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People work differently. The to-do list app that does wonders for one person won’t have any effect on another. If you haven’t found the right tool for you, these new to-do apps do things a little differently and make it easier to be productive.
There are scientific ways to increase productivity, but even in those studies, not every person reacted positively to every method. It’s okay if you haven’t yet figured out the right approach for yourself. One of these apps might unlock all your potential.
1. Dowrun.love (Web): For Recurring Tasks and Habits
There are some things you should be doing daily or regularly, but you easily miss them or make excuses not to do them. Downrun.love is a to-do list for these recurring tasks and habits, which also tracks your progress.
You can create a new rundown based on days, hours, minutes, or seconds. Each rundown can be assigned to a category, such as physique, intellect, charisma, or cleanness. The categories add points based on how well you have completed your tasks, and there’s a handy explainer for how you should judge those points. There’s also a chart to see your progress.
If you enable notifications, Downrun.love will check on your progress when time is up. It’s a web app, and it works well on both desktop and mobile browsers.
2. Streaky (Android, iOS): Set a Chain of Goal-Finishing Days
Jerry Seinfeld’s famous “Don’t break the chain” productivity method suggests that you are more likely to finish tasks when you have a successful streak going. Psychologically, you don’t want to break that chain. While it is normally used for repetitive tasks, Streaky tweaks it for any one big task per day.
The idea of the app is to set a chain of days where you finish one big goal. Every morning, you will be asked to set a new goal to finish that day. Every night, you will be asked if you finished it or not. Streaky also tracks your mood at the start and end of the task.
All your goals, whether accomplished or not, are saved in one place. If you finish your main goal for the day, you can set bonus goals as well. And if you fail on those, don’t worry, that doesn’t break the streak.
The app allows you to change every aspect, which makes it more likely to set that streak. For example, you can set Streaky to activate on chosen days of the week, avoiding your holidays. When you set a new goal, you can change its finish time, in case of an earlier deadline.
3. Tempus (Windows, macOS): Feature-Packed Pomodoro in System Tray
The Pomodoro technique of working for 25 minutes and taking 5-minute breaks has a lot of followers and several great Pomodoro timer apps for it. Tempus is the latest in the line, but it’s worth checking out if you follow this productivity method.
Tempus sits quietly in your system tray, monitoring the preferences you set. By default, it uses the 25-5 system, but you can change that if you want. The software also lets you choose to work till the next full hour is up, rather than being militant about the time system. Some Pomodoro users will love this small feature.
You will get reminders about upcoming breaks, and you can set a maximum number of Pomodoros before you are forced to take a larger break. Meanwhile, Tempus tracks your productivity and presents it in streaks and logs. In fact, you can even set daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly Goals, and check on them in an instant.
4. Chaoslist (Android, iOS): Smart To-Do List for Auto Prioritizing and GPS
Some to-do list apps put you in charge of how to prioritize tasks. Chaoslist tries to do that for you, so your job is all about finishing them in order. It mainly uses deadlines and location tags to figure out which task to do.
For any task you add, you can set certain parameters. You can add which location it is to be finished in, such as Home or Work (which you set in advance). You can add a due date as well, as well as a date to start working on it in order to meet the deadline. Each task can have sub-tasks, as well as people you add to the task for a shared list.
Based on that input, Chaoslist will smartly figure out when and where to send you alerts about pending items on the list. For example, if you make a grocery list, Chaoslist uses Google Maps data to figure out nearby supermarkets and alert you when you are close. If a task is to be done at home and you’re in the office, Chaoslist won’t bother you.
The free version of the service lets you add 20 tasks and 10 subtasks, as well as three customizable location tags. For anything more, you will need to upgrade to one of the paid tiers.
5. Alto (Chrome): Progress Bar of Time-Based Goals, in New Tab
Whether it’s the end of the year or your birthday, on momentous occasions, do you find yourself asking, “Where did the time go?” Alto is a Chrome extension that helps you visualize passing time, and motivates you to use it.
In a new tab, on top of a soothing wallpaper, Alto displays multiple progress bars that show how much percentage of the year, month, week, day, and your life expectancy is done. These percentages are based on preferences you first enter in the app. Alto also encourages you to write down goals.
Each section has space for its own goals, encouraging you to set different objectives for every period of time. After all, life goals are different from daily or weekly goals, right? Once you tick that box, the goal will disappear forever.
Download: Alto for Chrome (Free)
Learn From Communities
There is no simple trick to productivity, as you can see. Different approaches work for different people. For example, a random Reddit post led to a whole new approach to get things done, called No Zero Days.
In fact, Reddit is a great place to discover these productivity techniques. When a method inspires you, it’s helpful to have the support of others following the same principles. Check out these productivity life hacks from Reddit, you might find your new support system.