As an entrepreneur, you know that utilizing the best tools and apps can make a huge difference to your productivity – and when your productivity is on-point, so are you. Here, we are comparing ten productivity apps in five battles.
Let the games begin.
Best Productivity Apps
Battle 1: Todoist vs. Wunderlist
Both Todoist and Wunderlist are, unsurprisingly, to-do list apps.
Todoist launched in early 2007 with a web-based app, but quickly added new elements – including a mobile version, a paid premium service, and browser extensions – throughout the year. In 2012, Todoist gained newfound popularity when it redesigned its interface to offer a minimalist and intuitive design and released native apps for iOS and Android.
Wunderlist launched in 2011 and quickly gained on other list-making apps. In fact, in 2013 Wunderlist for Mac was named App of the Year, while in 2014 both Google Play and Apple named the app as one of the best of the year. Earlier this month, Wunderlist announced a new integration with Slack that is sure to see it move closer to the top of the pile, if not the top…
What Todoist and Wunderlist have in common: Both apps are perfect for the busy entrepreneur who needs to keep track of ideas, tasks and time. Both apps allow you to: create categorized folders; add notes to tasks; set reminders and notifications; add due dates, and print lists. In terms of the main features you would want from a to-do list app, neither app stands apart from the other.
What Todoist has over Wunderlist: If checking items off a to-do list drives you and your motivation, you’ll love the Todoist Karma feature. Todoist Karma tracks your progress and displays it in colorful and fun graphs based on daily and weekly trends. For many, seeing progress in visual form can be a huge motivator, and you’ll definitely find that with Todoist Karma.
What Wunderlist has over Todoist: While both Wunderlist and Todoist have paid premium versions, Wunderlist lets you do more for less. For example, Wunderlist will let you add files up to 5mb in size with its free version, whereas with Todoist you’d have to have the premium version to add any files. Another example: Wunderlist offers a service where you can send an email to your Wunderlist app, and it will automatically add the email’s contents as a task. Again, you’ll need Todoist Premium for that.
The battle: These two apps put up a good fight in the ring. If you are a sucker for minimalist design, the clear winner is Todoist; in that area, it has Wunderlist completely beat. With that said, Wunderlist just pips Todoist at the post in all other areas. If you don’t want to pay for a to-do list app, you can pretty much get everything you need out of Wunderlist for free. Plus, now that Wunderlist is integrated with both Slack and Sunrise – two apps having a major moment in the spotlight right now – it’s even harder to ignore. (Author’s note: I use Todoist.)
Battle 2: Hootsuite vs. Buffer
Hootsuite and Buffer are social media management apps.
Hootsuite launched in 2008 under the name of BrightKit. The name Hootsuite was crowdsourced in early 2009 as part of an expansion plan by founder Ryan Holmes; by the end of the year, Hootsuite was an officially incorporated company with $1.9 million in funding under its belt. Fast forward to 2015; Hootsuite has more than 10 million registered users.
Buffer is a slightly younger company; it was launched in late 2010 in the United Kingdom. Buffer quickly gained traction, and within seven months of launch its co-founders – Joel Gascoigne and Leo Widrich – decided to move the start-up to San Francisco, at which point Buffer incorporated. As of January 2015, Buffer has more than 2 million registered users.
What Hootsuite and Buffer have in common: When it comes to social media management, the two key features that most of us are looking for are analytics and scheduling. Both Hootsuite and Buffer offer these services in spades. You can connect to multiple social media accounts – the amount differs depending on your plan – and then use the suite of tools to schedule updates, monitor the response, and keep tabs on your analytics and data.
What Hootsuite has over Buffer: If you (or your business) use your social media feeds to interact with your followers, Hootsuite is your best bet. Let’s say you are trying to build up your Twitter following. You can add “tabs” onto your Hootsuite dashboard that show your mentions, retweets and favorites (among others). Once you have these on the dashboard, you can actually reply within Hootsuite, which makes dealing with customer service an absolute breeze.
What Buffer has over Hootsuite: Speaking of a breeze, Buffer is the hands-down winner when it comes to scheduling. Buffer has everything you need to hone the best schedules for your various networks. Not only can you set different schedules for different networks, but you can then break down the scheduling further – for example, setting one schedule for Mondays through Fridays and a separate schedule for weekends. Once you have set your schedule within Buffer, you’re good to go; Buffer will automatically schedule your posts according to the times you have chosen.
The battle: This is a tough one to battle out, unfortunately. If you are only looking for analytics and scheduling management, Buffer has the win. Its clean interface, scheduling tools and its mass of extra features make it near perfect. With that said, if your business require heavy management in the areas of customer service and interaction, you’d have to go with Hootsuite. It is great to be able to do everything in one place and really keep tabs on what’s going out and what’s coming in, even though I find the Hootsuite dashboard to be a little clunky. (Author’s note: I use Buffer.)
Battle 3: Feedly vs. Pocket
Feedly and Pocket are tools used for reading and saving articles.
Feedly is an aggregator application that pulls the latest articles from your favorite blogs and websites in (almost) real-time via RSS technology. While Feedly has been around since 2008, it saw rapid growth in 2013 when Google shut down its Google Reader service.
Pocket is a “save for later” application that essentially allows you to “bookmark” your favorite articles from across the web for future reading. Pocket was founded in 2007 and has seen exponential growth; not only is it integrated with hundreds of other apps, but it is available across multiple devices and services.
What Feedly and Pocket have in common: Compared to the previous two app battles, this one is different. In this case, you can’t actually directly compare Feedly and Pocket because their offerings are slightly different. With that in mind, they do have a few features in common: both Feedly and Pocket allow you to read web articles that you have “saved for later” while on the go.
What Feedly has over Pocket: Feedly excels at a few things, not least of which is its customization options. You can customize almost everything – from little things, such as the color of your toolbar, to big things, including the presentation of your feeds. There are tons of save-and-share options, too. You can save articles to be read later (online-only); share articles on your favorite social networks; and email articles to friends. Feedly also has apps available for iOS and Android devices.
What Pocket has over Feedly: The beauty of Pocket is that it’s quick, simple and great at what it does. For example, if you use Google Chrome as a web browser, you can install the Pocket extension. Then, whenever you discover an article, web page, picture or anything you’d like to save, you simply hit the Pocket button at the top of your browser, and it’s done. The content is now saved in your Pocket folder, ready to read at your leisure, online or offline.
The battle: Feedly and Pocket are both great apps, but the truth is this: where one lacks, the other makes up, so in this particular battle the title cannot solely be held by one app. On the contrary, these two apps work best when they are used in unison. Feedly is the best place to pull articles from all your favorite websites and blogs. You can divide them into categories; they are sorted by title, and you can easily see the blogs that you are behind in reading. As you click through each article, you can make a snap decision as to whether you want to read further or ignore it. After all, you don’t necessarily want to read every article on every site, and that’s where Pocket comes in. Instead of reading the article then and there, you can hit the “Save to Pocket” button, and it will, obviously, save the article to Pocket. Then, you are free to return to that article later on – either when you have finished browsing the full Feedly list or hours or days later. Because you have saved your articles to Pocket, which offers offline reading, you’ll be free to choose any time that suits you. (Author’s note: I use both.)
Battle 4: Basecamp vs. Asana
Welcome to the battle of Basecamp and Asana, two project management tools.
Basecamp, forward-thinking software that it is, was launched all the way back in 2004. Despite its early launch, the Basecamp that you have come to know and love – the “new” Basecamp – didn’t actually launch until 2008. Since then, more than 15 million users – including big-name businesses such as Twitter and Nike – have utilized Basecamp to manage their projects.
Asana was created in beta in 2008 and quickly wowed the industry. Hardly surprising, given that it had Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and former Facebook engineer Justin Rosenstein at the helm. By the end of 2011, Asana was out of beta and funded thanks to a $1.2 million angel round that closed in the spring of that year.
What Basecamp and Asana have in common: When it comes to project management, everyone and every business will have different requirements. When it comes to the basics, though – collaboration, storage and team management – both Basecamp and Asana tick all the boxes.
What Basecamp has over Asana: Basecamp offers a pretty robust all-in-one service, which is essential for big companies and teams. The biggest win Basecamp has over Asana is its storage facilities. While you do need to pay for excess storage, storage is available within the software. On the flip side, if you need to store items with Asana, you have to use one of its many integrations, such as Dropbox or Google Drive. For big teams, big projects and big businesses, having every aspect of your project within one service is a major plus.
What Asana has over Basecamp: When you have a small business, or you are just starting out, it is typically imperative that you be as financially lean as possible. In this scenario, Asana has a leg up. Asana is free to use for teams of up to 15 people, which would encompass many a business. Once you go over that mark, pricing increases based on the number of users. For example, up to 5 members is $21/month when paid annually, while up to 30 members is $167/month paid annually.
The battle: As you can probably tell, when it comes to determining the winner of this battle it comes down to points. If you want an all-in-one service and you understand that you pay for what you get, head straight to Basecamp and pitch your tent. On the flip side, if you really just need a good, easy-to-use tool – either for free or at a low cost – Asana is your best bet. (Author’s note: I use neither, currently.)
Battle 5: Evernote vs. OneNote
Evernote and OneNote are, as the names suggest, note-taking apps.
Evernote is a cloud-based note-taking service. The full Evernote suite can be used across your entire range of devices – phone, tablet and computer – which is just one of the reasons why Evernote has consistently been one of the most popular note-taking apps since its launch in 2007.
OneNote is a note-taking app often considered one of Microsoft’s most underrated apps. Yes, OneNote is available as a part of the Microsoft Office suite, but you can also buy it as a free stand-alone application, and of course it can be downloaded onto your various devices.
What Evernote and OneNote have in common: No surprises here: both Evernote and OneNote have all the basic features that you could want in a note-taking tool. Both offer organizational features such as categories, tags and so on; both offer formatting options that make marking up your notes a breeze; and both offer sharing capabilities that are extremely handy, especially when it comes to brainstorming new ideas and projects with your team.
What Evernote has over OneNote: While both Evernote and OneNote offering sharing capabilities, for entrepreneurs who want to brainstorm with team members, Evernote is the winner. You can start a chat about any shared note, which is a major plus. The other major feature that makes Evernote – pardon the pun – noteworthy is its product line. For example, Evernote Scannable transforms all the actual, physical notes in your life into scanned documents. It’s a lifesaver.
What OneNote has over Evernote: The beauty of OneNote, particularly for old-school pen-and-paper fans, is that it gives off serious notebook vibes: notebooks can be divided into tabbed sections; those tabbed sections can have various pages, and pages can feature anything from scrawled notes to organized tables. Particularly exciting for old-school notebook fans? The tags. There is a huge array of “tags” – which, technically, are icons – that you can click on to highlight particular sections on the page that are notable for one reason or another. For example, if you are quickly jotting down an address, you can click the “Contact” icon, and it will insert a tiny business card icon next to the address. For anyone who likes leafing through old notebooks full of scribbles, it’s a winner!
The battle: There is a lot to be said about both Evernote and OneNote, and plenty of people do use them both. For example, some prefer to use Evernote for work and OneNote for play. However, in the battle for the best note-taking app for entrepreneurs, the prize has to go to Evernote. While OneNote has tons of great features, it can get quite messy at times; the design is essentially the opposite of Evernote’s minimalist aesthetic. OneNote seems to be aimed at students, in particular; it is a great note-taking service that functions and syncs well, but it doesn’t require a lot of thought. On the flip side, entrepreneurs are busy go-getters who can’t afford to be bogged down with clutter – either mentally or physically. In that sense, Evernote’s minimalist vibe, categorizing and tagging capabilities, sharing options, and additional tools make it great for the on-the-go businessperson. (Author’s note: I use Evernote.)