I recently came across this post from MSN Lifestyle about the 15 best apps for productivity. Usually when I see lists like this, I’m a bit skeptical because I’m one of those people that’s a minimalist when it comes to the apps on my phone. When I find an app I like, whether it’s for note-taking, organizing, or email, I usually stick with it. I decided to scroll through the apps and give them a chance, and I actually found that I use 3 of the 15 apps they list as most productive:

1. Evernote. I can’t stress how much I use this app. It’s great for everything–note-taking, storing PDFs, pictures, and so much more. I use it to make lists for everything from grocery shopping to apartment decorating ideas to things I want to accomplish in the next month. You can tag entries and organize them under a specific heading. I absolutely love how you can do so much in one spot.

2. Gmail. This may go without saying, but Gmail is the best email app ever. Sorry Yahoo or Verizon users, or anybody else who subscribes to any other email service. Gmail is organized and clean, and you get a ton of storage space for free. The app itself is so easy to use and works just like Gmail does on your computer (I hate downloading an app and having it not work at all like it does when you navigate on a desk or laptop). It allows you to label and organize your messages into various categories (which is great for the days when my Type A personality takes over and I just have to clear out my inbox).

3. Dropbox. Dropbox is a virtual folder you can keep on your desktop where you can drag and drop files. This app is perfect for storing files and sharing them with others with no stress or hassle. I set up a Dropbox for myself when I worked at my last job and it was a great way to keep up with the most recent version of a certain file. Sometimes documents can get lost in email and mixed up with other files, and Dropbox prevents that.

These three apps are free for Android and iOS and you can download all three to any device you have–a tablet, a laptop, your phone, anything. One of the problems I had with MSN’s list was that some of the apps cost money to download. Now, I’ll shell out some money if it means getting a great product, but there are so many free organizational and note-taking apps out there that I don’t really find it necessary to pay.

One app that I can’t rave enough about that this list didn’t have is Any.Do. This is a reminder app that saves my life every day. It’s free for Android and iOS (version 7.0 or later). You can add reminders and set the date and time you’d like to be reminded. Then, a pop-up will appear on your phone with the task you entered in and you can choose to be reminded later (15 min, one hour, three hours, or tomorrow), select done, or cancel. It also organizes your reminders into Today, Tomorrow, Upcoming, and Someday. I use this app primarily to remind myself of things I need to do each day, but I can see how it could be used to make lists (there’s a note-taking portion) and complete long-term goals.

I’m always looking for recommendations for apps (especially organizational ones), so what are some of your favorites?

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