5 Mobile Apps to Increase Your Personal Productivity in 2018

5 Mobile Apps to Increase Your Personal Productivity in 2018

Smartphones have the potential to be the greatest friend or the worst enemy of personal productivity. It all depends on how they are used on a daily basis. While they provide the opportunity to relax after a long journey at work, or to better face the stressful daily commute, they can also become pervasive and take control of your entire time.

This article presents our 5 favorite mobile apps to increase your productivity. Some apps are fairly simple to use and focus on offering one single functionality; others are more complex and let you manage several tasks in one single application. All the apps included here are available for both iOS and Android, and the main criteria of our analysis include:

  • Effectiveness in increasing personal productivity: Does the app provide immediate benefits? By how much does it increase productivity?
  • Ease of use: Is the user interface friendly? Are the functionalities sufficient? Does the app have enough customization options?
  • Popularity: Are people actually using the app? How are they rating it?
  • Price: Does the app have free and paid versions? What are the limitations of the free version?
  • Integration: Is it possible to export the data from the app? Does it integrate with other apps and desktop/web applications?

Goodtime Productivity Timer

GoodTimeProductivity - Personal Productivity

Goodtime Productivity Timer (iOS, Android) is a light and very efficient Pomodoro timer. In simple terms, this technique aims at dividing your time into blocks of approximately 25 minutes during which you will completely focus on the task at hand. The benefits of the technique are immediate, although it takes some time to get used to the system.

The Goodtime mobile app offers all the necessary settings for customizing the timer to your personal needs. In addition to that, it offers the possibility to turn off your Wi-Fi, sounds, and vibrations in order to help you stay focused and be more productive. The app does not have any other functionality apart from being a Pomodoro timer, and this is at the same time its strength and weakness.

Pros and Cons of Goodtime Productivity App

The positive sides include an effective timer with several customization options, as well as a minimalistic design. By keeping the design simple and the functionalities limited, the app definitely delivers what it promises to the user.

A negative side is the lack of statistics on the app. To extract maximum value from the Pomodoro technique, you should use the 25-minute blocks not only to guide your work but also to plan it and analyze its efficiency. If the app offered analytical statistics, it would be possible to retrospectively analyze your day and identify opportunities for improvement.

Editor’s Scores

  • Effectiveness in increasing personal productivity: 5/5
  • Ease of use: 5/5
  • Popularity: 4/5
  • Price: 5/5
  • Integration: 1/5

Goodtime Productivity Timer is a great app that will immediately increase your productivity if used regularly. There is basically no learning curve to the app, you just have to open it, touch the screen once and the timer starts working. The app has more than 100.000 downloads, making it a popular option and binding the developers to app updates whenever necessary. The price is another great advantage. The app is absolutely free and it shows no ads during usage. Finally, the only negative point is integration. Goodtime does not keep track of how you use the app, so it does not have any data to export as a .csv or .xlsx for further analysis.

Our Final Score: 4/5

 

Any.do: To-do list, Calendar, Reminders & Planner

Any.do - Personal Productivity

Any.do (iOS, Android, Web) offers an intuitive way of organizing your to-dos and tasks to improve your productivity. The User Interface is clean and easy to use, without overloading you with unnecessary information. The app has three main screens: to-dos, calendar, and settings, all accessible from the home screen.

Adding and organizing tasks is as simple as clicking a button or dragging your tasks to different lists. You can organize your to-dos in categories, making it easier to visualize your to-dos in an orderly manner. It is also possible to synchronize the app with your personal calendars, a very interesting feature to help you find time for your to-dos in between your other commitments.

Another very useful feature is the possibility of adding subtasks to a to-do, transforming it into a mini project. This way, it is possible to divide bigger tasks into smaller chunks and deal with one concern at a time. Finally, the app offers various widgets to facilitate the creation of new tasks and the visualization of the current ones. There is also a quick-add bar that is always available in the notification area of your phone and makes adding a new to-do just one click away.

The Pro version, priced at $2.09/month for one device in the annual subscription or $2.99/month per device without the annual package, unlocks many interesting features to help you become more productive: recurring to-dos, the possibility of attaching notes and files of any kind to your tasks, and location-based reminders are just a few examples of its benefits.

Pros and Cons of Any.do

Any.do’s free version has all the features you need to take your personal productivity to the next level. It’s easy to use, versatile, fast, and organized. The app can be used on several platforms and it automatically synchronizes your information.

A negative characteristic of the app is the lack of a custom date-picker for the to-dos. You must choose between “today”, “tomorrow”, “upcoming”, or “someday”, which reduces the effectiveness of long-term planning in the app. But again, the main goal of the app is to be a to-do organizer, not a full project manager.

This downside, however, can be counteracted with Any.do’s unique feature called Any.do Moment. With it, you set a specific time on the day during which you will review your to-do list and optimize it for your day.

Editor’s Scores

  • Effectiveness in increasing personal productivity: 4/5
  • Ease of use: 4/5
  • Popularity: 5/5
  • Price: 4/5
  • Integration: 4/5

Any.do offers an effective way of increasing personal productivity while being intuitive to operate. With more than 10.000.000 downloads, the app is certainly one of the most popular choices for to-do managers. The price for the Pro version seems reasonable, although it is possible to enjoy the majority of the benefits without upgrading your subscription. Finally, the possibility of synchronizing the app with your personal calendar and other platforms is a very favorable point.

Our Final Score: 4.2/5

 

Trello

Trello - Personal Productivity

Trello (iOS, Android, Web) is an all-time favorite app and software for personal productivity. This is because you can use Trello for projects and to-dos of any size: from a grocery list to managing a large personal or professional project. The app is organized in Dashboards, which in turn are organized in Lists. Once you create your first list, the next step is to create a Task or Item in it. There are several options to each element of your list: you can create deadlines, delegate the tasks, attach files and links, add comments, create subtasks, among many other functionalities. If you want some ideas of how to use Trello’s dashboards, check their Inspiration Page.

Trello is also incredibly integrated: you can choose among dozens of add-ons (called Power Ups by the app) to boost your dashboards. The free plan comes with one power up per board, and if you want more, you will have to choose one of their plans.

Pros and Cons

Trello is a great way of keeping all your lists in one single place. Open the app, choose the dashboard, and that’s it. Its flexibility makes the process of organizing different areas of your life very easy and intuitive. The free version offers some limitations, but nothing that will stop you from enjoying the benefits of the tool.

A negative aspect of the app is its steep learning curve. Another is the Kanban concept which may seem compelling at first, but can be rather confusing: “How should you set it up and how do you expect to use it?”. Since Trello has a vast amount of functionalities, it takes some time until you get used to all of them. It is very likely that you will feel lost when using the app for the first few times, but after a few hours, it may be your preferred tool for higher productivity levels.

Editor’s Scores

  • Effectiveness in increasing personal productivity: 4/5
  • Ease of use: 4/5
  • Popularity: 5/5
  • Price: 4/5
  • Integration: 5/5

While it takes a while to get used to Trello, it definitely helps you to become much more productive. The app and web user interface easily become polluted with too much information, but this is a natural consequence of the large number of functionalities the tool offers. The app is definitely popular for both professional and personal goals, and its free version comes with all you need to get the most out of the tool. The paid plans might quickly become expensive, they are mostly targeted at businesses and for professional usage. The app offers a lot of seamless integrations: Evernote, Github, Google Hangouts, MailChimp, Salesforce, Slack, Google Drive, Dropbox, among others.

Our Final Score: 4.4/5

 

SquidHub: Collaborate & Organize Team Projects

SquidHub - Personal Productivity

SquidHub (iOS, Android, Web) offers a collaboration tool with all the essential functionalities to centralize the planning of your projects in one place. The mobile apps are easy to use and well integrated with the web version of the app. It offers three main functionalities, all available from the main screen: Task management, File sharing, and Messaging.

The app can be used for both personal goals, like planning a weekend trip with a group of friends or organizing the next family birthday, and professional use including managing projects or remote teams. The todos allow you to set deadlines, delegate, add attachments and track the progress of your groups’ tasks. The file sharing section focuses on providing a single place where the members of the group can find the relevant files and resources for the project. The Messaging part of the app works as both a team messenger and private one-on-one conversations.

Pros and Cons

SquidHub is currently free with no restrictions for its functionalities. Premium features are soon to be released according to their pricing page. The app is definitely easier to use than many competitors, and its intuitive interface offers a very good user experience for both individual users, private projects, and small businesses.

A downside may still be its small user base. Compared to Any.do and Trello, SquidHub still has a long way until it is present in the minds of most of the population. Despite this, they are being positively covered by sites such as TechRepublic, Simpletivity and Merchant Maverick so it’s probably soon to change.

Editor’s Scores

  • Effectiveness in increasing personal productivity: 4/5
  • Ease of use: 5/5
  • Popularity: 4/5
  • Price: 5/5
  • Integration: 3/5

SquidHub’s strong positive point is its intuitiveness, overview and providing everything you need in one single place. Despite being a new player in the productivity space, the app has great reviews on both App Store and Google Play. Being free of charge is another great plus. Finally, it offers some degree of integration and the possibility of creating Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides directly inside the platform.

Our Final Score: 4.2/5

 

Evernote – Stay Organized.

Evernote - Personal Productivity

Evernote (iOS, Android, Web) is a great option to keep your notes organized and easily accessible. It is possible to keep not only text notes but also photos from your phone’s camera, files, audio clips, and reminders. The notes can be customized to contain rich elements such as checkboxes and attachments. Some extra functionalities that are not so well known are the notification bar widget, which allows you to take notes quickly and without opening the app, and the work chat, which allows you to send notes immediately to your teammates and make them available for collaboration.

Pros and Cons

Evernote is a wonderful tool for you not to miss any idea or thought that crosses your mind. The app offers a minimalist yet powerful text editor, as well as a powerful search engine for browsing all your notes. It also synchronizes your notes in up to two devices in the Free plan, and in unlimited devices in the Premium version.

A negative side is exactly the limitation of devices. If you carry one phone for personal use, one phone from your company, and one personal computer, you will have to choose two out of the three to keep synchronized. Also, the mid-tier plan (Evernote Plus) does not include some of the most wanted features of the app.

Editor’s Scores

  • Effectiveness in increasing personal productivity: 4/5
  • Ease of use: 4/5
  • Popularity: 5/5
  • Price: 4/5
  • Integration: 4/5

Creating lists of tasks and notes is one of the most effective ways of getting things done. Evernote is an easy-to-use tool that helps you accomplish exactly that. The app is very well known, and its Premium plans start at $3.99/month or $34.99/year, which is not completely out of reality when compared to other apps and online tools. Finally, it offers synchronization among different platforms, as well as some options for integration such as Google Drive or Email.

Our Final Score: 4.2/5

Final Remarks

When it comes to increasing your personal productivity, the mobile apps will not do all the work for you. They are tools that help you along the way, but you must learn how to properly use them to get the most out of them. If you don’t organize your notes in Evernote, for example, there is a high chance that your notebooks will become a mess and they will do more harm than good for your personal productivity. Same with Trello and the other apps. Being more productive means changing your mindset, and we tailored this list to help you maximize the results of your new way of thinking!

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