I found my apps, FINALLY.

Productivity Apps
Productivity Apps

I have been on the look out for my productivity apps and I finally found them. I did some soul searching over the last few weeks and stopped with ALL productivity apps altogether. It, surprisingly, wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I didn’t write anything down I didn’t need to and when I did I just used Apple Notes and they were just scratch notes I will, eventually, maybe someday delete.  They were just like those sticky notes you need for a minutes and can trash.

Anyway, I stopped with the apps and I thought for days (made sure this wasn’t an overnight thing) what I needed out of a productivity apps.

These are my needs for my task management app:

  • Deadlines
  • Reminders
  • Headlines/Sections
  • Recurring Tasks
  • Board View
  • Attachments
  • Notes Area
  • Free or already paid for One-Time Purchase.

These are my needs for my notes app:

  • Cross-Platform so I can access notes or anything else on ANY device (PC, Mac, iPad, etc.)
  • Callouts & Code Blocks so I can store things in different ways.
  • Free or already paid for One-Time Purchase.
  • Works with the Apple Pencil

As you can see I don’t have many needs so A LOT of apps meet my needs until you get to the free or already paid for one-time purchase item. I don’t have many already paid for one-time purchase apps and there aren’t many free apps these days. So, these are the apps I decided on.

My Apps

Trello

I decided to use Trello for my projects. It is the best way I have found to manage my projects and now that I found out that the power-ups are unlimited and free, I can do tons with my boards. My projects I always prefer to have as a kanban style anyway and since that is the primary way Trello works, it works well with my brain. I also only really needed attachments and notes for these project tasks so this is another point in Trello’s favor for me.

Things 3

I already have it purchased and I am a TestFlight beta user so this just works for me. It has deadlines & due dates. While I do have some gripes, I can live with them. It works the best and if I ever need location-based reminders (rare) I can use Apple Reminders for those. I am super happy with the way I have Things 3 setup.

UpNote

It is the best cross-platform note app that I have found. It has all of the features I want/need and more. I paid for the lifetime over a year ago (probably longer than that) and while I do not like how the devs have access to all notes (including locked ones) it has tons of features and the editor can do so much especially with keyboard shortcuts. Another thing I don’t like is the size limitation of attachments (20MB) but anything bigger will go in OneDrive and I’ll save a link to it in my notes.

OneNote

I can’t use UpNote because when you handwrite/draw text with it, it saves the handwriting/drawing as an image and then you can’t edit that previous handwriting again. I don’t remember it working this way though that doesn’t matter much because this is how it works now. I handwrite and then I want to go back and edit that handwriting at a later time if I want to. I can’t do that with UpNote. So, OneNote is where I am at. I have been using it since a few days after this post and I am happy. I have my desktop set to keep 60 backups and backup once an hour to an extra internal HDD I have in my computer that is then backed up to OneDrive. So I have 2 copies of my notebooks and I have the handwriting. I also figured out I can use Freeform to create sticky notes or shapes and then copy and paste those into OneNote so I have an entire page dedicated to just those. My entire notebook is only 183MB. The max that can be synced is 2GB though I think it will take me YEARS to get there as I have journals dating back to 2014 in my notebook. This includes that page with a whole bunch of random images on it. So, I am not worried about space or anything like that. I can see myself using OneNote for years to come. If anything ever happens I know I have other places I can go and that I will know how to use so I’m not worried about OneNote going away either. I am finally happy with the way it works and what I am using. It has been a really good feeling to not be limited in anything and to not be customizing my app like crazy and just using it.

Notion

I use Notion to collaborate at work and to keep track of things I want to share for the games I play. You can visit Dude, That’s Erin’s Games and see what I mean. I have moved everything else to Trello so I have offline and online access to the important things since Notion is online only.

Spark

I refuse to use Apple Mail because I will get notifications for emails on all of my devices and then the notifications stay if I read them on one. For example, I get an email and it notifies me on my iPad, iPhone and Mac and then I read it on my Mac and do something with it, it doesn’t sync to my iPad and iPhone until I open the app. For some reason, while Apple Notes, Reminders, etc. have background syncing (meaning they sync when you aren’t using your device) Apple Mail does not. I don’t get this decision. Maybe in iOS25 (lmao – only partially a joke) we will get that.

So, I use Spark. It automatically syncs in the background (not sure how) or at least syncs frequently and keeps itself in the foreground so I don’t have to worry about any of that. On Desktop I can copy links to notes and link them to tasks in Things 3 or Trello and those links work cross platform. Also Spark is cross platform so no matter what device I use, it will work and function similarly.


These are my apps. I’m so happy I finally found apps I can stick with. Other than this, I’m using default apps on all of my devices but I’ll talk about what apps are on all of my devices later. Stay tuned for that.

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