3 Beautiful Productivity Apps I Use Every Day

If you’re a productivity nerd, you’re probably caught in a cycle of constantly trying and setting up new productivity apps. And if this has gone on for more than a few months, you’re tired of constantly fiddling with your routine. You may even be thinking that productivity advice doesn’t work.

You want to find productivity apps that work — and will continue to work for years. You want to be done fiddling.

In the past, that was me. I would get into a productivity groove for a few weeks or months, but would inevitably find myself trying different new apps again and again. It started to become a drain on my time.

For the last few years, I’ve used the same productivity apps without any changes. They require no maintenance from me, are dirt cheap, and have been the backbone of all my projects over the last few years.

#1: TickTick

Image Source: TickTick Blog

I’m picky about to-do list apps. It’s easy to make a bad one, which is probably why there are a lot of bad ones out there. It’s a lot harder to make a beautiful and dependable one, though, and there aren’t many of those.

Meet the to-do list at the end of your search: TickTick.

TickTick is the ultimate productivity app. It has every feature you could ever want from a to-do app.

  • Want to nest six categories, one inside the other, six layers deep? TickTick does that.
  • Want to chart your tasks on a kanban board for use with agile or other categorization schemes? TickTick does that.
  • Want to create a task with a separate reminder date, due date, and completion date? TickTick does that.
  • Want to assign your tasks to particular calendar days and pre-schedule your workload? TickTick does that.

Every to-do list I’ve used in the past came with compromises. Even with Things, my prior favorite for nearly a decade, I had to compromise on a few key features. TickTick is the first to-do list I’ve used with no compromises.

#2: Ulysses

Image Source: Setapp

As a writer, note-taking apps are seriously important to me. Many people are able to get away with using their phone’s stock Notes app, but for a professional writer, no way that’s gonna fly.

Evernote is a popular choice with some people. I used Evernote for a while, but issues with stability and speed made me so frustrated I gave it up. Others like OneNote, but OneNote was burdened with too many artistic or advanced document tools for me to use it to organize and process large amounts of text and ideas.

There are writing platforms designed purely for book publishing, like Scrivener and Atticus. But they’re only good for writing books. I write books, but I also write blog articles and lesson scripts and client work and fanfiction. I want something that can handle all of this. The only app that can is Ulysses.

Ulysses is a fantastic program. I truly don’t know what I’d do without it. Ulysses provides a beautiful and minimalist markdown editor. Then they provide fantastic document organization tools. Then they stack on an amazing document export process that makes changing the formatting on a 100-page document a 3-minute process. Then they put it on my laptop, tablet, and phone. I can jot down an idea while in line for tacos and come back to it on my computer next session seamlessly.

Here’s how good Ulysses is. I’ve always been a Mac user, and Ulysses is a Mac exclusive. In 2017, when the 16″ Dell XPS laptop came out, I switched from Mac to Windows. After 6 months, I sold that beautiful XPS and went back to Mac.

The reason? Not the operating system, available games, or compatibility with work software. It was the lack of Ulysses. There are other note-taking apps, writing platforms, and document publishers for Windows, but none that even came close to the quality of Ulysses. (Trust me, I bought and tried them all).

I bought a Macbook just to use Ulysses. And it was 100% worth it.

#3: Mac OS Calendar

Image Source: 9to5 Mac

You would expect a productivity writer to have a cutting-edge productivity system involving several fashionably designed programs chiming mindfulness reminders at AI-determined perfect moments.

Not me. The third moving part in my simple productivity system is the Mac OS Calendar.

I’m sure other calendar apps do fancy things. Along with to-do apps, calendar apps often get overburdened with a bizarre variety of mostly useless “productivity” features. But there are only 3 things I need my calendar app to do:

  1. Let me add events (preferably in natural language)
  2. Let me see my upcoming events
  3. Sync with Google Calendar

Virtually every calendar app on the market has these features. So does the default Mac OS Calendar. Why would I pay money and deal with the added frustration of a separate syncing calendar when the one Apple gives me is more than good enough?

In Conclusion

You may think you need a sophisticated or custom tool to get the most out of your productivity routine. But you don’t need more to be productive. In fact, you need less — less features, less visual clutter, and less complication.

If you are still on the search for the perfect to-do app, note-taking app, or calendar app, you may find these simple applications can be the end of your search.