My top productivity apps for 2021

As you may have gathered from some of my posts in 2020, I’m a big advocate of productivity apps and I’m always on the look out for tools and techniques to help make my personal and professional life more organized and productive.

So as we have well and truly started 2021, I’ve revamped my productivity toolbox and have started testing out some different apps to help me stay organized and productive.

Notion

Not a newcomer by any means, the rapidly growing and increasingly essential workspace app Notion, is the central tool to my current productivity system.

Acting as my “second-brain”, Notion is my go-to tool when it comes to planning out my goals, developing new ideas, drafting contents, keeping tabs on my day-to-day todo’s and generally helping me connect my ideas, insights, thoughts and experiences.

With that said, for me the main pull of Notion is twofold.

The first is being able to consume different content with more intention, helping me organize quotes, extracts or media that I capture and find connections to my own goals or projects.

The second is having a go-to workspace that has all of life’s stuff neatly stored and organised in a way that makes sense to me.

My 2021 Personal HQ template on Notion

Day One

I’ve always been pretty good at keeping a journal by hand, but my main issue is that 1) My handwriting didn’t get past primary school and 2) I never find myself looking back at my notebook, it’s always been forward looking.

My favorite feature of Day One, apart from the generally beautiful UI and UX and flexible means of documentation, is the “On This Day” feature that allows you to quickly revisit a day from the past and actively engage with what you’ve previously documented — no handwriting deciphering needed.

Day One across all devices, allowing you to journal how you like.

Drafts

Previously I used to solely use Apple Notes for all my note taking needs, and I still do have loads of stuff I’ve previously captured there. However, for the last month or so I’ve been experimenting with Drafts.

At first glance Drafts appears to be just another note taking app, but once you start to use it and figure out the power of tagging, interface adjustments and actions that can integrate with tonnes of apps to supercharge your productivity and/or content creation workflow.

Drafts is cross device allowing for quick capture at anytime

So in my workflow, I’ve been using Drafts to quickly capture meeting minutes and random thoughts and ideas. Then I usually tag them for easy access and filtering later on when I’m constructing content, designs and working on various personal and professional projects.

Instapaper

I was never a big advocate of saving content to read later, as I never thought I would in fact read it later. But ever since I stumbled upon Instapaper which allows me to quickly capture and consume web content on any device to read later in one click or tap.

Alongside helping me build up a personal “Topics Forest”, Instapaper also allows you to highlight and comment on you favorite quotes or passages, making my media consumption more active rather than passively consuming content.

Cross device capture allows me to build up my topics forest.

So having Instapaper always on hand, helps me build up a really nice digital library with notes and highlights that can later inspire new ideas and/or content creation.

Final words

So here are the four apps that I’ve been loving in 2021 and have found to make my content consumption more meaningful. Especially for students, creatives and entrepreneurial types, having dedicated tools and systems in place to organize different content, can be a big boost to productivity and those “writers-block” moments we all face.

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