Best 11 Apps for Productivity: GSD in 2022

Chances are you’re reading this article because you suffer from one or more productivity problems. We all do. It’s often hard to know where to start when dealing with such issues, which is why it’s great that there is such a wide array of apps available for smartphones and tablets.

The best productivity apps promise to boost our output and make hard times easier to get through.

But which ones actually deliver? I decided to put the most popular productivity apps to the test.

The result is this list of the very best, based on how useful they can be in one’s day-to-day life.

What Are Productivity Apps?

“Productivity apps” are digital tools to help you get things done. They can be time management or task management tools (apps for productivity). They can be mind maps, note-taking apps, knowledge base software, etc.

You can use them to automate portions of your workflow or “file away” specific tasks to perform when you have time. And some of these apps can help you boost memory, reduce stress, or simply make it easier to increase daily productivity.

What Features to Look For in Productivity Apps?

Here are some of the features to look for when looking at good productivity apps.

  • Ease-of-use – Your productivity app shouldn’t be something that you’re confused by. While it’s good to have some features, the app shouldn’t confuse you. When you first open the app, there should be some kind of tutorial to help you learn how to use it.
  • Task Management – It should allow you to capture ideas, support collaboration, enable task visualizations, and trigger notifications and pop-ups.
  • Native Integration with Other Business Tools – Your productivity app should integrate with other tools you use. You want it to complement them, not be a replacement.
  • Cross-platform Functionality – While your app might be great for iOS or Android users, what about Windows or desktop users? Some people prefer to use their desktop instead of their phone because it has a larger screen, more memory, a faster processor, and even more functions. So, make sure your app has cross-platform options.

These are just some of the few features you need to consider while picking your productivity app.

The apps you pick should help you get things done in the best way possible. They should manage your tasks and reduce unnecessary interruptions in your work. This means that when looking for the best productivity app, you need to consider it in relation to you and your work habits.

The 11 Best Productivity Apps in 2021

1. Monday.com

Best For: Project management, task management, and collaborating with your team.

G2 Score: 4.7

Free Trial: 14 days.

If you are a fan of productivity apps, then you may just love Monday.com. The online task management platform enables you to keep track of all of your company tasks in one place, making it easier to manage workloads, people, and deadlines.

This collaboration and project management software has everything you need to get your projects and tasks done in one place, plus the ability to get everything done in real-time with co-workers and clients.

The app will allow you to set deadlines for your team members and track project progress. This way, you can know what they have due at any given time, and they’re aware of their own deadlines as well. You can also create a shared list of items that everyone is working on at the same time.

What I love most about Monday.com is the ability to view task details, attachments, updates, or comments with multiple views. You can switch between different views any time you want.

Some standard views include Files view, Map view, Calendar view, Workload view, Gantt view, the Kanban view, etc. All these different views allow you to tailor the layout for your specific needs.

For instance, the workload view gives you a clear overview of how your team’s work is divided. You can discern which team member is over capacity and take more work, and assign upcoming tasks accordingly.

You can also automate your project management and tracking using Monday.com. There are pre-defined automation recipes and templates that let you create recurring tasks, set dependencies, automate the item creation process, and more.

Cons:

  • A bit complex for small teams and beginners.
  • The basic version doesn’t give you access to the Timeline view, calendar view, map views, and more.

Pricing:

Starts from $24 per month when billed annually. It also has a free version that provides core features like unlimited boards, unlimited docs, 200+ templates, two team members, and more.

2. Calendly

Best For: Scheduling appointments, meetings, interviews, classes, or any other event at your company.

G2 Score: 4.7

Free Trial: 14 days.

Calendly is an excellent tool for setting up a meeting or a call. It allows you to choose the date and time so that it fits your schedule while still being accessible for your client to accommodate.

To put it simply, Calendly makes it easy to schedule a meeting with anyone, anytime and anywhere – by simply sharing a link.

You create one meeting request, and everyone chooses from a list of times you are available.

And Calendly automatically knows when you’re available because it integrates with your calendars, such as Google Calendar, Office 365 Calendar, etc.

​​Calendly also handles meeting workflows on autopilot. It’s almost like having an assistant who sends reminder emails, sends feedback surveys, requests follow-up meetings, “thank you” notes for you, and more – allowing you to focus on more critical tasks.

Extensive integration with third-party business tools also makes using Calendly a breeze. You can share your meeting link wherever you conduct your business, including Slack, email, your website, social media, and more.

And since it integrates with all major business apps – as soon as the invitee selects a time or reschedules a meeting, everything gets automatically updated.

On a side note, you might want to check out this list of best Calendly alternatives to explore more options.

Other key features include:

  • Set buffer times to avoid last-minute bookings.
  • Provide multiple location options (both in-person and virtual).
  • Integration with major CRM apps, analytics platforms, and more.
  • Install the Calendly mobile app to schedule meetings, get notifications, and reschedule on the go.
  • The ability to create different event types, including one-on-one, group, collective, and Round Robin.

Cons:

  • No reporting feature.
  • It allows you to sync with one calendar app at a time.

Pricing:

Pricing starts from ​​$8 /seat per month. There’s also a free version suitable for individuals who require basic features.

3. HelloSign

Best For: Electronically requesting and adding legally binding signatures to documents.

G2 Score: 4.7

Free Trial: 30 days.

As an entrepreneur, you know that activities that do not directly impact revenue are hard to swallow. Paper documents are precisely this type of activity!

There’s no doubt about it, they need to be signed, but they can’t be signed without overseeing them in person or via the phone.

And that’s where HelloSign enters.

HelloSign is a productivity app that allows you to easily create, send and manage legally binding digital signatures from your phone or tablet. Once installed, you can create a new document, add signatures to every field with a few clicks and send it out to get signed.

It’s suitable for all types of documents, including new hire agreements, loans, NDAs, and more. Plus, the app is available in a web interface, an API, and even as a Salesforce add-on.

Another key feature is the ability to make template documents. Templates are reusable signature documents that you can set up, save, and use the next time you need them. Template documents are best for forms like NDAs, Offer Letters, or Sales Agreements.

Besides being a productivity app, HelloSign lets you manage all your documents in one place. If the person who needs to sign them doesn’t have a HelloSign account, you can simply email the document and let them sign it.

Other key features include:

  • Audit trails to ensure actions are tracked and time-stamped.
  • Add signatures by typing, drawing, or uploading.
  • Available in 22 different languages.
  • The built-in drag-and-drop builder allows you to add signature blocks, checkboxes, text fields, and more onto your documents.
  • Get email notifications, track responses, and even send automatic reminders to your recipients via emails.

Cons:

  • It doesn’t have any pre-written templates to help you get started.
  • It’s a bit on the expensive side.

Pricing:

Starts from $15 per month for unlimited signature requests. There’s also a free version that lets you request three signatures each month.

4. Brain.fm

Best For: Streaming music to focus and be more productive.

G2 Score: N/A

Free Trial: 3 days.

Music can be incredibly inspiring. The right music can help you find the motivation to exercise, work harder, and even finish writing that book.

Brain.fm is a brainwave-based music streaming service that helps you focus, concentrate, relax, sleep, and meditate easier and faster.

It features various music genres geared towards helping where you need it most—relaxing, concentrating, or sleeping.

The music is optimized for the human brain. It’s a blend of classical and ambient that alleviates stress, helps you focus/concentrate, and is good for inducing sleep.

You should be able to see results within 10 minutes (or less) if you use it with earphones or headphones. You can also skip the music to change the track and set a specific time limit (30 minutes, one hour, two hours, or infinite).

If the current music isn’t doing anything for you, you can also choose from various options. Brain.fm has access to exclusive soundscapes for each genre, so you can tune in to the type of music that suits your activity.

10-15 minutes into the app, and you’ll feel like it’s magic once you witness your creativity increasing. But it’s actually neuroscience!

Brain.fm was created by a team of neurologists and sound therapists as a “digital drug” that could deliver similar effects as meditating or practicing mindfulness.

The best part is that it’s easy to use and doesn’t require any installation — music is delivered directly through mobile apps and internet browsers.

Cons:

  • While the free trial could be more extended, there aren’t any significant cons per se.

Pricing:

It costs $6.99 per month (or $49.99 per year) for unlimited sessions, offline access, and access to all categories.

5. Google Drive

Best For: Storing and sharing your documents and photos in one place, so you don’t lose them.

G2 Score: N/A

Free Trial: No free trial.

With so many people relying on multiple platforms to get things done, it only makes sense to have an app that can centralize your tasks into one place.

If you are looking for an all-in-one productivity tool to meet every requirement, Google Drive is your best bet. It’s easy to use and has features that could make your life easier.

The cloud-based storage solution created by Google allows users to store files in the cloud, creating backups of their data – and also provides a means of sharing and collaborating with other users and teams.

The endless storage space allows you to back up hundreds of gigabytes of photos, videos, documents, presentations, PDFs, or whatever files you can think of. And the good news is that the first 15 GB of storage space is free.

You also have options for sharing files with other Google accounts, making it easy to collaborate on large projects. And it can be used across all your devices and integrates natively with other Google apps like Docs, Sheets, and Slides. This means real-time editing while on the go.

The app scans all the files shared with you and removes malware, spam, ransomware, and phishing threats. And since the app is cloud-native, it eliminates the need for local files and reduces security risks.

What’s more, Drive’s AI-based feature “Priority” predicts what you’re looking for and displays the most relevant content—helping you and your team find documents faster.

Google Drive also works on all major platforms, including internet browsers, mobile devices, tablets, and computers – allowing you to work seamlessly.

Cons:

  • You won’t be able to view changes without an internet connection.
  • Individual users can’t exceed file upload of 750 GB per day.

Pricing:

Starts at $2 per month for 100 GB storage space. The free version allows access to up to 15 GB of storage space.

6. Notion

Best For: Time management, storing and centralizing data, and prioritizing your tasks.

G2 Score: 4.6

Free Trial: Yes (With a 1,000 block limit).

If you are looking for a distraction-free tool for creating lists, spreadsheets, or jotting down notes, join the club!

The mind can get perplexed and desperate for a simple solution that helps you keep track of all your projects, your to-do list, and even your reminders efficiently.

Notion can also be a new place for your notes, ideas, plans, snippets, and research – helping you with organization, task management, note-taking, all in one place.

If you’re an individual, you can use it to write better, think more clearly, and stay organized. And if you are helming a team, you can use the productivity app to collaborate, share knowledge, wikis, and more.

They give you access to templates that you can use out of the box or customize to your own workflows to make your journey easier.

For example, you can use the “Meeting Notes” template to collate notes from all your meetings in one accessible spot.

You can even tag the Notes by meeting type to find them easily and see when each meeting took place and who was there.

Then you Notion’s homepage to store your daily work with context. The “Team Home” page entails access to what’s new, team missions, and team objectives.

You can further add text, to-do list, images, toggle list, link to another page, date or reminder, and a lot more to any section you want. There are even options to mention a team member, create a Kanban board, list view, timeline view, table, and more in line with a page.

Next, build a “Roadmap” – either using a pre-designed template or from scratch – to make your teamwork the way you want. Further customize the Roadmap using the drag-and-drop interface and layering in pertinent information, research, tasks, subtasks, and more.

Notion even allows you to import files and docs from tools like Evernote, Trello, Google Docs, Dropbox, Asana, Confluence, and more. This results in centralizing your information in one place by moving it all into Notion.

Think of a perfect combination of Google Drive and Monday.com – and you’ll get Notion.

In a nutshell, Notion.so is a place to store, sync, and share all your stuff. It’s a place for notes, tasks, wikis, bookmark collections, and more. Link your Dropbox, Google Drive, Slack, and even… to keep everything centralized! And all the things you save in Notion are instantly available to everyone you work with.

There are many other layout options and features to help you stay organized and in the loop with your projects and team. And it may all seem a bit complex at first, but the interface is smooth and intuitive, and they have enough video tutorials to help you find your way around the platform.

You can also visit their YouTube channel to watch over 50 tutorials to get started and make the most out of Notion.

Cons:

  • While the interface is easy to use and navigate, it can be slow at times.
  • It has a steep learning curve. You might find it “too much to take in” initially.

Pricing:

Paid plans start from $4 per month (when billed annually) for unlimited guests. There’s also a freemium plan for individual users that lets you invite up to 5 unique guests.

7. Airtable

Best For: Monitoring and scheduling projects.

G2 Score: 4.6

Free Trial: 14-days.

If you’ve ever used a spreadsheet — and I think we can safely assume that’s almost everyone — you’ve seen the grid of rows and columns. Airtable’s “no-spreadsheet-experience-needed” system is like that, but with more power (and fewer limitations). Plus, it’ll save you time.

It creates simple tables that are set up for data entry just like Excel, but it also allows for flexibility that doesn’t exist in Excel.

You can use it for project tracking, marketing campaign tracking, event planning, and a lot more. It’s also a content management tool that makes it easy to organize data, deepen collaboration, and automate workflows – to make you more productive and successful.

The good news is that they have templates for all these situations and business goals.

Take their Project Tracker Template, for instance.

The template helps you manage multiple projects, countless deadlines, and multiple team members and stakeholders in a centralized platform.

You can add as many fields as you want for attachments, along with long text notes, checkboxes, links, and even barcodes.

Akin to project management tools like Monday.com and ClickUp, Airtable also gives you the option to switch between different views. You can create a grid view, calendar view, form view. Kanban view, timeline view, Gantt charts, and even gallery view.

Airtable is best for startups, small businesses, project managers, freelancers, and more – helping them manage even the most complex projects.

Cons:

  • Steep learning curve; it might take a little time to get used to the interface.
  • Lack of native integration with some major tools, such as Google Contacts.

Pricing:

Pricing starts at $10 per month/seat when billed annually. The freemium plan includes unlimited bases, 1,200 records per base, and 2GB of attachments per base.

8. Evernote

Best For: Capturing web pages and taking notes for later reference.

G2 Score: 4.4

Free Trial: 14 days.

I don’t know about you, but I always seem to have a list of things that I need to get done. Right now, it’s revising my website and drawing up daily plans and stuff like that.

Can you relate? Then you will probably love using Evernote because Evernote will help you plan your life and create productive notes.

You can use Evernote to create checklists, capture ideas, and keep track of thoughts that come to mind. Every checklist, idea, or thought gets added to your projects so you can reference them later when you’re ready to write about them.

Sometimes I have a bunch of ideas, but I am unable to articulate things perfectly. So, I store all the ideas in Evernote to access them later on.

The best part? You can give your text-based notes more context using images, audio, PDFs, scans, and documents.

You can use their search capability to find your notes quickly and build on them further.

And note-taking is not the only way to use Evernote.

You can use the app to track and schedule your tasks as well. For one, you can schedule and prioritize your tasks by project or due date. The good news is that Evernote provides native integration with Google calendar, making planning a breeze.

There’s a native camera tool that helps you scan documents instantly. You’ll get reminders for every due date and other scheduled tasks.

Then you have the “web clipper” – that lets you save parts of web pages, such as images and text chunks, or even entire pages. You can also add annotations, text, and highlights to elaborate and make specific points.

You can also choose from a plethora of note templates that fit every situation. They’re also fully customizable and reusable.

Cons:

  • Slightly expensive and can be slow at times.
  • A very limited freemium plan.

Pricing:

Starts at $7.99 per month or $5.83 per month if you pay yearly. The freemium plan allows syncing of 2 devices, 60 MB monthly uploads, 25 GB maximum note size, and more.

9. Todoist

Best For: Creating to-do lists and scheduling daily and weekly tasks.

G2 Score: 4.4

Free Trial: 30 days.

Is your schedule packed to the gills with everything from appointments to meetings, work tasks, personal projects, and even exercise?

All these things can easily get lost in the shuffle or become so overwhelming that they aren’t done because you have too much on your plate.

If that sounds like you, then Todoist is your tool!

They market themselves as the “To-do list to organize work and life.”

Todoist is a super simple and complete task management tool that will change the way you work. It’s beautifully designed, intuitive and straightforward. It makes it easy to keep all your projects and tasks organized in one place.

To name just a few of this app’s most prominent features: it is cross-platform (available for Windows, Android, iOS, Chrome, and the web), there are productivity goals integrated into each task, subtasks, reminders, attachments, and more. You can also add labels with color-coordinated priority tags, recurring due dates, and there are multiple filters and sorting options offered.

There are also options to add relevant notes, links, files, photos, or anything else while creating your tasks.

Its ability to set daily and weekly goals and visualize your productivity graph also rouses productivity.

They also have a “Karma points” system going on at all times, which again helps fuel productivity. You’ll be awarded new karma points when you add tasks, recurring deadlines, reminders, and get everything done on time.

You can also view your daily or weekly schedule well in advance and even review your history.

All in all, Todoist is an excellent task management and productivity tool, but nothing impressive. It won’t be wrong to call it a more straightforward and less complex version of Trello – or Trello for individuals and a small team.

Cons:

  • Reminders are only available with the Pro plan and above.

Pricing:

Starts at $3 per month when billed yearly. The free version enables you to create 5 products and allows only 5 collaborations per project.

10. Slack

Best For: Messaging and collaboration for teams and businesses of all sizes.

G2 Score: 4.5

Free Trial: N/A

Slack has been one of the overnight success stories. A new platform that helped people improve communication and productivity at work. An app built for teams of all sizes and had features, such as direct messaging, archiving, built-in apps, and much more.

In a nutshell, Slack is a messaging platform that enables team communication and collaboration through various channels such as general chat, direct group chats, private one-on-one conversations, and even video chats.

One of the features that make Slack different from other collaboration tools is the channels. With Slack channels (both private and shared), you can create different workspaces for different projects and keep everything focused.

You can work better together by integrating all of your favorite apps from Google Drive, Trello, and Github to Dropbox and Zendesk and creating specific roles and permissions for different members.

Your messages are stored in Slack instead of your phone. Naturally, you get notified when someone messages you.

Cons:

  • Too many channels and messages can get chaotic.

Pricing:

Starts with the free version; paid plans start at $6.67 per month.

11. Trello

Best For: Project management and collaboration.

G2 Score: 4.4

Free Trial: 14 days.

Trello is a lightweight, free web-based project organization tool that makes collaboration simple.

You can use it for project management, collaboration, and even as a content marketing tool. Users can post tasks or to-do lists of activities in a Kanban-style board that they need to get done. Then you and your team members (or friends) can assign these items to each other, comment on them, and follow up on them in real-time.

While some may prefer more feature-rich and sophisticated tools like Monday.com and Airtable, I like the simplicity that Trello offers. And this is not to say that it’s completely devoid of any advanced features.

It gives you a visual representation of tasks, conversations, updates, and more to help you stay focused. It is a cross-platform application as it is available for different operating systems using the app. The app also allows users to choose from an array of templates that one can use to start a project.

You can also set reminders, add color-coded labels, share each task with your team members, attach files in different formats, and even switch between different views.

Cons:

  • It has limited storage.
  • Doesn’t work without data access.

Pricing: Starts free.

Conclusion

Everyone is looking for that “one perfect app” to increase productivity in their work or personal life.

You are probably no exception!

You are looking for one app that will give you time back to manage your task lists better, organize your work when writing reports, track your daily habits when journaling, etc.

Before you can choose which productivity app is right for you, you need to figure out your current biggest problems. Are there emails piling up? Are there social media notifications distracting you? Are there meetings that are creating stress that could be avoided?

For instance, if you’re looking for a project and task management software platform, I’d suggest going with Monday.com, Trello, or Airtable.

If you’re having a hard time focusing on your work, then Brain.fm is your tool. Or Todoist to manage your daily tasks and create a to-do list. Slack for one-to-one collaboration with your remote team. And so forth!

Review all the productivity tools mentioned in the list and pick the ones that align the best with your requirements.

 

Deepti Jain

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