Advertising
Advertising

Supercharge Your Productivity: 7 Best To-Do Apps for 2014

Supercharge Your Productivity: 7 Best To-Do Apps for 2014

Deadlines: you can’t stand them, but you also can’t live without them. Start your new year resolutions early and kill the procrastination demon by turning to these highly useful and intuitive apps to create your to-do lists.

1. ToDoist (Free, or $29/year for Premium Version)

todo list

    Why it’s awesome: ToDoist’s layout and interface has been created to mimic your email inbox’s. ToDoist Karma, its newly unveiled feature, lets you track your productivity so that you can improve in areas like task management in the future. And in case you’re wondering, the basic ToDoist app is free but will cost you $29 per year if you’re enamoured with expansive features, such as 24 additional color codes for projects and 13 for labels.

    Availability: This is the mother of all to-do apps! It’s available on Android, iOS, Windows, Mac OS, Chrome, Firefox,Gmail, Outlook, Thunderbird and yes, on the web too, so there’s no reason not to use it, regardless of which platform you’re on.

    Advertising

    2. Any.Do (Free)

    Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 2.33.48 PM

      Why it’s awesome: Any.Do has impressed me for a long time now, thanks to the story behind the app and its founder. The app is powerful, flexible and superbly sleek, something that not every to-do app can boast about. One favorite feature among its many users is the missed call reminder: users will be prompted by Any.Do to return a call if you ever receive them (and believe me, I receive A LOT during deadline days).

      Availability: Android and iOS

      3. Carrot ($1.99)

      Advertising

      Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 2.34.09 PM

        Why it’s awesome: Who doesn’t love games? Carrot capitalizes on this fact and presents you with a to-do app with a personality. I love the bossy the app is, constantly coming on to me with phrases like “Greetings, lazy human”, “I am your new task master” and my favorite: “You don’t want to make me upset”. As you complete the tasks one by one, you’ll receive rewards (all 400 unique ones!). Instead of constantly tweaking your Facebook covers on 123covers.net, you’re better off spending time productively with Carrot.

        Availability: iOS

        4. Wunderlist

        Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 2.34.46 PM

          Why it’s awesome: Wunderlist actually lets you focus on completing tasks in your to-do list rather than organizing and re-organizing them again. Its elegance is much-appreciated, and the beautiful interface makes it a joy to work with. The premium version, Wunderlist Pro, is actually very useful if you want to share to-dos among team members or siblings. Anyone can give this a try, albeit through limited access to files and lists.

          Advertising

          Availability: iOS, Android, Windows, Kindle, Web

          5. Calvetica ($2.99)

          Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 2.35.55 PM

            Why it’s awesome: Calvetica may be feature-rich, but it isn’t in any way sluggish at all. It syncs smoothly with your iPhone or iPad’s calendar, but works faster than the default one. With Calvetica, you’ll never need another notebook or calendar in your journal again. Users heaped praises on it, and I have to agree that the stylish UI design and cleanliness is very appealing. The regular updates rolling off the app shows how diligent its makers are–this is definitely an app to watch in 2014.

            Availability: iOS

            Advertising

            6. Pocket Lists ($4.99)

            Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 2.36.41 PM

              Why it’s awesome: At $4.99 a pop, this app is certainly not one of the cheapest ones in the market but it’s certainly one of the most feature-rich apps that has almost everything you need to up your productivity to an all new level. Like ToDoist, Pocket Lists come with color coded lists, but with a twist–instead of mere colors, the latter has easily identifiable icons to accompany the lists in threaded view. I am impressed by its “multiplayer” mode that lets users share their to-do lists and collaborate with other people (think: planning parties together or going shopping with your spouse).

              Availability: iOS

              7. 2DO ($9.99)

              Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 2.37.54 PM

                Why it’s awesome: Mac users will love this app if they are constant users of iCal, thanks to its ability to sync the calendars and to-do lists between these platforms. Even without syncing, this app can charm your socks off with its intuitive and polished user interface. Another benefit that seems to be absent in most free to-do task managers is the push notification feature. Being able to add alarms also makes me more than happy paying $4.99 for the app.

                Availability: iOS, Android, Mac OS

                More by this author

                Joy Mali

                Digital Analyst

                6 Online Games to Play to Make Money Hiatal Hernia: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Thyroid 5 Signs That You May Be Suffering From A Thyroid Problem Hemorrhoids: Facts, Causes, and Treatments 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Shipping Your Car

                Trending in Productivity

                1 11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits 2 How Your Attitude Determines Your Success 3 How to Ask for Help When You Need It Most 4 How Much Do You Need to Give Up to Start Over? 5 Is It Really Better to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone?

                Read Next

                Advertising
                Advertising
                Advertising

                Last Updated on March 21, 2019

                11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

                11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

                Most gurus talk about habits in a way that doesn’t help you:

                You need to push yourself more. You can’t be lazy. You need to wake up at 5 am. You need more motivation. You can never fail…blah blah “insert more gibberish here.”

                But let me share with you the unconventional truths I found out:

                To build and change habits, you don’t need motivation or wake up at 5 am. Heck, you can fail multiple times, be lazy, have no motivation and still pull it off with ease.

                It’s quite simple and easy to do, especially with the following list I’m going to show to you. But remember, Jim Rohn used to say,

                “What is simple and easy to do is also simple and easy not to do.”

                The important things to remember when changing your habits are both simple and easy, just don’t think that they don’t make any difference because they do.

                In fact, they are the only things that make a difference.

                Let’s see what those small things are, shall we?

                1. Start Small

                The biggest mistake I see people doing with habits is by going big. You don’t go big…ever. You start small with your habits.

                Want to grow a book reading habit? Don’t start reading a book a day. Start with 10 pages a day.

                Want to become a writer? Don’t start writing 10,000 words a day. Start with 300 words.

                Want to lose weight? Don’t stop eating ice cream. Eat one less ball of it.

                Whatever it is, you need to start small. Starting big always leads to failure. It has to, because it’s not sustainable.

                Start small. How small? The amount needs to be in your comfort zone. So if you think that reading 20 pages of a book is a bit too much, start with 10 or 5.

                It needs to appear easy and be easy to do.

                Do less today to do more in a year.

                2. Stay Small

                There is a notion of Kaizen which means continuous improvement. They use this notion in habits where they tell you to start with reading 1 page of a book a day and then gradually increase the amount you do over time.

                Advertising

                But the problem with this approach is the end line — where the “improvement” stops.

                If I go from reading 1 page of a book a day and gradually reach 75 and 100, when do I stop? When I reach 1 book a day? That is just absurd.

                When you start a habit, stay at it in the intensity you have decided. Don’t push yourself for more.

                I started reading 20 pages of a book a day. It’s been more than 2 years now and I’ve read 101 books in that period. There is no way I will increase the number in the future.

                Why?

                Because reading 40 to 50 books a year is enough.

                The same thing applies to every other habit out there.

                Pick a (small) number and stay at it.

                3. Bad Days Are 100 Percent Occurrence

                No matter how great you are, you will have bad days where you won’t do your habit. Period.

                There is no way of going around this. So it’s better to prepare yourself for when that happens instead of thinking that it won’t ever happen.

                What I do when I miss a day of my habit(s) is that I try to bounce back the next day while trying to do habits for both of those days.

                Example for that is if I read 20 pages of a book a day and I miss a day, the next day I will have to read 40 pages of a book. If I miss writing 500 words, the next day I need to write 1000.

                This is a really important point we will discuss later on rewards and punishments.

                This is how I prepare for the bad days when I skip my habit(s) and it’s a model you should take as well.

                4. Those Who Track It, Hack It

                When you track an activity, you can objectively tell what you did in the past days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t track, you will for sure forget everything you did.

                There are many different ways you can track your activities today, from Habitica to a simple Excel sheet that I use, to even a Whatsapp Tracker.

                Peter Drucker said,

                “What you track is what you do.”

                So track it to do it — it really helps.

                But tracking is accompanied by one more easy activity — measuring.

                5. Measure Once, Do Twice

                Peter Drucker also said,

                “What you measure is what you improve.”

                So alongside my tracker, I have numbers with which I measure doses of daily activities:

                For reading, it’s 20 pages.
                For writing, it’s 500 words.
                For the gym, it’s 1 (I went) or 0 (didn’t go).
                For budgeting, it’s writing down the incomes and expenses.

                Tracking and measuring go hand in hand, they take less than 20 seconds a day but they create so much momentum that it’s unbelievable.

                6. All Days Make a Difference

                Will one day in the gym make you fit? It won’t.

                Will two? They won’t.

                Will three? They won’t.

                Which means that a single gym session won’t make you fit. But after 100 gym sessions, you will look and feel fit.

                What happened? Which one made you fit?

                The answer to this (Sorites paradox)[1] is that no single gym session made you fit, they all did.

                No single day makes a difference, but when combined, they all do. So trust the process and keep on going (small).

                7. They Are Never Fully Automated

                Gurus tell you that habits become automatic. And yes, some of them do, like showering a certain way of brushing your teeth.

                But some habits don’t become automatic, they become a lifestyle.

                What I mean by that is that you won’t automatically “wake up” in the gym and wonder how you got there.

                It will just become a part of your lifestyle.

                Advertising

                The difference is that you do the first one automatically, without conscious thought, while the other is a part of how you live your life.

                It’s not automatic, but it’s a decision you don’t ponder on or think about — you simply do it.

                It will become easy at a certain point, but they will never become fully automated.

                8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

                Marshall Goldsmith has a great book with the same title to it. The phrase means that sometimes, you will need to ditch certain habits to make room for other ones which will bring you to the next step.

                Don’t be afraid to evolve your habits when you sense that they don’t bring you where you want to go.

                When I started reading, it was about reading business and tactic books. But two years into it, I switched to philosophy books which don’t teach me anything “applicable,” but instead teach me how to think.

                The most important ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The strongest tree is the willow tree – not because it has the strongest root or biggest trunk, but because it is flexible enough to endure and sustain anything.

                Be like a willow, adapting to the new ways of doing things.

                9. Set a Goal and Then Forget It

                The most successful of us know what they want to achieve, but they don’t focus on it.

                Sounds paradoxical? You’re right, it does. But here is the logic behind it.

                You need to have a goal of doing something – “I want to become a healthy individual” – and then, you need to reverse engineer how to get there with your habits- “I will go to the gym four times a week.”

                But once you have your goal, you need to “forget” about it and only focus on the process. Because you are working on the process of becoming healthy and it’s always in the making. You will only be as healthy as you take care of your body.

                So you have a goal which isn’t static but keeps on moving.

                If you went to the gym 150 times year and you hit your goal, what would you do then? You would stop going to the gym.

                This is why goal-oriented people experience yo-yo effect[2] and why process-oriented people don’t.

                The difference between process-oriented and goal-oriented people is that the first focus on daily actions while others only focus on the reward at the finish line.

                Set a goal but then forget about it and reap massive awards.

                10. Punish Yourself

                Last two sections are pure Pavlovian – you need to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. You are the only person who decides what is good and what is bad for you, but when you do, you need to rigorously follow that.

                Advertising

                I’ve told you in point #3 about bad days and how after one occurs, I do double the work on the next day. That is one of my forms of punishments.

                It’s the need to tell your brain that certain behaviors are unacceptable and that they lead to bad outcomes. That’s what punishments are for.

                You want to tell your brain that there are real consequences to missing your daily habits.[3]

                No favorite food to eat or favorite show to watch or going to the cinema for a new Marvel movie- none, zero, zilch.

                The brain will remember these bad feelings and will try to avoid the behaviors that led to them as much as possible.

                But don’t forget the other side of the same coin.

                11. Reward Yourself

                When you follow and execute on your plan, reward yourself. It’s how the brain knows that you did something good.

                Whenever I finish one of my habits for the day, I open my tracker (who am I kidding, I always keep it open on my desktop) and fill it with a number. As soon as I finish reading 20 pages of a book a day (or a bit more), I open the tracker and write the number down.

                The cell becomes green and gives me an instant boost of endorphin – a great success for the day. Then, it becomes all about not breaking the chain and having as many green fields as possible.

                After 100 days, I crunch some numbers and see how I did.

                If I have less than 10 cheat days, I reward myself with a great meal in a restaurant. You can create your own rewards and they can be daily, weekly, monthly or any arbitrary time table that you create.

                Primoz Bozic, a productivity coach, has gold, silver, and bronze medals as his reward system.[4]

                If you’re having problems creating a system which works for you, contact me via email and we can discuss specifics.

                In the End, It Matters

                What you do matters not only to you but to the people around you.

                When you increase the quality of your life, you indirectly increase the quality of life of people around you. And sometimes, that is all the “motivation” we need to start.

                And that’s the best quote for the end of this article:

                “Motivation gets you started, but habits keep you going.”

                Keep going.

                Advertising

                More Resources to Help You Build Habits

                Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

                Reference

                [1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites paradox
                [2] Muscle Zone: What causes yo-yo effect and how to avoid it?
                [3] Growth Habits: 5 Missteps That Cause You To Quit Building A Habit
                [4] Primoz Bozic: The Lean Review: How to Plan Your 2019 in 20 Minutes

                Read Next