10 More Apps to Boost Your Productivity

10 More Apps to Boost Your Productivity


– So last week, I created a video that listed the best
productivity app in my opinion in each of 10 different categories. And my original cut of that video actually had a second feature. In each of those categories, I was gonna give you a
secondary recommendation to kind of compliment that first one, but there was a problem. With those secondary recommendations, that video ended up being 26 minutes long, which we thought was just a bit
too long for an app roundup. So what I’m gonna do in this video is give you those
secondary recommendations. A lot of people were asking
for them in the comments and I think a lot of them
do deserve to be mentioned. Now, these secondary
recommendations aren’t all the same. Some of them I think are legitimately the second best overall
app in that category, only kind of coming up short
to my main recommendation. Some of them are apps that I
don’t think are for everyone, but that I use personally and I just wanna mention those as well. And then, finally, some of the
apps I’m gonna mention here are just apps that are cool. I think they deserve a mention. So let’s get into it, starting, of course, with the to do list category. Now in my original video, I recommended an app called Todoist, which I personally use every single day, and the app that I
wanna share with you now is called TickTick, which
is very, very similar. In fact, for some people, TickTick is gonna be a
lot more full-featured and is gonna be the one they wanna go for. TickTick includes a
built-in calendar view, which Todoist does not have, and it also builds in a Pomodoro
timer and a pretty basic, but still nicely
functional, habit tracker. So if you’re someone who
wants to have your calendar, your habit tracker, your Pomodoro timer, and all of your to dos in one place, then TickTick is probably
gonna be the app for you. That brings us to the calendar category and this one’s gonna be
a little bit different because my overall
recommendation, Google Calendar, is definitely gonna be the
play for most people here, but I want to give a shout out to a relatively new app called Woven. And Woven actually integrates
with Google Calendar and kind of lives on top of it and it would be a nice upgrade for people who find themselves
going to a lot of meetings and, hence, scheduling a lot of meetings. Google Calendar itself doesn’t
have a whole lot of features for easily scheduling meetings and a lot of people who use it find themselves building
these crazy long email chains, going back and forth, trying to find times and
places that work for them and the other people who
they have to meet with. Now Woven tries to
essentially solve this problem by offering a few different features. Number one, there is a polling feature, which allows people to pick the times and dates that work for them and it will kind of match everyone up and show the best possible time. There’s also the ability
to have open calendar slots on your calendar, where people can just pencil
themselves into your schedule. And lastly, there are meeting templates, or I guess event templates, where if you have a lot
of lunch meetings, say, you can have a template set up that has an already-set location, maybe an already-set
time, maybe some details. That way you don’t have
to spend a bunch of time putting information into an event. You can just create it automatically. All right, let’s talk
about project management. Now in my last video, I kinda
cheated on this category and did mention two different apps because I really like ClickUp
but I had to mention Notion, since it is the project management app that I use every single day. So in this one, you’re getting kind of
a third recommendation for project management and
that is going to be Trello. Now Trello is the project management app that I used before I learned about Notion and I used it for a really long time, ever since college actually. And with Trello, I was able to work with my
business partner, Martin, to build the last two
major design iterations of the College Info Geek website. And that’s because Trello uses a project management philosophy in its design called Kanban. And in Kanban, you essentially
have a bunch of lists that indicate different
statuses of your project, like to do, doing, on hold, and done, and then you create cards
for every individual task or facet of a project and you can move them between the lists to show at a glance what their status is. And using this Kanban structure
made it really easy for us to keep track of every little
piece of these projects, which were huge and had, at some times, hundreds of different pieces. Now one thing that I do
want to note about Trello is that, at least for my purposes, I have found that Notion
essentially replaces all of Trello’s functionality, with the exception of being able to easily assign people to cards, assign multiple people to singular cards, and then give people a
centralized dashboard where they can see all the
cards they are assigned to across multiple different boards and to let them sort
those cards by due date. Notion cannot do that so if
you need that functionality, Trello’s definitely a
better solution than Notion. All right, that brings us to
apps that let you take notes and in my original video,
I talked about Evernote, which is the app I’ve been using for nearly a decade at this
point because I am ancient. But the other app that I want
to recommend in this video is one that is, I would say, nearly neck and neck with Evernote when it comes to features
and overall capability and that is Microsoft’s OneNote. Just like with Evernote, you can get all kinds of
information into OneNote, audio files, pictures. You can actually embed videos into OneNote and that’s something
that Evernote can’t do. So hey, Evernote team, if
you’re watching this video, can we get a video embed
feature at some point? That’d be great. But one thing that I personally
don’t like about OneNote is the way that it organizes information. You can’t automatically
sort different notebooks, or I guess tabs of
notebooks, by date modified, date created, alphabetically. You can only drag them
and sort them manually, so I kind of like the way that Evernote gives me these sorting tools. That being said, OneNote is free so if Evernote’s not your cup
of tea, then OneNote might be. Okay, so let’s talk for a bit
about serious writing apps. For those of you who
need to do book writing or really, really longform articles, what app should you use? Well, when it comes to comparisons online, everyone who seems to
be into serious writing or book writing loves
to compare Scrivener, which was my top recommendation
in the last video, to an app called Ulysses. The only problem with Ulysses, which I happen to love, by the way, is that it is Mac and iOS-exclusive and because of that, I’m
not gonna feature it here. Instead, I’m gonna feature
another app that’s a lot simpler but still really, really
good called Typora. Now I’ve talked in my
note taking apps video about apps that have a, what I
call, hybrid markdown system, where instead of writing in plain text and then seeing a preview
window of all your formatting, instead your text gets
automatically formatted as you write when using markdown syntax, such as putting two asterisks
on either side of a word to bold it. I love the fact that I can just easily put
in these formatting commands and have my text be
formatted and allow me to see how it’s actually going
to look as I write. Now there are a lot of apps that do this, including iA Writer and Byword, but why I love Typora over those apps is that you get this nice sidebar with all of your different documents. So you get a little bit
of the functionality you get in an app like Evernote, not quite as much, but some of it, but you also get that beautiful hybrid markdown system as well. All right, so we are now
over to habit trackers and like I said in my original video, my favorite habit tracker is Habitica, but a lot of people find Habitica to be a little bit too much. They’re not super into the
video game-y elements of it and, well, I really can’t blame them. It’s not for everyone. And, luckily, there are a
lot of other apps out there that can fit the bill if
Habitica isn’t your cup of tea. The one that I want to feature
here is called Habitify. Out of all the habit trackers
that I’ve tested in the past, and I have tested a lot, I found Habitify to have the most pleasing
visual design and UI. And in addition, it has
some really cool features, such as the ability to see your streaks and to see the time of day that you typically
check in for each habit. And being able to see that data
can actually be very useful because you might be able to make tweaks to your daily routines or the
times at which you do things based on when you find yourself
doing things in the past. Now, time tracking is another category where I kind of, sort of
cheated in my original video because I did have two
different recommendations, so those are recommendations
for active time tracking and passive time tracking. So my next recommendation
for time tracking is going to sit squarely
in that active category and it’s kind of an odd one. It’s called Timeular and it
actually has a physical device that goes along with the app. So this is something that
I’ve been meaning to test and I’m gonna do a full
review on it at some point. But I gave it to my friend
Martin to use for a few weeks and he said that he
actually liked this better than other time tracking solutions and I’ve seen the same opinions from other people online that I follow. So, essentially, Timeular is an app that pairs with this little diamond-shaped plastic device here and on the diamond, you can actually write
different tasks on each face. And then when you have
the diamond on the desk with a flat side on the desk, whatever face is facing up is going to be tracked
actively in the app. And then when you want to stop tracking, you can either switch to something else or you could put it in its holder and it’ll just stand up like this. This gives you an actual physical device for tracking your time and a lot of people
seem to like that better than having to remember to
go into a specific window or website to start and
stop their time tracking. So if that’s something that
seems interesting to you, you might want to check this out. And that brings us to email. Like I said in the last video, Gmail is my main
recommendation for most people but I actually do not use Gmail, so I’m gonna tell you what the app that I use for email these days. It’s called Front and the
main benefit of this app is that it allows you to work
with a team on your emails. In Front, you can create shared inboxes. You can have multiple
email addresses come in to these shared inboxes. You can actually have other sources, like social media
accounts, come in as well, but I mainly just use email. And then you can have team members answer your emails for
you or assign them to you. So the way that I use Front is essentially I have a shared email inbox for my [email protected]
email address and my assistant goes through and answers most of those emails. Now if she has a question, there’s actually a
comment area at the bottom of every email thread where she can tag me and ask how she should
process it or get some details or ask any other questions
that she might have. And then I can respond and over time, she gets better and better at answering different types of emails. And if there’s something
that I do have to answer, then she can simply assign it to me and I see it in my own personal inbox. There’re also lots of
rules and integrations and automations that
you can do with Front. But I do have to say, Front is not cheap, I think we pay $60 a month for it, so you really have to get
to a point in your business where it really makes sense for team members to be answering emails, instead of just one person. But if that’s you, Front
can be really, really nice. Speaking of teams, we
are now over to team chat and in the last video,
I talked about Slack. Today I’m going to feature an app that is sort of the antithesis to Slack, or an answer to some of
the problems with Slack, and that’s an app called Twist. And Twist was actually made
by the people who make Todoist and they developed this app as kind of a response to
Slack’s realtime chat nature. They felt, as many people do, that the whole realtime
chat nature of Slack makes people kind of feel
like they’re missing out and it can also make really
important information get buried in threads of kind
of just inane conversation. So instead of just having channels with a realtime chat
happening within each channel, Twist has threads. And I will say, Slack
does have threads as well, but, again, those threads get buried. It’s not very easy to find them. With Twist, it’s a lot calmer. There are channels but then the default mode of communication within every channel is a thread. And that brings us to our
final category on this list, which is cloud sync, that category of apps that keeps your files
synced and up-to-date across all of your devices, which I think is a really,
really useful thing to have. Now, I could recommend one of the mainstream
competitors to Google Drive, which was my main recommendation
in that previous video, like Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, iCloud, but I want to feature different instead. I want to point your attention to something called Syncthing. Now Syncthing is unique in this space because it doesn’t
actually sync your files to a third-party server. It’s simply an app that runs on each of
your different computers and keeps your files
synced on those computers and those computers alone. So if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t want to be
uploading your files to a third-party company’s server, you just want to keep
your stuff on your devices and your devices alone, then Syncthing might be
something to look into. And to boot, it is open source. Now there is one final app
that I do want to mention here, even though it is not
strictly a productivity app, but it is an app that
I’ve been using for years and it has definitely helped
me to expand my horizons and to keep learning on a daily
basis and that is Audible. Audible is the best place in the world to get your hands on audiobooks, which I listen to almost every single day. And Audible, again, is
the best place to get them because they have an unmatched library with all the best sellers,
tons of obscure titles, and basically anything you’re gonna want. If you want biographies, they’ve got it. If you want sci-fi titles, they’ve got it. And if you want my
recommendation for this month, which is Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies In A Silicon Valley Startup,
they have that as well. And I’m recommending this audiobook because it’s just probably the audiobook that I enjoyed listening to
the most in recent months. This is the story of Theranos, which was a startup in Silicon Valley that had a lot of controversy and fraud and tons of allegations
brought up against it. And I just found the
audiobook absolutely riveting. And it also spawned a bunch of other ones that I wanted to listen to as well. And the best part is that
you can start listening to this audiobook, or any other
audiobook of your choosing, by going over to audible.com/thomas or by texting Thomas to
500-500 on your phone. Doing that is gonna get
you a free 30-day trial of Audible service that comes with one
free audiobook download from their entire library, you can choose whatever you want, and it also gets you two Audible originals that you cannot get anywhere else. Then once you’re a member,
you get a credit each month for one new audiobook from that library, plus two more Audible
originals each and every month and access to a huge library of workout and meditation programs. Plus if you decide to quit at any time, you get to keep your library
of audiobooks forever. They never go away. So once again, to get that
free 30-day trial of Audible, one free audiobook
download of your choosing and two Audible originals that
you can’t get anywhere else, go over to audible.com/thomas or text Thomas to 500-500 on your phone. Big thanks, as always, to
Audible for sponsoring this video and being a big supporter of my channel and thank you as well for watching. If you enjoyed this video,
get subscribed right there, hit that like button, and
also click right there to get a free copy of my book
on how to earn better grades, if you haven’t done so already. Last but not least, you can find a couple more
videos on this channel right here and right here and I will see you in the next one.

53 thoughts on “10 More Apps to Boost Your Productivity

  1. So these are the alternatives that I originally had in my "10 Best Productivity Apps" video from a couple weeks ago. I had to cut them from that video for time, but a lot of you still wanted to know what they were – so here you go! Hopefully you find something useful here πŸ™‚

    Also, I'm honestly surprised at how well the Notion video did given how advanced it was. What other apps would you like me to cover in-depth?

  2. 2:09 what kind of wizardry goes on in the college info geek secret basement that would require hooded robes?

    Conjuring productivity spirits again, Thomas?

  3. I love Trello for the KANBAN board as it’s a very simple way to visualize progress. I use it all the time on my content creation process! Thanks for this great video Tom!

  4. Been using Tick Tick for a while now since my Best friend recommended it to me. I just love how it has almost everything I need in one package.

    Edit : it's amazing! I use apps from this list but didn't from the last list, and I'm kinda happy to know you consider them equally functional. It's reassuring for some reasonπŸ˜›πŸ˜›

  5. Awesome, David! Another FIRE video!! I have a channel on travel and lifestyle design, and I swear it's your tips/hacks that took it from 0 to 10K in a few months. Can't wait for more 😍

  6. a weak suggestion here, would you like to show the app name or logo during your each reconmendation? So when I really want to download the app I don't need to go back to see how to spell.

  7. So hey I think it would be cool if you could do a video on manageing stress of school work or maybe just being happy with what you get done each day instead of just productivity tips ! Thanks for your great content

  8. I use Notion to manage the task of my team. We have a Podcast. So as you might know already, there's a lot of task and stages. So the feature that you mentioned, in this great video, is maybe possible on Notion. I actually set up a sistem tool that allows me to assign certains task to my team mates using the relation. I used filters, and due time with a formula to keep it clear and organized. Also, I have created a View on that database of the task assigned to each member. So, I don't know if that's what you wanted, but it's something that you might want to check it out. Maybe Notion can do it after all. It's just that takes more time to set it up.

  9. I think u shld start considering #zohomails if ur want those chat and discussion part, coz they are lot cheaper n I felt they are comparitively better then Gmail

  10. I just want an app that throws random quests/chores to do.
    Doing everything on the go is boring. Especially when assignments are due within the day

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