Best Productivity Apps
Check out the following list of productivity apps and free alternatives.
Productivity apps are designed to help us do more with less. From freelancers to managers to entrepreneurs, if you’re in digital work, you’ve probably tried out some form of productivity software to boost your work.
But how do you put these productivity apps to use? Depending on your responsibilities, you normally you end up having a mix of tools that work for you. Therefore, you log into a tool to do your resource allocation, jump to another one for team communication, and maybe a third one where you can handle your schedule.
The overviews below will provide you with extra information on what these tools are capable of, and I'll talk about how to prioritize and become more productive by the end of this article. The Eisenhower matrix I mention will help you be strategic in planning your time and activities.
How I Selected the Best Productivity Apps
If you have more general questions about productivity strategy, you can skip to our handy guide at the bottom of the page. Or, you can jump right to the best productivity apps overviews if you're ready to start comparing.
If you're wondering how I selected the best productivity apps, here's where I'll break it all down for you. First of all, I started with productivity apps that have high user reviews and satisfaction ratings. Then, using my experience in project management, I discerned what key criteria were most important for productivity apps and compared how each of them stacked up against the rest. Here's a brief list outlining the whats and whys of my selection.
Is the interface simple and is the app’s system easy to learn? Do the features clutter the app, or are they useful? We only chose apps that are truly easy to use, without adding hassle!
For to-do list apps, does the productivity app have a clear system for organizing and reorganizing tasks? For marking priorities and managing the most important tasks?
It is available on multiple operating systems? There are several Mac productivity apps out there that aren’t available on Android, such as Slite. However, we tried to stick with apps that are available across more devices.
What kinds of reporting features does it include? Can you track time spent on tasks, compare productivity over time, or use analytics to measure whether it’s actually producing good results for you?
Does it integrate with some of the other best organization apps, best reminder apps, productivity tracker apps, etc? We look for apps that sync with other tools in order to automate as much of your task management as possible.
Does the price point make sense for the benefit that the app delivers? In most cases, you can use a freemium version for personal use, and paid plans tend to cost around a reasonable $6-10/user/month.
Overviews Of 10 Best Productivity Apps & Productivity Software
Best for custom workflows and task boards
monday.com is an easy-to-learn project management app that doubles as a productivity tool with key features that that help you manage tasks and the workflows that carry multiple tasks from start to finish. It's a great team productivity tool for getting a clear view of the work that needs to be done and the status of each task at a glance.
Why I Picked monday.com: monday.com is vaguely similar to a spreadsheet at its core, but a much nicer-looking project management tool that lets you quickly toggle between multiple views of work even for repetitive tasks(view as a list, on a map, on a Kanban board, in a spreadsheet, and other views). It also provides alerts, notifications, and the ability to attach files and communicate with colleagues.
monday.com Standout Features & Integrations
Features include a customizable task board for managing task status, assignee, due date, hours spent, etc. Users can upload and attach files to cards, make comments, mention teammates, set reminders, and more. You can measure your productivity through reporting dashboards that can collect data from multiple boards.
Integrations include Slack, Google Drive, Gmail, Google Calendar, Jira, GitHub, Trello, Dropbox, Typeform and many more, accessible via Zapier.
Best productivity app for team collaboration
Wrike is an award-winning, easy-to-use productivity software trusted by 20,000+ organizations worldwide. The tool is suitable for teams of anywhere from five team members to an unlimited number of members. It’s highly configurable and allows users to customize workflows, dashboards, reports, and request forms.
Why I Picked Wrike: Wrike’s simple interface enables users to switch between Kanban boards, interactive drag-and-drop Gantt charts, and traditional workload views, allowing them to choose how to visualize their priorities. Wrike has an easy-to-use, intuitive interface and navigation with distinct spaces, folders, and tasks. Toggle quickly from the home screen between timesheets, dashboards, calendars, reports, and activity stream.
Wrike is available on Mac and Windows operating systems, and also features task lists, subtasks, schedules, shared workflows, file sharing, and real-time communication and collaboration. Unlock advanced insights with performance reporting tools, resource management and allocation, and more.
Wrike Standout Features & Integrations
Features include project management, task scheduling/tracking, resource management, expense tracking, API, budgeting, Gantt charts, marketing automations, collaboration support, and reporting.
Integrations include 400+ pre-built native integrations, including integrations with the most popular file management software from Microsoft, Google, and Dropbox, along with sales and marketing software from Salesforce and Marketo.
Best for in-app communication tools
ClickUp is a productivity app that helps you and your team stay aligned on day-to-day tasks, projects, and company goals, among other things. Their platform brings your team together in one app to communicate, collaborate, simplify the work, and get more done.
Why I Picked ClickUp: You can work smarter as a team with real-time chat. Tag individuals or groups, assign comments for action items, and link tasks to ensure nothing gets lost in the daily grind. Stay on track to hit your goals with targets for task completions, numbers, and monetary values.
ClickUp Standout Features & Integrations
Features include task scheduling/tracking, project management, resource management, budgeting, contact management, data visualizations, employee database, expense tracking, file sharing, third-party plugins, collaboration support, timesheets, roadmapping, chat, customer management, email integration, feedback management, and process reporting.
Integrations include native integrations with Slack, Google Workspace, Dropbox, and many more tools, as well as over 1,000+ integrations through Zapier (may incur additional costs).
Best for building custom productivity apps
Kintone is a customizable app platform used by teams at Volvo Trucks North America, Japan Airlines, Shiseido, and over 23,000 organizations worldwide. Their unique approach allows you to build a wide variety of customizable “apps” either from scratch, using templates or from your existing spreadsheets, for data management, business processes, and workflows. Kintone apps can be customized for project management, sales CRM, customer databases, expense reports, shared to-do lists, equipment management, product feedback, and much more.
Why I Picked Kintone: Kintone lets you build no-code task management apps by dragging and dropping elements that you want to see onto the page: rich text fields, date fields, drop-down menus, number fields with built-in calculations, spaces for attachments, user or group selection menus, related data from other apps, tables, and more.
Once you’ve built the app you want, you can use it to more easily manage whatever data and tasks you and your team need to track. And with custom notifications and reminders as well as detailed permissions settings, your project tracking solution can look and work however you want it to.
What makes Kintone particularly great for project tracking are the features to filter and prioritize tasks by data field or team member to generate custom reports or dashboard views, as well as the ability to automate reminders and handoffs between team members for multi-step workflows.
Kintone’s built-in communication features also allow teams to discuss projects directly in the app and in topic or project-based threads. Dedicated “spaces” organize everything your team needs for your project, including task-tracking apps and searchable conversation threads.
There are so many ways to customize Kintone it can be hard to know where to start. Read the starter blog “What Can You Build with Kintone?” or watch Creating an App from Scratch for a quick look at how the drag-and-drop builder works.
Kintone Standout Features & Integrations
Features include project management, dashboards, resource management, analytics, calendar management, conversion tracking, employee onboarding, forecasting, lead scoring, timesheets, collaboration support, reports, pipeline management, budgeting, and process modeling.
Integrations include Slack, Gmail, Google Calendar, Outlook, Tableau, Dropbox, Salesforce, HubSpot, Eventbrite, WordPress, QuickBooks, MailChimp, and many more through a paid plan with Zapier or via API integrations.
Best instant messaging app for teams
Slack is a collaboration and messaging platform that enables teams to communicate and work together in real-time. It offers a range of features, including channels, file sharing, integration with other software tools, and robust security.
Why I Picked Slack: If you’re doing a lot of task management and delegation within a team, Slack is a best-in-class tool for team collaboration. Slack provides a platform for you to communicate with team members-this includes private chats and group channels, file sharing, tagging and mentions, and loads of integrations with productivity apps to sync up your activities. You can use this tool to break out of endless email threads and enjoy a more transparent, easy-to-follow flow of communication and resources between you and your collaborators.
Slack Standout Features & Integrations
Features include collaboration, file sharing, powerful search, customization, robust security, and has a mobile app, and third-party integrations/plugins.
Integrations include Teamline, Workstreams, ClickUp, Asana, Sentry, SimplePoll, Trello, and dozens of development, management, communication, finance, media, marketing, design, wellness, and other apps.
Best for card-based task lists and Kanban boards
Trello is a Kanban board app that can be used to organize tasks visually. It’s user-friendly, with an intuitive drag-and-drop interface that makes it easy to learn. This popular tool can be used to help you visualize your deadlines, items in progress, and completed tasks, enabling you to make informed decisions about what to work on next according to the big picture.
Why I Picked Trello: Trello is a popular project management tool that helps teams organize tasks and collaborate on projects visually and intuitively. It uses a system of boards, lists, and cards to represent tasks and workflows, allowing team members to easily see what needs to be done, who is responsible for each task, and what the status of each task is. Trello can be customized to fit a wide range of project management needs, and it offers features such as due dates, checklists, attachments, and team member assignments. Its flexibility and ease of use make it a great tool for teams of all sizes and types, from small startups to large enterprises.
Trello Standout Features & Integrations
Features include boards, to-do lists, task management, workflow management, priority labels, due dates, file sharing, communication, a mobile app, and third-party integrations/add-ons.
Integrations include 200+ apps and tools your team depends on, like Slack, Google Drive, Salesforce, Dropbox directly into your Trello boards. (Note: Some connections require an additional subscription fee.)
Best for building task lists with prioritization
Todoist is similar to Wunderlist, providing a simple interface for creating, sharing, and prioritizing tasks. You can collaborate by sharing out your lists and assigning tasks to others, and you can use labels and priority tags to bring organization to your task lists.
Why I Picked Todoist: Todoist has a smart rescheduling feature that suggests an optimal time to schedule tasks that need to be pushed out to a future date based upon past behavior and what you’ve already got on your plate.
Todoist Standout Features & Integrations
Features include task scheduling/tracking, project management, calendar management, email integration, third-party plugins, time management, campaign management, and notifications.
Integrations include Google Drive, Google Maps, Dropbox, Apple Maps, Calendar Sync, and Slack, as well as more options through Zapier (which may incur additional costs).
Best for a clean, simple, & easy-to-use interface
Asana is another popular Kanban-style task management tool that helps you visually organize and prioritize your work. Use this tool to set priorities, deadlines, tasks, and assignees, and to easily visualize and adjust the flow of your work.
Why I Picked Asana: This is one of the most popular and widely used productivity apps along with Trello, and with a sleek, clutter-free design and a robust suite of integrations, this is a productivity tool that you can use and adapt to a wide range of work and personal projects over time.
Asana Standout Features & Integrations
Features task and project management, collaboration tools, calendar views, customizable dashboards, integrations with other tools, templates for different workflows, a mobile app, reporting tools, and automation capabilities.
Integrations include Microsoft Teams, Adobe Creative Cloud, JIRA Cloud, Salesforce, Tableau, Slack, Clockwise, MS Office 365, Google Calendar, Gmail, Power BI, Outlook, ServiceNow, JotForm, Google Drive, Looker, Vimeo, DropBox, Trello, GitLab, and a growing list of other apps. Plus, a plan with Zapier or Tray.io can let you access other apps to connect with Asana.
Best for managing remote and field teams
Hubstaff is a lightweight, native time tracking software that includes screenshots, time tracking, and project management tools. It’s been designed well with a simple interface and design that makes it really easy for your team to enter their time and for you to track their progress.
Why I Picked Hubstaff: When you’re working with a distributed team it can be hard to verify exactly what people are doing and how they’re spending their time so Hubstaff has some pretty handy snooping tools to give you insight into what your team is doing in the time they’re logging to your project with screenshots and activity levels. Now you can also see which applications your team members are using and what URLs they are browsing while they’re tracking time.
Budget management is helpful and straightforward—using Hubstaff, you can easily set time limits and budgets for your team to bill against with a maximum number of hours you want a member to be able to work in a week and the app will automatically prevent them from exceeding the limit.
Hubstaff Standout Features & Integrations
Features include task management, time tracking, collaboration, Gantt charts, resource management, budget tracking, reporting & analytics, mobile app, invoicing, screen capture & activity tracking, GPS tracking, and third-party integrations.
Integrations include Wistia, Databox, Seventh Sense, Zerys, PandaDoc, Aircall, Eventbrite, and dozens of other apps.
Best for flexible project views according to team needs
Hive is a project management tool and collaboration platform that offers AI-based analytics and reporting, thousands of integrations, flexible project views, and more. Hive streamlines your work in one centralized platform and offers much more than just Gantt charts. Used by teams of varying sizes, from 10 people to 1,000, Hive is a great option for a productivity app for a diverse range of companies and work styles.
Why I Picked Hive: Hive’s time-tracking, analytics, and flexible view capabilities allow for a transparent understanding of other team member’s work and upcoming projects. The tool's personalized dashboards also allow users to see their own tasks and priorities.
Hive also has one of the first full email integrations in any project management tool, which allows you to send and receive Gmail and Outlook messages from the app. Choose Hive if you’re in the market for a well-laid-out, comprehensive productivity app that can be scaled up or down based on team needs. Hive is available on Windows and iOS.
Hive Standout Features & Integrations
Features include customizable dashboards, task management, collaboration, resource management, time tracking, mobile app, Agile methodologies, reporting & analytics, file sharing, and third-party integrations.
Integrations include Gmail, Outlook, and over a thousand additional third-party apps (but requires a paid plan through Zapier for most).
Need expert help selecting the right Productivity Tools Software?
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Summary Of The Best Productivity Apps
14-day free trial + freemium plan available
|From $8/user/month (billed annually, min 3 seats)||Visit Website|
Freemium version available
|From $9.80/user/month||Visit Website|
Freemium plan available
|From $9/user/month||Visit Website|
30-day free trial
|From $24/user/month||Visit Website|
90-day free trial + freemium version available
|From $8.75/user/month||Visit Website|
Free trial + freemium plan available
|From $6/user/month||Visit Website|
30-day free trial
|From $2.40/user/month||Visit Website|
Free plan available
|From $10.99/user/month||Visit Website|
14-day free trial
|From $7/user/month||Visit Website|
14-day free trial
|From $16/user/month||Visit Website|
Other Productivity Tools
I haven’t had a chance to review all of these tools in-depth, but here are a few more to check out if the ones featured in this review don’t fit your needs:
- Focus Booster
Best for the Pomodoro productivity technique
- Collabio Spaces
Best for iPhone & Mac
Best for creating automated workflows
Best for remote and async communication
Best low-code automation capabilities
Social media maintenance app with campaign automations
A social media management app for scheduling and tracking social media content
- Omni Focus
Best productivity app for Mac users
A content promotion app designed to increase campaign reach
- Things 3
Best for drag-and-drop task lists
Productivity Software FAQs
Find answers to common questions about productivity apps.
What is productivity software?
How can I trick myself into productivity?
How To Be Effective & Productive - Using the Eisenhower Matrix
Too often, we focus on productivity as a question of volume: how much am I making, and how quickly? To truly do impactful work, we have to reposition our thoughts on productivity: it’s actually about making better use of your time.
How do you make better use of your time?
First, we have to work out the most productive ways we can use our time. Stop and ask yourself:
- What’s the impact of me not doing this seemingly urgent thing right now? (Because that urgent thing is actually probably not that important!)
- What are my highest value activities? What’s essential?
- What can I (and only I) do that, if done well, will make a real difference?
A good way to answer these questions is by using a priority matrix to map out tasks according to their level of urgency and importance. I like to use the matrix below, based on the Eisenhower Matrix:
Eisenhower Matrix Explanation
A simple breakdown of this chart tell us how to approach a task:
Priority #1: It’s Urgent And Important. Do it.
Your top tasks need the “do it now” rule. Along the same lines, if you see a task that’ll take less than 2 minutes to do, just get it done right away (Why? Because it’ll take more time to put it on your to-do list and then schedule and prioritize it).
Starting a high-priority task and persisting with that task until it is 100% complete is the true test of your character. It’s not easy, but it’s how you’re going to be productive. This takes self-discipline, but we can make it easier on ourselves with a few productivity tools.
Priority #2: It’s Not Urgent But Still Important. Decide on it.
In this case, decide on any points that are blocking the task from moving forward. Decide on the ideal time, person, and method to carry out the task.
If something is important but not necessarily urgent, you need to take a moment to decide on a proper plan for dealing with it. Stop getting sidetracked—plan to do the important stuff properly.
We can find ourselves feeling totally overwhelmed because we’re being pulled in too many directions – it feels like there’s too much on our plate and no way to keep everyone happy. In order to make decisions that make the most sense for us, our team, and our projects, we need to have a clear view of all of our tasks, priorities, and progress.
The following productivity apps are especially helping prioritize tasks—for checking what’s in the pipeline, tracking progress, and providing all the information to make solid decisions as we manage our work.
Priority #3: It’s Urgent But Not Important. Delegate It.
In this case, we delegate the task to the appropriate person so you can focus on important tasks.
Some people have an easy time delegating tasks, while others feel a really strong impulse to just “do it myself”. However hard it may be to offload tasks to other people, it’s really pretty simple to hand off tasks to a machine. There’s tons of productivity apps that we can use to do more with less time by adding more automation to our workflows, letting an algorithm handle the busy work.
Priority #4: It’s Not Urgent And Also Not Important. Delete it!
Finally, we can sometimes be more effective by doing less. There are endless opportunities (and plenty of productivity apps to help you) to say “yes” to great ideas. At the same time, being able to carry them out requires you to say “no” to the right things. Learn to set boundaries and say no.
It’s great to be nice and kind and help people out. The problem is, we don’t always have the time. That leaves us a wide-open opportunity to under-deliver or not deliver at all. You’re not going to do anyone any favours if you commit to something you can’t actually deliver your best work on.
And yes, there are productivity apps that you can use to move tasks off your plate and develop boundaries by giving you a system for just saying “no”.
At the end of each day, spend 10 minutes planning out what your day will look like tomorrow—what will you do, decide, delegate, and delete?
Then, have a look at the productivity apps in this overview. I’ve chosen ones that can help you carry out the important work of being effective with your time by automating, tracking, syncing, and reminding—leaving you with more time to do the work that matters most, and do it efficiently!
I find the topic of productivity very entertaining as there are all sorts of tools that can help us with our work. Also because it's a space where there is constant innovation. In that spirit, here's a list of 7 ways to be more productive at work.
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