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Last Updated on November 27, 2020

35 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2020 Updated)

35 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2020 Updated)

Over the years here at Lifehack, we’ve discussed plenty of apps that you can use to improve your overall productivity.

There are certain ones that many of our contributors and editors (past and present) have adopted over the long-term — there are always the stalwarts that stick around. But there are also new apps that crop up every day, adding more and more depth to the app category.

Some of the apps are incredibly plain and simple, while others are more robust and offer more features than you can shake a stick at. And everyone has the one they prefer.

It’s been our job (and still is our job) to keep abreast of all of the productivity-type apps out there. As a result — and as a bit of a refresher — we’ve put together a list of 35 best productivity apps for iPhone (all categorized based on their functions) to provide you with an all-in-one resource for you.

For Getting Things Done

1. OmniFocus

This app is, while pricey, considered to be one of the (if not the) most robust and full-featured productivity apps on the market.

Download it here.

    2. Forest

    Train yourself to put your phone down and stay focused on the task at hand by playing with this planting game. It’s fun and will help you achieve more.

    Download it here.

      3. Things

      Another robust choice, this app is a favorite amongst “productivityists”.[1]

      Download it here.

         

         

        4. Any.Do

        A beautiful-looking app that is both easy on the eyes and your wallet.

        Download it here.

          5. PocketLife Calendar

          This calendar app is specifically designed to be stylish and super easy-to-use. You can organize your life easily with different modern features.

          Download it here.

            6. Asana

            We’ve covered Asana here at Lifehack

            , and it is being actively developed by a strong team committed to making collaborative task management a more efficient and effective experience.

            Download it here.

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              7. ToDoist

              This app keeps track of everything – from simple errands to your most important projects – so you can get it all done and enjoy more peace of mind along the way.

              Download it here.

                 

                 

                8. Calendars 5

                This calendar app focuses on events that help you to keep track of upcoming events and tasks easily. It has everything you need to organize, track, and complete your to-dos.

                Download it here.

                  9. Clear – Tasks, Reminders & To-Do Lists

                  A fun and innovative list-making app that relies on swiping and pinching to make things happen. Clear created a lot of buzz when it launched, and might be the perfect to-do list gateway app for many.

                  Download it here.

                    10. Due

                    A robust reminders app that lets you store and maintain reminders of all types. It’s replaced Reminders for me when it comes to the basics, and it’s worth a look if you want to keep the mundane stuff out of your head and cluttering your mind.

                    Download it here.

                      11. Checkmark 2

                      I use this app

                      for location-based reminders (such as groceries I need to get or single items I need to pick up from various locations). Checkmark is simple to use and valuable addition to my productivity arsenal.

                      Download it here.

                        12. TeuxDeux

                        Created by Tina Roth Eisenberg and Fictive Kin — TeuxDeux is simple and incredibly stellar in terms of design. If you like lists (including the popular “Someday Bucket”) and want to associate dates with tasks, then TeuxDeux will be right up your alley.

                        Download it here.

                           

                           

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                          13. Nirvana

                          For the GTD enthusiasts, there’s Nirvana. Straight from the source: “Nirvana frees your mind to focus on actually getting things done. If you’ve had enough of generic to-do lists, it’s time for Nirvana.”

                          Download it here.

                            14. Priorities

                            An elegant-looking task management app that has received decent reviews,[2] this could be the one for you if you’re not a fan of OmniFocus or Things — especially if you need (or want) to share tasks with others.

                            Download it here.

                              For Building Habits

                              15. Productive

                              With this app, you can plan your habits with an easy-to-use interface, schedule habits for any time of the day, set smart reminders for each time of the day, and stay on track with useful feedback. This app is perfect for anyone who wants to build a habit that sticks.

                              Download it here.

                                16. Habitica: Gamified Taskmanager

                                You can complete tasks and build habits in a more fun way with this app. Input your Habits, your Daily goals, and your To-Do list, and then create a custom avatar. Check off tasks to level up your avatar and unlock features such as armor, pets, skills, and even quests.

                                Download it here.

                                  17. Streaks

                                  This app follows the model of the popular “don’t break the chain method” in that you use the app to track how you are donig in the pursuit of your goal. Great for goal-setting — and an easy and elegant interface to boot.

                                  Download it here.

                                    18. Remember The Milk

                                    Another popular to-do list app, Remember The Milk has a huge following. It has plenty to offer, including the ability to share tasks with others.

                                    Download it here.

                                      19. Day One Journal

                                      When it comes to journaling, nothing really beats Day One. Its latest update added a slew of features that will make you want to start making journaling a habit.

                                      Download it here.

                                        For Files Organization

                                        20. Evernote

                                        Touted as the world’s most widely-used productivity app, Evernote is an be used simply as a notetaking app or can be customized to be your GTD app of choice — among other things.

                                        Download it here.

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                                          21. Pocket

                                          You can save an article, video, or link you want to read or watch later to Pocket from anywhere including your computer, Safari, email, and your favorite apps like Facebook, Twitter, Flipboard, and Feedly.

                                          Download it here.

                                            22. Sync.Me

                                            This app identifies unknown phone calls, warns you from annoying spam calls, and adds a caller picture to your contacts from Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

                                            Download it here.

                                              23. Droplr

                                              One of the most popular file-sharing apps out there today. Straight from the source: “Stay productive on the go. Droplr for iPhone keeps you in sync and makes sharing on the iPhone natural.”

                                              Download it here.

                                                24. Dropbox

                                                Before iCloud, there was Dropbox. And there still is Dropbox, which is still widely used by both Mac and PC users all over the globe. It’s like having a flash drive on your iPhone. A must-have.

                                                Download it here.

                                                   

                                                  For Working Smarter

                                                  25. Captio

                                                  A simple capture tool. Straight from the developers: “It’s simple. Open Captio and start typing. When you’re done, hit Send. The note is immediately delivered to your email inbox.”

                                                  Download it here.

                                                    26. Drafts

                                                    A tremendous capture tool that allows for simple capture, followed by sending items to various applications such as OmniFocus, Things, and more.

                                                    Download it here.

                                                      27. NoteShelf 2

                                                      This is a perfect note-taking app for you. You can take beautiful handwritten notes, type, annotate PDFs, record audio & create lists. You can organize them into categories or groups.

                                                      Download it here.

                                                        28. Doodle

                                                        This app links directly with the Doodle service, which is one that allows you to plan and organize meetings far more efficiently and effectively. Lifehack contributor Steve Dotto has written about Doodle more in-depth here.

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                                                        Download it here.

                                                          29. TextExpander (Legacy)

                                                          I have saved countless hours of time with TextExpander, and despite its inability to be as robust on iOS as it is on the Mac, it is still a worthy app to have in your arsenal.

                                                          Download it here.

                                                            30. Launch Center Pro

                                                            A quick launcher for the iPhone that doesn’t just launch an app…with some of them it can do much more. This app saves you time by launching complex actions in a single tap.

                                                            Download it here.

                                                              31. GoodReader

                                                              This may seem to be an odd one to make this list, but here are plenty of reasons why it is here with this article.

                                                              Download it here.

                                                                32. LogMeIn

                                                                Want to be able to control your Mac from wherever you are? Then get this app.

                                                                Download it here.

                                                                  For Improving Security

                                                                  33. 1Password

                                                                  There is simply no better password manager out there. I’ve even put together a 1Password Emergency Kit worth looking at here.

                                                                  Download it here.

                                                                    34. LastPass Password Manager

                                                                    You can store passwords and logins, create online shopping profiles, generate strong passwords, track personal information in photo and audio notes.

                                                                    All you have to do is remember your LastPass master password, and LastPass auto-fills web browser and app logins for you.

                                                                    Download it here.

                                                                      35. Truecaller

                                                                      Identify and block spammers, search for unknown numbers, and call friends easily with this app. With a community-based spam list from over 250 million users, you’ll need this app.

                                                                      Download it here.

                                                                        There are plenty of other options out there (and we’ve heard from readers in the past as to what they enjoyed using), but these 40 are among the best.

                                                                        Featured photo credit: William Hook via unsplash.com

                                                                        Reference

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                                                                        Leon Ho

                                                                        Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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                                                                        Last Updated on January 6, 2021

                                                                        14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

                                                                        14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

                                                                        Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

                                                                        In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

                                                                        For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

                                                                        For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

                                                                        Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

                                                                        Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

                                                                        Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

                                                                        How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

                                                                        Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

                                                                        1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

                                                                        Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

                                                                        For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

                                                                        2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

                                                                        Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

                                                                        Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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                                                                        Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

                                                                        3. Create a System

                                                                        Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

                                                                        This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

                                                                        You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

                                                                        Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

                                                                        Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

                                                                        4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

                                                                        We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

                                                                        If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

                                                                        Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

                                                                        Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

                                                                        5. Use a Ratings Scale

                                                                        Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

                                                                        Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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                                                                        It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

                                                                        6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

                                                                        This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

                                                                        You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

                                                                        You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

                                                                        7. Offer Feedback Forms

                                                                        Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

                                                                        First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

                                                                        Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

                                                                        You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

                                                                        8. Track Cost Effectiveness

                                                                        This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

                                                                        Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

                                                                        Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

                                                                        9. Use Self-Evaluations

                                                                        Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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                                                                        Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

                                                                        10. Monitor Time Management

                                                                        This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

                                                                        Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

                                                                          The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

                                                                          While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

                                                                          11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

                                                                          We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

                                                                          Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

                                                                          For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

                                                                          Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

                                                                          Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

                                                                          From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

                                                                          12. Utilize Peer Feedback

                                                                          This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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                                                                          Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

                                                                          Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

                                                                          It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

                                                                          13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

                                                                          When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

                                                                          Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

                                                                          Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

                                                                          14. Use an External Evaluator

                                                                          Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

                                                                          They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

                                                                          While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

                                                                          Final Thoughts

                                                                          These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

                                                                          The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

                                                                          The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

                                                                          More Productivity Tips

                                                                          Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

                                                                          Reference

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