Being a productive adult is not an easy task. Especially when there are tons of things going on at once and especially when you need to collaborate with other people as well. And don’t even get us started on personal life complications and family.
There is no doubt that we need some way to make life a bit easier. We need to work smarter – not harder. And while some people can hire a secretary or personal assistant to help out with such things, that’s probably only a solution for the select few.
The rest of us need to rely on somewhat more simplistic solutions. One of the most useful ones is relying on productivity software. Most of the solutions out there are fairly cheap or free and extremely easy to use. So, the least that you can do is try some of them out and see if anything works out for you.
What is productivity software?
Productivity programs are apps that can help you maximize well productivity. But productivity comes in many forms.
That is why there are different categories of such programs. There is lots of software to help you with focusing, managing tasks, collaborating with others, managing your email and other messages, etc.
To put it in a nutshell, you can find things like:
- Time management (Like the Pomodoro technique)
- Getting organized
- Managing a schedule
- Email management
And more depending on what you need. That is why we’re going to list a variety of different categories for you.
So, without any further ado, let us check some of the best productivity programs that you can get for Windows in 2020!
In case you’re not familiar with it, Microsoft To Do is just one more To-Do program. And if you’re not familiar with To-Do apps, they are basically simple toolkits for taking notes about stuff that you need to do at some point during the day, week, or even month.
The reason we picked something so simple and straightforward is exactly due to the fact that it’s extremely easy to use and it gets the job done. But if you go a little bit deeper into it, you’ll see that it can be something much more useful than a note-taking tool.
First of all, thanks to the lists that you can add (Left side), Microsoft’s To Do can be used not only for your personal life but also for professional tasks and anything in-between.
This is a set of multiple tools in one package which is free to use on any platform. So, it’s no surprise that it’s overall one of our top picks. Let’s go into a little bit more detail.
Plan Ahead Everywhere at Any Time
One of the biggest issues of trying to stay productive and saving time with notes is that you can easily forget where you took the notes in the first place. Was it on your PC? Phone? Tablet? Laptop? And when there are multiple types of notes to keep, things can get even more complicated and messy.
That is one way of decreasing productivity instead of improving it. And that is also one of the main reasons that we love MS To Do’s multi-platform compatibility.
You can use it on Windows, Mac, Android devices, and iOS alike. So, you can easily use a combination of different devices from different ecosystems and it is not going to make things any harder for you. At least not as far as MS To Do is concerned.
And it’s not simply about installing the program to different devices. As long as there is internet connectivity, everything is being automatically synced up on the cloud. For example, if you add or modify a note on your PC, everything is going to automatically appear on your mobile device as well.
That’s one of the main reasons that we love this program. It just makes everything so easy to handle regardless of when we are on the road or planning at home.
Never Miss A Note Again
Life can often get busy. And when things get rough, it’s easy to lose track of time and forget about certain things. Sometimes, we can even forget about the notes that we take – notes that were ironically meant to remind us about something.
One thing that you can do to avoid this is to use MS To Do’s reminder system!
You can do this by playing around with 3 main parameters:
- Time and date reminder
- Due date
- And frequency
The first step is pretty self-explanatory. All you have to do is set the date and time that you want to be reminded at. Due date is the date when the task needs to be completed and it’s different from the reminder-date. For example, if you need to deliver a gift to a special someone 5 days from now, you ideally want to remember about it at least a couple of days before the due date.
Some tasks need to be attended to time and time again at specific intervals. That’s why you also have the option of being reminded about a task at set intervals (Daily, weekly, monthly, yearly).
Overall, if you are a somewhat forgetful person, you’ll definitely want to start thinking about setting up reminders.
Put your Schedule in Order
Adding reminders and notes, in general, is no doubt a great way of creating plans, sticking to them, and then also being reminded about them when life throws a bit too much towards your way.
However, adding tons of notes and reminders at a single place is a sure way of hindering your productivity. We imagine that nobody likes scrolling through tens and tens of notes to find what he is actually after at the moment.
That’s where MS To Do’s lists come in.
This is how you can split everything into separate categories for the sake of simplicity. It’s no doubt a great way of increasing productivity. After all, it’s much easier to deal with a ton of various tasks when you can easily track them down.
If you are dealing with complicated tasks, don’t forget to add sub-tasks to your notes. A task within a task. Taskception.
Last, but not least, you also have the option of adding tasks to other people as well, which can be useful for staying organized with family, work, and friends. However, when it comes to things like that, we generally prefer programs such as Asana!
Collaborate with other people by using Asana
MS To Do is no doubt one of our top picks when it comes to improving productivity solo. But, when it comes to working with other people, let’s just say that there are better options out there with Asana being one of the most popular ones!
First things first, let us start by saying that Asana is an online tool for computers and an app for smartphones. So, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you own a Windows computer, Mac, Chromebook, Linux machine, or anything else. As long as you have a modern browser to work with, then you’re good to go.
As we mentioned above, Asana is the best software for productivity if you’re dealing with multiple people at once. It’s a great way of telling everyone (And yourself) what to do while also keeping track of what’s going on.
Let’s take a closer look and you’ll see how useful this can be for improving productivity.
Increase the Productivity of Your Team
After you invite your team on the platform, things are as easy as:
- Creating a project
- Creating tasks that need to be completed on that project
- Then assigning the tasks to people who you think are suitable for completing them
It really is that easy.
You can add different tasks, sub-tasks, sections, tags, and you can also attach files such as PDF documents or pictures. Of course, there is always the option of setting due dates as well so that you won’t forget about the important stuff.
Things may seem a bit overwhelming at first but trust us when we say that Asana is extremely easy to use. You’ll just have to get a bit used to the user interface.
Some stuff is reserved for premium members only. So, those of who have a small business to keep in line may want to pay for it. But everyone else is going to be more than fine with the free variant!
Let People Work on Their Own Projects
Don’t you just hate it when you get bombarded with tons of notifications about tasks that have nothing to do with you? It’s a common issue with group-related productivity software and group chats as well.
However, Asana allows you to add different projects with different people working on them – all while staying in the same team.
This way, everyone still gets to work on their tasks in a tidy manner but without receiving notifications all the time about everyone else’s work.
Of course, it doesn’t have to strictly be about business. You can also use Asana for organizing stuff with your friends and family. After all, most of its features are completely free to use so it’s not like you have anything to lose.
And that’s more or less all there is to it for the free version. If you want productivity software to do stuff with a small group for free, we can’t think of anything better than Asana!
These are our top two picks that we assume are going to be suitable for your average person and for the average team as well. But that’s not to say that there isn’t anything else that’s useful.
In fact, as far as productivity software is concerned, there are tons of useful programs out there. Here are some honorable mentions that you should check out as well!
Staying focused on a specific task for extended periods is no easy task. It’s easy to lose focus and procrastinate. Especially if you’re a freelancer who’s working from home. And that’s where something like Focus Booster can be of help to you.
In a way, Focus Booster is nothing more than a simple timer. This is a program that relies on the very popular Pomodoro technique.
If you’re not familiar with the concept, it turns out that the average person can’t stay focused on one task for an extended period of time without taking a break. The Pomodoro technique asks of you to work for 25 minutes straight, take a short, 5-minute break, and once you do that four times you can take a 10-minute long break.
And that’s basically what Focus Booster is all about. All you have to do is commit to the timer. Work while you need to work and take a break when you need to take a break. No excuses. That’s a decent and simple way of increasing productivity.
Of course, not everyone is the same. We understand that some of you prefer doing everything in one go. But, to each their own.
One of the most useful To-Do apps that we’ve ever seen. It offers everything that MS To Do has with additional email management tools, locations, and more.
The only reason that we didn’t pick this one instead of MS To Do for one of our top picks is due to the fact that Todoist asks for payment for some of its most useful features in the first place.
Other than that, it’s definitely amongst the top To-Do apps.
There is no doubt that group chats can get really messy. With multiple people talking about different topics at once, chaos is sure to follow. That’s where programs like Slack can come in handy!
As far as communicative productivity software is concerned, Slack is one of the best. You can use it for creating a small team and multiple channels so that you can focus your conversations on a specific project at a time.
For example, most teams start with these channels:
- General: Where anything goes
- SEO: A place for SEO experts
- Lounge: Usually a channel where the team can talk about non-work related stuff
And that list can extend as far as you want it to. Of course, just like with the rest of our picks, you don’t necessarily need to use this for work. It’s still just as useful when it comes to coordinating stuff with family and friends and anything in-between.
One of the greatest things that modern computers can do is heavy multitasking. However, that’s not to say that us, the users, can handle it as well as our machines.
Having to manage multiple tabs and programs at the same time can be a headache, to say the least. That’s where you can use something like TidyTabs.
TidyTabs allows you to group multiple programs in a single set of tabs. For example, if you have multiple notepads open on your screen, you can put them all under a single set of tabs which is going to make switching between them several times easier.
The basic version of TidyTabs is free but it asks for a small sum of payment if you want some of its more advanced features or if you want to use it for business.
Microsoft’s office suite is no doubt the most popular and most effective suite by far. However, it also asks for a small sum of money which can be a deal-breaker for students or people who are just starting up a small business.
In cases like these, Libre Office may be your best choice. It’s completely free to use and offers everything from a writer to a formula editor.
Apart from Windows, it’s also available for Linux and MacOS which is great if you’re working with multiple devices.
So, these are our top picks for now. MS To Do is great for managing your schedule while Asana is the group version. After that, you can complete your set of productivity tools by using time management software like Focus Booster and a productivity-focused messenger such as Slack.
At the end of the day, don’t forget that there’s more to productivity than just using the right tools. You also need the right mindset.
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