19 Apps That Are Guaranteed to Improve Your Productivity

Procrastinating doesn’t mean you’re lazy; it means you’re overwhelmed. These apps can help.

Jack Shepherd
The Startup
Published in
7 min readJul 2, 2020

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Photo: Jack Shepherd/Pexels

Procrastination is a universal struggle and it’s important to remind yourself when you fall prey to it that a) you’re not alone, and b) you’re not lazy. On the contrary, most procrastinators will tell you that they’d much rather be working but feel like they can’t. This is usually because they’re paralyzed by the complexity or the sheer number of tasks on their to-do list; not knowing where to start; or simply feeling like the day is spiraling out of control due to trouble waking up or a derailed morning routine. To make matters worse, developing good, productive work habits can be as laboriously difficult as developing unhealthy time-wasting routines like mindlessly scrolling through social media.

Fortunately, there are a number of incredibly useful tools that can help you head a lot of the problems that lead to procrastination off at the pass. Here are a number of fantastic, easy-to-use apps that incentivize good work and sleep habits; help you to stay on task by avoiding procrastination traps; maximize your focus by completing one task at a time; and create new workflows that will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed.

Streaks (Mac, iOS)

Streaks is a simple, effective To-Do List app that is designed to help you form habits. By encouraging you to hone in on a maximum of 12 specific tasks that you want to prioritize and then incentivizing you to repeat those tasks at chosen intervals to create success streaks, this app helps you to build muscle through repetition in areas of your life or work where you want to be productive.

Photo: Jack Shepherd/Streaks

Things 3 (Mac iOS)

There’s no shortage of To-Do List and Task Manager apps out there, but Things 3 stands out above the rest. With a simple, intuitive design, Things 3 is beloved by practitioners of the Getting Things Done productivity philosophy, and it’s easy and satisfying to integrate into your workflow.

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Jack Shepherd
The Startup

I have a newsletter about crossword puzzles and a podcast about rom-coms. Formerly editorial director @BuzzFeed. Email: JackAShepherd at gmail