Productivity Tools – 17 Apps To Save Time, Money & Stress
In my personal and professional life there are a collection of productivity tools I’ve become accustomed to using. Through trial and error I’ve developed a system that works and try best to leverage them to free up time, peak productivity or make my life easier.
It’s my productivity tool box per day.
You probably have a similar run of apps and services to help you navigate your time management, planning, goal-setting and workflow as well. The growth in power, ease of access and cost-effective offerings have really helped make productivity solutions available to the masses.
The below includes some obvious productivity tools and many of the more popular free apps or services. They’re highly rated and heavily used for a reason plus they’re cost-friendly.
The productivity tools covered include:
- Daily Planning Tools
- Goal Setting & Habit Tools
- Project Planning & Collaboration Tools
- Time Tracking & Concentration Tools
- Money Management Productivity Tools
- Blogging Productivity Tools
- Other Productivity Tools
There are dozens of websites, apps, services and products available across every category. These are just what work for me in my career, blog, personal finances and life in general.
Moleskin Notebook – Daily Journal Planner
The physical act of writing out your to do list, goals, daily plans or thoughts on life is a powerful productivity practice.
I journal every evening for two purposes: reflect on the day that was and plan the coming day. I touched on this a post discussing how waking up at 5am changed my life as well as when I detailed my nightly productivity routine.
This article from, the Huffington Post touches on 10 surprising benefits you’ll get from keeping a journal. The journaling process I do every night has definitely helped with #2, #3, #6 and #10 from that list.
As a productivity tool, a moleskin notebook can serve as springboard for planning, accountability, reflection and commitment.
Todoist – Lists & Planning
This simple, yet extremely effective daily planning and tracking app is a stalwart of productivity tools: Todoist.
The productivity purpose for me is to create a clear overview of the most essential and trivial tasks. You can build recurring tasks, generate multiple lists, prioritize items, check off tasks as completed and track your progress.
Todoist syncs across all your devices to ensure you’re connected no matter where you are. Plus has integration with Google Calendar, Dropbox, IFTTT, Amazon Alexa and other tools.
There is a free tier and premium option ($40 annually) with some added features.
Google Calendar – Best Scheduling Tool
With multiple daily devices and specific schedules needed for a professional and personal life, an effective, easy to use calendar tool is essential.
I’ve yet to find one that works better for my life than Google Calendar.
It’s free, simple to use, integrates with almost everything and has a bevy of features. The notifications, ongoing reminders, file attaching and a dozen other elements make it an essential productivity tool.
stickK – Goal Setting Commitment
Personally, I’ve only used this once in the last 12 months as part of a fitness challenge with a group of friends ahead of a wedding. How? The feature known as Commitment Contracts. The power of loss aversion and accountability drive behavior change, stickK looks to capitalize on that.
You pledge to accomplish a goal, sign a Commitment Contract, get a Referee (verification person) and put something on the line, like money, that will be forfeited if you don’t reach your goal.
In our instance we all pledged to lose 10 pounds (or 15 for the bigger guys) in the 4 months leading into our best friend’s wedding. We all put $100 on the line.
It was great and I will definitely be firing this up again in the near future.
The stickK platform has seen almost 1 million fitness goals, 25 million cigarettes not-smoked and over $36 million in Commitment Contracts signed.
Coach.me – Habit Tracking
Coach.me is a free habit tracking tool to support your quest for productivity and personal growth.
The app and web platform is packed with features to get you tracking habits, setting goals, receiving encouragement and better understanding the road to achieving what you want.
I’ve started using this for two purposes: get up and walk around more often at work to and to remind myself to read every night.
Trello – Collaboration Productivity
Trello is a one of the most recommended and highly-rated productivity tools for managing projects and collaboration efforts.
I use this in my professional life for our team at the office and digital marketing side hustle projects that include multiple contributors.
The straightforward explanation of the system is that you have a “Board” (like the main overview of a project). On that board you add “Cards” (specific tasks) and then within those cards there are different features and functions. Group members are able to update on the status of tasks, add new tasks, include attachments, make checklists, create deadlines, set notifications, etc.
Trello is free and available through app and web for all devices.
Slack – Communication Is Key
Slack is a powerful communication platform that allows teams to create multiple channels and threads to discuss specific projects.
Best of all it’s free.
It helps keep all communication and key updates in one place. The channels are searchable, file sharing is easy and it’s user interface is easy for anyone to grasp.
Clear, concise communication is key for any collaborative productivity tool and Slack delivers.
Toggl – Time Tracking
Toggl is a service that helps you improve your time management through their simple (yet powerful) time tracking app.
It’s a paid platform, with different tiers, that our office pays for as part of their productivity tool pack for employees. It works on all devices plus has a browser extension that can sync with a variety of software and services so you can best track your time.
If you’re a freelancer or work at at an agency that charges clients by the hour, it’s a great investment. Toggl can help get a holistic understanding of where your time is being spent with their reporting features.
Toggl offers a 30 day free trial.
Spotify Productivity Playlist – Concentration Tool
Another element of my personal productivity tool collection is a playlist I crafted on Spotify. The purpose of this playlist would be similar to the idea of “Pavlov’s Dog”.
Once I hit play and these specific songs start to hit my earbuds, I know it’s time to lock down and concentrate on the task at hand.
It’s a mix of pump-up, motivational songs at the start that then leads into calmer acoustic and electronic instrumentals.
One recommendation I’ve seen many others make are the cafe/coffee shop type of loops. If you don’t like working in the dead calm of quiet and music is too distracting, these loops help simulate background noise and light conversation similar to a coffee shop setting.
Try building your own playlist based on the genre of music that helps you best concentrate. Test out a coffee shop loop or a popular Spotify playlist like Brain Food.
Related Post: Time Is A Finite Resource – Live A Purposeful Life.
Mint – Budgeting & Tracking Automation
The tracking and budgeting powers of Mint make it a powerful productivity tool as part of your financial tool belt.
It puts all your spending and financial accounts in one central place. The automation behind their tracking and categorizing saves you time when you’re looking to review your spending habits or build a budget.
It’s one of the most popular, highly-rated money management services available.
It’s a free service that makes staying on top of your money so much easier.
Questrade – Quick, Cost-Effective Investing
Questrade is the discount brokerage of choice for many Canadians. Why? Free purchasing of ETFs and an easy to use platform to manage your portfolio.
Questrade is a financial productivity tool as it takes me less than a 90 seconds every two weeks to manage my retirement accounts (TFSA and RRSP).
It’s save you time, money and makes your financial life easier.
Tailwind – Pinterest Made Easy
Tailwind is the amazing scheduling service for Pinterest. It’s the definition of a productivity tool due to the fact that it saves you serious time and increases your overall effectiveness on the Pinterest platform.
You can schedule a weeks worth of pins with minimal effort and dive into their insights to ensure you’re sharing the most optimal content. Not to mention Tailwind Tribes. These are like Pinterest Group Boards but with highly engaged, active users that have the ability to share your pins to thousands (or millions).
Tailwind and Tribes have been a major driving factor in growing the reach of this blog.
If you want to get started with Tailwind, you can get a $15 free credit by using my link (and I’ll get $15 credit as well so thank you).
Snappa – Great Graphic Design Tool
Snappa is a graphic design tool that’s growing in popularity and I’ve been on board since day 1 of this blog.
In a matter of minutes you can whip together blog post graphics, social sharing images, ads and other pieces of creative. With a few clicks you can automatically resize a graphic to fit any platform.
This blogging productivity tool is a major time saver and allows non-graphic designers without Photoshop, like me, the ability to drag-and-drop to create some great graphics. Their library includes 50,000+ free stock licensed photos, tons of icons, custom fonts, templates, tutorials, etc.
You can get started with Snappa today if you’re a blogger, social media manager, freelance digital marketer or require access to an effective, user-friendly graphic design tool.
ConvertKit – Powerful Email Service Provider
ConvertKit is the email service provider recommended and used by many bloggers and small businesses, including myself.
Why? They’re great.
The opt-in forms, auto-responders, sequences, tagging, segmentation and content delivery tools make ConvertKit the perfect productivity tool.
Everything fits together perfectly and their user interface is quick and simple to master.
If you’re looking to upgrade or on the fence about what ESP to use with your blog or business, ConvertKit gets my vote.
Google Docs, Sheets, Slides & Forms – Ultimate Toolkit
The collection of apps and services available for free from Google are amazing (you already know that). The days of needing to purchase Microsoft Office to have access to a word processor, spreadsheet tool or presentation builder have been gone ever since.
Google Docs, Sheets, Slide & Forms are all free, integrated across countless other services, accessible through almost any device and powerful productivity tools in their own right.
These are amazing productivity tools for quick, easy access to work and collaborate with others.
LastPass – Password Manager
Tracking dozens of passwords for different sites and subscriptions used to be stressful and the complete opposite of productive. The “incorrect username or password” in red across the screen and the wasted time trying to remember or reset it.
LastPass solved that and I use it to store all my login details.
It’s free, like most of the productivity tools listed here, and helps you save time, stay organized and increase online security.
Physical Activity – Exercise To Drive Productivity
This isn’t a productivity tool but it’s definitely a productivity tip.
Physical activity, whether it be an exerting workout or going for a walk, has countless benefits for your personal and professional productivity.
This article from the Harvard Business Review lists improved concentration, faster learning, and enhanced creative as just a few of the benefits for productivity that physical activity provides.
If you’re in a rut or feeling disconnected from the tasks at hand, a quick workout can often be the solution.
In Closing…Productivity Tools
The 17 productivity tools above are just scratching the surface of what’s currently available.
From writing software that eliminates all other functions on your computer to intensive time management apps that dial into every moment, the solutions to help you work smarter, faster and better is ever-growing.
Time management and productivity are common strengths of some of the most successful people.
Time is a finite resource and there’s only so much of it to accomplish what you want. If there’s something out there that can help me achieve that better and faster, I want to hear about it.
What productivity tools do you use?
Do you have any top time management or productivity apps and services?
Let me know in the comments below.
Here are some other posts to help you take control of your money and life:
- Waking Up At 5AM Changed My Life – Win The Morning, Win The Day
- A Productive Day Starts The Night Before – Set Yourself Up For A Successful Morning
- Top 75+ Podcasts To Help Improve Your Life, Finances, Business, Health And More
- 15 Smart Money Moves You Can (Easily) Make This Month
- 89+ Personal Finance Tips – Budget, Save, Make, Invest & Better Manage Money
- Investing In Yourself – The Most Valuable Asset You’ll Ever Own