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The 10 Best Productivity Apps in 2019


The 10 Best Productivity Apps in 2019


some of the best productivity
apps in specific categories.
We've talked about the
best note taking apps,
the best to-do apps,
the best habit trackers,
but in this article, we're going
to get a bit more general
because I wanna talk about
what I think are the best
productivity apps overall.
And we're gonna go over
my top pick in each
of 10 different categories,
which means that by the end of this article,
you're going to have at
least my recommendation
for a very usable productivity stack,
a suite of apps that's going
to help you get things done,
and stay organized.
So let's get into it.
And we're gonna start with,
of course, the to-do list app.
No productivity system is
complete without some way
of writing down the tasks that you need
to get done during the day
and over the coming days and weeks.
Now, some people are perfectly
happy using whiteboards,
or paper systems or bullet journals.
But for those of you who want to use apps,
my top pick is going to be Todoist.
I have tested a lot of
productivity apps over the years
and Todoist is still by far
my favorite to-do list app.
I love that you can
create different projects
and even nest them,
so you can separate your life
into different categories.
For example, I have my personal list,
but I also have sub lists
for my house for groceries,
errands, that kind of thing.
And I also love how easy it
is to get tasks into Todoist.
This is what I think
is its killer feature,
its natural language interpretation.
So instead of typing in the task,
and then clicking a field to set the date,
clicking the field to
set the tag if you want,
you can just write these
things all in the text field
or even speak them.
Another thing I really like about Todoist
is it has a fantastic
Amazon Echo integration,
it has Siri integrations
so you can easily get
tasks into the system very,
very quickly and get them
to where they need to be.
Category number two is
the humble calendar app.
And the best app in this
category is Google Calendar.
I've been using Google Calendar
for literally more than 10 years.
And I was forced to get really good
at it in my freshman year of
college because I had a job
where my hours actually
changed every single week.
And what I loved about Google
Calendar was I had the ability
to create separate calendars
for each area of my life,
which I will bet you can do
this and most calendar apps,
but I think Google Calendar is
really, really full featured,
and obviously it's available
on basically every platform.
But being able to do
this allowed me to see
when I had to work, when
I had to be to class,
it allowed me to visually
separate the different areas
of my life and I really,
really liked that.
That brings us to category number three,
which is the project management app.
So sometimes you are dealing with a team
or you're working on a big enough project
with so many moving parts that
a traditional to-do list app
like Todoist or Microsoft Microsoft To-Do
or TickTick is just not
going to cut the mustard.
And my big recommendation in this category
is an app called ClickUp.
Now I tested ClickUp as a
potential all in one to-do list
and project management
app a few months ago.
And I found that it was a little bit hard
to get tasks into the system quickly,
it wasn't quite as streamlined and smooth
and quick as Todoist is.
But for the lack of that
streamlined quality,
ClickUp really makes up
for it in its flexibility
and the amount of
different features it has.
So you can create so many
different levels of hierarchy,
which is really, really useful
when you're running an entire company
or you're working on a gigantic project.
You can have specific projects,
you can have lists within those projects.
Tasks themselves can
have lists of sub tasks,
those sub tasks can have sub tasks.
And you can do a lot more as well.
You can assign multiple
people to one specific task,
if you've assigned maybe a group
to get something done together.
You can do task dependency.
So you can say this task
needs to be done by this date,
but this task over here
must be done first.
And when you're juggling a big project,
these features can actually
be very, very useful,
especially when you're
working with multiple people.
Future Tom here.
So let me tell you about my
original idea for this article.
I was going to do a
secondary recommendation
for each of the different categories,
which would have total 20 apps.
But my initial cut for that version
of the article is 26 minutes long.
And I don't know if any
of you guys wanna sit through 26 minutes.
So I've cut it down to just one
recommendation for category.
But there's one app that
I just cannot leave out.
And that is Notion.
And the reason I did not put Notion
as the top recommendation
in any one category is
because Notion does so much,
but I don't feel that it is the best app
in any one category.
That being said, I use
Notion every single day,
and it's absolutely
indispensable to my workflow.
And I'm gonna show you a
little bit of a teaser here
for the article that I have
coming either later this week
or very, very early next
week about how I use Notion,
because I use Notion to track
my entire YouTube channel,
all the articles, the stages of progress
in the entire article production process.
So I do wanna give a
big shout out to Notion,
it's a very, very capable app.
And I think it's worth playing with.
But again, I don't think it
really is specialized enough
to be considered the best
app in any one category.
I would have put it in project management,
which is why we're talking now.
I don't use it as a note taker personally,
I'm gonna get into the app that I do use
as a note taker later on in the article,
but for me it is my project
management app of choice.
Okay, so looking at my list
here number four is note taking.
So I guess later in the
article is actually right now,
my favorite note taking app,
as you are probably aware, is Evernote.
Evernote has been my
mainstay for about a decade,
and nothing has dethroned it.
The way that it organizes
information just really works
for my workflow.
I love the writing experience,
even though it doesn't support Markdown,
doesn't have that nice
hybrid Markdown features
of some other editors,
it just works for me.
And the amount of different types of data
that you can quickly get into Evernote
is really the killer feature for me.
I can take a picture of almost anything,
I can scan a document, I
can set it to Evernote,
and if there's handwriting or text on it,
it's actually going to be searchable.
I also can easily record my voice
and put that into Evernote.
It's just really full featured.
And I haven't found anything
that can take all the same boxes for me.
The next category on our list
is a serious long form writing app.
So if you're the kinda person
who writes really long essays
or articles or who wants to
write a book at some point,
my girlfriend is actually
writing a novel right now
and she's using a serious writing app,
not a note taking app,
then you might wanna consider
an app like Scrivener.
Scrivener is actually my top pick here
because it has a tonne
of different features.
And it's actually the app
that I use to write my book,
"10 Steps To Earning Awesome Grades."
This is a print edition,
but there is a free version,
you can get in the description down below.
But Scrivener makes the writing
process incredibly easy.
It has this outline corkboard view
where you can actually create
different scenes or seen ideas
and reorder them and move
them around or trash them,
kinda flush them out.
So it's great for the planning process.
It's great for making sure
that things make sense
in your timelines work.
But you can also zero
in on specific sections
of your writing.
So I found that when
writing in different apps,
I'll often get into 5000,
6000 word territory,
and it just gets kind of overwhelming,
and I wish I could split my writing up.
And Scrivener lets you do this by default.
You can just sort of drill
into a specific section
of your writing and work on that,
and then see it in context.
And it also has lots of
great export options.
So if you wanna export a PDF,
or an EPUB or Kindle File,
you can do that straight from Scrivener.
So that brings us to habit trackers.
And habit tracker is are
among my favorite types
of productivity apps,
not least of which because back in 2014,
when I had first gone full
time as an entrepreneur,
it was a habit tracker
that really helped me
take my work seriously
and act like a professional
and get things done on a schedule.
And that app which is my recommendation
for the best habit tracker
out there is Habitica.
Now I gotta say this up front,
Habitica is a very nerdy habit tracker,
and I'm a very nerdy guy.
I like statistics, I like article games.
So when I found a habit tracker
where you get a little character
and by doing your habits,
you actually level that character up,
get them experience points, get them gear
and allow them to go on
quests, I was absolutely sold.
But Habitica has a feature
that I've seen in no other habit tracker,
and that is the party system.
You can actually party up with friends
and go on quests together.
And this creates some very
powerful accountability.
Because if you're on a quest,
maybe you're fighting
a dragon or something,
and you fail to do your
habits on a specific day,
the dragon is going to damage
everyone in your party.
So it will be your fault
if someone else in your party
happens to die from that hit.
And that creates a very powerful motivator
to make sure you get all
of your habits done every single day.
All right, let's talk
about time tracking apps.
So this is gonna be a bit
of a different section
because there are two different
types of time tracking apps,
but I didn't wanna create
two separate categories.
So we're just gonna shove
them in to this one category.
There is active time tracking,
then there's passive time tracking.
So for active time tracking,
my main recommendation
is an app called Toggl.
And with Toggl, it's just like it sounds.
You actively track your time.
And I like Toggl more than any other
time tracking app out there
because it actually has a
feature that will remind you
to start time tracking if
you forgotten to do so.
Now passive time tracking is different.
Instead of actively tracking the time
that you are spending on
specific tasks or projects,
these are programs that
live on your computer
and just quietly track how
much time you are spending
on specific apps or specific websites.
And for my money on the desktop side,
I think the best app in
this category is RescueTime.
It will, again, track how
much time you're spending
on specific apps and websites,
but it will also categorize
the time you spend
as either productive or non productive,
and you can sort of see what percentage
of your time during the work day
that you are actually getting things done,
staying on task instead of
just going over to YouTube
and distracting yourself.
Okay, so we are now at email management.
And you can probably guess my
number one recommendation here
because it is, of course, Gmail.
Gmail is that old mainstay
and it just works.
It's free, it's fast, it's reliable.
And I love the fact that
you can label messages
and create nested hierarchies of labels
so you can easily organize things.
Of course, it's built on Google Search,
so it's so easy to search for
a message if you've lost it
or can't remember what
label you gave to it.
And Gmail has really
great keyboard shortcuts
that are easy to learn.
So once you learn these,
such as hitting E to archive a message,
or hitting the pound sign to delete one,
you can process your email so, so quickly.
In addition, if you are Todoist user,
there is a Todoist Chrome
extension for Gmail.
So you can turn emails into tasks
and get them out of your inbox.
Team chat, it is time
to talk about team chat.
So if you are a part of a team,
or if you're part of a
group project in school,
you might wanna have an easy way to chat
with your group or with your team.
And my top recommendation there is Slack.
As much as I like to complain about Slack,
on Slack to my various
Slack teams, Slack is great.
It allows you to chat in real time
with whoever you need to work with,
it allows you to direct message people,
create specific group chats,
or create channels that
have a specific topic.
And there are also lots
of different integrations.
So you can have tweets come in,
you can embed Google Drive documents,
all kinds of really cool stuff.
And that brings us to our final category,
which is Cloud Sync.
And I think no productivity
app stack is complete
without some kind of Cloud Sync app,
if you use multiple devices.
Or even if you just have
a computer and a phone.
You wanna be able to access all
of your important working files
on whatever device you happen
to have with you at the moment.
So my big recommendation
here is Google Drive,
or I guess it's called Google One now.
There are a lot of different
Cloud Sync apps out there,
and if you're not familiar
with what they do,
they essentially sync all
of your files within a
specific folder to the cloud,
and then keep them synced
between all of your devices
and up to date on all of your devices,
which is very, very important and useful.
But I like Google Drive the best simply
because it has the best pricing.
For free, you get 15 gigabytes,
which is higher than I think
any other competitor out there.
And then if you need more space,
you can get 100 gigabytes
for just two bucks a month.
And that is, again,
better than most of the
other options out there.
And of course, you also get access
to the entire Google Office Suite,
you get Google Docs sheets.
I forgot about their
PowerPoint competitor is,
but it's pretty good.
Now some people you will find
that the Microsoft apps are better,
so you might wanna go with One Drive.
Some people are Apple only,
so maybe iCloud Drive.
I like Google Drive.
Now, it's important to remember
that all these apps are just tools.
And yes, using and tweaking them
and adding them into your system
can definitely help make improvements
to your efficiency in your workflow.
But to make more significant improvements,
you need to focus on the hardware up here.
And you do that by making sure
you're consistently learning new things,
and also working on your
problem solving skills.
And one resource that can help
you in both of those areas
at the same time is Brilliant.
Brilliant is a learning platform
that helps you efficiently master math,
science and computer
science through a library
of more than 50 in depth courses
that all focus on active learning.
When you're going through
a course on Brilliant,
you're not just passively
in taking information,
you're instead immediately
tackling challenging,
yet bite size problems that
are laid out in a logical order
and they will help you
stay interested longer
and learn faster
and boost your general problem
solving skills along the way.
Now, in their library,
you'll find courses on
Calculus, on Probability,
Gravitational Physics, Python Programming,
and lots, lots more.
Plus their daily challenges
feature gives you new problems
to solve every single day
in a variety of areas,
which can help you make
learning a daily habit.
So to get started for free,
head over to
brilliant.org/thomasfrank and sign up.
And if you're one of the first
200 people to use that link,
you're gonna get 20% off that
annual premium subscription.
Huge thanks as always to Brilliant
for sponsoring this article
and being a big supporter of my channel.
And thank you for watching.
Hopefully you got a good
recommendation in this article
that you haven't checked out before,
or maybe just some inspiration
for tweaking the app that you already use.
Either way, if you enjoy the article,
definitely leave a like
to support the channel,
and I will see you in the next article.
Until then, you can subscribe right there
and make sure you don't miss
out on new articles that come up.
And again, that new article is
going to be my Notion setup,
so definitely check that
out if you're interested.



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