Do you swear by time blocking, the Eisenhower matrix, or the Kanban technique to get your work done? Want to go digital with these analog productivity techniques? That’s easy to do if you find the right app.
To help you there, we’ve rounded up the best apps designed around popular productivity methods. We’ve selected only web apps to ensure maximum portability, but you’re sure to find suitable desktop alternatives with a quick web search if you prefer those instead.
1. Taskade: For the Bullet Journal Method
The Bullet Journal method is quite popular for its versatility as a note-taker, to-do list, journal, calendar, and more. It involves rapid logging of ideas, events, and so on in the form of bulleted lists. To get familiar with this method, read the official introduction to Bullet Journaling.
While you can use apps such as Evernote as a Bullet Journal, you’ll have to put in less effort setting up your journal if you go with Taskade. That’s true even if you skip Taskade’s Bullet Journal template and start off with a blank slate instead. Checklists, notes, attachments, sections, comments—Taskade has support for all of these. You can display your journal entries as a list, board, or even as a mindmap.
The Bullet Journal method has a couple of official apps, but those are available only for mobile devices. Taskade is a better option if you want a bullet journal app that works on every popular platform.
Visit: Taskade (Free, premium subscription available)
2. Chains.cc: For the Don’t Break the Chain Method
Want to come up with 10 ideas around a given topic or write a thousand words every single day? Chains.cc motivates you to do such tasks by tracking your success streak for each activity.
When you see a chain of wins created by meeting your targets every day, would you want to “break the chain” by missing a day? Most likely not. The Don’t Break the Chain method and Chains.cc both count on this psychological dilemma to push you to keep your success streak going. The app lets you create a new chain for every habit you want to build or activity whose progress you want to track.
For each task you complete, mark it as done by clicking on its circle in the chain for the corresponding day. If you want Chains.cc to give you a break on the weekend or any other day, you can configure each chain to ignore specific days.
Visit: Chains.cc (Free)
3. Tomato Timers: For the Pomodoro Technique
If you struggle with single-tasking, the Pomodoro technique can make it easier for you. It’s so simple that you can implement it with just about any analog or digital, online or offline timer device. (Many task and project management apps include a Pomodoro timer these days.)
To sum up this method: you work in 25-minute intervals (called Pomodoros) with 5-minute breaks in between. After every four Pomodoros, you take a 20-or 30-minute break.
See how easy it is to work with the Pomodoro technique? We recommend Tomato Timers to time and track your work with this method. You can use the app without signing up! All you have to do is list your tasks, hit the timer button, and focus on completing the tasks one by one.
If you want to complete four Pomodoros in a row without having to start the timer manually after every Pomodoro, hit the Loop button in the app.
Tomato Timers makes a great app for working with the Ivy Lee method too. If you follow this method, you have exactly six tasks on your to-do list in decreasing order of their importance and work through them one by one. You can tweak the timer to set custom intervals for work and breaks.
Visit: Tomato Timers (Free)
4. Trello: For the Kanban Technique
Trello is one of the best digital implementations of Kanban, the Japanese technique for task management.
A Trello board gives you an overview of your project, while cards break down the project into action steps or tasks. The lists on the board further divide up the tasks based on their progress. To learn more about using Trello for project management, read our guide on the subject:
The app has made the technique so popular that in the online world Trello is Kanban and Kanban is Trello. So if you swear by Kanban offline, using the Trello app online is a no-brainer.
Visit: Trello (Free, premium subscription available)
5. Eisenhower Matrix: For the Eisenhower Matrix Method
The Eisenhower Matrix helps you prioritize your tasks by forcing your to place them in one of four categories:
- Important and urgent: Tasks to do first
- Important, but not urgent: Tasks to schedule
- Urgent, but not important: Tasks to delegate
- Not urgent and not important: Tasks to skip
These categories form a 2X2 matrix and, as you might’ve guessed, the tasks in the first two categories are the ones that really need your attention.
The Eisenhower Matrix app gives you a web-based editable matrix into which you can feed your tasks. If you like working with a timer to stay focused on the task at hand, enable the Focus Mode within the app.
Visit: Eisenhower Matrix (Free)
6. Plan: For the Time Blocking Method
Time blocking is an effective way to stay focused. In this method, you schedule your tasks in your calendar, assigning them to specific blocks of time. One web app that makes it easy to do this is Plan.
Plan integrates a to-do list with your Google or Outlook calendar. You’ll not only see the events and meetings you have lined up, but can also schedule new tasks side by side. The Timeline view in the app is a nice touch. It helps you visualize your workload over the entire month.
The app doesn’t look simple, but it looks easy to navigate and it has plenty of features for people who like to plan their day in detail.
If you want a project management app that not only includes your calendar but also a Pomodoro timer, try Toggl, TickTick, or SkedPal. Trello also makes a great alternative to these apps when you enable the Calendar Power-Up.
Visit: Plan (Free, premium subscription available)
The Secret to Productivity Is…
There’s no secret to productivity. You need either a hefty dose of will power or a combination of the right tools and techniques to make will power irrelevant. If you prefer the latter, pick the app that goes with your favorite productivity method and start working through that to-do list of yours!
Want a head start on your tasks? Have a weekly plan ready to go in under 30 minutes!