I am bit obsessed in organizing things. Even if I am 25, sometimes I forget things and I hate it. I need to track all my necessities through digital and functional applications. However my daily and monthly necessities are way too many to find one perfect digital app to manage and to remember them. I am finding the solution and I may help you to find yours.
It’s very important, first of all, to categorize your necessities in order to find the right apps to manage them. More the necessities, more the applications you will need, obviously.
I personally manage several necessities for different reasons and companies:
- Studio Ziveri SRL: italian software HR development company. In this organization there are lots of meetings, customers, things to remember, deadlines and ideas to develop.
- Opera Campi: small italian clothing brand. Few meetings, but a lots of information to collect and to get inspiration for new products. Also it’s very important to track product development stages.
- Various works: I sometimes give consulting and I’m also partner of the AI company Divisible Global. These mix of works are occasional, this creates the necessity to remember to-dos and activities in the longterm.
- Private life: travelling, things to do for your home, personal inspiration. There are lots of random and different things to remember.
Introduction to the apps world for productivity
First of all, they are not productivity apps as it’s commonly written on internet, I would rather call them “organizational apps” because sometimes productivity apps could let you waste your time, but it obviously “organizational” sounds less cool than “productivity”.
To solve your everyday organization there are some kind of apps which names are:
- 📒 Note-taking apps to manage and collect information
- ✔ To-do apps to manage activities and things to do
- 📅 Calendar apps to manage events and deadlines
Let me say that, in my opinion, an “all-in-one” solution always failed. I am still waiting for the note-taking-todo-calendar app that will solve all the problems for complicated and multiple necessities, maybe there’s a candidate I will tell you later.
What I check when I evaluate a productivity app, I mostly check its:
- 📱 Portability: the app should be cross-platform because I want my data on every device I own and will own.
- ⁉️⁉️⁉️⁉️ Usability: it’s SUPER IMPORTANT. Productivity apps are those that you will open every day and often in very quick times. They must be user-friendly, easy to use. If they are usable, you will use them more and in the long term.
- 👥 Privacy: privacy is very important to me, personal information and most of all company information should be kept offline, or in a very safe app.
Usability means satisfying lots of necessities in a user-friendly way.
So let’s see my main productivity apps and how I use them. This list don’t keep in mind only free-apps. I only kept in mind the BEST apps, whether they are free or very expensive.
Notion: great for collecting, keeping and updating information
Notion is a new app made in San Francisco I personally admire a lot. They mixed some of the best applications (Evernote, Quip, Airtable) and created something more easy to use, more beautiful, quicker and more intelligent.
Notion lets you create pages and subpages and subsubpages (I love to “folderize”) of documents with modern “blocks” logic that includes classic typography (headings, paragraphs, bullet lists etc.), to-do lists, PDF embeds, images, videos etc etc.
I use notion to track product development steps for my clothing brand, to attach images, to add new inspirations for the products and to keep important general knowledge in one place.
It’s very complete and it’s my candidate for becoming a usable all-in-one productivity app. It also have complete collaboration features.
- it doesn’t support tablet sketching. So you can’t use your Apple Pencil in marking notes in Notion;
- it’s not good for daily to-do lists simply because it doesn’t support deadlines.
I also use Notion as trip planner. Read this post about it.
Raindrop: best for bookmarking
RainDrop is finally the best app to track your links, and maybe to share them with colleagues. It’s an advanced, cross-platform bookmarking app, just that’s it. If you need an advanced but easy tool to organize your links and have them on all your devices, RainDrop does that in the best way.
TickTick: the best to-do app
😫 I had a complicated life with to-do apps.
I was surely among the first users of Things, which is actually the most beautiful to-do app (but lacks of too many features), then I discovered Wunderlist which was and probably is still one of the best to-do apps, very usable and incredibly reactive. Unfortunately Wunderlist has been bought and then abandoned by Microsoft and replaced with the too-simplish Microsoft To-Do. Then I used Todoist for a short period. For most users Todoist is the best to-do app. I personally don’t like it because I don’t find it user-friendly, it has some features that are totally absurds (the “karma”) and kills your productivity instead of increasing it.
🤩 Finally I find TickTick. TickTick isn’t simple as the names tells. Isn’t too complete and “featurish” like Todoist. But it’s better. It’s more user-friendly, more funny to use, and faster. It’s very cross-plaftorm, supports notes and sub-tasks. The only flaw I see is that it doesn’t support files attachment to the To-Dos (yes, Wunderlist did it 😔 ).
KeepIt: your personal archive to search and archive PDFs and other files
KeepIt does one thing and does it very well: it archives PDFs and other text formats and index them. This means that in any time you have a synced cross-platform app where you find all text knowledge you have find or received by email.
It’s like a fast archive. It’s great for professionists and lots of archiving necessities.
OneNote: the powerful note-taking app
I don’t love OneNote, but it’s a great app. I hate it because:
- it’s slow and doesn’t sync very well
- it’s not very collaborative with other users
- it lacks of small but precious features like sorting the pages in alphabetical order
But it’s, in my opinion, the best cross-platform note-taking app with sketching features. Yes, sketching. Sometimes there are sketch-only apps, while OneNote can perfectly mix sketches and notes.
Also, comparing to Notion, is better for just text notes. While Notion supports a lot of interactive blocks, OneNote is simpler and sometimes better to focus on writing. It also has some good collaboration features.
Believe me, all those focus-writing apps like Ulysses, Bear, Notability (great but too focused on a sketching only interface), Evernote and Agenda are good alternatives, but still not powerful and complete like OneNote, and in the long term you’ll probably prefer the Microsoft option for some reasons, like it happened to me.
So this is my current productivity stack. I often follows ProductHunt in search of the definitive solution. As I told you ibeginninginning, it all depends on your necessities. You need to try and download any app you might find useful, but then try to optimized and use as less apps possible to manage your daily commutes.
Do you have any app to recommend? Please, suggest it!!