12 Apps I Use Every Day to Be Productive

12 Tools

I get asked often which apps I use to stay productive.

Today, I thought I would share my current productivity toolkit.

It changes from time-to-time as I am always testing new tools. (And of course, sharing them with you…)

There are several things that make a productivity app attractive in my eyes:

  • Platform-less – The app should be accessible no matter what device I am using. (Granted, I am referring to multiple devices here, not necessarily multiple OSs.)
  • Sync/Backup – Data should be in sync and backed up at all times.
  • Simple – Simplicity in experience and design goes a long when it comes to productivity. Bloated feature sets only serve to slow you down when you are trying to get work done. Apps should save time, not take time.

Here is my current list of productivity apps…

12 Productivity Apps That I Use to Stay Productive:

  1. Todo List: Things – Things by Cultured Code has been my todo list for some time. It is a powerful mix of features and simplicity. It has many power-user options, but they stay out of your way until you need them. I can quickly capture todos on my iMac, via my iPad, and even via Siri on my iPhone.
  2. Notes/Idea Capture: Drafts – I have gone almost entirely paperless when it comes to note taking. I still have a trusty Moleskine, but 99.9% of my notes are now taken on my iPad Mini via Drafts. I can then sync, save, and send them wherever I want… Evernote, Byword (see #8), and more.
  3. Email: Sanebox – Before I even touch my email, I use Sanebox to filter and sort my email. Only the emails that I want to see, actually reach my inbox. (See my previous post on Sanebox here.)
  4. Email Client: Mailbox – Mailbox for iOS is my email client of choice. It makes it quicker and simpler to process email than the standard iPhone email app. As well, it has powerful features to sort, file, and delay email for future use.
  5. Social Media: Hootsuite – I keep up with my social accounts with Hootsuite. Often, I use social media instead of email, phone, and more to be more efficient with communication. (If you still think social media isn’t productive… see here.)
  6. Personal Finance: YNAB – YNAB, or You Need a Budget, is how I track all of my personal finance transactions. I love the iPhone app that allows me to enter expenses in mere seconds. It even uses GPS to pre-populate payee fields. (Smart!)
  7. Mindmapping: Mindmup – When I need to brainstorm an idea, I create a mindmap. Mindmup is my current mindmapping app of choice. It is web-based, saves to Google Drive, and best of all is FREE.
  8. Writing: Byword – I do almost all of my creative writing in Byword. I haven’t found a writing app that matches the simplicity, and user experience of Byword. It presents a simple text editor that utilizes Markdown and has a minimal feature set.
  9. Conference Calls: Speek – Speek has changed the way I conduct conference calls. I can launch calls instantly from the iPhone app. No dial-in numbers for participants. Speek turns the traditional conference call paradigm upside-down.
  10. RSS Reader: Reeder – I minimize my time reading news by staying within my RSS reader. I use Reeder on my iPhone for 99% of my news. (Note: the iPad app has yet to be updated since the demise of Google Reader. I use the iPhone app with Feedly.)
  11. Passwords: Lastpass – LastPass is my password manager. It provides a secure way to store and access my passwords no matter where I am or what device I am using. It even warns me if I am using duplicate passwords across accounts.
  12. Project Management: Asana – I use Asana to manage projects with my Virtual Assistant. As well, I use it for collaboration with others. It is a simple and fast system to organize your projects and communicate progress with others.

As I mentioned, most of these apps sync across all my devices. I don’t want to have to think about where I saved a piece of information. It’s just there, no matter which device I am on.

These are my current productivity tools. (Make sure you choose your tools…)

Question: What apps are in your productivity toolkit? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

No time for time management? Check out my online course designed to jump start your productivity! Take it online on your time and pace. As well, get direct access to me for advice and questions. Get details or enroll now by clicking here!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Avalon

    Astrid task
    Mint financial
    Evernote
    Tweetcaster instead of Twitter

  • HomemakersDaily

    I don’t use many. I do use Hootsuite. Oh, my! That made my life so much simpler when I discovered it. I’ve played around with Evernote but haven’t really gotten on board.

  • http://www.mattmorrison.org/ Matt Morrison

    OmniFocus for my tasks (Im beta testing the new version. It’s great!)
    Evernote for document storage and some note-taking
    Mint.com for my finances.

    I have to avoid the temptation not to overcomplicate the process but these are all really powerful tools.

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  • Anup

    I use Wunderlist for my tasks, Windows Task Bar for quick shortcuts, Combination of small offline diary/MS Notes. Focus on what you have to do for the timeframe is my latest mantra :)

  • Darren Wall

    Evernote and Remeber the Milk. THey’re both simple and very effective.

    • http://www.timemanagementninja.com/ Craig Jarrow

      I do use Evernote, but more as a file cabinet than note taking.

  • philippe99

    Evernote as my file cabinet
    Toodledo+RTM as my tasks managers
    Checkvist as my outliner for writing specs and technical notes
    Vienna as my RSS reader
    Evernote+postach.io for blogging

  • kulls

    Filtering email and password app are the ones I am going to download this week. Thank you for the content.

    http://www.letsnurture.com

  • http://unpunctuatedlife.com/ Laura Lindeman

    YNAB is great! My husband and I use it extensively and the mobile app is really well developed. It helps us keep track of our finances easily and stay on budget.

    • http://www.timemanagementninja.com/ Craig Jarrow

      Thanks. I love the GPS feature on YNAB and how quick it is to input expenses.

  • Twoodo

    I love LastPass, for autofilling and saving all my passwords and logins. We’re always advised to use variations in passwords but unfortunately it’s easy to forget some. This is a really tool to keep on top of it all.

  • Jenny Brown

    Todo list/Calendar: Google Calendar Todo list + Spot Chrome Plugin to add stuff to my calendar on the go.
    Notes: Evernote FTW!
    Email: Trying out the new Gmail folders

    + lots and lots of notepads! Can’t get away from paper :)

  • Sebastián E. Godoy

    Great list!

    I will try some :)

    Is there any app you use for time tracking?
    I am been looking for one that works on sync between my ipad, iphone and mac… Any ideas?

    Thanks in advance,
    Sebastian

    • http://www.timemanagementninja.com/ Craig Jarrow

      I don’t currently use one.

      Toggl is a good option. I have tried their iOS app previously.

  • http://appsicum.com/ Appsicum

    Evernote,
    Yelp, Clear and Dropbox Apps are some of the best apps which people generally
    include in there app lists. Some good apps here. You can also include Future
    Scheduler and Location Alerts in this productive iPhone apps list.

  • Life Museum

    I’m a little late to the post but I think this is a great list..
    I haven’t tried Things, but I’ve been using Reminded.me for tasks and notes – meets your criteria. I do use Hootsuite – love it.

  • Amisha Ekaant

    When it comes to productivity, technology helps us a lot to reach our monthly and yearly target. Smartphone can be an extremely helpful tool for managing tasks and organizing our work. There are tons of new apps are introduced on a daily basis.

    Apart from technology another important thing helps to achieve productivity is time management. We have been using time recording software from Replicon ( http://www.replicon.com/olp/online-time-recording-software.aspx ) . It has been one of the most helpful applications we’re using in our office. Its instant payment and multi-language features are simply superb.

  • Eric Rogers

    What email provider do most of you TMN’s use? I have my own domain and hosting and trying to use Mailbox was too difficult and useless because I don’t use gmail.

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  • Dadr

    Hi Craig, thanks for the article. Your mix of tools worth more than most of the productivity tops I’m used to.
    However, do you really manage to increase your productivity using 12 different apps? I used to switch between apps before; it was annoying sometimes, like when you have to update your calendar app after taking an important note on a note-taking app, just before updating your to-do list app, etc. …
    Now I prefer using an all-in-one app. The one I use is called Beesy. It’s based on a fast and smart note-taking feature that consolidates your info and that give meaning to it by integrating it in your business routine. It means that all you take in your notes is used to update your to-dos, your calendar and your projects all in an automated-way. By concentrating and relating to each other
    all these features in one app, I really managed to save time.
    And off course, everything can be sync on the cloud to be used on the web app, but no need for Internet connection when you use the iPad app (unfortunately the app only exist on ipad for now).
    You should take a look http://www.beesapps.com/beesy-ipad-to-do/