It's time to take control of your life again. Our smartphones are filled with distractions — we're all guilty of over-checking emails and procrastinating on social media — but the best productivity apps can help us complete to-do lists, take notes and manage time to get and stay organized.
Manage tasks with Wunderlist (free)
Wunderlist is a simple but powerful to-do list that'll help you get things done. The app not only marks down assignments, but allows you to set due dates and send reminder notifications as well. You can sort these duties through categories and share tasks with other users for a collaborative experience. The best part? It syncs seamlessly between multiple devices, including its mobile and desktop versions. It also plays a super satisfying chime sound whenever you check something off your list.
Take notes with Notability ($7.99)
Notability adds a modern twist to the memorable experience of writing notes by hand. Write naturally with intuitive digital ink, which can also be used to sketch drawings, highlight text or mark signatures on imported PDF files. For a more polished look, you can type outlined notes and add photos to those pages. It can even be used to record audio notes and link them to written documents. And, of course, it wouldn't be a proper smartphone app without the ability to sync to iCloud and share with other people.
Stay on schedule with Fantastical 2 ($2.99)
Just like with Wunderlist, you can set reminders with Fantastical 2 and then take it a step further by marking them on the app's beautiful, color-coded calendar complete with event details, geo-fence locations and a "DayTicker" for efficient schedule viewing. It's a step up from the stock calendar app pre-loaded on your phone, and it's a mere three bucks for now — the price will eventually go up to $4.99. (Fantastical 2 is Lifehacker's top pick for calendar apps as well.)
Track time with 30/30 (free)
It's easy to plan general goals for the day, but what about the hour — or for 15-minute intervals? Welcome to the extremely productive world of timeboxing. With 30/30, assign tasks for the most specific period possible. Simply set up your list of duties, select the length of time you want to do each one for and then start the timer. When the timer runs out, 30/30 will remind you to move on to the next task. It's a fantastic way to micromanage your workload.