The Productivity Awards 2016

The beginning of a new year provides each of us with a great opportunity to look back, take stock and prepare for the new year.  I have a particular approach for this outlined here.

This year I'm publishing The Productivity Awards, a brief summary of the top productivity apps that I've used in the past year.  A few caveats on this list:

1. I acknowledge that I'm a Mac user. As such, many of these will reflect a "Mac-centric" perspective.  Still, nearly all of the apps mentioned are cross-platform so to my Windows friends, do not despair!
2. This is not meant to be exhaustive by any means.  Many excellent products are available that didn't make the list.  What I have included are simply the most outstanding apps from my point of view.

3. None of the links are affiliates.  The Productivity Awards are a sincere way to express gratitude to the developers and productivity enthusiasts who make our work easier and more fun.  If you like the list and want a PDF version, use the form below.

Download the Productivity Awards Worksheet

A free PDF list plus "Conquering Email CheatSheet"

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Best All Around Todo App: Nozbe
Nozbe is available on Mac, Windows and online.  Their customer service is exceptional.  They update the app regularly.  They have a companion podcast.  With a GTD-framework behind the app, Nozbe is fast and reliable.  Now with both teamwork and collaborative features, it stands above the crowd.  Their CEO, Michael Sliwinski, is always pushing the envelope when it comes to rethinking how we work. 

Runner up: Todoist
Todoist is a phenomenal app.  It's light, feeling like a sleek sports-car with just enough to tackle all of your projects but without a high barrier of entry.  Their new shared-projects feature is awesome and the many colors allow for plenty of customization.  You can't go wrong with Todoist.

Best GTD-Specific App: Omnifocus
Sure, the UI may feel dated and it's still pricey, but Omnifocus is tops when it comes to a rigorous GTD-approach to productivity.  Think of it as a BMW of apps- not the prettiest but will stand the test of time and be user-reliable along the way.  That may be why OF is the app of choice for many GTD enthusiasts.  

Runner up: NirvanaHQ
Nirvana what?  This app may surprise you since it doesn't have a desktop app.  Still, you can use it within FluidApp if you really need to have a desktop version.  Nirvana is super-fast and has perhaps the best quick-key shortcuts of any app on the list.  Their team is really hustling to move this app into the upper levels of GTD software.

Best Project Management App: Asana
I first used Asana a few years ago and felt that it had too many features. Now, a few years later, it's simpler, more intuitive and very fast.  Their team-approach to shared projects is excellent and Asana truly allows your team to tackle projects with ease.  Asana can also serve as a personal todo-list manager in a pinch.

Runner up: Basecamp
Basecamp is sort of the grandfather of this category, owning it for nearly a decade. Basecamp still allows for some wonderful features (the daily check-in, chat) and their team (i.e. Jason Fried) is among the best in the business.  

Best Graphic Design App for Beginners: Canva
If you need something to look beautiful online, Canva is the app of choice.  From social media posts to your personal resume, Canva is a Swiss Army knife of online graphic design. It's simply the best and it's free for almost all of its templates.  Try Canva and you'll likely never need another design app again.

Runner up: Pablo by Buffer
Similar to Canva and with healthy Buffer integration, Pablo offers some nice templates that are very easy to use.  It may not be as full-featured as Canva but Pablo is a reliable app with enough bells and whistles to get the job done on your next Instagram or Twitter graphic.

Best Productivity Podcast: This is Your Life by Michael Hyatt
It's hard to find a podcast with better production, quality and frequency than Michael Hyatt.  His team consistently puts out thought-provoking content and reinvents the way we think about productivity and life.  Michael is quickly becoming this generation's Stephen Covey.

Runner up - Tie: Beyond the Todo List & Productivityist Podcast
Both Mike Vardy (Productivityist) and Eric Fisher (Beyond the Todo List) do a great job with the consistency and quality of their casts.  Each host is honest and slightly unscripted which makes for a more compelling show.  Too close to declare a winner!