In today’s highly competitive world, being productive is extremely important. Sitting on your desk for eight hours while only accomplishing two hours worth of work is a colossal waste of time. However, distractions and a lack of concentration ensures that most of us suffer from that problem. Don’t worry though, help is at hand in the form of these amazing productivity apps that are going to help you fulfil your tasks without getting distracted. Once you start using one of these apps, you are very likely to get more done in less time.
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Here are the ten best productivity apps for 2021
Be Focused (Mac, iOS)
Price: $4.99 for Mac, $1.99 for iOS
Be Focused is a wonderful productivity app designed exclusively for Mac and iOS. The app is heavily influenced by the Pomodoro Technique. Be Focused will help you work in short bursts of productive 25-minute sessions, then take a brief break. Be Focused also supplies you with full customisation over the duration of your sessions and breaks.
Manage tasks: You can set up specifically timed work sessions and the breaks that you will require while accomplishing your task.
Goal tracking: See how well you’re hitting your targets.
Reports: See how productive your days, weeks and months are with Be Focused reports.
If you’re an Apple-only user, Be Focused offers a lot of productivity tools for a modest one-time payment.
Wunderlist (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Chrome, Safari)
Price: Free or $4.99 per user
Wunderlist is a wonderful productivity app loaded with a lot of advanced features. While Trello is meant for teams and Todoist is meant for people , Wunderlist is meant for both and it feels a lot like a Trello alternative designed around to-do lists, rather than cards.
Instead of cards, you create lists and group them into folders, which each member of your team (if you’ve got one) can access and edit accordingly.
To-do lists: Create to-do lists for people or teams and group them into folders for larger tasks or projects.
Task management: You can use this feature for assigning tasks, setting deadlines and reminders, and adding comments or notes.
Wunderlist is an incredibly useful productivity app which gives tons of productivity features free of charge or for a relatively small subscription fee.
Loop – Habit Tracker (Android)
This time we’ve got an Android-only productivity app but Loop takes a really different approach when compared to most productivity apps available in this category. Instead of trying to completely stop you from the bad habits which prevent you from being productive, Loop tries to inculcate good habits in you. These could be spending more time on neglected admin tasks, catching up on your ever-growing inbox of emails or spending more time with the kids when you’re not working. Whatever you want to be doing more of, Loop will help you improve your habits.
Develop better habits: Set targets for the things you want to spend more time doing.
Schedule: Set specific times and dates or weekly schedules to make your goals more achievable.
Habit score: See how you’re doing with individual habits or overall together with your habit score.
Reporting: Detailed graphs and statistics to stay in track of your habits and monitor performance over time.
Reminders: Set reminders to help you exercise restraint during moments of weakness.
With productivity apps, there’s a lot of focus on the things you shouldn’t be doing but Loop takes the opposite approach and puts the focus on what you could be doing better.
Focus booster (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android)
Price: Free, $2.99/mo or $4.99/mo
Focus booster is “make you do more” with a cross-platform app built round the Pomodoro Technique – a well-liked time management concept. The idea is to do your most productive work in sessions of 25 minutes then take a five-minute break.
The key thing is to stay focused for those 25 minutes and then give your mind the break it needs before getting back to work.
Session times: Work for timed 25-minute sessions and five-minute breaks.
Mini timer: A on screen timer helps you stay on track.
Save sessions: Save sessions when you get unavoidable distractions.
Timesheets: You can log your progress with manual, instant timings.
Reports: See where you spent some time and figure out the distractions holding you back.
If you don’t want to travel as far as blocking apps and websites but you would like a mild nudge into a more productive workflow, focus booster is a stimulating option.
Toggl (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Chrome, Firefox)
Price: $9/mo, $18/mo or custom pricing for enterprise businesses
Toggl may be a simple time tracker with powerful reporting that keeps track of what proportion of your time you’re spending on tasks. That’s just about it but the thought is to assist you in creating a more profitable business, knowing that you’re charging for all the time spent on projects – or not spending more time than you’ve quoted for.
For teams, it’s also a great tool for comparing the amount of time people spend on tasks, finding out what individuals are best at and knowing who can get things done under pressure.
Time tracking: See what proportion of time you (or others) are taking to finish their tasks.
Boost profits: Check if you’re charging enough for the time it takes to complete projects.
Reports: See how productive you’re being and how profitable your time is with the help of Toggl reports.
Cross-platform: Toggl’s wonderfully designed apps work across just about every operating system and online so you can access it wherever you need, whenever you need it.
Toggl is an incredibly simple app but it does what it’s designed to do perfectly. Sometimes more features simply create more distractions and that’s counteractive for a productivity app – a problem you would never face with Toggl.
Serene is a popular Mac application that has been designed to assist remote workers, freelancers and modern teams to help them get into deep work and achieve their goals.
The ‘Serene Method‘ is supposed to be a combination of proven productivity enhancement practices such as: starting your day with a transparent goal to working in timed intervals. The Serene app ‘coaches’ you in setting a goal and breaking your day down into small distraction-free sessions so that you can stay focused.
When you Go Serene (start your session), Serene blocks any distracting apps you might encounter like Slack or Skype from opening while you’re in your Serene session.
You’ll also see a countdown timer and, optionally, can play focus music that’s scientifically-proven to enhance your concentration while you’re busy working.
Finally, Serene offers a browser extension that also blocks any distracting websites that you encounter when you’re in a session and instead reminds you of what you should be working on.
Serene offers PRO users ($48/year) a selection of productivity superpowers, including the ability to automatically silence your phone and turn a desk light red when in Serene to tell colleagues not to disturb you. PRO also includes the ability to plan your week ahead and reporting is coming soon as well.
RescueTime (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android)
Price: Free version; Premium version $9/mo or $72/year
RescueTime is a fantastic productivity app which works tirelessly in the background of your mobile device or computer. RescueTime helps tracking the time that a user spends on different websites and apps.
The app then compiles reports of what you’re really doing together with your time. The idea is to identify apps and sites that you’re wasting a lot of your time on, then block them to enhance your productivity.
Activity tracking: See what proportion of time you’re spending on apps/on websites that hamper productivity.
Website and app blocking: Block out the apps and website stealing your attention so you’ll get more work done in less time.
Goals: Set productivity targets and use RescueTime’s reporting to see how well you’re doing.
Alarms: Set alarms to warn you once you’ve spent your allotted time using an app/site.
If you’re spending a lot of time on social media and it’s making you less productive, RescueTime is one app you definitely want to look at.
Forest (iOS, Android)
Forest is definitely the quirkiest productivity app in this list. It’s only available on iOS and Android but there’s beautiful irony in the fact it’s designed to stop you spending so much time on your phone and/or tablet.
Forest essentially gamifies downtime away from your mobile devices. When you want to focus, you plant a “tree” and therefore the longer you spend away from your digital devices, the more it grows.
Spend enough time faraway from your phone and you’ll grow a whole forest. Best of all, you’ll earn virtual coins by staying focused on your tasks and use these to grow real-life trees through the Forest app.
Productivity: Spend less time on your mobile devices and see the progress in the form of digital trees.
Gamification: Forest adds a lot of fun into the chase for better productivity.
Grow actual trees: No other app featured in this list actually assists you in planting actual trees where they’re needed most.
Forest not only injects a little bit of fun into productivity it also helps you make the world a better place while you’re improving your workflow.
Todoist (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Chrome, Safari, Firefox)
Price: Free, $3/mo or $5/mo
Todoist is a wonderful task management and productivity enhancement tool that promises to transform complex to-do lists into something easily manageable. In some ways , it’s sort of a Trello for people (without the cards), helping you retain track of your own tasks and ensuring that nothing gets forgotten.
You can create and organise tasks, set and change deadlines, prioritise tasks, set project goals and keep track of progress with the app’s measurement and reporting features.
Task management: This smooth and slick interface helps to create and manage tasks regardless of their size or duration.
Prioritise tasks: Get the important things done first by prioritising tasks.
Project goals: Set project goals and make sure you are on track throughout.
Reports: Keep track of your progress with Todoist’s measurement and reporting features.
If you’re struggling to stay on top of your personal to-do list, Todoist offers a slick, cross-platform interface that creates quick and straightforward tasks.
Pocket (Windows, mac, iOS, Android & web)
Pocket is probably the simplest productivity app on this list. It allows you to save sites for reading later. In truth, it’s not much more than a bookmarking tool-turned app but it does have a tremendous impact on your productivity.
When you come across something interesting or useful, but you don’t have time to read it, Pocket is there for you. Simply save the page (URL-based), assign a category if you want, and you’ll build a collection of resources in your Pocket account.
The app essentially turns into a feed of things you actually want/need to read, learn or use for later.
Save for later: In case you are short on time, you can save web pages and you can view them later when you have more time on your hand.
Pocket may only have one feature but it’s a great productivity app nonetheless.