Top 5 must-have personal productivity apps for 2021

laptop with coffee

I’m fairly certain that the phrase ‘be more productive’ will pop up on most New Year’s resolution lists in 2021. After such a challenging year, almost all of us could use a productivity boost. When it comes to productivity, though, much like everything else these days, there is always a more efficient, technology-enabled way to get things done.

Top mobile app development companies recognize this, which is why we’ve seen a significant surge in the number of productivity apps lately. I’m not sure how you feel about these apps. Maybe you think they are great, or perhaps you never even tried one. But having used some of these apps myself, I can confirm that when used right, they do have an impact. Whether you are trying to develop a new habit, or hoping to get more organized with your workflow, having a bit of extra help can always go a long way.

So I’ve compiled a list of 5 must-have productive apps for the coming year. I believe this is a general list that will benefit everyone (students, working professionals, and anyone in between). I’ve focused on areas like organization, habit building, and scheduling, to name a few. So I hope everyone can find something worth their time here. Let me know which of these do you find most helpful.

1.   Trello

Trello is a workflow management and organization tool that allows team members to collaborate on complex projects. Trello shines when it comes to distributing workflow and tracking progress across a team as well as managing workload in real-time. A typical Trello board consists of ‘lists’ made from ‘cards.’ This is where the fun begins because these cards could literally be anything depending on your creativity and needs. You could break down tasks into simpler ones, note down and explain ideas, explore certain concepts and workflows, or do just about anything. Every card allows for a diverse and detailed explanation, which is what makes Trello so flexible. Sometimes though, Trello’s functionality can even be a downside since new users can find it difficult to figure out the best way to use it.

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Price: Free version available, $9.99/month, $17.50/month

Availability: IOS, Android, windows, web.

2.   Todoist

As the name goes, Todoist is best known as a ‘to-do list’ app. The most popular one among available options, Todoist, allows a simple yet effective way to keep track of one’s tasks. It also doubles as a task manager. The basic version is free, and the premium and business plans allow some great features like setting up task reminders and adding more members to the project. They also offer special discounts for eligible students and nonprofits. It’s simple and easy to use; just add tasks (or sub-tasks) and check them off as they get done. With features like labels, scheduling, filters, and priority setting, Todoist offers a wide variety of depth and planning when it comes to breaking down your goal into achievable tasks. However, the free version is said to be slightly limited.

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Source: Todoist

Price: Free version available, $3/month, $5/month

Availability: IOS, Android, windows, web.

Trello and Todoist are mainly geared towards effective team coordination and group productivity while the remaining entries on the list mainly (but not exclusively) focus on the personal side of productivity. The best productivity apps allow you to find  an effective balance between the two, improving both aspects of your life.

3.   Google Calendar

This was a hard pick, given all the great options available. However, Google Calendar wins for me because of how easy to use and compatible it is. Sharing your calendar with others and seamless integration with Gmail and other Google apps are great features that cannot be overlooked. They allow teams to schedule and manage better, boosting efficiency and saving time. Google calendar comes packed with multiple solid features as well, like adding to-do lists (google tasks), world clocks, etc. On top of that, you can always connect and sync multiple third-party apps and services like Todoist, Trello, and even other calendars! This flexibility makes Google Calendar much more functional than your regular calendar app since you can have all your data synced in one place. Besides, it’s a Google product, so you are almost guaranteed to get longer support and great functionality.

Price: Free, Standard Google Workspace pricing

Availability: IOS, Android, web.

4.   Evernote

Evernote is perhaps the note-taking app you can get your hands on. Anyone who has to deal with a ton of data, be it for work or school, knows how challenging note-taking can be. Evernote addresses this by allowing you to take up notes in the form of images, texts, voice notes, etc., and lets you organize them into easily accessible notebooks. The search feature is really robust, and Evernote enables you to sync your notes across all your devices, allowing for a much more flexible workflow. The free version doesn’t let you do much, though. It only allows you to sync across two devices, and file upload space is capped at 60MB/month. The Premium and Business versions come with fantastic advanced features like offline notes for mobile devices, PDF annotations, scanning business cards, etc. Scanning and extracting texts from images is another handy feature, especially for students who even get a 50% discount on premium plans. Evernote goes way beyond just being a ‘sticky note’ app and offers a wide range of features and great flexibility.

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Source: Evernote

Price: Free version available, $7.99/month for Premium.

Availability: IOS, Android, windows, web.

 5.   Habitify

A lot about being productive comes down to getting rid of our old lazy habits and building new active ones. And even beyond productivity, good habits go a long way when it comes to improving the quality of our life. So, how about trying a habit-building app this upcoming year? Habitify is an advanced habit tracker that lets you keep track of your habit-building progress. With Habitify, you can add tasks in the form of a list and check them off as they get done. There is an argument to be made that simply setting up for such a system can in itself be some motivation to stay on track. Habitica offers timely reminders and visual indicators of progress that help at sticking with challenging habits. It is simple and easy to use, especially for how data-oriented it is. The free version lets you track three habits simultaneously, while the paid one comes with additional features like privacy lock, notes, skipping habits, etc. It is easy to forget or lack the motivation to practice the habits you know you need to build. Having an app to help you track and stay focused on your habit-building journey accelerates your growth while minimizing distractions.

Price: Free version available, $5.99/month.

Availability: IOS, Android, web.

No matter who we are and what we do, the need to maximize productivity almost always lingers in the backdrop of any busy activity. Being human, we certainly have our limitations; we might get distracted, overwhelmed, or tired. But these should never get in the way of our ambitions or our desire to squeeze in a little more effort before the day ends.

And just the way these apps help us become better individuals, our businesses could benefit from some great productivity tools too. Ultimately, it all comes down to being able to end a day (or the year!) with the confidence that one did their best.

I’m sure this list must have inspired you to get more done in 2021, and I hope you have a productive year ahead.

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About Darren Mathew

Darren Mathew is passionate about Tech, Business, and the evolving relationship between the two. He is a content curator at GoodFirms - a leading B2B review and rating platform that lets businesses compare and choose the right service provider for their needs.

View all posts by Darren Mathew

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