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Published on March 18, 2021

5 Best Daily Planner Apps To Boost Your Productivity

5 Best Daily Planner Apps To Boost Your Productivity

In today’s fast world, it’s impossible to keep your daily plan in your head in hopes to not miss an important occasion.

Long gone are the times of misplaced post-it notes in hopes to keep tasks in sight. Today we’re blessed with endless digital daily planner apps. They make our lives easier, keep us organized and productive.

If you’re not using one yet, it’s time to start right now. If you’re not sure which one would suit you best, I have listed the 5 best daily planner apps for you to have a variety of choices. These specific apps are chosen for several good reasons. They not only help you to boost your productivity but also make your daily life much easier.

Before we get started, there are a few important criteria that need to be taken into consideration. Matching the app with your personal preferences and expectations is an important task:

  • Focus – Focus is a key element in getting things done. It is crucial for effective and efficient management without wasting time. This is the first element we will be looking at when choosing the best daily planner app for ourselves.
  • Organization – This is the main promise for most of the daily panner apps – to keep you organized. And it is probably the first reason we are thinking to get the app in the first place.
  • Habits – Boosting productivity would not be possible without creating improving habits. It is important to keep ourselves accountable to stay on track to reach goals.

Below you will find the 5 best daily planner apps. Try them out. Decide for yourself which one works best for your personal needs and preferences.

Note, these apps aren’t in any particular order. All of them are great at what they do. My aim is to help you get a better understanding of how each of them can serve your needs to boost productivity.

1. Serene (macOS)

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    Serene is a true winner when it comes to the laser focus category as it helps to shield you from distractions. It lives up to its promise by not letting distractions hold you back.

    The distraction blocking feature helps you enhance focus to achieve more in less time. It’s designed to get you into deep work and achieve goals faster.

    It not only keeps you organized but also improves habits to focus on deep work.

    With its One Daily Goal approach, it helps you stay on track without getting distracted by tasks that don’t contribute to one daily goal.

    Key features include:

    • Focus session timer – clearly defined intervals of focused work with a timer that shows you the timing. Knowing how much time you have left to complete tasks, gives you extra motivation.
    • Website and App blocker – blocked access to websites keeps your focus in check. Knowing the apps that highly distract you will help to increase focus. Staying productive during focus sessions allows staying on tasks without unnecessary interruptions.
    • Activities tracker – getting clear on your productive times is a great way to track your activity. While knowing your most common distractions is a key element in improving habits.
    • Daily planner – setting up your daily plan according to one focus goal is a great way to staying organized. It helps to get stuff done with clearer intention and focused attention.
    • Focus music – playing background music can be a great tool to keep yourself focused and motivated.
    • Phone silencer – putting your phone on silent mode automatically eliminates unnecessary distractions.

    Serene has 10 free deep work hours, and its paid offer is $4/month.

    2. Todoist (iOS, Android, macOS, Windows)

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      Todoist is one of the most popular best daily planner apps amongst solopreneurs, team managers, and larger companies. This app keeps you organized and on task making sure nothing gets forgotten.

      Todoist supports many other app integrations which allow better workflows and easier tasks management. With many advantages, this app lives up to the standards of a highly organized management system. It supports subtasks, sub-projects, recurring tasks, notifications, and more.

      Key features include:

      • Prioritizing tasks – getting the most important things done keeps you productive.
      • Task management – creating subtasks, indicating recurring tasks, including due dates for individual tasks is an easy breeze. Labeling tasks by priority, by context, or personalized system, gives you a customized approach. Setting reminders help you manage better and achieve faster.
      • Progress management – keeping track of progress with the app’s measurement and reporting features. It allows to follow the actions and take measures according to the wanted outcome.
      • Project management – setting up project goals will allow you to make sure you’re on track throughout.

      Todoist has a free version, and its paid offer starts from $3/month.

      3. Things 3 (iOS)

        Things 3 is your personal organizer for business and life. It provides the highest support to boost your productivity and keep you organized. Its simple layout is easy to understand, manage. It lets you start right away as there is no need for a feature introduction.

        Key features include:

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        • Easy input – getting your tasks in the app should be easy, simple, and a smooth process. Easy input means less wasted time. And this is exactly what this app provides.
        • Heading – adding titles to your checklists is a great way to keep tasks separate. It allows you to focus on completing the project and not miss a thing. This means each task can be dialed down into smaller tasks with checklists supporting them. It looks exactly like you would create it on paper. The difference is the option to set a deadline, add tasks to your calendar, and organize them by your unique categories.
        • Integrations – added your email to your to-do list is just one of the examples for smooth tasks management. Seeing your to-do and tasks together as you integrate your calendar is a way to never miss a thing.
        • Planning – seeing all your upcoming lists neatly laid out helps you follow the plan you have set out to do. Scheduling repeated actions on automation will save a lot of time. Reminders will keep you on track.
        • Search option – finding made easy. This option lets you search for any word you’ve ever typed in the app. It gives you the ability to create alarms and notifications for your various tasks.

        Things 3 costs $49.99 on Mac with 15-day free trial. It’s $19.99 on iPad and $9.99 on iPhone.

        4. Any.do (iOS, Android, macOS, Windows)

          If you want to stay organized and get things done, Any.do promises that and more. Its time management features keep you on the tasks. They remind of scheduled activities that can’t be missed.

          Amongst the usual features like due dates, prioritizing, automatic notifications, recurring tasks set up, reminders, and a drag&drop interface for easy-to-do list creation, it has other beneficial key features:

          • Data Synchronization – adding a scheduled event on your calendar and synchronizing it to multiple platforms like Google Calendar and WhatsApp reminders keeps you efficient.
          • Offline Access – knowing that you will be able to access your tool anywhere anytime gives a great deal of freedom, peace of mind, and the ability to always be on top of things.
          • Task management – integrating your to-do list with a calendar makes planning and scheduling easy.
          • Voice capture – being on a run, it’s handy to leave a voice message to yourself that turns into a note on your to-do list. You never know when the next brilliant idea will come to mind!

          Any.do has a free version. Its paid offer starts from $2.99/month.

          5. Trello (iOS, Android, macOS, Windows)

            Trello is for individuals and teams looking to be more productive. It is focusing on helping teamwork reach new levels. Its features allow customized workflows. Simple user experience combined with strategic collaboration between team members for effective work.

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            Tasks can be grouped into boards and cards which can contain another set of tasks in themselves. Individual tasks can be assigned to groups or individuals with deadlines and checklists. If you want more, here are some of the key features:

            • Effective to-do list – adding due dates, assigning to a specific team or person lets you manage the progress.
            • Collaboration – inviting anyone to get things done. It helps you make things happen without a complicated onboarding process.
            • Instant messaging – discussing tasks in real-time adds efficiency and makes it easy to communicate from anywhere.

            Trello has a free version. Its paid offer starts from $10/month.

            Bottom Line

            Choosing the right tool for daily planning can be time-consuming, I hope that this process was made easier for you.

            Whether you are managing your personal time, your team, work projects, or creating a plan for a vacation, use what suits best your specific needs.

            Choosing a daily planner app to boost your productivity is a great way of keeping your mind focused and your progress high. The planner apps help you to make most of your time with ease.

            More Productivity Tools

            Featured photo credit: William Hook via unsplash.com

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            Agnese Rudzate

            Agnese is a next level success strategist.

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            Published on May 3, 2021

            What Is Decision Fatigue And How To Combat It

            What Is Decision Fatigue And How To Combat It

            How often have you had the experience of needing to make tough decisions that pull you in different directions? You go round and round in circles and, in the end, you either flip a coin or make a snap decision because you’re just too tired to think anymore. Or maybe, you simply put off reaching a decision indefinitely, which is sometimes easier than making a tough call.

            Can you relate to this currently? If so, then you’re likely suffering from decision fatigue. Poor decisions are made not because of incapability but because arriving at one or more choices takes its toll—to the extent that it severely weakens our mental energy.

            Now that we know what decision fatigue is, let’s explore the primary ways to combat it to enable a stronger mental state coupled with better decision-making.

            1. Identify and Make the Most Important Decisions First

            If you have a busy personal or work life where many tricky decisions are on the table every day, this can easily and quickly become overwhelming. In this instance, create mental space by initially laying out all situations and challenges requiring a decision. Use a basic software tool or write them down on paper—a notepad file or word document is sufficient.

            Once you have your complete list, carefully pick out the most important items needing a conclusion sooner rather than later. Be mindful of the fact that you can’t treat everything as urgent or requiring immediate attention. There have to be some things that are more important than others!

            Prioritize and Declare the Appropriate Options

            Equipped with your most pressing items awaiting decisions, add another layer of scrutiny by prioritizing them even further. The result should allow you to identify, in order, your most urgent and important tasks without any conflicting priorities.

            The last part of this exercise is to highlight all of the options to consider for your most important decision and work through them one by one. With the visual representation of options and most critical decisions out the way first, you’ll be able to think more clearly and prevent decision fatigue from subtly kicking in.

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            2. Implement Daily Routines to Automate Less Important Decisions

            “Shall I have a healthy lunch today?” “Should I wake up earlier tomorrow?” “What time should I prepare dinner tonight?”

            As trivial as these questions appear to be, each one still requires a decision. Stack them on top of other straightforward everyday questions in addition to more significant ones, and things can start to add up unpleasantly.

            Small or less important decisions can eat away at your time and productivity. When many other decisions need to be made in parallel, it can lead to decision fatigue. However, there’s a method to avoid this. It involves streamlining aspects of your life by automating repetitive decisions, and this drives the ability to make better decisions overall.[1]

            It’s Your Routine—Control It to Create Time for Other Activities

            Instead of having to decide multiple times per week if you should have a healthy lunch, create a daily routine sufficiently ahead of time by dictating what healthy food you’ll eat for lunch every day. In doing so, you’re putting that particular decision on autopilot. Your predefined routine commits you to a decision immediately and without hesitation.

            Invest time into highlighting all of the trivial and recurring situations requiring decisions daily, then implement a collective routine that relieves the need for you to give them much thought (if any thought at all).

            3. Put a Time Limit on Every Decision

            Making complex or big decisions increases the risk of draining your energy. This is especially true if you struggle with the fear of making the wrong decision. The doubt and worry bouncing around inside continuously are enough for the majority of people to become fed up and exhausted.

            To make good decisions, you need to be in the right position to act. A tactic to deploy is to essentially force yourself to act by setting a time limit on your decision-making process. What might seem a little daunting—given that it can create a sense of added pressure—actually provides clarity on when you need to conclude since you can see the end in sight.

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            Grow in Confidence by Reducing Hesitation

            After making the decision, it’s time to move on. You’ll feel good and build self-confidence knowing that you didn’t linger on the choices available.

            Only consider revisiting a previous decision if something unexpected occurs that impacts it. If that’s the case, then follow the same process by ensuring you make the revised decision before a new deadline.

            4. Seek Input From Other People—Don’t Decide Alone

            There’s a time and place to make decisions alone, but sometimes, it’s appropriate to involve others. If there’s any degree of struggle in reaching a verdict, then seeking opinions from people in your network can lessen the mental burden of indecisiveness.

            Do you feel comfortable seeking input from other people to help make decisions? Trust and feeling secure in your relationships are crucial to answer “yes” to this question.

            Explore the Thoughts of Others and Gain a Different Perspective

            An insecure business leader likely won’t trust their team(s) to help them make decisions. On the other hand, an assured and secure business leader realizes they don’t “know it all.” Instead of going solo on all work-related decisions, they install trust among their team and get the support required to arrive at the best possible decisions.

            The ability to make a great decision can depend on the information related to it that’s at your disposal. When faced with a difficult choice, don’t be afraid to lean on the relevant people for help. They can offer valid alternatives that are otherwise easy to overlook or hold the key to you making a well-informed decision.

            5. Simplify and Lower the Number of Available Options

            You’re standing in the store, facing an aisle of more than 20 varieties of peanut butter. You have no idea which one to choose, and although there are subtle differences, they all look fairly similar. No doubt you’ve been in this situation at least once in the past (maybe with a substitute for peanut butter!).

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            This is a classic example of having too many choices—an event that makes you prone to decide to do nothing or waste time by continually pondering on which product to buy.

            According to the psychological concept known as choice overload, simply having too many options can be disruptive and overburdening, causing decision fatigue.[2] Using the example above, you might make the easiest choice of avoiding any further thought, which often results in the purchase of the wrong item.

            Extract Meaningful Information and Evaluate Options With a Binary Outcome

            To simplify and lower your range of options, leverage the information available and extract what’s most important for you to make a decision. Is it the price? The protein content? Whether it has sustainable packaging or a combination of multiple details?

            Keep a tight lid on having too many important components. Prioritize if necessary, and implement a binary outcome (of “yes” or “no” / “true” or “false”) to help arrive at decisions earlier, such as defining a limited price range that the product must fall within.

            6. Eliminate Unnecessary Distractions

            Arguably, attention is the currency of the modern world. The ability to concentrate better than the next person can mean the difference between a successful student, a thriving business, a happy parent, and a great decision-maker.

            So, how can you improve your attention span to make better choices and avoid decision fatigue? There are many strategies, and one of the most optimal ways is to eliminate distractions. Today, the easiest distractions are a result of technology and the devices running it—all of which are at your fingertips 24/7.

            Create Extended Periods of Time to Increase Focus

            These distractions might be small or large, but the broader issue is the frequency of them, and they repeatedly cause a break in your focus. Dealing with this while trying to make the right decision can be mentally debilitating.

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            Technology distractions commonly relate to email, instant messages, push notifications from mobile apps, and scrolling through social media feeds. Access to all of these technologies and tools must be limited to scheduled time blocks (ideally, using a calendar if it’s during a working day).

            Switch off notifications entirely to all of the above to prevent distractions (where possible) when it’s not time to look at them. This enables you to think more deeply and focus for prolonged periods of time, ultimately boosting the chances of making good decisions.

            Final Thoughts

            Decision fatigue is a real phenomenon that can deplete energy levels and increase stress. It can affect anyone who has to make decisions, whether they are minor or major ones.

            Overcoming decision fatigue needs patience and dedication. By applying the best practices discussed in this article, you’ll be on the path to implement valuable changes. These changes will increase your productivity, as well as drastically improve your consistency and ability to make the right choices.

            More About Decision Fatigue

            Featured photo credit: Jake Melara via unsplash.com

            Reference

            [1] FlexRule: Decision Automation
            [2] Behavioral Economics: Choice Overload

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