The Best Software for Productivity.

Productivity software has a wide range of uses, from to-do lists, project management, and time tracking, to note-taking, writing, and categorization.

As such, there are many programs to serve these purposes. Not all of them are high quality, however, which is why we compiled the BEST productivity software, period.

Throughout my time in school, I have tried many programs to meet my organizational needs, so I have extensive experience with all of the software on this list.

  1. ClickUp

Rating: 9.8/10

Rating: 9.8/10

Pros:

  1. Super useful, easy to pick up features.

  2. Has a Docs menu for note-taking, or any other writing-intensive activity.

  3. The UI is beautiful, and the program requires a minimal amount of setup to get it to work how you want.

  4. Very customizable, folders can be recolored, you can make custom statuses, and make your own Dashboard to view tasks.

  5. Pricing is very affordable, has an attractive free plan.

Cons:

  1. You have to go out of your way to access your dashboards, and the boundaries of the widgets are a bit limited. (I personally don’t use dashboards, so this isn’t really a big problem for me.

  2. Can have a bit of a learning curve for people who have no experience with organizational tools.

When I mentioned that there were some programs that can do everything, ClickUp is one of them. Being a religious user of ClickUp, I have used this program to manage this blog, keep on top of schoolwork, and organize my programming learning career.

It offers a nice home screen to manage all of your tasks, keep up with due dates, and easily access your most popular tasks.

Homepage.png

Here is my homescreen. As you can see, it displays tasks in sections, with the tasks due today in the forefront of the page. I think this is great, because it makes is harder for you to overlook pending tasks. Furthermore, it gives you a nice calendar view (by the hour) which makes it easy to see when exactly tasks or assignments are due. This helps when you plan your day by the hour (which we highly recommend), because you can easily adjust the timing of tasks by dragging in the calendar. Cool, right?

What is even cooler is that you can go as specific as you want.

Here is a sneak peek into how I organize my blog.

Blog Management System.png

Each task has a ‘status’ (To-do, In Progress, Review, Completed, etc.) to let me know what stage the task is on. I personally like to use the board view, as it gives me an overview of the stages various tasks are on. But don’t worry if you are not a fan of this view. Clickup offers many other views, like the infamous Gantt view, calendar view, mind map, timeline view, and the box view, among other, more specific views.

 

Docs Page (in-doc).png

Another great feature is the ‘Docs’ menu. Similar to Google Docs, this lets you take notes, write essays, save quotes, and much more, right inside ClickUp.

 

Goals Screen.png

Is goal setting your thing? Set goals right inside Clickup, and keep track of your progress with these goals. I personally want to learn web development, and possible enter the freelance scene. I have a goal set for becoming proficient in web development, and I have tasks I have to complete in order to achieve the goal.

All in all, ClickUp is my go-to tool for organizing my life and offers many features to get the job done. Their dev team is constantly adding new features, and are easily contactable through their social media accounts, and through their customer support on email. You can even suggest a feature on their Twitter feed, and they often respond within a day.

 

2. Notion

Rating: 8/10

Rating: 8/10

Pros:

  1. The program has features for almost anything you can think of.

  2. Everything in Notion is essentially a document, so you have a ton of customization for each page. You could have an embedded board view, and a todo list all in one document.

  3. The UI is very elegant, by far the nicest looking UI out of all of these programs.

  4. Very good free plan, ideal for an individual.

  5. Used by many influencers, and productivity gurus.

Cons:

  1. NO RECURRING TASKS!! This means you have to manually re-create tasks that you do every day, like going for a walk. Since each page has its own todo list (if you create one), it is very hard to view all of your tasks across different sections in one place. There is no ‘home’ screen, like in ClickUp. This means you have to manually go to each section and check its todo-lists or tasks.

  2. The program (despite its elegant UI) is a bit clunky in terms of usability. These are small things, but can become a nuisance as you continue using Notion. For example, you have to manually configure each task on your todo-list to have it remind you when the task is due. In other programs, it automatically reminds you when the task is due, no configurations needed.

  3. Strong Learning Curve

Notion is the definition of an ‘all-in-one’ solution for… anything. The features are practically endless, but the ease of use is just not there. When I tried Notion, I went right to their templates. I am what most people would consider a power user when it comes to programs of this nature, but it took me almost a week to set up Notion so it functions how I wanted.

Despite this, I was appalled with how many features the program has. You can embed todo-lists inside documents, add views (board, list, calendar) into documents, and you can even add links to other nested folders inside of a page.

Screenshot 2021-06-21 4.43.27 PM.png

Once you get Notion set up, the possibilities are quite literally endless. They have a nice community, and templates are easy to access and implement. Because everything in Notion is essentially a document, note taking is by far the easiest out of all programs on this list. You can type pretty much anywhere, so you can easily capture a note wherever you are, and transfer it to whichever folder you would like.

 

Slash Commands.png

Commands are easy to learn, and the ‘/ commands’ save so much time when working in Notion. For example, if you want to make a todo-list, you can simply type ‘/todo’ and start typing right away.

 

Notion is great for most applications and boasts many innovative features and structures, but the big learning curve and lack of easy usability make this program unfit for the average student. However, with some practice and patience, this program is great for productivity and organization.

3. Todoist

Rating: 7.5/10

Rating: 7.5/10

Pros:

  1. Easy to use, and easy to pick up.

  2. Clean, simple UI

  3. Hence the name, this app acts mainly as a todo-list, and the execution of its purpose is perfect.

  4. Great community

  5. Affordable pricing

Cons:

  1. Not as many features as other programs so it is usually used in conjunction with other project management programs for large-scale project-based workflows.

  2. The free plan can have some noticeable limitations.

Todoist is- you guessed it, a todo-list. What I love most about this application is how easy it is to use, and how well executed the program is. This is one of those applications that serve a specific purpose and serves it well.

Todoist also has a ‘Karma’ system, which is a cool way to gamify productivity, and gives you a nice feeling of completion when you see your karma points increase.

Screenshot 2021-06-21 5.39.48 PM.png

Something that sets Todoist apart from other programs is its keyword algorithm. For example, I could type “Chemistry Test Tuesday”, and the program would recognize I said a date, in this case, Tuesday, and would automatically set the due date of the task to Tuesday. Neat, I agree.

This makes Todoist VERY fast to use and can save you tons of time making tasks.

Yes, we only included 3 programs, but we wanted to save you the time of scrolling through 20+ lists, and instead give you only tried and tested programs that we use, and love.

Planning to use any of these programs to stay organized? Let us know in the comments.


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