As more time is spent on screens, searches for ways to boost productivity have naturally spiked. This demand has prompted developers to supply various productivity apps that users are able to utilise on the go.
From scheduling your day to automating actions, there are plenty of ways to unlock your full potential using carefully designed productivity apps – many of which we’ve tried and tested to give you the answers you’re looking for.
Todoist: complete your tasks
Todoist is a powerful task manager app that makes it easy to stay on top of your work. The app lets you include your tasks in projects and tag them for better organisation.
The ‘Upcoming’ view groups yours tasks according to the day in a concise timeline, giving users a powerful peek of the week ahead.
What makes Todoist extremely powerful is its integration with third party services. Todoist links with services such as IFTTT and Zapier to automate your task management.
Additionally, Todoist is available on pretty much every device, ensuring that your tasks are with you wherever you go. It’s easy to add tasks on-the-go from your laptop, phone and even your smartwatch.
Todoist also utilises collaboration so that you can work on shared projects with colleagues and leave comments on tasks. The app also includes Home Screen widgets on the iPhone with clever ways to add new tasks with pre-filled data. For example, you can have a widget for a specific project and if you add a task through that widget, it will automatically add it to the overall project.
Todoist is available to download for free on iPhone, Android, Web and plenty of other devices. A $3/month premium subscription unlocks additional features, but the free version should be sufficient for most users.
Sorted: schedule your day
After testing many calendar apps, Sorted is our favourite tool to schedule the day. The app combines tasks and calendar events into one streamlined timeline to make it easy to manage your life from one place.
Sorted allows users to select multiple tasks at once and rearrange them on your timeline to delay everything in your day by a specific amount of time. This is particularly handy when something unexpected comes up and you need to shift everything around to adapt. While most apps struggle with this, Sorted features a quick and intuitive flow to adjust your day.
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Additionally, Sorted features an auto-scheduling tool. Simply input what tasks you need to complete, how long the tasks will take, and specify whether you want a break between tasks. Sorted will then intelligently schedule your day for you.
The app also features new iOS 14 & macOS Big Sur widgets so you can keep up to date with your tasks directly from your home screen.
Sorted is available to download for free on iPhone, iPad and macOS devices. A pro payment of $14.99 on iPhone and $25.99 can be made to unlock additional features such as iCloud sync.
Notion: all-in-one tool
Notion is an ultra-flexible all-in-one tool that combines wikis, projects and notes in one unified space. It turns everything into blocks that can be combined and customised in intelligent ways to suit your needs. Out of all the services previously mentioned, Notion is by far the most dynamic.
The powerful tool comes with a relatively steep learning curve. To accommodate that, Notion features tutorials that highlight the power of the service. Additionally, you can still get a lot of value out of Notion without using it to its maximum potential.
Notion also features impressive collaboration capabilities that make it seamless to work on shared documents and projects with other people. If you’re looking for a service to digitise many aspects of your life you’ll need to give Notion a try.
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While the app is fluid to use on the desktop, the overwhelming number of features make the app feel cluttered. It does the job, but if your work is primarily on your phone, then you might want to skip out on Notion.
Notion is available to download for free on iPhone, Android, Windows, Mac and Web. A $4/month pro subscription is available to remove limitations such as the number of blocks you can use, although the free version is pretty generous.
XMind: organise your thoughts
If you thought mind mapping software was clunky, it’s because you haven’t tried XMind. The beautifully designed app makes it easy to note down your thoughts and organise them in neat structures.
XMind has all the features you’d expect from a mind mapping app. You can add subtopics and create relationships between elements for better organisation. Zen mode allows you to enter a distraction-free zone to “connect you” with your thoughts. Additionally, outliner mode removes all the graphics and summarises your mind map in a list of headings and bullet points.
The app is also highly customisable with flexible templates, themes and styles. These are easy to adapt to your workflow so that your mind maps are personalised to your liking.
XMind is available to download for free on iPhone, Android, Windows, Mac and Web. A $59.99/year pro subscription unlocks extra features and removes the trial watermark from your exports.
Shortcuts: automate your actions
Previously called Workflow, Apple bought this popular automation app in 2017 and now pre-installs it on all iPhones and iPad devices.
Shortcuts is a useful app that simplifies automation on Apple devices. It integrates with plenty of apps (most apps in this list have Shortcut integrations) to help you create powerful workflows on your iPhone.
Shortcuts combines several actions to create a shortcut. For example, the “Meet Halfway” feature uses the location of your device and a friend’s device to find a spot halfway between you both where you can both meet. Another shortcut gets the location of your next calendar event then shows you how long it would take you to get there.
The Shortcuts Gallery is the best place to start when looking for shortcuts. It features some personalised suggestions made by your device as well as general suggestions by Apple.
Shortcuts also features automated actions that can be triggered based on time, location, and more. For example, the app can automatically send a message to your partner as you approach your house letting them know you’re nearly there.
The app becomes even more convenient once you start creating your own shortcuts with custom actions. We recommend using the ones in the gallery first to get a hang of things before diving into creating your own.
Shortcuts is pre-installed on iPhone and iPad devices. It is also available to download for free on the App Store.
These are our favourite productivity apps on the iPhone – most of which are available on iPad, Android, Web and Mac too.
There are many more incredible productivity apps out there. What apps do you use to keep working while on the go? Share them with us in the comments!