Productivity is the new talk of the town. Every other day we witness a dramatic launch of a new productivity app which claims to be the solution of our everyday productivity concerns. Of course, a substantial amount of dollars go into bringing these solutions to you.
You’d be surprised to know that market reach for productivity apps hit a whopping 79.6% in September 2019. That means a staggering amount of individuals believe in the effectiveness of these apps.
No wonder if you start searching online, you will get a new app in a blink of an eye. A single click and you’re presented with a plethora of apps to deal with.
But another matter of the fact is that the amount of options available online can also cause massive anxiety and indecisiveness. The online hunt is so tiresome that it can actually kill the purpose of opting for a productivity app altogether (ironic, isn’t it?)
This brings us to the purpose of this blog.
Today I’ve compiled a list of best productivity tools for your personal as well as professional needs.
However, the sole objective of using a productivity app is to see significant improvement in the output. Therefore, before digging into these tools, let’s first have a quick overview of benefits you can enjoy by investing in one:
Benefits of Productivity Apps
1. Organize and Declutter
The top most benefit of a productivity tool is the organization it brings to the chaos. No matter how much we try, the mere process of keeping a track of everything happening around keeps us at our toes. It’s no secret that even the most organized lot out of us needs some sort of professional help.
Enter – productivity tools!
The myriad of options coming with these tools help you organize your data the way you want and get down to business. They directly impact the amount of work you get done within the stipulated time-frame and hence, can help you achieve more in less time.
2. Progress Tracking
One of the best productivity tools in the market come with built-in modules for tracking your progress against set KPIs. This helps in keeping a check at what you or your team have been doing over time and how to strategically design roadmap.
When it comes to best personal productivity tools, you’re given a different set of features which greatly enhances your efficiencies.
3. Next Best Actions
When you have a blueprint of everything right under your nose, it’s quite easy to decipher the next best action. Productivity tools catapult your efficiencies to the point where it’s easy to take the next big step without any added frustration.
All the critical information and deadlines are highlighted, so you never miss any update. Best productivity tools for work especially come in handy when assigning tasks to team members and keeping track of workload.
4. Documentation and Reporting
Undoubtedly, keeping everything stored in a productivity tool makes documentation a piece of cake. All the information is right there when you need it, or even when you don’t. So in one way, having critical information at your disposal can work wonders for your productivity.
Not only this, if you’re someone who dread excel spreadsheets, you need a productivity app. These tools relieve the stress of maintaining spreadsheets and make reporting convenient.
Our List of Best Free Productivity Apps this Year
Now that we’ve had a fair share of advantages associated with productivity tools, let’s see which one of these are my favorites and why exactly.
1. Slack – Best Productivity Tool for Team Collaboration
An online collaboration and messaging platform which helps multiple teams to collaborate in real-time.
A powerful team collaboration tool designed to streamline team communication and fill all communication loopholes.
- Free Version Available
- Team Chat
- Channels for Multiple Teams
- Customization Options
- Voice and Video Calls
- Screen Sharing
- Custom Permissions
- Two-Factor Authentication
- Message History
- Search Abilities
- Multiple Workspaces
- Multiple Integrations
- Free version has limited features
- Screen sharing available only in paid plans
- Audio and video call quality is not at par with some competitors
If there’s one tool that finally put an end to complex work email chains, it’s Slack! My favorite productivity tool for team chat, Slack is what you need for instantly improving your team communication.
It puts an end to those pointless email threads and brings real-time solutions on the table. Get connected to your team mates in a jiffy and find solutions on the go. You can also share screens and connect with your remote team members through video/voice calls.
Slack also supports emojis, gifs, and embedded images to make things even more fun. All in all, Slack provides a refreshing approach towards team collaboration, while keeping things simpler at the same time.
- Intuitive user-interface to make navigation easy
- Drag and drop functionality for files sharing
- Team member mentions for addressing distinct members
- Specific team channels to promote collaboration among multiple teams
- Emoji and gifs support to give more context to messages
- Numerous third-party application integrations for developing workflows
2. Trello – Best Personal Productivity Tool for Project Management
A simple project management tool focused on planning and tracking projects, without compromising user-ease.
A lightweight productivity tool which allows project tracking through customized lists and easy-to-move cards.
- Free Version Available
- Unlimited Lists and Cards
- Drag and Drop Interface
- Reminder Alerts
- Status Setting
- Tasks Assigning
- Multiple Team Boards
- Unlimited Power-Ups
- Built-in Board Templates
- Calendar View
- Custom Fields
- Hundreds of Integrations
- No advanced reporting tools available
- No advanced security in free version
- No custom permissions
Say hello to Trello if you’ve been looking for a productivity tool centered on managing simple projects. A minimalist at heart, Trello wins big at organizing your project requirements through Kanban boards. The tool comes with massive customization options to give users the freedom to enjoy their work, whilst getting things done.
You can make lists according to your needs and add cards to each one of them. These cards, essentially, indicate the progress you’re currently at and give clarity over what needs to be done. Moreover, you can assign deadlines and reminders for critical tasks which require your utmost attention.
A great thing about Trello is that it works perfectly for both individuals, as well as teams.
- Kanban boards for visualizing workflow
- Tasks assignment for defining roles
- Task labels, tags, and categories to show work structure
- Comments and file attachments for giving more context
- Calendar view and due date commands to keep an eye on deadlines
- Multiple third-party integrations and power-ups for improving functionality
3. Evernote – Best Personal Productivity Tool for Note-Taking
A cloud based online note-taking solution for your everyday needs. Create, organize, and play around with your notes the way you want.
An effortless note-taking app designed to enable your mind steer clear of all the things you need to do.
- Web Clipping Functionality
- Pre-built Note Templates
- Notes Sync Across Devices
- Team Spaces
- Document Scanning
- Hand-Writing Search
- Keyword Tags
- Advanced Search
- Notes Sharing
- Edit Rich Text and Sketches
- Paid plans are a tad bit pricier
- Fewer features in free version
- Cap on notes size and uploads
Chances are you’ve probably already heard about Evernote and the sophistication it brings along. It is one of the best personal productivity tools you can get your hands on. Although it might seem a little pricier compared to other productivity apps available, it’s definitely worth the tag.
It would not be an overstatement if I say that there are few to almost no contenders for Evernote’s prowess. The tool smartly syncs across devices, so you don’t have to worry about accessibility. Also, the cloud storage facility lets you hoard your data for as long as you want.
Moreover, if at any point you like some online content, you can easily save parts of that web page only to be viewed later on without any hassle.
- Notes storing and syncing across multiple devices
- Built-in meeting notes templates for instantly getting started
- Habit tracker for keeping track of your progress over time
- PDF and Word doc attachment with Notes
- Organizing of notes using keywords and tags
- Integration with Gmail, Outlook, Google Drive, and more
4. Zapier – Best Productivity Tool for Workflow Automation
Zapier takes away all the credits for creating seamless workflows through automation of commands.
A powerful tool connecting all of your multiple apps into a single workflow using If This, Then That mechanism.
- Quick and Easy Onboarding
- Loads of Third-Party Applications Support
- Zaps Creation
- Tasks and Tasks History
- User-Friendly Interface
- Free Version Available
- Gmail, Dropbox, and Other Powerful Integrations
- No mobile apps
- Not suitable for enterprise level automations
All of us are well aware of our dependence on apps and crazy obsession with juggling multiple platforms at once in order to get stuff done. To help ease the process, Zapier comes into play.
My personally recommended best productivity tool, Zapier creates workflows through ‘zaps’. These are a chain of actions which are initiated through a trigger. Essentially working on the principle of If This Then That, Zapier creates inter-linked connection among functions.
My only grievance with the tool is the absence of mobile apps. The tool which is supposed to connect all the apps should have one of itself too.
- Easy and smooth creation of Zaps
- Dashboard for keeping track of progress
- Import/export through Google Sheets
- Tasks storing and tasks history access
- Sync across multiple devices
- Integrations with lots of third party applications
5. Google Keep – Best Productivity Tool for To-Dos
Keep your inner essentialism instincts at peace with Google Keep’s simple interface and to-the-point feature set.
Backed by Google, Google Keep knows how to keep an ordinary person happy through minimalistic features and a pretty interface.
- Completely Free
- Post-It Notes Like Functionality
- Unlimited Notes
- Voice Notes
- Reminder Alerts
- Sync Across Multiple Devices
- Custom Filters for Notes
- Lists Sharing
- Offline Access
- Location-Based Reminders
- Integration with Google Ecosystem
- Might come off as too simple for advanced users
- No notebooks
If you’re a fan of good old post-it notes for making lists, you’re in for a treat. Google Keep takes the classic sticky notes functionality up a notch by coming up with a feature set that supports more than just a standard list.
Google Keep wins hearts by keeping it to-the-point. You don’t find yourself lost in a sea of complicated features; neither do you find it too simplistic to even accomplish daily tasks. A perfect balance which allows you to get things done during the day without feeling overwhelmed.
However, if your productivity needs revolve around getting a more sophisticated tool, you can always opt for Evernote. Google Keep is perfect for daily grocery lists, or to-do list items.
- Lists making and sharing with friends and family
- Integration with G-suite allowing easy transfer of items
- Web version of Keep allows transcribing of text from images
- Pop-up reminders for staying updated with important details
- Location based reminders help accomplish tasks whenever present at a specific location
6. Asana – Best Productivity Tool for Task Management
Visualize your workflows and improve your productivity using Asana’s top-notch project management features
An elaborate task management solution specializing in workflow structuring and timeline management.
- Modern User-Interface
- Easy Task Assignment
- Activity Feed
- Project Templates
- File Attachment with Tasks
- Task Comments
- Priorities and Due Date Setting
- Task Dependencies
- Multiple Workspaces
- Real-time Updates
- Project Timeline
- Notification Reminders
- Learning curve can be steep for beginners
- Free version comes with limited functionality
The word Asana literally translates to ‘seat’, which is widely used to refer to comfortable yoga postures.
This is exactly what Asana (the tool) does for you! It helps you get onboard and allows you to take the backseat and relax. Taking control of all of your team tasks, Asana is one of the best productivity tools for work.
It is a fast, flexible, and a reliable workflow management tool which helps you quickly accomplish all of your tasks. Whether your team is remote or not, job roles and responsibilities can be distinctly assigned and performance can be tracked effortlessly.
The feature that I love the most in Asana is the timeline view. The functionality provides a clear blueprint of what lies ahead, along with explicit indication of what exactly needs to be done over time.
- Tasks and subtasks management for creating a streamlined workflow
- Tasks assignment, along with comments for taking real-time updates
- Timeline designing, as well as task dependencies for showing relationships
- Multiple third-party application integrations to enhance functionality
- Milestones setting to highlight important events and achievements
- A dedicated toolset for managing Agile teams
And it’s a wrap!
Do you use any productivity apps for yourself or your team? Share your experience and I’d love to include them too.