Microsoft

Need to shake up your work routine? Try a productivity app.

There is, put simply, a ton of crap to get done. Keeping track of all of it can be a real nightmare, which is why you may want to set your sights on a productivity app. Increasing your productivity means something different to everyone. Maybe you often feel overwhelmed by the tasks in front of…

There is, put simply, a ton of crap to get done. Keeping track of all of it can be a real nightmare, which is why you may want to set your sights on a productivity app.

Increasing your productivity means something different to everyone. Maybe you often feel overwhelmed by the tasks in front of you and want a way to sort them into categories. Maybe you want a to-do list that’s better than a Google Doc. Maybe you want to split tasks into smaller, more manageable goals: a method that makes big projects seem less daunting and can also Speaking of distractions, maybe you want to decrease the time you spend scrolling through social media during the workday and increase the time you spend working. 

Whatever your needs, there’s likely a productivity app that’ll give you a little boost — or at least some insights into your current behavior.

What is a productivity app?

For the purposes of this list, we’re defining productivity apps as tools to help individuals spend their time according to their own priorities, whether those are work-related, hobby-related, or just a general decrease in social media use or screen time. There are also productivity apps available for business use — even versions of some of the tools on this list! — but we focus on personal productivity options here.

Most of the options on this list are available for iOS, Android, and desktop. Only one — Stayfocusd — is a browser extension; the rest are downloadable apps. Our top productivity tool, Todoist, is cloud-based, which means it syncs across multiple devices. If you work across several operating systems or expect to switch frequently between a desktop app and a mobile app, this might be a good option for you.

Free versions vs. premium versions

While the “21 days to form a habit” thing is , it does take time to get used to new practices — and to figure out what actually works and what you’re just honeymooning with. 

With that in mind, we generally recommend starting with the free version of your tool of choice for a month or so, then moving up to the premium version if it has features that you feel would improve your experience. 

Some tools on this list, like the list-making tool Do!, require a one-time purchase to get rid of ads. That’s generally worth it. Ads are extremely annoying (and not good, we surmise, for productivity). 

It’s important to note that even the best productivity apps are not an instant panacea for all your work-related problems. Even the tools you’ll end up liking will probably require troubleshooting and tweaks along the way as you figure out your ideal workflow. Give it time. And don’t forget to take breaks, hydrate, and prioritize sleep — you can’t app your way out of basic needs.

Here are our picks for the best productivity apps.

Best overall

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Image: Doist Inc

The Good

Streamlined UX • Cloud-based • Premium version is fairly affordable

The Bad

Limited to 80 projects in free version

The Bottom Line

Both the free and premium versions of Todoist are great for time management, but the premium version will get you a smorgasbord of features.

1. Todoist

Todoist is the mother of all to-do list apps, with plenty of features to play with in the premium version.

  • Free version: Yes
  • Premium version (paid monthly): $4 per month
  • Premium version (paid annually): $3 per month
See Details

Todoist is a task management powerhouse. It requires a bit more effort than list app Do! (also featured on this list), but will reward you with an efficient, streamlined way to organize all your tasks — and far fewer excuses to waste time.
Reviewers praise the productivity app for its clean look and ease of use, as well as its ability to sync between devices and apps. “It’s easy to navigate and use and the fact that it works on all my devices and syncs the creation and completion of the tasks is one of the things that helps make it a must have app!” writes one App Store reviewer. “I have been using it for a few weeks and find myself appreciating the native features that makes entering tasks a breeze.”
The first tier of Todoist is free, but a premium account costs $36 per year (billed annually) or $48 per year (billed monthly). In the premium version, users can invite other users to collaborate on tasks, set reminders, and write comments, among other things. If you’re new to the tool, we recommend using the free version for a while, then bumping yourself up a level if you love it. For the number of features you get, it seems to be a pretty good value.
Plenty of people use Todoist in conjunction with Getting Things Done, a book and task management system by consultant David Allen. If you’re struggling to make sense of the tool, consider approaching it from that angle.

Best website blocker

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Image: Stayfocusd

The Good

Easy to use • Useful “nuclear option” feature • Highly customizable

The Bad

Can’t set time limits for individual websites • Only works on Google Chrome

The Bottom Line

Though it does have limitations, Stayfocusd is a solid website blocker for the good-faith procrastinator.

2. Stayfocusd

Perusing r/relationships instead of working? Stayfocusd will help you stay off distracting social media and on top of your actual tasks.

  • Free version: Yes
$0 from Chrome Web Store

If your main barriers to productivity are social media doom-scrolling and Wikipedia holes, you may want to block your access to those activities entirely. The classic option for this is the Chrome extension Stayfocusd, which limits the amount of time you can spend on distracting websites. After the time limit you set is it up, you won’t be able to access the websites on your list. Don’t want to block all of YouTube? You can also block more focused destinations, like channels, subdomains, and individual webpages.
What sets Stayfocusd apart is its “Nuclear Option” feature, which lets you block a website for a certain amount of time regardless of the hours you’ve selected for unobstructed browsing. It’s called the Nuclear Option because it’s irreversible — once Twitter is blocked for 24 hours, it’s blocked. There’s no getting around it.
Otherwise, Stayfocusd’s major downside is that it’s easily overridden. It only works in Chrome, so if you really want to give into distractions, all you have to do is open another browser. But you’d never do that. We have faith in you.

Best for accountability

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Image: FOrest

The Good

Fun premise • Effective motiva

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Microsoft

Everyone getting a new computer for school needs this software bundle

TL;DR: As of Aug. 5, you’ll save 50% if you bundle McAfee Total Protection and Microsoft 365 Family through Dell. Getting a new laptop or PC ahead of the upcoming school year? Don’t forget to put some software on that bad boy before you or your kids hit the (possibly remote) classroom this fall: While…

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TL;DR: As of Aug. 5, you’ll save 50% if you bundle McAfee Total Protection and Microsoft 365 Family through Dell.


Getting a new laptop or PC ahead of the upcoming school year? Don’t forget to put some software on that bad boy before you or your kids hit the (possibly remote) classroom this fall: While most computers come with pre-installed suites of some basic apps — think Pages and Photos on Macs — it’s wise to look beyond these defaults for important features like antivirus protection and productivity programs. 

SEE ALSO: Stock up on these cheap school and office supplies from Amazon

As fate would have it, we’ve stumbled upon an awesome deal where you can bundle two top-of-the-line software products for the price of one: Dell is selling one-year subscriptions to both for just $99.99 altogether — a 50% savings.

McAfee’s offering is an all-in-one security solution that features a secure VPN, ID theft protection, and defense against viruses, malware, spyware, and ransomware. Buying Dell’s bundle gets you its $99.99 “Individual/Couples” plan, which can be installed across up to five devices (including laptops, PCs, tablets, and smartphones).

Microsoft 365, mea

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Microsoft

Why Triller and Snapchat can’t beat TikTok (unless Trump actually bans it)

The Trump administration’s possible ban on TikTok in the U.S. could prove to be a golden opportunity for the viral video app’s competitors.  This past weekend, President Trump announced that his administration was going to ban TikTok due to national security risks related to its Chinese-parent company, ByteDance. If the proposed ban moves forward, its…

The Trump administration’s possible ban on TikTok in the U.S. could prove to be a golden opportunity for the viral video app’s competitors. 

This past weekend, President Trump announced that his administration was going to ban TikTok due to national security risks related to its Chinese-parent company, ByteDance. If the proposed ban moves forward, its users will undoubtedly defect, and look for a new but similar app to create and post social content. However, it’s going to be very hard for those competitors to recreate the cultural phenomenon that is TikTok. After all, it’s not just a social media platform — it’s a discovery tool; it’s a community; it can ruin the President of the United States’ rally attendance. 

Some users have already flocked to competitors’ apps upon hearing the news. One of those apps that’s gaining a lot of attention now is Triller.

Can Triller replace TikTok?

Early last month, shortly after India banned TikTok for similar China-related security issues, Triller boasted about having 50 million monthly active users. Sure, that’s still tiny compared to TikTok’s 800 million monthly active users, but Triller is definitely growing. The app suddenly of Apple’s App Store charts over the weekend. On the day Trump announced the ban, Triller app downloads hit nearly 62,000 in the U.S. alone. 

Much like TikTok, Triller has a focus on short-form music video creation. It even has from some major music stars like Snoop Dogg and Lil Wayne. As of now, it seems Triller may become the main alternative choice for TikTok users.

However, TikTok has one important feature

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Microsoft

How to blur people’s faces in protest photos — and why you should do it

With mass protests taking place across the United States and abroad, social media safety is more important than ever. Enormous crowds of people are gathering in cities around the country to protest racism and police brutality in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, last week. Photos and videos of…

With mass protests taking place across the United States and abroad, social media safety is more important than ever.

Enormous crowds of people are gathering in cities around the country to protest racism and police brutality in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, last week. Photos and videos of these protests serve the very important purpose of documenting these actions as well as exposing police mistreatment of protestors. Posting them publicly, however, comes with its own risks.

For the safety of those involved, if you’re going to take photos at protests, you should consider blurring or pixelating the faces of those protesting before sharing them with the world. 

Thankfully, there are some easy ways to make this happen.

Why you should blur photos

In a word: Retaliation. It’s no secret that the federal government likes to surveil anti-racism protests through social media. The Intercept and Vice both reported on government monitoring of protest movements through social media after the killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Maryland, respectively.

Buzzfeed News reported Tuesday that the DEA has been granted authority to collect intelligence on protestors during this current wave of uprisings, too. This is all to say that anyone who shows up to

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Microsoft

Now’s a good time to brush up on core digital skills like Excel

TL;DR: Work on your digital skills with the for $48.99, a 95% savings as of April 25.  There’s no need to force yourself to learn a new skill or get toned while in isolation. Full stop. However, if you’re getting sick of Netflix and social media and want to brush up on some core digital…

TL;DR: Work on your digital skills with the for $48.99, a 95% savings as of April 25. 


There’s no need to force yourself to learn a new skill or get toned while in isolation. Full stop.

However, if you’re getting sick of Netflix and social media and want to brush up on some core digital skills other than scrolling Instagram, we’ve got just the thing. Forget learning to code or design graphics. You can work on improving a digital skill you already have with this and set yourself up for a bigger paycheck when this quarantine is over. That’s right; your ticket to higher pay has been in front of you all along.

According to a report from Burning Glass, more than eight out of 10 positions require core digital skills like using Microsoft Excel. So going bey

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