The 10 Best Productivity Apps To Crush Your 2022 Goals

. 14 min read

Every year, hundreds of new productivity apps hit the market, promising to make your personal and professional life easier, simpler, and more efficient. However, not all of these apps live up to their promises.

Moreover, there is no one-size-fits-all app when it comes to productivity. The best productivity apps often target specific tasks or activities that can be made more efficient and productive. For this reason, it is more useful to sort tools of productivity into different categories based on what they actually do.

For example, you might find a great note-taking app to help you keep track of discussions in meetings, or you might find an amazing email app to help organize all of your digital communications. Both will help improve your overall productivity, but neither can help fulfill all of your productivity needs.

Therefore, it is important to identify the areas in which you can improve your productivity the most and then search for the best productivity software or app to help you on your journey of self-improvement.

To make your search easier, we’ve provided a complete breakdown of the top-rated productivity apps and overall best productivity apps of 2021 so you can crush your 2022 goals. We’ve divided the applications into the following categories: note-taking, communication, project management, scheduling, and habit-tracking.

10 Best Productivity Apps of 2021

Best productivity apps for note-taking...

Best productivity apps for communication…

Best productivity apps for project management…

Best productivity apps for scheduling…

Best productivity apps for habit-tracking...

What makes a great productivity app?

productivity apps

When you examine the concept of productivity in its most basic form, it is simply maximizing output while minimizing input. In human terms, this means accomplishing as many tasks or goals as possible while putting in a relatively low amount of effort.

This doesn’t mean that high productivity allows you to be lazy; it simply means that increasing productivity is often not a matter of working longer hours, but about finding ways to increase efficiency on a daily basis.

So, what makes a great productivity app? Above all else, it must make it easier to accomplish tasks that you’re already doing. It should not create new tasks that clog up your schedule or complicate existing processes. Instead, productivity apps must work for you in a way that minimizes the effort you are currently putting into different actions.

Most applications and software are designed to solve problems. Productivity software solves the problem of not accomplishing as much as you want or need to in a designated period of time. Therefore, if a productivity app is not saving you time and energy, it is not fulfilling its purpose.

With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at the 10 best productivity apps of 2021:

The 10 Best Productivity Apps of 2021

As previously mentioned, different types of productivity apps can serve very distinct purposes. First, we will examine the best productivity apps for note-taking.

Otter.ai: Best for Live, voice-to-text note-taking

Otter.ai helps students, business professionals, and anyone who needs to take notes on a regular basis do so with ease. The advanced voice-recognition AI allows you to create live, automated voice-to-text notes that can be edited and revised in real-time.

It is ideal for business meetings, lectures, and important phone calls. Otter.ai is particularly useful for people who suffer from hearing or certain physical disabilities.

“Right off the bat, Otter.ai is able to start working for you, making it easy to use, and even though it's simple enough to get started it had a powerful and smart transcription capability. I like how it records your audio AND turns your spoken words into a sharable text format. You can even share the recorded audio which doubles up your content creation.” - Kyle M., Author & Small Business Owner

In addition to creating live transcriptions, you can also easily share your note files with others to edit and collaborate. To make your life even easier, Otter.ai can be quickly integrated into popular conferencing apps like Zoom, Google Meets, and Microsoft Teams. In short, Otter.ai is one of the best productivity apps that can help save you the hours of extra time and energy it takes to take notes manually.

Basic Offerings:

Pricing:

  • Basic - Free version
  • Pro - $8.33 per month (billed annually) or $12.99 per month (billed monthly)
  • Business - $20 per month (billed annually) or $30 per month (billed monthly)
  • Enterprise - Customized pricing

Compatibility:

  • Web browser
  • Android
  • iOS

Todoist: Best for Short-hand note-taking and to-do list reminders

While Otter.ai might be great for taking notes during an hour-long meeting, you may just need an app that can allow you to quickly jot down notes and reminders on the go. For this, you have Todoist. Todoist offers both mobile and desktop apps with Cloud integration to keep track of your personal and professional to-do lists.

Whenever you need to write down a task, goal, or just a bit of information, you can quickly open Todoist and get it done. Moreover, you can add annotations, set deadlines, and even oversee your productivity on a daily or weekly basis.

“Todoist has recently added new sorting and grouping options as well. Sorting and grouping tools let you see the tasks that matter to you grouped in ways that help you see what's what and quickly make sense of the information. For example, you can have Todoist show you all tasks due today sorted by who is responsible for them. Or you might want to see all tasks in a particular project sorted by priority rating but grouped by the person assigned to do them.” - Jill Duffy, Managing Editor at PCMag

While many people simply use Todoist for personal reminders and task management, it is also a great app for team collaboration. You can quickly share projects and tasks within the app, looping in coworkers or partners as needed. In short, Todoist is one of the best ways to check things off of your to-do list and have an easy-to-use space for quick note-taking.

Basic Offerings:

  • Note-taking and storage capabilities
  • Task reminders and prioritization
  • Personalized dashboard
  • Productivity visualizations
  • Calendar, video conferencing, and Cloud software integration
  • Task sharing and collaboration

Pricing:

  • Basic - Free version
  • Pro - $3 per month (billed annually) or $4 per month (billed monthly)
  • Business - $5 per month (billed annually) or $6 per month (billed monthly)

Compatibility:

  • Windows desktop app
  • MacOS desktop app
  • Android
  • iOS

Now that we’ve had a look at the best productivity apps for note-taking, it’s time to move on to communication. Whether you’re fielding dozens of messages from friends and family or you’re trying to keep your work communications organized, you need to have the right applications to stay as productive as possible.

Gmail: Best for Email, video conferencing, and text chat

Gmail is one of the most popular and best free productivity apps on the planet — and for good reason. It simply offers the best all-around email service of any provider, while also integrating seamlessly with Google’s suite of communication tools, including Google Meets and Google Chat.

With Gmail, you can manage multiple email addresses from one Google account, keeping your personal and professional communications in one place, but still separated for organization and clarity.

Gmail simply offers the best all-around email service of any provider, while also integrating seamlessly with Google’s suite of communication tools, including Google Meets and Google Chat.

To make Gmail even more appealing to professionals, it makes it simple to schedule meetings via Google Calendar and get email reminders in advance. Then, you can use Google Meets to video conference with your colleagues and Google Chat features to share text messages, photos, and other files.

In addition to being completely free (unless you want to upgrade your Google Workspace account for more storage), Gmail is a one-stop-shop for modern communication that works with virtually any device.

Basic Offerings:

  • Fast, responsive email service
  • Automatic filtering options
  • Meeting and event reminders
  • Calendar, video conferencing, and Cloud software integration
  • Task sharing and collaboration

Pricing:

  • Basic - Free version
  • Google Workplace Business Starter - $6 per user, per month
  • Google Workplace Business Standard - $12 per user, per month
  • Google Workplace Business Plus - $18 per user, per month
  • Google Workplace Enterprise - Customized pricing

Compatibility:

  • Windows desktop app
  • MacOS desktop app
  • Android
  • iOS

Slack: Best for Messaging and file-sharing across multiple channels

Slack is unique insofar as it has streamlined workplace communication, particularly for freelancers or those who need to keep communication among multiple teams organized. In Slack, you can easily create a new channel for a team, project, or even an individual chat.

Within each channel, you can maintain multiple chats, organized based on topic, priority, or members. With Android, iOS, and desktop apps, it’s easy to stay up-to-date with notifications.

“Spend less time switching between tools and focus on the work that matters. Slack has more than 2,400 apps in its directory, allowing you to build custom workflows with software your teams already use, so everyone can do their job more efficiently.” - Slack Team

One of the things slowing down workflow has been the need for organized meetings just to share information. While Slack does not completely eliminate the need for video conferences or in-person meetings, it makes it far easier to quickly share files and pieces of information without having to answer a call or hop on a Zoom meeting. Now, you can send, receive, and organize messages within a simple, clean, user-friendly interface.

Basic Offerings:

  • Text messaging
  • Multiple channel creation
  • Organized chats within channels
  • Calendar, video conferencing, and Cloud software integration
  • Simple file sharing
  • Tagging for fast communication and easy team collaboration

Pricing:

  • Basic - Free version
  • Pro - $6.67 per user, per month (billed annually) or $8 per user, per month (billed monthly)
  • Business Plus - $12.50 per user, per month (billed annually) or $15 per user, per month (billed monthly)
  • Enterprise Grid - Customized pricing

Compatibility:

  • Windows desktop app
  • MacOS desktop app
  • Android
  • iOS

Staying in close communication is key in a workplace, but project management is just as important. While many communication apps allow you to organize conversations, they don’t always integrate project scheduling or task management in a meaningful way. For this reason, many businesses turn to project management apps to enhance productivity and cut down on lost time.

Hive: Best for Management of multi-step projects

Hive is one of the best apps for business, as it allows project deadlines, updates, revisions, and notes to all happen in one place. Instead of searching through multiple apps or websites to find the information you need to finish a given task, everything is available to view on Hive’s intuitive Portfolio view.

Additionally, the makers of Hive understand that most projects require more than just “start” and “finish” designations. Consequently, Hive utilizes multi-step project workflows to help team members keep up with different projects every step of the way.

Instead of searching through multiple apps or websites to find the information you need to finish a given task, everything is available to view on Hive’s intuitive Portfolio view.

Hive is particularly useful for team leaders and managers, as it allows projects to be tracked based on their overall progress, as well as individual member contributions. In other words, team members can use the in-app time tracker and timesheets to record their workflow, while leaders can get an overview of how efficiently a project is moving along. Hive also integrates with dozens of popular business tools, including Slack, Microsoft Outlook, and Salesforce.

Basic Offerings:

  • Task management dashboard
  • Individual and team chat
  • Document and video proofing
  • Time and workflow tracker
  • Calendar, video conferencing, and Cloud software integration

Pricing:

  • Hive Solo - Free version
  • Hive Teams - $12 per user, per month (billed annually) or $16 per user, per month (billed monthly)
  • Hive Enterprise - Customized pricing

Compatibility:

  • Windows desktop app
  • MacOS desktop app
  • Web browser

Asana: Best for Management of numerous projects across a large organization

Asana offers similar tools and resources as Hive, but it is built to manage large-scale projects among dozens or even hundreds of team members. Moreover, Asana is all about providing you with a myriad of ways to look at your projects and tasks.

Whether you need to view a list of pending objectives or a timeline of progress, you can do so in the Asana productivity app. The Boards feature also allows teams to get a visual representation of tasks that are ongoing.

“Out of all the project management software I reviewed, Asana offers the best free plan you can get. In reality, most alternative PM software’s free plans are too limited for actual business use.” - Alejandro Rioja, Entrepreneur & Computer Scientist

While Asana has the power to be one of the best cloud-based project management apps for big businesses, it is equally good for managing smaller projects. Whether you’re a freelancer working with clients or a small start-up managing multiple growth campaigns, Asana can ensure that all of the work stays in one space.

As an added bonus, Asana allows for automation of certain basic tasks, freeing you up to focus on being more productive.

Basic Offerings:

  • Task management dashboard
  • Individual and team chat
  • Workspaces for different campaigns or projects
  • Task automation
  • Calendar, video conferencing, and Cloud software integration

Pricing:

  • Basic - Free version
  • Premium - $10.99 per user, per month (billed annually) or $13.49 per user, per month (billed monthly)
  • Business - $24.99 per user, per month (billed annually) or $30.49 per user, per month (billed monthly)
  • Enterprise - Customized pricing

Compatibility:

  • Windows desktop app
  • MacOS desktop app
  • Android
  • iOS

Productivity often requires you to cut down on the back-and-forth of organizing events. For this reason, scheduling apps allow you to quickly schedule events and manage your calendar without having to navigate through old emails or messages.

Calendly: Best for Scheduling business calls, interviews, and meetings

Calendly has streamlined the process of organized virtual meetings, making it one of the best tools to boost productivity and save time. With Calendly, you simply set the date, time, and platform (like Zoom, Google Meets, etc), and Calendly handles the rest.

It automatically sends invitations to the requested people and notifies you when they have accepted. You can also set your availability with the built-in calendar so that others can easily schedule meetings with you.

With Calendly, you simply set the date, time, and platform (like Zoom, Google Meets, etc), and Calendly handles the rest. It automatically sends invitations to the requested people and notifies you when they have accepted.

Additionally, Calendly essentially negates the dreaded “never-ending” meeting by allowing you to set specific lengths for your meetings. Never want to have a meeting that lasts more than 30 minutes? Not a problem. Calendly allows you to completely customize your meeting settings so that you can manage your time as efficiently as possible.

Basic Offerings:

  • Schedule management for individuals and teams
  • Set calendar availability
  • Automated reminders and notifications
  • Automated billing for clients
  • Calendar, video conferencing, and Cloud software integration

Pricing:

  • Basic - Free version
  • Essentials - $8 per user, per month (billed annually) or $10 per user, per month (billed monthly)
  • Professional - $12 per user, per month (billed annually) or $15 per user, per month (billed monthly)
  • Teams - $16 per month (billed annually) or $20 per month (billed monthly)
  • Enterprise - Customized pricing

Compatibility:

  • Windows desktop app (Outlook plugin)
  • Android
  • iOS

Hubspot Meetings Tool: Best for Simple, fast appointment scheduling

If you’re looking for the best free productivity app for calendar management, there are few better options than the Hubspot Meetings Tool (also known as the Hubspot Free Meeting Scheduler).

Much like Calendly, the Hubspot Meetings Tool offers a fast and easy way to make your availability known to others within your network, schedule meetings for specific times and platforms, and even manage your appointments across different time zones without having to do any calculations.

“HubSpot was designed from the ground up with small to mid-sized businesses in mind. That means the meeting scheduling app solutions are tailored to your needs, providing a variety of customization features that keep the scheduling process simple for both you and your clients.” - Hubspot Team

Though the Meeting Scheduler is a feature of Hubspot’s Sales Hub, you can also access the basic features for free and without a paid Sales Hub account. For this reason, the Hubspot Meetings Tool is one of the best free alternatives to Calendly and other scheduling apps.

In addition to its focus on business-friendly features, the Hubspot Meetings Tool also allows you to set up a meeting with as little as one click.

Basic Offerings:

  • Schedule management for individuals and teams
  • Set calendar availability
  • Automated reminders and notifications
  • Integration with Hubspot suite of products
  • Integration with Gmail, Outlook, and other business tools
  • One-click appointment setup

Pricing:

  • Basic - Free version

Compatibility:

  • Android
  • iOS
  • Web browser

Finally, productivity is not all about getting more done in the workplace. Personal productivity can also ensure that you’re getting the most out of your free time, hobbies, exercises, and more. Fortunately, there are several productivity apps that are perfectly designed to keep you at peak efficiency and form positive habits over time!

Streaks: Best for Maintaining positive habits and meeting personal goals

Streaks is one of the best productivity apps for setting personal goals to help you improve your habits and get the most out of every aspect of your life.

From remembering to walk the dog to reading for 30 minutes per day, you can literally customize exactly how you want to improve yourself and your schedule. In this way, Streaks is one of the most customizable habit-tracking apps on the market.

Streaks is all about setting personal goals to help you improve your habits and get the most out of every aspect of your life.

In addition to creating your own personalized goals, Streaks gives you the ability to integrate with the iOS Health app to track your exercise and health goals.

The app provides visualizations of your progress, as well as reminders to keep you focused and productive. Additionally, you can set the app to only notify you on certain days. This way, you can take days off when you’re ready for a break!

Basic Offerings:

  • Set personal goals
  • Integrate with iOS Health and other iOS apps
  • Automated reminders and notifications
  • Visual representations of progress
  • Customizable and easy setup

Pricing:

  • Basic - $4.99 (one-time payment)

Compatibility:

  • Android
  • iOS
  • MacOS desktop app

Goalify: Best for Setting goals and tracking progress

Goalify was specifically developed to help individuals feel a greater sense of accomplishment and consistency with their personal and professional goals.

From dieting to studying, you can completely personalize your goals and aim to improve your habits over time. With Goalify, you can easily track your progress and see how close you are to meeting your goals at any moment.

Goalify was specifically developed to help individuals feel a greater sense of accomplishment and consistency with their personal and professional goals.

While the standard Goalify productivity app is designed for personal goals, Goalify Professional helps teams manage goals and productivity across entire organizations.

Goalify Professional uses the same basic UI as Goalify, but adds additional features like team-wide to-do lists, detailed dashboards to manage dozens of goals, and manage workflows.

Basic Offerings:

  • Goal creation for individuals and teams
  • Personal and professional versions
  • Automated reminders and notifications
  • Graphs and visual representations of progress
  • Analysis of habits over time
  • Integration with calendar apps

Pricing:

  • Basic - Free Version
  • Professional Coach - $50 per month
  • Professional Team - $75 per month
  • Professional Corporate - $125 per month

Compatibility:

  • Android
  • iOS
  • Web browser

The Bottom Line

As you can see, there are a lot of great productivity apps out there. Whether you’re looking for paid or free productivity software, you can find ways to increase efficiency in your daily life. While there are dozens that did not make the list, the products above comprise the best productivity apps of 2021.

Depending on your specific circumstances, one app may be better than another. Productivity covers a broad spectrum of both personal and professional improvement, so you can even mix and match some of the apps above to get the most out of your work time and your free time!

Do you want to learn more about using the best productivity apps and creating high-quality content for your team or clients? Would you like to find out more about the perks of Otter.ai live transcriptions and captions? Contact Otter.ai today for more information!