When it comes to productivity, there are two basic schools of thought. One rewards you for getting things done in a timely fashion, while the other punishes you for falling behind. The type of motivation that works best for you is largely a matter of personal preference, but whichever side of the fence you tend to lean toward, rest assured: there’s an app for that!
For those of you who appreciate a swift kick in the pants, we’ll start with the less forgiving productivity tools.
This app for iPhone and Android hits you right out of the gate with a healthy dose of public humiliation. For each time that you hit the snooze button on your alarm clock, BetterMe will automatically post a message on your Facebook timeline letting all your friends know that you were too weak-willed to get up on time. Again. It can also be programmed to shame you if you miss a deadline, fail to go to the gym as planned (you have to check in via GPS, so no fibbing), or fall behind on any custom goal. It doesn’t use Twitter, so if you’d prefer to reproach yourself there, you’ll just have to type out your own admonishments for now.
Never has a simple to-do list been so cruel. With the gentle disposition and amiable personality of GLaDOS, Carrot insures that you get your daily tasks done. Or else. The iOS app actually covers both sides of the spectrum, handing out rewards for completed tasks, as well as meting out punishments to the less-productive. Finishing work also earns you points, which help you level up and unlock new rewards. If you do decide to let Carrot into your life, be sure you’re ready to pledge your undying loyalty by kissing the “ocular sensor,” because this and much more will be demanded of you.
The second rendition of this cult-classic web app (now available on iOS), Write or Die 2 pits your productivity against an onslaught of unpleasantries. Perfect for students and writers, it forces you to complete your wordcount goal in a set amount of time or face the consequences. You can choose from several different modes including Startle Mode, which eliminates the warnings before the consequences kick in, and Kamikaze Mode, which starts deleting words you’ve written if you pause for too long (so you can’t get distracted with Facebook, TV, or your favorite podcast)! You can also choose your own consequences from the dropdown menu of spiders, creepy critters, office horror, or Grumpy Cat. It’s a completely customisable experience. For the faint of heart, you can also turn Write or Die 2 into a positive reinforcement tool by using Reward Mode, which gives you a little boost for every milestone you hit on the way to your goal, and Stimulus mode, which supplies a pleasant writing environment for as long as you remain productive.
Now that we’ve covered some of the cruelest productivity apps out there, let’s take a look at the nicer side of things. For all of you “catch more flies with honey” types, these next three apps may be just the thing.
This innovative gamified app (available for Android and iOS) turns the boring to-do list into something that’s actually fun. It takes the small satisfaction of crossing a task off your to do list to a whole new level by awarding points, introducing levelling, and rewarding you with loot. The coolest thing about this app is its multiplayer feature, which allows you and your friends or coworkers to team up and work together; holding each other accountable and getting even more stuff done. The company that developed the app even offers corporate plans! Use it to accomplish anything and enjoy doing it.
Doable is a to-do app with a unique twist: it is able to prioritise your most important tasks or ones that you’re likely to be late on, and help you complete them before your deadline. It’s great for juggling both short and long-term goals, and has a special feature that keeps you on top of recurring tasks without having to reenter them all the time, so you can steadily work toward your larger goals. Doable blends the functionality of a calendar, a to-do list, and a weekly planner into one user-friendly app.
This app takes a more holistic approach to boosting your productivity. Bloom recognises that different parts of our lives are interconnected, and that something going on in one area can affect the way we perform in another. It offers a full suite of apps including a mood tracker, energy tracker, and others that focus on improving not only your daily productivity but your lifetime potential for productivity by helping improve your positivity, happiness, and energy levels over time. If the other apps are just bandages for your real productivity problem, Bloom will get straight to the heart of the matter.
There you have it: six great apps designed to boost your productivity, no matter what type of reinforcement you respond best to. Give them a try! You may find that one or more of these apps can turn your phone into a tool for success! Just don’t try them all at once, or you may find yourself experiencing a superhuman level of productivity that your mortal body simply cannot handle.