The 10 Best Free Productivity Apps to Get Things Done
Do you have so many things to do, but you can’t seem to get things done? Do you spend more time thinking about your tasks instead of doing them?
We all do! And I’m sure you are also guilty of downloading too many productivity apps to get things done, but you cannot find a productivity app that actually works for you.
Before we start to talk about the best free productivity apps to get things done, let me tell you that there is actually a productivity method called GTD or Getting Things Done! It is a task management system created by David Allen, a productivity consultant.
GTD or Getting Things Done® Method
GTD is a method where you dump all your mental clutter by recording them to an external system and then organizing it so you can focus on things that matter. In this way, your tasks are visible and you can start taking action instead of just keeping it on your head.
The GTD method is simple, and you only need 5 steps to have more productivity:
- Capture. Did something come to your mind? Write it down to an external system like a notepad or an app. Start brain dumping.
- Clarify. Review what you wrote and decide if it is actionable. If it is, then think of your next action. Also, if you can do it in 2 minutes, then do it now.
- Organize. Now that you have actionable items, start categorizing, and prioritizing your tasks: trash, reference, or someday list.
- Reflect. Do a weekly review of your lists and monitor your progress.
- Engage. Start taking action and get things done! Use your system to know exactly what you need to do.
You can also use the GTD methodology to get your life together!
Get the Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity book
Now that you have an idea on the Getting Things Done method, you might be wondering what are the best GTD apps?
I’ve used several tips and tools to boost my productivity and time management. I now enjoy being productive & I learned how to manage my time properly using the GTD method. I’ve rounded up the best free productivity apps to get things done and also shared how it makes me productive. Hopefully, you will find some of these helpful for you!
10 Best Free Productivity Apps to Get Things Done
All the Getting Things Done apps listed below are free and most are designed and developed to let you implement the GTD method.
If you want to take your productivity to the next level, then these apps also have paid plans that you can purchase depending on your needs.
Enjoy these best free productivity apps to get things done & make time for everything you want to do!
Trello is a digital bulletin board and could be a great place for brain-dumping.
It is too flexible that you might find it a bit overwhelming from the start, but the good thing about Trello is you don’t need to start everything from scratch. You just need to find a strategy that works for you (don’t forget the GTD method!).
Trello templates and guides
How Trello makes me productive
The Kanban board style in Trello helps me visualize my work and my tasks in progress. It’s easier to maximize workflow and productivity with the boards in Trello.
Trello is available on the web, mobile, and desktop.
Taskade is one of my favorite apps to get things done. It gives you more features for your project workflow.
Taskade gives you different views for your project: List, Board (like Trello), Action, and Mindmap.
This GTD app is perfect for beginners. I find this easier to use than in Trello—it’s straightforward and you can find a good selection of templates to help you start.
What makes Taskade standout as a GTD app is it is aesthetically pleasing because of its pastel colors, and its ease-of-use.
How Taskade makes me productive
Sometimes not having too many features becomes the strength of apps to get things done because it lets you focus on what you need. I effortlessly write down my high-level plans in Taskade, personalize my lists, and braindump in my task list making it one of the best GTD apps I have used.
Taskade is available on iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Chrome, and Firefox.
Your GTD setup is not complete without a calendar. For this, I am using Google Calendar. Google Calendar is a digital calendar that makes planning and scheduling easier without flipping through pages.
You can set up multiple calendars in your account and set its colors. I currently use 12 calendars; setting the colors helps me get an idea of what my day is going to be like.
How Google Calendar makes me productive
I use Google Calendar in blocking off my time. I don’t prefer multitasking; it takes me a while to get into the zone again so time-blocking & focusing on one task only helps me get more things done.
Sometimes, I use Google Keep along with Google Calendar if something came to my mind. A calendar should always be on your list of apps to get things done.
Google Calendar is available on the web, Android, and iOS.
ClickUp is also a free GTD app that is a combination of everything I mentioned above: Trello, Taskade, and Google Calendar.
One app to replace them all.
I stumbled upon ClickUp just recently, thanks to Facebook Ads, and I love it as soon as I tried it!
ClickUp has multiple templates available depending on your needs. I use the free version only, and, surprisingly, it suits my needs. I recommend this GTD app, and the free version has unlimited tasks, you can set up dependencies, 50+ native integrations, time tracking, Zapier, and many more.
It could look a bit overwhelming at the start. But, ClickUp provided multiple tutorials, demos, and guides to walk you through the app.
Check out this post on how to use the Get Things Done methodology with ClickUp.
If you are working in a team, ClickUp is one of the recommended project management tools and you can use also use it as a time management tool.
How ClickUp makes me productive
I have multiple spaces in ClickUp: Personal, Airbnb, and Blog. These spaces separate my projects or tasks so I can focus properly. I always use the time tracking (using ClickUp Chrome extension) so I can be more aware of how much time I work on a task.
Signup to ClickUp and give it a try. Also available on both Android and iOS.
You have probably heard of Grammarly before. If you have not used this yet, then you are missing out! Grammarly is a great writing assistant that shows suggestions and corrections on the fly.
Just recently, Grammarly released a new feature that detects your tone by analyzing your word choice, phrasing, punctuation, and even capitalization. This helps you deliver your message the way you intended.
How Grammarly makes me productive
Although Grammarly is not a GTD app, it is one of the supporting apps to get things done. I spend less energy and time thinking about the grammar and tone of my content. Instead, I have more time to enjoy writing and be creative with my blog.
Grammarly Keyboard is available on both iOS and Android.
LastPass is one of the most-trusted password managers and free productivity apps.
Since I love free stuff, I am using the free plan of LastPass. Other password managers require you to pay to access your passwords on other devices. With LastPass? It is included in the free plan!
How LastPass makes me productive
LastPass remembers all the passwords which make my online life easier. Logging in is fast and easy once I save my passwords.
LastPass is available on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS.
Google Drive is cloud storage that gives you up to 15 GB of storage for free.
You can easily upload, download and share files, and have access to your files everywhere you go. Google Drive is one of the apps to get things done because it is integrated into the entire Google ecosystem.
You can share your files and folders to others for collaboration by inviting them to have access (view or write) on it. No need for email attachments!
How Google Drive makes me productive
I work on multiple devices, so I need to have access to my files whichever device I am using.
Google Drive is available on Mac, PC, Android, and iOS.
Spark is an email application by Readdle that lets you take control of your inbox. It has an intelligent email prioritization and noise reduction.
I use Spark since it was launched in 2015. I never deleted it on my phone since then.
I achieve inbox-zero because of Spark. If I have emails that I don’t want to respond to at that time, I snooze it so I will get a notification on that email again later on.
Spark is one of the most-underrated apps for productivity. If you haven’t used it yet, you should definitely try it! It’s free!
How Spark makes me productive:
Spark prioritizes emails so I can focus on important emails only. It frees me from distractions because I don’t get notifications from newsletters.
Spark is available on iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Android.
A list of apps to get things done is not complete without a dedicated to-do list app, right?
Any.do is the best todo app to stay organized. It has an integrated calendar so you will not miss your tasks and schedules.
You can also use Any.do for your morning routine and set recurring tasks. In that way, you won’t forget any of your routines.
How Any.do makes me productive
Any.do has a separate grocery list. When I add items, Any.do sorts it by aisles automatically so it’ll be easier and faster to find the items. I have integrated this app to Google Assistant too so I can add and delete tasks using voice commands.
Any.do is available on Android, iOS, Mac, Web, Windows, Apple Watch, Wear OS, Slack, Desktop, Siri, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant.
IFTTT is also one of my favorite apps to get things done because it connects all of my apps and services in one place. It is that useful—you can use it on everything.
IFTTT is an app I cannot live without. It helps apps and devices work together with applets, the predicates made from Triggers and Actions. IFTTT means if this, then that.
For example, if you publish a new post on WordPress (trigger), then an IFTTT app can share that post on Facebook (action).
How IFTTT makes me productive
I use multiple productivity applets to make my life easier.
- Turn off push notifications when I am home
- Sync Alexa and iOS reminders
- Track your work hours in Google Calendar
- Automatically create a new doc for notes when a meeting is added to your Google work calendar
- Sync new events added from an iOS Calendar to your Google Calendar
IFTTT is available on Android and iOS.
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What are your favorite apps to get things done?
I love productivity apps especially when I don’t need to shell out money, and still get the features and functionalities that help me get more things done.
These Getting Things Done apps have different approaches to improving your current workflow. It’s a trial-and-error until you get the gist of the tool and integrate it with how you work.
When you try a GTD app, give it a month or two before you decide whether to continue using it or not. With a frequent review of your workflow, you can learn more about the GTD system that works for you.