There are plenty of productivity tools (or apps) out there. However, not many are actually good. So I’m first going to talk about some examples of what I consider to be the best online tools. Next, I’ll cover some free tools that you can use, and then finally some paid ones.
Here are a couple of productive tools that will enhance your productivity level.
Best email organization tool for teams that have a whole lot of email and not enough time to sort through them or those that want to prioritize their emails automatically.
Sanebox is the personal assistant everyone wishes they had to clean up their email inbox for them. It uses smart filtering to automatically sort your emails into different folders based on importance, so you can effectively focus your time on the high-importance emails first.
It does this by analyzing your email history to figure out which emails you care about and which ones you don’t so much. It’ll then move the not-so-important emails to a @SaneLater folder which hides all your meh emails out of sight until you have time to look at them. (Or until you ruthlessly hit “Send to Trash.” Y’know, whichever.)
It also saves any email attachments in the cloud for you and gives you the ability to snooze emails until you’re ready to look at them, to help you avoid distractions.
Beeminder is a motivation tool that helps users visualize goals and set measurable targets.
For example, if it is about going to the gym, spending less time on social media, learning a new language, investing time on a project with a deadline, this app is right for you. Not only does it help you focus on the goal, but minimize distractions.
Toggl was founded in 2006 and provides online time tracking software tailored towards freelances, graphic designers and consultants. One of the perks of the service is its generous free tier of service.
With Toggl, you can keep track of the time you spend on different tasks and review if you’ve spent your time wisely.
The functionality of Toggl is not restricted by device. In other words, it can work on your computer, tablet and phone while simultaneously keeping track of the number of hours worked on a specific task or project. It is an intuitive and easy-to-use service that provides users the tools they need to keep track of time.
Evernote is a household name and the company was founded in 2000. The app allows users to capture, organize and find your information across multiple platforms.
You can add to-do’s, images, web pages and has a built-in searchable option. You can organize and customize the notes whatever way you want for a seamless experience.
Best For: Personal use
Cost: Basic version is free (Premium version at US$70/year while Business package costs US$15 per user/month)
Just about everybody — from students to professionals — needs to take notes, download web pages, upload documents, prioritize tasks, and create checklists. Evernote does all that for you and more. Using cloud technology to sync your scribbles and important notes across all your devices, Evernote makes it easy to capture a brilliant idea and make detailed plans to make it happen.
Pros: Simple interface and reasonably customizable content. Comes with a free Basic version. The business package is one of the best office productivity tools.
Cons: With the free version, you can sync a maximum of just two (2) devices. Offline access is also limited. Upgrading to Premium solves these major issues.
Best For: Building professional and business relationships
Cost: Free Basic version (Premium tier starts at US$30/month)
A lot of things can happen on LinkedIn that you wouldn’t want to miss out if you care about your career or business. LinkedIn allows you to follow thought leaders, build relationships, access materials relevant to your craft, find jobs, share content, and learn new certifiable skills. A complete profile on the site doubles as a readily accessible online resume.
Pros: It’s the planet’s largest professional network and you can join for free.
Cons: The site has been criticized for mining your email contact list. Also, be sure to configure your privacy settings if you do not want to broadcast every minor tweak you make on your profile.
Best For: Fine-tuning email for optimum impact
Cost: Free Basic version (tiered upgrades start at US$5/month)
Don’t let email control your life. Instead, use Boomerang to manage distractions, enhance focus, and deliver the outcomes you want to achieve through effective email communication. Schedule messages for sending later. Set reminders. Automate replies. Track email receipts and responses. Pause your inbox to keep you focused on important tasks. Use AI to help you craft compelling emails.
Pros: Adds useful — almost indispensable — capabilities to your email platform, enabling you to automate redundant tasks, obliterate distractions, and achieve ever higher levels of productivity. Android and iOS versions available, with iPhone users getting access to an AI-driven voice assistant. Making it one of the best office productivity tools.
Cons: Mobile functionality and advanced machine learning variant of “Respondable” feature not included in the Basic version for web browsers.
If you want an efficient way to communicate with your team, Chanty is just the thing for you. Aside from text messages, you can also exchange audio messages, have audio and video calls, and share your screen. Chanty comes with an built-in project management feature – you can turn messages into tasks and manage them from within the app.
Pros: Fast and intuitive – the free plan has unlimited search history.
Cons: Chanty has a small number of integrations and customization options compared to major competitors.
Best For: Tracking time you spend working
Cost: Basic version is free for teams of up to 5 members (larger teams can use upgraded services starting at US$10 per user/month)
Toggl makes it simple and easy to track the hours a team or a single user clocks to get things done. The service integrates with many project management and collaboration tools such as Trello, Google Drive, and Asana. You can use Toggl via three channels: your browser, a desktop program, or native iOS and Android apps. Generate reports to analyze how you spend time and how you can keep productivity at full throttle.
Pros: Easy to implement. Starts tracking time without the need for a new tab. Comes with an idle detection alarm and a Pomodoro timer to propel productivity. Works even in offline mode.
Cons: Very limited reporting functions in free version.
Best For: Busy people who need to catch up on their reading
Cost: Free Basic version (Upgrade to Premium costs US$50/year)
Learn More: Help Topics
Focusing on your daily grind often leaves very little time to read online content that piques your interest. Good thing Pocket enables you to save articles and web pages for later consumption, so you can concentrate on your work without getting distracted. Pocket also allows offline reading, declutters article layout, and provides customization features for users to add tags and configure text settings.
Pros: Helps you save and organize interesting stuff to read. Has a mobile version that’s perfect for consuming content while commuting/on the go.
Cons: You’ll be amazed at how rapid your reading list grows over time, making you realize that catching up may not be that simple at all.
Best For: Creating, tracking, storing, and organizing documents on the cloud
Cost: Free (can be upgraded as part of the G Suite premium service for businesses)
Google Drive and Docs offer all the basic productivity tools a student, professional, or entrepreneur needs. Create any document you want (from text files and spreadsheets to presentations, forms, and drawings) and store as much as 15 GB of data on the cloud for free. Share your documents and collaborate with others to edit, polish, and organize your content.
Shell out a few dollars per year and you get your own customized email domain, much larger storage space, and a host of enterprise-grade apps.
Pros: Comes with a mobile app so you can access and edit documents on the go.
Cons: You get all the basic functionalities you need for document creation and management but none of the more advanced features and perks of premium alternatives like Microsoft’s Office Suite and Adobe’s Creative Cloud.
Best For: Online research, comparison of multiple web pages, unhampered browsing behavior, etc.
Learn More: Features & Benefits
Opening multiple web pages at the same time can drain your device’s memory resources like a big hole in your pocket. In some cases, doing so will drag your computing speed to a crawl and may even disrupt processes and cause browsing errors. OneTab is an add-on for Chrome and Firefox that converts all open tabs into a more manageable URL list that you can restore as a group or individually anytime you want. By doing this, OneTab reduces tab clutter, saves up to 95% of your memory, and somewhat mitigates the utter madness of having dozens of open web pages on your screen.
Pros: Drag and drop works. You can also import, export, and share your tab lists across your personal devices or with peers and friends for collaboration.
Cons: Doesn’t cure compulsive browsing habits and encourages everyone to surf the internet like a maniac.
The productivity tools blog is dedicated to the organization and productivity of individuals. It’s a blog that covers personal organizational skills, productivity and time management techniques and advice for individuals and small business owners. During the years I’ve worked in marketing and sales, I’ve learned a few things along the way. It would be easier not to learn these things but when you need them, they often prove necessary to survival.