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The Lifehack Big List: 50 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone

A version of this post originally appeared at

Written by Mike Vardy

Over the years here at Lifehack, we’ve discussed plenty of apps that you can use to improve your overall productivity. There are certain ones that many of our contributors and editors (past and present) have adopted over the long-term — there are always the stalwarts that stick around. But there are also new apps that crop up every day, adding more and more depth to the app category. Some of the apps are incredibly plain and simple, while others are more robust and offer more features than you can shake a stick at.

And everyone has the one they prefer.


It’s been our job (and still is our job) to keep abreast of all of the productivity-type apps out there. As a result — and as a bit of a refresher — we’ve put together what we’re calling The Lifehack Big List to publish on a semi-regular basis when we want to provide you with an all-in-one resource for you to review at your leisure.

Today, we’re starting with 50 top productivity apps for iPhone. Let’s get started…

  1. OmniFocus: This app is, while pricey, considered to be one of the (if not the) most robust and full-featured productivity apps on the market.
  2. Things: Another robust choice, this app is a favorite amongst “productivityists”.
  3. 30/30: Recently covered here at Lifehack, 30/30 is a newcomer to the game that incorporates lists and timing of tasks into an elegant and easy-to-use interface.
  4. Any.Do: A beautiful-looking app that is both easy on the eyes and your wallet.
  5. From the folks at Salesforce, this app has a great user interface and allows for collaborative task management. Lifehack’s Will Kelly recently spoke of the app’s latest features here.
  6. QuickCal Mobile: If you want a calendar app that looks and works great, you can’t go wrong with this choice. and it allows you to add events using “natural language”, which increases productivity, well…naturally.
  7. Agenda: Another calendar app, this app also has built-in messaging options that allow for easy communication when you’re running late or need to make changes to appointments.
  8. Evernote: Touted as the world’s most widely-used productivity app, Evernote an be used simply as a notetaking app or can be customized to be your GTD app of choice — among other things.
  9. Asana: We’ve covered Asana here at Lifehack, and it is being actively developed by a strong team committed to making collaborative task management a more efficient and effective experience. And while Asana’s mobile experience isn’t stellar yet…improvements are on their way.
  10. Flow: From the folks at MetaLab, Flow is a gorgeous collaborative task management app that is easy-to-use and incredibly functional.
  11. Evernote Hello: A companion app (of sorts) to Evernote, this app allows you keep tabs on who you’ve come in contact with and when you did so by syncing to your Evernote account. Clever.
  12. Evernote Food: Much in the same way Evernote Hello syncs to Evernote for people you meet, Evernote Food does so for food you eat. A great way to be able to quickly remember where you had that great meal — and when you had it.
  13. Captio: A simple capture tool. Straight from the developers: “It’s simple. Open Captio and start typing. When you’re done, hit Send. The note is immediately delivered to your email inbox.”
  14. Drafts: A tremendous capture tool that allows for simple capture, followed by sending items to various applications such as OmniFocus, Things and more.
  15. Threadnote: Another entry into the “quick capture” arena, Lifehack contributor Michael Schechter has described it as  follows: “(Threadnote) mimics the functionality of Twitter, but is intended only to be used for yourself.” (You can read more of his thoughts on the app here.
  16. Calvetica Calendar: An early entry into the iOS calendar game, Calvetica Calendar is still a favorite among many users due to its power and clean look.
  17. Doodle: This app links directly with the Doodle service, which is one that allows you to plan and organize meetings far more efficiently and effectively. Lifehack contributor Steve Dotto has written about Doodle more in-depth here.
  18. Droplr: One of the most popular file-sharing apps out there today. Straight from the source: “Stay productive on the go. Droplr for iPhone keeps you in sync and makes sharing on the iPhone natural.”
  19. AwayFind: Rather than use as your email app notifier, give AwayFind a go. You can have it notify you (a la Notification Center) and it will make sure that only the emails you want to have access to right away are the ones you have access to right away.
  20. LogMeIn: Want to be able to control your Mac from wherever you are? Then get this app.
  21. 1Password: There is simply no better password manager out there. I’ve even put together a 1Password Emergency Kit worth looking at here.
  22. TextExpander Touch: I have saved countless hours of time with TextExpander, and despite its inability to be as robust on iOS as it is on the Mac, it is still a worthy app to have in your arsenal.
  23. Dropbox: Before iCloud, there was Dropbox. And there still is Dropbox, which is still widely used by both Mac and PC users all over the globe. It’s like having a flash drive in your iPhone. A must-have.
  24. iDolly: In conjunction with Dolly Drive and DollySync,iDolly allows you to edit and share your documents from your iPhone. And since all your changes sync automatically to all your devices, the current version of a document will always be accessible because Dolly Sync keeps everything in sync. Very handy.
  25. Launch Center Pro: A quick launcher for the iPhone that doesn’t just launch an app…with some of them it can do much more. Check out Lifehack contributor Michael Schechter’s setup for OmniFocus as well ashis setup for emailing using Launch Center Pro.
  26. Dialvetica Contacts: From the makers of the aforementioned Calvetica Calendar, this app makes dialling people up on your iPhone quicker. Much quicker.
  27. Buzz Contacts: From the makers of Agenda, this app “is an iPhone dialer, texting & group text messaging app, and contacts app all in one.” (And the developer is right: it did wind up replacing the standard Contacts app in my Dock.)
  28. Clear: A fun and innovative list-making app that relies on swiping and pinching to make things happen. Clear created a lot of buzz when it launched, and might be the perfect to-do list gateway app for many.
  29. Due: A robust reminders app that lets you store and maintain reminders of all types. It’s replaced Reminders for me when it comes to the basics, and it’s worth a look if you want to keep the mundane stuff out of your head and cluttering your mind.
  30. Steps: This app seems to be similar to Clear in a lot of ways visually — and was overlooked when it arrived on the scene as a result. Steps doesn’t rely as heavily on gestures to operate, syncs with iCloud, and allows for due dates and times. Definitely worth a look.
  31. Checkmark: I use this app for location-based reminders (such as groceries I need to get or single items I need to pick up from various locations). Checkmark is simple to use and a valuable addition to my productivity arsenal.
  32. Free-Time: Want to know how much time you have free on a given day? Free-Time looks at your calendar and does the math for you. Handy if you focus on time management but don’t necessarily count the hours involved.
  33. bloom*: bloom* keeps you grounded. Sure, it can remind you to take a drink of water or tell a loved one how you feel, but bloom* is more of a “centering” appin that you can use it as an escape from the “to do list” and get in touch with your “to be” list.
  34. Nirvana: for the GTD enthusiasts, there’s Nirvana. Straight from the source: “Nirvana frees your mind to focus on actually getting things done. If you’ve had enough of generic to-do lists, it’s time for Nirvana.”
  35. GoodReader: This may seem to be an odd one to make this list, but Lifehack Associate Editor CM Smith will give you plenty of reasons why it is here with this article.
  36. Priorities: An elegant-looking task management app that has received decent reviews, this could be the one for you if you’re not a fan of OmniFocus or Things — especially if you need (or want) to share tasks with others.
  37. Orchestra To-Do: With Orchestra To Do, you can enter tasks, share them with others and even record audio. It’s not as feature-rich as other options out there, but the price (free) is right. (And they’re up to something over there called Mailbox — get the scoop on that over here.)
  38. Astrid: Touted as “the personal assistant you’ve always wanted”, Astrid has been making waves in productivity circles — especially as of late. In fact, Astrid was voted the Most Popular To-Do List App by Lifehacker in a recent reader poll.
  39. Day One: When it comes to journaling, nothing really beats Day One. Its latest update added a slew of features that will make you want to start making journaling a habit.
  40. Streaks: This app follows the model of the popular “don’t break the chain method” in that you use the app to track how you are donig in the pursuit of your goal. Great for goal-setting — and an easy and elegant interface to boot.
  41. Remember The Milk: Another popular to-do list app,Remember The Milk has a huge following. It has plenty to offer, including the ability to share tasks with others.
  42. Soulver: It may seem odd that a calculator app shows up on this list, but this is no ordinary calendar app. Ben Brooks over at The Brooks review describes Soulver as follows: “It is what calculators would have been if they were invented at the same time computers were, instead of what we have with most calculator apps.” (Read the rest of Ben’s thoughts on Soulver here.
  43. Teux Deux: Created by Tina Roth Eisenberg and Fictive Kin — Teux Deux is simple and incredibly stellar in terms of design. If you like lists (including the popular “Someday Bucket”) and want to associate dates with tasks, then Teux Deux will be right up your alley.
  44. Wunderlist: Another incredibly popular choice isWunderlist. Part of 6Wunderkinder’s software family, it sports a gorgeous design and is incredibly functional. We’ve talked about the app a couple of times here at Lifehack, so check those posts out here.
  45. RE.minder: This reminder-style app is a popular one as well — and it works offline, which is a bonus.
  46. Toodledo: This is one of CM smith’s favorites. Says Smith, “I’ve personally used Toodledo on-and-off for almost 3 years now and I still think that it is one of the best apps for getting things done.” You can read more about his thoughts on the app (when it was part of our 12 Days of Giveaways Holiday Promotion from 2011) here.
  47. Pop for iOS: This app is one of the simplest out there — and that’s by design. The idea is to simply treat Pop for iOS as a piece of paper, capture your thoughts and deal with them later. It is very quick and easy to use. While it may not be the backbone app of your productivity workflow, it very well can act as a starting point.
  48. Producteev: This app has been out for some time and is a favorite for those who want to be able to share tasks with others. We’ve even offered it up as one ofthe alternatives to the ever-popular OmniFocus.
  49. Cheddar: This app is fast as well, and it has Markdown support (which is nice for those who would rather write in Markdown as much as possible). It looks good and is getting better all the time as it is under active development.
  50. ToDoist: We’ve looked at this app recently, and it is another great option if you haven’t invested too heavily in another app yet.

There are plenty of other options out there (and we’ve heard from readers in the past as to what they enjoyed using), but these 50 are among the best. If you’ve got suggestions of some that were missed — or perhaps you want to tell us which one you currently use — let us know in the comments below.

(Photo credit: Happy Businesswoman Using Smartphone via Shutterstock)

10 Infographics To Make You More Productive

Originally appeared on Visually

Productivity is a hot topic. Everyone wants to be more productive. Getting more done in less time is attractive, but how to do it isn’t always obvious. Here are 10 infographics about productivity to browse — while, of course, you should be working.

  1. A Productive Day is what we’re all after, and how you schedule your day helps control that.
    A Productive Day
    by HealthCentral.
    Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

  2. What you eat during the day can have a big impact on your productivity. Boost Your Productivity shows a few different foods that you can eat to help dodge those food comas.
    Boost your Productivity
    Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

  3. If you do end up in a food coma, a nap can work wonders. How to Nap Effectively shows some of the best practices for napping.
    How to Nap Effectively
    by smithapat
    Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

  4. How To Take The Perfect Nap also shows some nap hacks to make your nap the most effective.
    How To Take The Perfect Nap
    Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

  5. Instead of a full nap, sometimes other breaks can help improve your focus and performance at work, too. Here’s How to Make Rest Work for Work.
    How to Stay Motivated at Work: The Science of Productive Breaks
    Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

  6. Naps and breaks aren’t the only way to boost your productivity. It’s likely that you waste a lot of time on other things at work. The Biggest Workplace Time Wasters looks at what those are.
    Biggest Workplace Time Wasters
    Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

  7. Did you ever wonder how much time you spend on Facebook?
    Ever wonder how much time you spend on Facebook?
    Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

  8. One of the best ways to beat Facebook and other social networks is just to focus. That can be hard, but How to Focus has a few tips.
    How to Focus: Hacks
    by annavital
    Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

  9. One of the best things that can help you focus being engaged and inspired by what you do.
    Work Engaged, Work Inspired
    by JESS3
    Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

  10. One thing that can hurt your productivity in the long run is overworking. It is important to make sure you balance your work and life so you can live and work sustainably. Burning out in a year isn’t helping anyone.
    Round and About Productivity: Work-Life Balance Realities, Threats and Motivators
    Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

Now, get back to work!

5 Ways to Increase the Workflow and Productivity of Your Team


flat design concept of business management

This is a guest post by Joseph Kelly. 

Increasing productivity in the workplace is not an easy undertaking. To boost your external analytics, such as traffic numbers, leads and exposure, first focus on the internal metrics of your marketing team. A Gallup survey found that 50 million American workers are not engaged or inspired at work. Chances are, you have a few of these individuals in your office right now.

If your marketing team seems unmotivated or lacks a fluid workflow, consider different factors that might be causing the dip, such as workplace environment and management techniques. Injecting a healthy dose of motivation could lead to more innovative ideas, a higher content yield and, ultimately, a better bottom line.

1. Set realistic goals

As a creative team leader make sure you’re setting realistic, concrete goals for your employees. You’ll create accountability by assigning individuals specific tasks they must get done during a certain time frame. You want these goals to be clear and appropriate for the talent an employee possesses. For example, if Jane is great at creating email campaigns, delegate milestones pertaining to that skill. To avoid monotony, change up these goals when feasible and invite your employees to share what they would like to work toward.

2. Encourage teamwork

If you’ve ever heard the phrase “two heads are better than one,” then you understand how important teamwork can be for productivity. There are many apps that can help you manage teams, especially on a Windows or Android phone. Ask your employees to download these team-building apps on their smartphones, or perhaps supply your marketing team with smartphones especially for work; the change in medium of communication, and the ease through which work can be completed, is sure to increase excitement and productivity. One app, called Asana, helps marketers manage teams by presenting conversations side-by-side next to projects, so your team doesn’t have to plow through scattered emails.

3. Create an inspiring office space

Make your office an enjoyable place to be. After all, your team is there for 8 hours, Monday through Friday. Design an office layout that makes communicating easy to further encourage teamwork. Including inspiration can mean anything from putting up beautiful artwork on blank walls or adding alternative seating (bean bags, futons, standing stations). If feasible, think about offering perks too, like free snacks and the occasional telecommuting reward to improve workplace morale.

4. Provide the necessary tools

Many employers forget to provide the necessary tools for employee success. Improve workplace productivity by providing more than just a desk and an outdated PC. High-speed Internet, the latest mobile technology and cloud storage will streamline workflow. To organize these workflows, software tools like Workflowmax can help with timesheets, job tracking and project management.

5. Continue training and education

Great employers understand the value of education. Help your employees continue theirs by offering in-house training or investing in college courses. Closing America’s Job Gap lists the pros of employees’ academic endeavors, including more innovation, higher employee retention and increased productivity.

About the Author:

Joseph Kelly is a small business consultant and freelance writer from California. He is married with two boys.

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