The Best Productivity Apps Guaranteed to Make Your Life Simpler
Written by
Ritu Poddar
Ritu Poddar

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The Best Productivity Apps Guaranteed to Make Your Life Simpler

Published : July 2, 2019 | Updated : May 17, 2024

There are some things a smartphone can’t do yet, for everything else, there is an app!

The world’s moving faster than ever. Everyone is hard-pressed for time, with so much to do, remember, and process.

Who doesn’t want to get more things done in less time and with less effort…that is, be more productive?

Technology keeps evolving to meet the increasing needs of the modern tech-savvy consumer. Set in this backdrop, productivity apps are now helping users accomplish more in less.

Any app that can facilitate the workflow, collaboration, and time management for individual users or a group of users is a productivity app. As a category, productivity apps serve a wide variety of functions.

Some help you form a habit, while there are others to help you break a habit. Some help you manage your daily chores and day-to-day life, while there are others that increase productivity at your workplace and facilitate collaboration within teams.

We, at Smartech, have been closely monitoring the growth of the productivity app space. Combined with our own experience and some detailed research, here is a list of the best productivity apps across various sub-categories:

  • Time ManagementTime is the most precious non-renewable resource available. Given the diminishing attention span and the endless ways of getting distracted, effective time management is important.Thankfully, there are apps that help you reduce the cognitive load of tracking and monitoring your time, so that you can focus on getting things done in optimal time durations.
    1. Toggl – Toggl is a simple time-tracking app to help you track the time you spend on your tasks. You can break down your hours by projects, clients, and tasks and log the time spent accordingly. The timesheets give insights on your level of productivity. Key Features:
      • Seamless sync across devices: You can start tracking your hours in a browser, then stop it later on your phone. All the tracked time is automatically synced between your phone, desktop, and the web
      • Integration with calendar: With this feature, you can easily add your events from your calendar as time entries
      • Customisable time entries with projects, clients, and tags: You can clearly see where your work hours go and adjust your time accordingly

        There are various plans available, but the free basic account offers a lot of functionalities too. This app is especially useful for freelancers.

        Price: Free with in-app purchases | Availability: Android, iOS, and Web |

    2. Harvest – Harvest is a great time-tracking app for solo entrepreneurs as well as for teams. The app is designed to handle a collaborative workload in a clear and easily understandable way. You can track time, log expenses, and manage invoices on-the-go. Key Features:
    3. Easy time tracking and timesheet maintenance: You can tap to start/stop projects and task timers from anywhere. You can do manual entry of billable and non-billable hours, view and edit current/previous time entries, and receive timely reminders for submitting timesheets
    4. Simple invoice management: You can send and re-send professional invoices, record and remove payments, and view invoice history
    5. Easy receipt management: Entering expenses and submitting them to clients is fast and easy. You can take receipt photos and upload them directly to the app
    6. Seamless sync with the team: If you are the admin, you can easily view teammates’ timers in real-time, and review detailed task notes for better project tracking

      Price: 30-day free trial with in-app purchases | Availability: Android, iOS, and web|

  • Bookmarking Throughout the day, we float in a sea of information, ideas, and knowledge. There is so much on the internet to be read, processed, and learnt. And, ideas pop up in our minds at any time.It is impractical to consume all the content instantly, at the time of discovery, but we do want to save them and get back to it later. There are scores of apps that enable you to collect ideas, reminders, tasks, articles, internet links, and so on. Here are the two most popular ones:
    1. Pocket – Pocket is read-it-later app. It enables you to save online reading material (articles, videos, news, etc. that you want to visit later. It is a convenient replacement for bookmarks. The app also creates pared down versions of online articles by removing ads and excess graphics. Key Features:
      • Pleasant reading experience: The app has a very clean layout and a customisable clutter-free display that make for a distraction-free reading experience that is soothing to the eyes. There are themes to support night reading
      • Text to audio conversion: The app can convert any article or blog post into audio content so that you can listen to the content while walking, working out, or commuting (essentially at all times when you can’t read)
      • Sync across devices: Everything you save in Pocket is available on all your devices, even when you are offline
      • Relevant content suggestions: Pocket helps you discover more of the content that you like from across sources. The app is integrated with many quality websites, digital magazines, and platforms

        Pocket is very fast and has a search feature that makes it very convenient to use. The app, with its basic features, is free of cost. You can upgrade your account to avail Pocket Premium features like advanced search, unlimited highlights, and automatic article backups.

        Price: Free with in-app purchases | Availability: Android, iOS, and Web

    2. Instapaper – Instapaper is another bookmarking app that enables you to save and store articles for later reading. It enhances the reading experience by converting the content into a newspaper like appearance, and trims the articles to their most basic form, removing the clutter. Key Features:
      • Content saved as text-only: This app saves most web pages as just text, stripping away the full-sized layout. This enhances the readability of the content on tablet and phone screens
      • Great reading experience: Distraction-free reading environment helps you focus on the content
      • Offline reading: All the content that you save is available offline, so that you can read it even when your device is not connected to the internet
      • Customisable interface: You can choose from a selection of professional typefaces, and adjust the font size and background colour to your liking
      • Effortless content organisation: You can sort your list of unread items by popularity, date, article length, and shuffle, and organise the content into folders
      • Speed reading feature: Instapaper includes a speed reading tool to help you read faster. Instead of displaying the whole article, individual words flash on the screen. You can adjust the words-per-minute rate based on your reading speed, and the app tells you how long it will take you to read the article. Pretty cool, isn’t it?

        The app provides a free version with limited features, and premium subscriptions come with additional features.

        Price: Free with in-app purchases | Availability: Android, iOS, and Web|

  • Collaboration Collaboration is the new norm at workplaces. People don’t work in silos at organisations, instead work closely together. Powerful collaboration tools to facilitate task flow, tracking, and communication are a must for efficiency and productivity.Here are some industry leading apps in this sub-category:
    1. Slack – Slack is smart communication and collaboration tool – available over web as well as a mobile app – which is immensely popular, globally. It facilitates communication between team members, and organises the conversations by topics and projects. Key Features:
      • Direct messaging and video calling: Connecting with team members across locations and time zones is extremely easy through the direct messaging and video calling features
      • Integrated file sharing: Drag and drop PDFs, images, videos, and other files directly into Slack. Get feedback on your work and create an archive of your progress
      • Compatibility with other services: Slack works with many popular services and tools like Google Drive, Dropbox, Salesforce, Twitter, Box etc. You can easily integrate the resources from these tools into Slack
      • Easy searchability: You can find relevant messages, files, and conversations from the central knowledgebase easily

        Slack has a free version, and several paid plans offering a variety of additional features.

        Price: Free with in-app purchases | Availability: Android, iOS, and Web|

    2. Trello – Trello is a visual organising and collaboration tool, with more than 5 million downloads, it is currently being used by more than 35 million registered users. Teams can work with boards or lists to plan projects. Members can set up to-do lists and delegate tasks amongst themselves.TrelloKey Features:
      • Customisable boards, lists, and cards: The clean and easy-to-use interface makes project planning and delegation a breeze. The cards (which are like sticky notes), can be arranged into columns, each column representing a goal. These cards can be moved from one column to another as needed. There’s also the option to assign comments to cards – a quick way to give feedback to others
      • Cross-platform integration: Trello easily integrated with other apps like Evernote, GitHub, Google Drive, and Slack
      • Offline working: You can add information to your boards and cards at any time and they get saved when you need it

        You can download the app for free, but there are premium options available which give access to more features.

        Price: Free with in-app purchases | Availability: Android, iOS, and Web|

    3. Todoist – Todoist is a work and life organiser app. Around 18 million users (individuals and teams) use this simple to-do list app to organise, plan, and collaborate on projects.It functions like a fitness tracker for your productivity. It tracks your tasks progress, and tells you how productive you have been and if you are improving. Key Features:
      • Project management: You can collaborate with the team, assign tasks, and monitor progress in real-time
      • Daily planner: You can capture and record the tasks for the day as they come to you. Add deadlines, check the tasks off the list, and review the tasks at the end of the day or week
      • Habit tracker: You can set daily reminders to keep your habits in check
      • Reminders and goal tracker: You can set timely reminders and location-based reminders to achieve your goals on time. Also, you can track all of them in one place

        Todoist won the 2019’s Editor’s Choice award by Google. The app’s basic version is free forever, but you can upgrade to avail the premium features.

        Price: Free with in-app purchases | Availability: Android, iOS, and Web|

Picking the Right Productivity App

When it comes to productivity apps, you’ll always have multiple options. In fact, a new app or an altogether new category of productivity app is going live across app stores, as we speak! We would encourage you to evaluate them yourself, use the free trials, and choose the ones that fit your needs.

Just like productivity apps simplify and enrich your lives in multiple ways, Smartech helps simplify the lives of marketers and product managers with its full-stack behavioural analytics and customer engagement suite!

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Written By: Ritu Poddar