Productivity Apps

Best Productivity Apps for 2023

Countless distractions and hindrances can make your personal and work life difficult to monitor and succeed in. Fortunately, whether you struggle to get your passion projects completed or your work started, there are many solutions to increase productivity. Some of the most useful are productivity apps.

The term “productivity app,” however, is a very broad and generalizing term. Various types of apps help users in different ways to improve productivity. Some keep track of lists, some reduce time spent writing emails, and some keep you on task. Knowing your own weak spots and what apps can improve them can make you into the most productive version of yourself.

To help you navigate the various productivity tools available, we have curated a list of the best, separated into the following categories:

  • Text expanders
  • To-do lists
  • Calendars 
  • Note-taking apps
  • Distraction blockers 
  • Habit trackers 
  • Read-it-later
  • Meeting scheduling apps
  • Office management 

This article shows you a short description of an app category and our pick for the best productivity app of each category and our runner-up. Using this list and your own intuition, assess what apps would be the best for you. 

Text Expansion Apps

Do you feel that much of your time is wasted repeatedly typing the same phrases? If you want to prioritize the work you enjoy doing instead of wasting time with annoying, repetitive phrases, a text expander might be for you.

Our pick: TextExpander

TextExpander offers the widest range of features for text expansion applications. You can use different snippets that consist of a few lines of text and transform them into whole paragraphs. Additionally, these snippets can be edited to look exactly how you want them to look. You can add certain fill-in-the-blank sections with multiple field types and sections, insert clipboard content into a snippet, and personalize a signature section with formatted text, pictures, or links. These snippets are accessible across all of your registered devices, as well.

For programmers, TextExpander can also be used to shorten long scripts that are often laborious to type out. If you work in a group, you can even share your scripts with other users in your team so that no one gets left behind. The ease of use of TextExpander is also extremely useful. The ability to shave off hours every week is so valuable for users who have so much that they want to get to.

  • Platforms supported: Chrome, macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS
  • Price: $3.33 monthly to $10.83 monthly 

To-do lists

Not everyone needs a designated app for their to-do lists, but if you are looking for a system to organize what you need to accomplish effectively, we’ve got you covered.

Our pick: Todoist

Todoist is a remarkable app designed to help you manage your tasks efficiently and seamlessly. It supports all major platforms including iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, and even web browsers, ensuring you can access your tasks wherever you are. It enables you to easily organize tasks using projects, labels, and due dates; furthermore, it includes features like prioritization, sub-tasks, and reminders that can keep you on task for even some of the more forgetful assignments. Todoist also has a natural language feature that is very intuitive to use. This feature allows you to type “go to the store Monday,” and the response reads “go to the store” on the date that you assigned. The organization capabilities of Todoist make it a great option for a to-do list app.

  • Platforms supported: Web, macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS
  • Price: Free to $6 monthly

Runner-up: TickTick

TickTick is a close runner-up because of all of the features it provides. It provides a similar level of complexity in the organization, but it includes much more. It is also available on all major platforms (iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, and web browsers). It is equipped with habit-tracking capabilities, timer capabilities, and an integration feature that allows you to allocate all of your reminders in one place. Both of these applications are great at organizing people’s lists into a well-organized and visually appealing window; however, I prefer the ability to have sub-tasks and the natural language feature.

  • Platforms supported: Web, macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS
  • Price: Free to $2.99 monthly


Calendars give you some of the most specific due dates and times in an allocated location; however, this can be overwhelming and unhelpful if the calendar is not organized effectively. With a digital calendar, the problem of disorganization can be solved.

Our pick: Google Calendar

Google Calendar has everything that you need for a calendar app. It is available online, on iOS devices, and Android devices. Organizing with color-coded events, editing with a user-friendly UI, and sharing events and calendars with others make Google Calendar the top option. Google Calendar also is integrated with other Google products. If you have a account, events can be directly inserted into your calendar from your email. Organizing events becomes far more straightforward with Google Calendar.

  • Platforms supported: Web, macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS
  • Price: Free to $12 monthly

Runner-up: Fantastical

Fantastical is a great second option if you use an iPhone or Mac. Although the app is only limited to iOS and macOS, there are countless great features. The app is very user-friendly and even adds widgets and direct notifications about deadlines and events that you would need to make. The overall design is also one of the most visually appealing. The drawbacks are that it is limited to Apple devices and its price is expensive for a personal calendar.

  • Platforms supported: Web, macOS, and iOS
  • Price: Free to $3.33 monthly

Note-taking apps

If you are a big note-taker who does not want the hassle of dealing with countless unorganized folders filled with pages that can barely be classified as “documents,” these note-taking apps might be for you.

Our pick: OneNote

OneNote has extensive selections of notebooks with numerous sections. Its ring binder feature allows subcategories of notes that are designed to keep you organized and on track. Furthermore, OneNote possesses features that allow you to extract text from images that you have in your notes. The free version of the app equips you with all you need and 5GB of storage which is more than enough for most. OneNote has the capability for personal use that is not class or work-related, but it is best equipped for more professional endeavors. Because of OneNote’s numerous features, there is no better option.

  • Platforms supported: Web, macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS
  • Price: Free to $9.99 monthly

Runner-up: Evernote

Evernote is a great alternative if you are willing to shell out a few more dollars for note-taking software. It possesses similar levels of organization to OneNote, and they both can be accessed on all major platforms. However, what sets Evernote apart from OneNote is its powerful search capabilities. Even with handwritten sections, you should be able to search for something and find it with ease. The problem with Evernote, though, is the price. OneNote’s free version equips you with more than enough capabilities and storage. Evernote, on the other hand, costs $7.99 a month for the base Premium level and $14.99 for the Business level. The similarity of prowess makes me choose OneNote over Evernote.

  • Platforms supported: Web, macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS
  • Price: Free to $14.99 monthly

Distraction blockers

If working online or around your computer distracts you or stresses you out, a distraction blocker could be a great way to enable you to stay on task and focused on your work.

Our pick: Freedom

Freedom is unique because it does not merely block websites that are on the device you are using. If you use Freedom, the app will block websites and apps–of your choice–on every device that you select. If you block Twitter on your computer, you cannot retreat to your phone to get your fix. Additionally, the blocklists that you select can be controlled and placed onto a schedule. The scheduling feature forces you to adhere to a predetermined schedule, which ensures an increase in productivity. If you are searching for better ways to stay on task during work, Freedom is worth trying.

  • Platforms supported: Chrome, macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS
  • Price: Free to $3.33 monthly

Runner-up: ActiTIME 

ActiTIME takes a different approach to minimize distractions. Instead of directly blocking websites or apps, ActiTIME uses a system that tracks what apps you are using and how often you are using them. The system then gives you a report at the end of the day to show you how long you were procrastinating or distracted. This feature allows you to pinpoint how much of your day you are losing and the exact areas you need to avoid while working. ActiTIME is also equipped with time and task management features that keep you on task. These features can be useful to discover what aspects of work are the most distracting for you, but I believe ActiTime would best be used along with Freedom. Freedom does a good job of blocking the applications that distract you, and ActiTIME can monitor what you struggle with if you misstep.

  • Platforms supported: Web, macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS
  • Price: $6 monthly

Habit Trackers 

Sometimes you cannot decipher exactly what can improve your productivity. Habit trackers can help narrow down and determine what is affecting your goals so that you can eliminate them.

Our pick: Streaks

Streaks is an iPhone app that allows you to keep track of the habits that you want to build and how often you are practicing these habits. Adding different tasks is very easy. You can add how many times a week you would like to do your goal and when you want it completed. With two easy clicks on your phone, you can open the app and mark the task as completed. Streaks can be used for work and personal goals that you want to be accomplished, and all of them can be present in the same location.

  • Platforms supported: macOS and iOS
  • Price: $4.99

Runner-up: Habitify

Habitify is an app that can be downloaded on your computer or phone. The app looks very user-friendly and uncluttered when you first open it. Once you begin to discover the app’s features, Habitify has the great capability of being able to organize your habits into categories. The sections start as “Morning,” “Afternoon,” and “Night,” but these can be changed to fit your needs. You can also list reminders and to-do lists in the app under your habits. You can even use Habitify to do social challenges with others that have the app to keep each other motivated. Altogether, Habitify is probably the better app except for one factor: the price. The price docks it down a few points in comparison to Streaks, but if you can spend a few more dollars, Habitify might be for you.

  • Platforms supported: Web, macOS, Android, and iOS
  • Price: Free to $4.99 monthly

Read-it-later apps

Reading articles for work or pleasure can be very time-consuming for the average person. Read-it-later apps allow you to have an easier time rounding up the things you intend to read and reading them faster.

Our pick: Pocket

Pocket makes articles easier to read by eliminating reading. The app turns the article that you want to read into a podcast that you can listen to at your convenience. Pocket is so useful because it allows users to engage with certain pieces of media in a more approachable way Additionally, if you desire to read them yourself or to follow along, the articles are also saved as documents. After you are done reading the articles, if you want to keep them to use later, there is a feature to archive the articles into specific, user-created sections so that they are easy to find later.

  • Platforms supported: Web, macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS
  • Price: Free to $5 monthly

Runner-up: Instapaper

Instapaper is Pocket’s less flashy, but just as reliable, cousin. Instapaper has minimal designs on the home page or user interface because Instapaper wants the highlight to be the articles. Organizing your articles and personalizing them is both easy and convenient. You can select fonts and sizes for the text in your articles, and it supports offline reading on iOS and Android devices. Instapaper also has unique speed reading and note-taking capabilities. The note-taking allows you to write down notes for highlighted sections which Pocket does not allow. Additionally, the speed-reading function shows one word at a time in quick succession to speed up your reading process so that you can read articles faster while still retaining the main ideas. While Instapaper is a great app with multiple features and capabilities, the text-to-speech options for Pocket are too good to pass up.

  • Platforms supported: Web, macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS
  • Price: Free to $2.99 monthly

Meeting scheduling apps

Scheduling meetings through emails and phone calls can get convoluted and confusing, but these meeting scheduling apps can put you and your coworkers back on track. 

Our pick: Calendly

Calendly enables you to connect your account to your calendar so that you can schedule meetings with others. The people that you share your calendar with see what times are available. Calendly is so useful because it enables something that is horrifically boring, setting up meetings, to be nearly automated for the scheduler. With the paid plan, you can even list different types of meetings that someone needs to go to. 

  • Platforms supported: Web, macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS
  • Price: Free to $16 monthly

Runner-up: Acuity Scheduling

Acuity scheduling is a great second option for companies that have a very large number of employees. It includes a system for group emails, an embedded scheduler, and video meetings with Zoom integrations. This app has many of the same capabilities as Calendly; however, some of the pricing of the features make Calendly a better choice. The mobile app can also be somewhat confusing and buggy, but it is still worth trying out because of the convenience it provides for users who exclusively use the desktop version. 

  • Platforms supported: Web, macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS
  • Price: $16 monthly to $49 monthly

Office Management

If you are a manager in search of better ways for your office to communicate and manage itself, these two apps are for you.

Our pick: Slack

Slack is an app designed for effective communication in the workplace. With Slack, a team can easily communicate through user-created and individually named channels that can include as many team members as you desire. Slack also has integration with many resources that are most likely already in your office such as Google Drive and Dropbox. It also has a  direct messaging feature that can cut down on time spent searching through emails to find the specific one to respond to. Slack makes communicating with a team of any size effective and organized.  

  • Platforms supported: Web, macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS
  • Price: $7.25 monthly to $12.50 monthly 

Runner-up: Hive

Hive is better equipped as a project manager rather than an office manager, but it still is a fantastic product that is very useful in the office. Hive’s specialties include a drag-and-drop task manager, email integration, and powerful prioritization. The ability to directly assign employees assignments through easy email integration and an in-app task manager is truly convenient and helpful for Hive’s many users.  Additionally, you can prioritize these assignments by using the due date or overall importance to a project. Hive allows for more in-app task-related capabilities, but Slack’s ease of communication is superior. Hive equips an office with effective organization and in-depth task management capabilities that can keep employees and offices on task. 

  • Platforms supported: Web, macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS
  • Price: Free to $11 monthly