These days it feels like we’re inundated with productivity apps, techniques, and services to help us become well-oiled machines of efficiency. But what does productivity really mean?

Productivity is how much you can create, with the goal of producing more.

We rounded up a list of our eight favorite productivity apps. These apps will not only help you work faster and more efficiently, but help you get organized for good in 2021.

First, let’s go over the basics of productivity apps.

Get started with monday.com

How can productivity apps help you get organized?

According to research, the average number of productive hours in a work day is 2 hours and 53 minutes.

And that doesn’t account for interruptions. Once you’re interrupted, it takes over 25 minutes to regain your concentration. From smartphone content to desktop notifications, we’re constantly facing these distractions.

For instance, Millennials and Gen Z’ers spend more than 10 hours per week checking their phones during working hours. That’s a lot of wasted time.

Let’s explore whether technology can really help us stay offline and focused.

Are productivity apps effective?

Work-life balance is the top priority for young professionals, according to a survey of nearly 1,600 25-40 year-olds — and productivity apps can help them achieve that. With a wide variety of productivity apps on the market, we can safely presume that high adoption rates mean productivity apps do work.

But it seems for Gen X and Baby Boomers, technology may be more of a hindrance than a help:

Productivity apps work best for Millennials and Gen Z.

(Image Source)

Does that mean productivity apps aren’t for everyone? Not quite. It means that before choosing your app, consider your goals, work style, and those who will use the app.

Thankfully, if one app doesn’t fit your style, you can easily find another that will work for you. Below, we list out some of the most common needs productivity apps address.

Examples for how to use productivity apps

There are productivity apps for:

  • Helping you concentrate
  • Planning your week
  • Achieving inbox zero
  • Note taking or cataloguing ideas
  • Tracking progress, projects, and tasks
  • And much more

If you’re looking to achieve any of the above, you’ll need more than a basic productivity app. Let’s go through our top 10 productivity app picks for 2021.

Get started

Eight best productivity apps to help you organize your life

Do you ever pick up your phone, become distracted by something on social media, and then put it down without doing the thing you intended to do?

Or maybe constant notifications interrupt your flow. Whatever your productivity killer, there’s an app for it.

1) monday.com: best all-rounder

Our top productivity app is monday.com — though it isn’t exactly a productivity app. It’s a Work OS, which is a visual, digital interface you can customize to create any product you need for maximum productivity. We use it to manage all of our work: daily task management, project planning, brainstorming, communicating with teams company-wide, file sharing, and more.

Here are a few ways you can use monday.com to get more done:

See your workflows, meetings, appointments, and reminders all in one place with integrations with Google Calendar, Outlook, and iCal. For an additional layer, add time blocks into your calendars so no one disturbs you when you need to get to work.

Plus, monday.com also has customizable weekly to-do lists, daily task management collaboration tools, and multiple views , which means you’ll never miss another deadline. For example, you could try the Todo List Widget, which allows you to manage and track all your personal tasks:

The monday.com to-do list widget lets you track all your tasks.

Or, try the Checklist feature, which is perfect for breaking tasks down into smaller action items.

Another useful monday.com productivity feature is time tracking.

Time tracking allows you to how much time you’re spending on each task so you can more effectively manage your time.

And, if you ever waste time scouring your inbox for lost information, monday.com has you covered. Its email and messaging integrations allow you to instantly turn emails into action items you can track from inside the platform.

Lastly, don’t waste time switching between open windows or tabs when you need to brainstorm, take notes, or create proposals. monday workdocs—a new monday.com building block—allows users to create whatever documents they need from inside the platform.

Plus, you can collaborate with team members and edit your work without disturbing others. Learn more about monday workdocs here.

Access all the above and more on the monday.com mobile app to stay productive on the go.

Access all the above and more on the monday.com mobile app to stay productive on the go. Check out our free version in a 14-day trial.

monday.com’s mobile app syncs across all your devices.

Get started

2) Focus Booster: for procrastinators with busts of energy

Focus Booster is a time management tool based on the famous Pomodoro technique.

It’s a time tracker designed to help you focus on one task for a burst of time, known as a “Pomodoro.”

The standard length of a Pomodoro timer is 25 minutes of total concentration with a 5-minute break, but Focus Booster allows you to adjust both.

Focus Booster also takes the Pomodoro technique one step further. It features time tracking and reporting and lets you download CSV reports for accurate invoicing. You can also use Focus Booster’s dashboard to see your progress, rhythms, and locate areas to improve your productivity.

3) Calendar: for organizing your diary

The aptly-named Calendar app does exactly what it says on the tin: it syncs your calendars across Google, iCal, and Outlook.

You can also share your calendar so people can see your availability and book appointments with you — like a virtual Personal assistant.

Calendar is a good tool for those struggling with managing their diaries. This app learns your contacts, schedule, and tasks and automatically notes when you’re available. For instance, travelers no longer need to worry about factoring in time changes and setting meetings during inconvenient times—Calendar factors that in.

Additionally, you can book a meeting with multiple people, tag all invitees and Calendar will only show times that work for everyone.

But to really boost your productivity, you might want to consider something a little more comprehensive, such as monday.com, which offers calendar integrations along with project management features (such as Gantt charts, dashboards, automations, and more) that will streamline your work load and schedule.

4) Forest: for social media addicts

Forest promises to help you “stay focused, be present” with a simple game: open your app and plant a tree. The tree will grow as long as you don’t touch your phone. (One tree takes 30 minutes.) If you leave the time tracking app, your tree dies.

Over time you can build a forest, with each tree representing your commitment to unplugging and staying present.

5) 1Password: for those who have trouble remembering passwords

This app is a simple way to save your passwords and log in to all your sites with a single click. It’s essentially a secure online vault that remembers everything for you—even your bank account routing number or your home alarm code.

Convenience is one benefit—no need to wrack your brain or shuffle around for post-its around your desk—but 1Password also offers a secure, encrypted way to store your passwords, protecting you from hackers.

6) AnyList: for remembering those items on your grocery list

If running out of milk and toilet paper is the bane of your existence, AnyList makes it less of a burden. Create and share your grocery list with your spouse or roommates, and stay in sync any time someone passes by the store to pick something up.

Anytime someone makes a change to the list, it will instantly show up to everyone sharing that list.

When writing down ingredients, AnyList will automatically groups items by category so you don’t have to revisit store sections because you missed an item.

You can even use AnyList to help you budget. When you enter the prices for items, this app will show a running total so you can easily see how much you’re spending. You can also enter prices for multiple stores to see where you can save money.

7) Unf*** Your Habitat: for those who enjoy a healthy dose of the F-word

Unf*** Your Habitat promises: “Terrifying motivation for lazy people with messy homes.” Not for people averse to profanity, Unf*** Your Habitat (UfYH) motivates you to clean, tidy, and pick up a few minutes at a time…by yelling and swearing at you.

F-bombs aside, UfYH is based on solid psychology: it’s about doing what you can five, 10, and 20 minutes at a time and making a solid habit of it. And your “habitat” extends way beyond your physical space:

“Our finances, our jobs, our relationships: there’s no end to the things we can f*** up. The important thing to remember is that there is nothing that can’t be unf***ed. You just have to do it. Because when we accomplish something, especially something that seemed impossible, it feels awesome.”

8) If This Then That: if you want to connect your apps and devices in powerful ways

IFTTT allows you to integrate apps, devices, and services. Their mission statement states: “we help your favorite smart home devices, security systems, social media, and other internet-enabled services work together in new and powerful ways.”

Each service uses both triggers (if then) and actions (than that). Combine triggers and actions to create automations that help you reach your goals, improve efficiency, and get more out of your smart home.

Some of their most popular smart home automations include using the weather read the temperature in your home, turning on your security system when you leave your house, or using your voice to turn on a device.

How do I choose the best productivity app for me?

When choosing the best productivity tool, you need more than just a time tracker — you need a task management app, calendar app, and to-do list app all in one.

Here are some of the most important features to look out for.

Automation of recurring tasks is a key feature that can increase your productivity by saving you time.

Instant messaging and file sharing help you stay on the same page as your team members, even when working remotely — so you never have to worry about missing anything.

Task management (including the ability to assign tasks), time tracking, and workflow management tools ensure you never miss another client deadline, while calendar syncing will help you get to your kid’s school play on time.

monday docs is your real-time project documentation tool for jotting down notes, project plans, campaign copy, and more. Here, teams can instantly collaborate with team team members, so everyone can edit and contribute without interrupting others.

Of course, monday.com offers all of the above plus a bunch of other useful features as well as a feature designed to help you achieve that a better work-life balance.

Enter My Focus — the personal digital planner that helps you manage your calendar, daily tasks, and set goals all in one place.

It integrates your task list and calendar so you can stay on top of your life — without being overwhelmed.

Manage your daily tasks with My Focus by monday.com.

Thanks to productivity apps, those chaotic days of missed appointments and busy work can be a thing of the past.

Productivity apps can help you get organized — and stay organized — so you spend less time on Facebook and more time focusing on what’s really important.

monday.com has everything you need to maximize your productivity — from calendar integration and instant messaging to task planning and management.

We also have customizable templates — check out our weekly to-do list or daily task manager templates and see for yourself why you don’t need another productivity app, you just need monday.com.

Get started