My 5 Favorite Apps for Productivity

My face flushes as my hand searches within my purse. Both the search and my heart beat become a little more frantic as seconds pass. Aside from nine bobby pins and a lipstick I was afraid I'd never see again, my search is fruitless.

My phone is gone forever.

Or. It's still charging on the kitchen counter because I grabbed for the mug of coffee instead of my phone. That scenario happens more often than I'd care to admit.

It's certainly not exciting, but it is embarrassing how worked up I can get when I can't find my phone immediately. For better or worse, this fun-sized piece of technology is an extension of me. (Holler if you hear me!) In addition to helping me keep in touch with the VIPs in my life, it helps to keep me on task and stay organized- thanks to a handful of apps I've downloaded and purchased.

There was a period where I downloaded several productivity apps a week thinking they would be a salve to my ever-growing to-do list. After some trial and error figuring out the apps that increased productivity- and which apps hindered productivity- I've learned a few things. Specifically, when it comes to getting stuff done, you are your own fairy godmother. There are no apps that will do the work for you.

Ugh. I know.

Over time, I've found that there are a handful of apps that do help me keep track of events and to-do's, and basically make my life easier. Without further ado, and in no particular order, I present my favorite productivity apps.

My 5 Favorite Productivity Apps

  •  Fantastical 2: I'm still mourning Sunrise and it took a while to find a calendar app that I liked using as much as I enjoyed Sunrise. Fantastical 2 is intuitive, easy to read and has a clean display. I love that it integrates Reminders and Gmail, two of my most used apps**, and that I can enter tasks or events using their parser feature. For example, I can type "Bike ride with the ladies at 6 pm" and it will schedule my bike ride for 6 pm. Fantastical 2 isn't free, but it is currently 40% at the app store.
  • Trello: Trello helps keep track of the various projects you're working on, and allows you to assign to-do's, make notes, and keep your projects organized. Trello is my online project manager and the app is free- yippee!
  • CapMetro: I'm a big fan of public transportation and am happy that Capital Metro released their app. The app is free and helps you with trip planning, shows you the bus routes and allows you to buy tickets. There's definitely room for improvement, but it does the heavy lifting of figuring out how I'm getting somewhere so I can focus on my work... and not have to mess with traffic.
  • TripIt: When I'm not traveling, this app admittedly gathers dust. But when I'm planning a vacation- whether it's an overnight stay at a B&B or an international adventure- TripIt helps me keep track of the Where & When's of travel. I just forward any confirmation e-mails I receive to my individual TripIt account and it populates my travel. It's free and there's the option to upgrade to a paid account- probably a great idea if you travel a lot for work or pleasure.
  • OverDrive: Oh how I love OverDrive! OverDrive lets you borrow audio books and e-books from your local library. Don't have a library card? Get thee to a library and get one! Then download OverDrive. It's free and you can read the e-books via the app or stream audio books either by downloading them or listening through the app. OverDrive lets me listen to books on my commute- making them more productive and making me a happier woman.

If you've (unsuccessfully) tried several productivity apps- or looked into them and walked away overwhelmed- Mike Vardy has some great tips for figuring out what you need in an app on his blog. He does great work, so even if apps aren't your thing I recommend you still check out his site.

Okay, now it's your turn. Are there any apps out there that I need in my life?

**You may be wondering why I didn't include the Reminders and Gmail apps in this list. I figured you know all about them and I wanted to tell you more about productivity apps you may not have considered. If you weren't wondering, thanks for reading all the way 'till the end!