Disclaimer: This page does not contain affiliate links. I only recommend tools that I trust and have personal experience with.
Back in the good old days, when I became obsessed with productivity, I tried out every single productivity app I could get my hands on. It was Christmas morning every single day.
After trying out countless tools, however, I realized that sometimes less is more.
I’m a believer that the three musketeers (a task management tool, a note-taking app, and a mind mapping tool) will serve as a foundation for your productivity.
The rest is a bonus. That’s why you won’t find here habit tracking apps or journaling apps, among others. I use Google Sheets for tracking my habits and Evernote for journaling (more about these tools below).
Task Management Tools
- Nozbe: My all-time favorite task manager. Ideal for personal productivity and implementing the GTD method.
- Nozbe Teams: Nozbe Teams is a completely new product aiming to help small businesses and teams focus on performing efficiently.
- Asana: My second favorite task manager. But Asana is much more than that: it’s a work management platform and an online collaboration tool. The free version has everything you need to stay focused and organized.
- Todoist: A versatile task manager. I’d put Todoist somewhere between Nozbe and Asana both in terms of look and functionality.
- How to Be a Productive Powerhouse Using Nozbe: Nozbe tips, tricks, and tutorials
- Evernote: There’s life before and after having Evernote. It’s a cross-platform note-taking tool with a powerful web clipper. I use it every day to stay organized across all life domains.
- Notion: Notion is much more than a simple note-taking tool. It was born with the mission to provide a solution for those who are tired of using too many tools. It provides a single workspace for your life.
- 27 + 1 Good Reason Why I Can’t Quit Evernote
- Is It Time to Leave Your Old Elephant? – Evernote vs. Notion
Mind Mapping Tools
Mind mapping boosts creativity and problem-solving. I use mind mapping for brainstorming, project management, decision-making, blogging, creating workflow diagrams, and more.
If you’re new to mind mapping, read this guide first.
- iThoughts: A powerful mind mapping tool for Windows, Mac, iPad, and iPhone. After trying out a dozen of mind mapping tools, I settled with iThoughts. I love the look and the smooth experience. Portable version included. Nice price combined with perfect customer service.
- XMind: My second favorite mind mapping tool. Includes a portable version.
- MindMeister: The most popular online mind mapping tool. No download. It’s a completely web-based app—you can access your mind maps from your web browser.
- PhraseExpress: It’s a multiplatform text expander and autotext software. You can speed up your typing across all your apps by using predefined snippets. But PhraseExpress is much more than a simple text expander. It’s a powerful automation tool to execute applications, open webpages and folders, and create emails, all with personalized keyboard shortcuts. Portable version included. One-time purchase.
- TextExpander: Perhaps the best-known multiplatform text expander tool. Unfortunately, it lacks a portable version. Yearly and monthly pricing plans.
- Grammarly: A free online writing assistant to guide your writing (grammar, spelling, and style). It has a Chrome extension, a native desktop app, and an online version as well. The free version is more than enough to get started.
- TextExpander vs PhraseExpress: Which is the Best Time-Saver in 2020?
- Why I Refused to Type My Name Anymore: The Power of AutoText
- 1Password: My favorite password manager that generates, organizes, and remembers all your passwords. And most importantly, it keeps them safe and encrypts your data. You only have to remember a master password, which will unlock your individual passwords. But 1Password is much more than a simple password manager. You can use it to store sensitive information like your social security number, passport, or credit card numbers.
- Ditto: A light-weight clipboard manager for Windows, which allows you to quickly access your clipboard history. You can set up a customized shortcut to access your previous copy entries. Portable version available.
- RescueTime: A cross-platform time tracking tool that will show you how you spend your time. Automatically tracks your time spent on sites and in apps, and then delivers a personalized productivity report.
- MS OneDrive: Perfect cloud service to store your documents and photos. It’s a very good alternative to Google Drive and Apple’s iCloud. If you’re using Microsoft Office, OneDrive is the best solution in terms of pricing.
- Google Calendar: I used to keep my professional appointments in Outlook and my personal appointments in Google Calendar. But it doesn’t make sense to maintain two systems. So, I settled with Google Calendar, which syncs well with Nozbe and many other tools.
- Canva: A web-based design tool. It’s much easier to use than a photo editor and offers countless templates for creating white papers, social media posts, posters, and much more. The free version is more than enough to get started.
- ImageOptim: A free app for Mac to compress your images without losing quality. It can remove private EXIF metadata from your images.
- Workflow: Automation tool for iOS that allows you to make some really good time-saving tricks on your iPhone and iPad.