at $6.99
Best For: Taking and organizing notes
If you prefer to take notes digitally, or often find yourself with a mix of handwritten and digital notes, Evernote is for you. Evernote is one of the best tools on the market for collecting all of your ideas and thoughts in one place. One cool aspect of Evernote is that it allows users to take photos of written notes and upload them to the app, in addition to taking notes directly on your device. The search function lets users browse all of their files– written or typed– thanks to handwriting analysis. Once your notes are in the app, you can organize them in notebook systems and filter them by adding tags. Evernote syncs seamlessly across your devices so you never “forget your notebook” at home.
Cost: Free to download. Premium versions starting at $4.99
Best For: Staying focused
Forest is a great app for people who have a hard time putting down their phones and focusing on a single task. Whenever you want to focus, simply open the Forest app and plant a tree. This tree will grow as long as you are focused and not touching your phone. If you do exit the app at some point before the task is completed, your tree will die. Users can eventually turn these trees (and hard work) into an entire forest. To make it more fun, players are rewarded with additional tree species and calming sounds to accompany their forest collection. Even better, Forest has partnered with Trees For The Future, letting users redeem earned coins to plant trees in real life.
Cost: $1.99 with option for additional in-app purchases
Best For: Time tracking
Toggl is known for its clean and simple interface, which sets it apart from other time-tracking tools and makes it really easy and intuitive for users. Toggl Track, it’s specific time-tracking tool, is great for all different types of users, including developers, artists, and organizations of all size. In addition to basic time tracking, it offers features like custom reports and and billable hours, which can help improve any business. Using Toggl lets your business quantify how much time is spent on different activities and therefore help identify workflow inefficiencies. It’s also easy to use on-the-go, with apps available on mobile, desktop, and even on your browser.
Cost: Free for up to 5 users. Starter plan for teams beginning at $8 per user
Best For: Mind Mapping
MindMeister is a digital mind mapping tool that is perfect for everyday business situations. Mind mapping tools like MindMeister are helpful for visualizing data, planning projects, and brainstorming ideas. MindMeister can be used on an individual level, or it can be used among teams to collaborate and share ideas in real time. The tool includes many pre-set map themes, or you can customize your map with colors, styles, formatting, and images that best fit your needs. With all information stored in the cloud, this tool lets you digitally access your map without worrying about saving or sending in advance.
Cost: Free for up to 3 basic maps. Personal plans start at $4.99/month; Pro plans start at $8.25/month
Best For: Social Scheduling
Hootsuite is a comprehensive tool that lets companies schedule posts and campaigns across all of their social channels. Once social posts are planned and scheduled, you also have an option to view them in a single comprehensive calendar, which is extremely helpful for aligning your campaigns and seeing the bigger picture.
In addition to planning and publishing content, Hootsuite also helps companies engage with their audience and create connections with potential customers. Hootsuite users can monitor post performance, respond to questions, boost positive comments, and share other posts– all within the platform. With options to assign customer inquiries to specific team members and filter incoming messages based on priority, this tool has many features to increase your team’s productivity.
Cost: Free 30 day trial. Professional plan starts at $29 per month for up to 10 users, increasing from there.
Do you have a favorite productivity app that everyone should know about? Leave us a comment below and tell us how it makes you more productive.