What Is a Productivity App Anyway?
If you have ever procrastinated in your life, you should already know the answer. For those of you who have never done it and are apparently made of some other material than us, experienced procrastinators, here is the definition.
Productivity software/app is a category of programs that are designed to process and produce information in a way that is easy, intuitive, and otherwise helpful for the user.
This is, however, a rather broad definition since everything from Wordpad to Photoshop can be considered a productivity app.
When we, common people who are not professors of linguistics, talk about productivity, we usually mean apps that can be used for either personal productivity or productivity at work (or both at the same time). So that’s what we are going to talk about here in this article.
Do Productivity Apps Really Work?
Those of you who are feeling skeptical might rightfully question the very idea of these apps and whether they are a gimmick or not. So, do they really work?
It’s difficult. And different. Everything depends on what age group you are, what your job is, and how often you use your smartphone.
A recent study
shows that people aged 25-40 (most of whom can be considered Millennials) find productivity apps really helpful in achieving “work-life balance”.
In any case, most specialists would agree that using a productivity app can at least help you:
Become more disciplined on a personal and professional level
Save up some time on common, everyday tasks
Prioritize your goals and plan your day, week, month, etc. better
Discover new ways and methods of doing things
Save money (especially if you are planning to use a productivity app for corporate purposes)
As you can see, productivity apps have a lot to offer in many fields - from mental health to work efficiency. And they are quite popular too - if not the most popular: for 96.77% of smartphone users, productivity apps are the most dominant kind of apps on mobile (according to a 2019 study by Google).
What Makes Productivity Apps Even More Important in 2021?
Another interesting point here has something to do with the recent events that shook the globe. With the rise of the remote work trend in early 2020, we all started to become more and more dependent on various apps and services that keep us connected to our work, friends, family, and entertainment.
This called for an unprecedented rise in the use of gadgets and coincidentally ate up whatever free time we used to have. Yes, we might have stopped commuting to work, which gave us an additional 1-2 hours a day but that does not mean we spend all this additional “free” time for something productive.
Just take a look at this piece of data courtesy of Statista. Almost half (47%) of respondents indicated “at-home distractions” as the main detriment to working remotely. That’s not to mention the 29% of people who lack motivation while working from home.
Combine this with the fact that working from home became a real challenge for those who had never done it before the lockdown, and you will get a perfect case of millions of people whose productivity wouldn’t mind some boosting.
Plus, you’ve got thousands (if not millions) of companies, big and small, that all went (well, had to go) remote and plenty of them are struggling to find the right tools for communication, online collaboration, and work in general.
Find it hard to believe? Here are some stats to prove our point:
Now that the office ties that used to bind us are gone, productivity apps are starting to look like a really good option to recharge your teamwork and get off to a fresh start.
So, which ones are better to use in 2021? We decided to give you the top 5 apps that we think are best in their respective category. Here they are!
Top 5 Productivity Apps for 2021
The five categories we decided to use to make our list more diverse are as follows:
We intentionally left out all the runner-ups, 7-out-of-10’s, and other apps that are not worth your immediate attention. This is the cream of the cream - enjoy.
Project management - Bitrix24
Not that we’re trying to push our own product (which we are, in a way) - it’s just that Bitrix24 really has everything you need to run projects smoothly and efficiently. Whether you’re still working in the office or have switched to remote for good, you will find plenty of useful project management tools here:
Workgroups, tasks, and projects - all time-trackable and customizable to your liking
Individual and group chats
Video calls and conferencing
Cloud storage and online collaboration tools
Different project view modes: Kanban, deadline, task dependencies, and more
Notifications, comments, file-sharing, emails, etc. - anything you’re already using, can be easily integrated with Bitrix24
Available on both mobile and desktop, Bitrix24 will instantly replace any other apps or services you might be currently using for project management. This will allow you and your company to work in a single environment and never have to worry about your team members using different apps that do the same thing.
Fewer apps to use means less money to pay. Plus, Bitrix24 has a free plan that features enough functionality to satisfy most small teams. Get Bitrix24 here
Scheduler/planner - Any.do
This is hands down the best planner app that’s out there. It is used by common people for their daily tasks and by project managers to keep track of their work progress.
The app itself allows you to create tasks, to-do lists, reminders, and keep everything prioritized. Of course, it’s all linked to your account and can be easily synced with any device you are using.
Stripped off any non-essential functionality, Any.do is super-easy to use and features arguably the cleanest and most intuitive user interface you will ever see. Everything is easy to set, follow, and check. Strongly recommended.
The app is free to download, and, although it does feature a “premium” paid version with some advanced functionality like custom themes, location-relevant reminders, and color tags, there is no need to spring for it as the free version has all the core features. Get Any.do here
Note-taking - Evernote
Another heavyweight champion here. Seriously, these guys have been great for almost ten years already making their app better and better.
So what does Evernote do that your native phone notepad app can’t? Well, in addition to the core functionality, Evernote has searchable notes and checklists. You can attach files, clip articles and web pages, and add other types of content to your notes.
You can also use your phone camera to scan and digitize documents like business cards, handwritten notes, or bills. Of course, all the content is easily synced across all your devices once you are logged in to your account.
Overall, a great note-taking app! Get Evernote here
Time-tracking - RescueTime
These guys are really something else. In a world where it’s hard to impress anyone with anything, the RescueTime team created an app that is truly priceless.
Once you’ve installed it on your desktop and/or mobile phone, it starts automatically tracking the time you spend on different activities/apps/services/websites. Everything is done in the background mode so you won’t even notice it’s there.
After it gathers enough data, RescueTime starts producing reports that contain a full breakdown of how (and where) you spend your time thus giving you ideas on how to optimize your daily schedule and maybe shift priorities.
There’s only one drawback to this app - it never lies and always delivers the sad truth straight to your face so don’t be surprised to learn that, out of an 8-hour working day, you actually worked for maybe 3.5 hours and the rest was spent on browsing social media or another non-productive activity. Be prepared to embrace this and start improving.
Otherwise, it’s a really solid time-tracking app, one of a kind. Get RescueTime here
Managing finances is a tedious task and is not something we enjoy doing. However, if you do it and do it right, it might turn out to be one of those rare cases where you get to save BOTH time and money!
The app we think deserves the number one spot in this category is QuickBooks. Although it is designed mostly for small businesses and accountants, everyone else can use it as well.
QuickBooks is great for keeping track of your expenses, bills, and taxes. With a simple, straightforward UI and a ton of integrations with other apps, this one is definitely a must-have for everyone who wants to take control of their spending. Get QuickBooks here
That was the end of our “Top 5 Apps That Will Supercharge Your Productivity in 2021” list. We hope you will find these apps at least worth trying (which they really are) and maybe even start using them on a regular basis to increase your productivity.
Stay cool. Stay productive. Stay safe. Happy 2021!