Productivity App and Tools

When I first started freelancing, I had no clue what apps, software, or tools to use to manage my time well. I only know how to organize my life with the help of my planner, and because I only had one client at that time; I was able to get through each week without having any issues nor delay with my tasks.

Now that I handle a lot of accounts and social media pages, I know that organizing my life with just my planner won’t do. I need to find ways to make my life easy and ensure that my work is getting done as efficiently as possible.

With the help of my past clients and recommendations by fellow freelancers, I managed to come up with a solid list of apps and tools in order to increase my work efficiency and productivity!

Note: I am not affiliated with these companies and I won’t be earning a commission through the links I’m sharing.

Contents

In order to make this post seamless and easy for you to navigate through, I’m going to add a way for you to skip through each section if you’re just looking for specific tools.

1. Trello

Trello is a project management system that allows you to plan, track, and organize your tasks. I first started using this when I first landed my client back in 2009. Since then, I’ve been recommending this to my clients who are just starting, have zero or very few team members, and are looking for a free tool to organize the company’s projects and to-dos.

trello

What I Like About It

  1. FREE!
  2. Uses a Kanban-style visual task board.
  3. Easy-to-use interface.
  4. Has a mobile app so you can easily track your to-dos anytime, anywhere.
  5. Allows you to have unlimited boards so you can add multiple projects all at the same time.

Disadvantage

  1. Does not work with big teams. When I grew my team to 3 web developers, 2 graphic designers, and 2 VAs; it was so hard for me to keep track of everyone’s tasks because it doesn’t show task dependencies.
  2. It performs well mostly for general types of project management, such as simple projects with several tasks, for smaller teams, and for straightforward schedules. Any highly specialized project that involves complex workflow or larger teams may find the software lacking.
  3. Limited integrations.

2. Teamwork

This is hands-down the best project management tool I’ve used (so far). When I grew our team and had 7+ employees to manage, Teamwork made my life easier! It also increased workflow productivity within our company because of the features and the agile methodology it uses.

teamwork

What I Like About It

  1. Easy-to-use, flexible, and feature-rich.
  2. It adapts as you scale the business.
  3. Better internal and external collaboration.
  4. Integrates with a lot of tools you usually use like Slack, Google Drive, Quickbooks, and so much more!
  5. Has a Gantt chart so you can see, at a glance, all of the tasks involved in a project, and their order, shown against a timescale. It gives you an instant overview of a project, its associated tasks, and when these need to be finished. With just one move of a task due date, everything else follows – making your life so much easier!

I have more positive things to say about this tool but I know for a fact that the list will end up getting longer!

Disadvantage

  1. If you’re new to project management and have no clue where to start, it can get overwhelming to set things up.

3. Google Keep

I recently discovered Google Keep from my client who uses this app with her whole family as a collaborator to list down their grocery items (genius!). Since then, I’ve been using it to take down notes whenever, wherever!

google keep

What I Like About It

  1. FREE!
  2. You can jot down notes in Keep on your Android or iOS device while in transit, and pick it up later on your computer.
  3. You can add many collaborators and anyone who makes changes can be seen by all the collaborators added into it.
  4. Capable of transcribing text from images.
  5. You can set a pop-up reminder for each note and it will show up across your Google account.
  6. You can filter by reminders, lists, images, drawings, or links.

Disadvantage

  1. Doesn’t integrate with Google Calendar.
  2. Access and mine data.
  3. Limited to multiple tags.
  4. No undo feature.
  5. No text formatting.

4. Process Street

Process Street is a workflow management tool that allows you to create SOPs, recurring checklists, and automated workflows.

With Process.st, you can easily create and customize organized checklists that allow you to utilize conditional logic, track progress, assign tasks and approvals, and integrate the tools your team already uses. You can also effortlessly manage processes such as employee onboarding or training with simple automation that will increase employee productivity.

process st

What I Like About It

  1. The UX/UI is just superb! The interface is responsive and it’s very intuitive and easy to learn for even if you’re not tech-savvy.
  2. Has a lot of pre-made templates covering all possible workflows.
  3. Ability to add guest collaborators. Meaning, you can add people outside your company.
  4. Schedule processes to run at a specific time or recurrently.
  5. Create rich descriptions of a process, add text formatting, headings, insert images, videos & sub-tasks.

Disadvantage

  1. No offline version.
  2. Processes dashboard shows only a limited number of processes and you have to click to see more.
  3. Limited access control and security options. You cannot restrict access per task, however, it’s possible to control who can start processes from a template or edit it.

5. Monday.com

Monday.com is a cloud-based Work OS in which teams can create workflow apps in minutes to run their processes, projects, and everyday work. It has a unique organizational approach that utilizes color and placement to help manage a team at a glance – perfect if you’re a visual learner!

monday.com

What I Like About It

  1. Has a mobile app.
  2. Centralized management with boards. Each board is color-coded and visually organized to help you see who’s working on a task, project, mission, and to-do and where they are in the process. For example, team members can put a “Stuck,” “Working on it” or “Done” status on each task.
  3. Reliable project organization and management. The platform enables teams to centrally organize their project information, resources, schedules, tasks, and communication into a highly accessible workspace.
  4. Has a Gantt-chart like feature called “Timeline”. The Timeline is ideal for tracking tasks or projects that span over multiple days or for teams with multiple workloads. If there’s a delay with a project or task, users can easily drag and drop timeline bars to extend the due dates. Users can also view multiple timelines on a single timeline board.
  5. Notifications take place in real-time via desktop and mobile apps.
  6. Integrates with most software and tools such as Dropbox, Gmail, Google Calendar, GDrive, and so much more!

Disadvantage

  1. Tiered, per-user pricing. Meaning, adding additional users with complete collaboration permission will result in additional costs.
  2. Although it has a mobile app, what you can do with it is very limited.

6. Slack

Ahhh, Slack. The unicorn company that makes collaboration a breeze! I’ve been using this tool since 2014 and I’ve been recommending it to more and more people since then!

slack

What I Like About It

  1. Communications are neatly organized and searchable. Different “channels” (can be public, private, shared, or multi-workspace) can be created for different projects, departments, and clients; and team members can jump in and out of conversations as needed. Meaning they won’t get notifications about conversations they’re no longer involved in.
  2. Integrates with Google Drive, Dropbox, SalesForce, and CloudApp.
  3. Very easy-to-use platform and intuitive for first-time users.
  4. Your data within the platform is always protected thanks to great security.
  5. You can download it straight to your desktop and it has a fully-functioning mobile app as well.
  6. Scheduled notifications. You can set a time and day of the week on when you can only get notifications. It’s a great feature if you want to keep work conversation within your working hours.

Disadvantage

  1. Your conversations get deleted after 14 days unless you opt for the paid plan.
  2. Minimum file storage.

7. Focus Keeper

Focus Keeper is an app that helps you focus on study or work for 25-minute bursts of time. It is similar to other apps based on the Pomodoro method of time management, which uses a timer to encourage productivity in 25 minute intervals.

How the Pomodoro technique works:

  1. Choose a task to be accomplished.
  2. Set the Pomodoro to 25 minutes (the Pomodoro is the timer).
  3. Work on the task until the Pomodoro rings.
  4. Take a short break.
  5. Every 4 Pomodoros take a longer break

focus keeper pomodoro technique

What I Like About It

  1. FREE!
  2. Bright and simple interface.
  3. Silent function. Great when you wanna use your own music or you just want complete silence when finishing your tasks.
  4. Helps with productivity and time management.

Disadvantage

  1. Have to pay for in-app purchases for more functionality and personalization options.
  2. Only available for iOS devices.

If you’re looking for other apps that have this similar function, I found an article that lists down all other apps that will work for both iOS and Android devices.

productivity app and tools

Find what works for you!

These are my top 7 picks for apps and tools in order to be efficient and productive at work. It took me years and years in order to find one that works for me, my lifestyle, and my line of work. Through this article, I hope I’m able to give you an idea of what you need in order to help you come up with your own list.

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