As solopreneurs, freelancers, and small business owners, we know all too well how difficult it can be to find time for friends, family, and other activities we enjoy in our hectic schedules. We know we should budget time wisely and say no when things overlap with our personal agendas, but unfortunately, that isn’t always the case.

Whether it’s a quick client call, a last-minute meeting, or a looming deadline, these seemingly harmless tasks add up and often make it hard to pull our focus away from work. Most of us need a little extra guidance to ensure a healthy work-life balance, and luckily there are plenty of apps for work-life balance out there to help us keep our priorities in check.

That’s why we’ve compiled a list of highly rated apps to keep you sane, active, and happy despite a full calendar. If you’re looking for the best ways to maintain your productivity, while still managing to make it to your uncle’s birthday dinner on time.

What is work-life balance?

Business News Daily defines work-life balance as “the state of equilibrium where a person equally prioritizes the demands of one’s career and the demands of one’s personal life.” That means making sure that alongside your career successes, you’re also achieving adequate fulfillment in all of the other areas of your life—personal relationships, hobbies and interests, physical and mental health, personal growth, and more.

Why is work-life balance important?

On top of being an all-star entrepreneur, you hold many important roles in your life – perhaps you’re a parent, sibling, spouse, friend, caregiver, or team member. Of course, you want to fulfill these roles to the best of your ability, but it isn’t always easy.

Above all, however, your most important role is “yourself”—you need to make time to take care of your mental and physical well-being! Balancing your priorities can be a challenging task, but it’s important to remember that maintaining a good work-life balance is a vital part of your overall health.

Both stress, particularly chronic stress, and burnout have been linked to several health issues including:

  • Hypertension
  • Digestive issues
  • Chronic aches and pains
  • Heart problems
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability

Not only is a poor work-life balance detrimental to your physical and mental health, it can also negatively affect your performance and productivity at work. In fact, according to a study published in IOSR Journal of Business and Management, work-life balance was found to have a positive and significant relationship with job performance overall.

When both spheres of life are well-balanced, you’re more motivated to work, you feel refreshed and energized during your work day, and you’re able to focus better, think clearer, and make better decisions.

Knowing all of this, it’s important to also note that everyone’s work-life balance looks a little different. You know yourself best, so it’s important to consider what balance looks like to you and what is important in your life. Just remember that the long-term impacts of poor work-life balance can easily sneak up on you, so you’ll need to regularly evaluate your lifestyle to make sure you’re still meeting all of your personal needs.

One of the most important ways to maintain work-life balance is finding effective ways to keep yourself organized. That’s why we recommend using apps that help you prioritize your daily tasks, organize your thoughts, and make time for your personal needs. Knowing where to direct your focus can be hard when you have a lot of things on your mind, but don’t worry, with the help of the apps we’ve suggested below, you’ll become a pro in no time!

Top 5 apps to improve work-life balance, starting today

1. Evernote—for when you need a second brain

There’s a reason why Evernote is one of the most well-known and highest-rated note-taking and task management apps out there. With a 4.4 Star rating on the App Store and a 4.1 Star rating on the Google Play store, Evernote covers all of your bases when it comes to managing your productivity.

We love their sleek and easily customizable Home dashboard because it allows you to view your most-used features first, such as your calendar, to-do list, or recent notes and clippings. It even has a scratch pad for you to quickly jot down your thoughts when you’re at your busiest, so you can turn them into notes later.

The “Tasks” feature is like a to-do list, but better, allowing you to connect related notes to your tasks, add due dates, schedule your tasks, set reminders, and assign tasks to your employees. The app’s features also seamlessly integrate with your calendar, so that you can add reminders, notes, clippings, and more to relevant calendar events.

The best part is the app is FREE, although Evernote does offer paid plans as well that offer larger storage, syncing to more devices, AI functionality, and better integration with your workflow apps such as Microsoft Teams, Slack and Salesforce. Their “Premium” offering will run you about $7.99 per month, while their “Professional” option costs double, at $14.99 per month.

There are some great guides out there that can teach you to effectively use Evernote, such as this beginners guide:

HOW TO USE EVERNOTE | Stay Productive & Organised Online with Evernote (Beginners Guide)

You can download Evernote here:

App Store | Google Play

2. Remember The Milk—for sharing lists with your partner

This is another fantastic app if you’re looking to get things done. Remember The Milk is a smart to-do list creator that allows you to prioritize and categorize all of your tasks. You can even set reminders that can be sent to your devices via email, text, IM, Twitter, or device notifications (available on Android, iOS, and Blackberry 10).

The list-sharing feature means that you and your partner can both have access to the same grocery list or whatever other list you create. That way, you’re no longer doubling up on shopping on the way home.

Note that mobile push notifications from the Remember The Milk app are only available in the Pro version, which will set you back $39.99 per year. The Pro version also offers a subtask feature for additional organization.

Remember The Milk connects to Google Drive and Dropbox, which allows you to link relevant files to your tasks. And like Evernote, Remember The Milk can also integrate with your other workflow apps. The one other downside to Remember The Milk is that although you can add locations to your tasks, you are not able to include location-based reminders.

Check out this great tutorial on how to maximize your productivity using Remember The Milk:

How to use REMEMBER THE MILK (RTM) for Getting Things Done (GTD)

You can download Remember The Milk here:

App Store | Google Play

3. Todoist—for keeping track of work and personal life to-dos

PCMag named Todist its Editors’ Choice among to-do apps, ranking it five-out-of-five stars, and for good reason. The simple and easy-to-use design categorizes your tasks per day or into “Projects” that you can divide into sub-tasks. The project feature means you can separate your personal and professional to-do-lists. Todoist even offers templates to get you started – from grocery lists and meal plans, to accounting tasks and meeting agendas. This is an incredible tool to help you get your personal and professional life sorted.

An interesting feature of Todoist is its “Reports” feature. Todoist tracks your productivity, compiling daily updated reports and giving you a “karma” score. This score is based on your individual statistics and your personal goals. We also love that you can group, filter and sort your dashboard in a way that works best for you. That way, the app is customized to best suit your needs.

There are dozens of ways you can set up your Todoist dashboard. Here’s a great video to get you started:

My Todoist Set-Up (Early 2022)

Todoist is a cloud-based service, so you can access your lists from anywhere, anytime. It’s also compatible with every major platform: Android, iPhone, iPad, macOS, Windows, Android Wear, Apple Watch, browser extensions, and the web. Alongside its free version, Todoist has two other offerings: Pro ($5 per month or $48 per year), and Business ($8 per person per month or $72 per person per year).

You can download Todoist here:

App Store | Google Play | Microsoft Store | Chrome Web Store

4. Pocket—for all those articles you want to read someday

Pocket is a bit different from the apps we’ve talked about so far. Formerly known as “Read It Later,” Pocket is a bookmarking app that saves articles that you come across during your day that you want to read, but don’t have time to in the moment.

If you struggle with cluttered bookmarks of all the many articles you had planned to read at some point, or are always sending yourself links to remind yourself to read or watch something you’ve come across online, this is the perfect app for you.

Pocket (Read It Later) demo.

Pocket’s beautifully-designed interface displays your bookmarks in a grid or list form and allows you to sort through them from newest to oldest, read your articles during your weekend reading hour, highlight quotes, mark your favorites, share articles with others, and discover recommended content from other long-form reading enthusiasts.

There is a paid “Premium” version for $4.99 a month or $44.99 per year, which adds a permanent library of all of your bookmarks. That way, if any of your favorite content is deleted off the internet, you can still access them from your library.

You can download Pocket here:

App Store | Google Play | Chrome Web Store

5. Shoeboxed—for decluttering receipts and tracking expenses

Shoeboxed is a receipt management app that takes the stress out of both your personal and professional finances. The same way Pocket helps to reduce your bookmark clutter, Shoeboxed sorts through your physical clutter—the piles of receipts you collect on your desk.

Turn receipts into data and deductibles!

Simply scan any receipt, document, or business card using your mobile device’s camera and Shoeboxed will store them in the cloud. The app also OCR scans documents so that you can easily sort through them and retrieve them using the search feature. This is great if you’re looking to systematize your finance and accounting processes. When tax time comes around, you’ll be able to easily compile all your necessary documents for both your business and personal taxes. The app also offers integration with several apps including QuickBooks, Wave Accounting, Excel, Outright, Xero, and dozens of other tools.

The Shoeboxed receipt app is FREE. But if you’re looking to take advantage of all of Shoeboxed’s features, popular digital-only plans include the Starter plan ($4.99 per month) and the Lite plan ($9.99 per month).

If you want to take advantage of Shoeboxed’s full service of offerings, including the Magic Envelope, consider trying one of their more comprehensive plans: Startup ($23 per month), Professional ($47 per month), and Business ($71 per month). For a limited time, you can take 25% off all plans! Check out this video if you’re thinking of trying Shoeboxed:

You can download Shoeboxed here:

App Store | Google Play


Frequently asked questions

Why is work-life balance important?

Poor work-life balance is not only detrimental to your personal life and physical and mental well-being, but it can also negatively affect your performance and productivity at work.

What are the top apps that improve work-life balance in 2022?

1.   Evernote—for when you need a second brain
2.   Remember The Milk—for sharing lists with your partner
3.   Todoist—for keeping track of work and personal life to-dos
4.   Pocket—for all those articles you want to read someday
5.   Shoeboxed—for decluttering receipts and tracking expenses


In closing

Improving your work-life balance is a challenge, but having the right tools to get started is the first step in gaining a healthier lifestyle.

Once you find the one that’s right for you,  take the plunge! Get organized and bring balance back into your life with these apps for work-life balance so that you can enjoy both your career and your personal life in equal measure!


Originally published on June 25, 2013. Updated on August 15, 2022.


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About Shoeboxed!

Shoeboxed is a receipt scanning service that supports multiple methods for receipt capture: send, scan, upload, forward, and more!

You can stuff your receipts into one of our Magic Envelopes (prepaid postage within the US). Use our receipt app (iPhone, iPad, and Android) to snap a picture while on the go. Auto-import receipts from Gmail. Or forward a receipt to your designated Shoeboxed email address.

Turn your receipts into data and deductibles with our expense reports that include IRS-accepted receipt images.

Join over 1 million businesses scanning & organizing receipts, creating expense reports and more—with Shoeboxed.

Try Shoeboxed today!