What does productivity mean to you? We’re all expert procrastinators whether we like to admit it or not, the digital age has created an abundance of distractions that can keep you from focusing on important things, all day long if it comes down to it. Even the subject of productivity tools comes down to a single factor — it’s all designed for mental discipline training, because even though these tools exist and they’re useful to be more disciplined at your work, they’ll only be as good as the user himself. But, it does help to motivate yourself and use different types of productivity tools to find the right one for you. Lists are a good example of how to train the mind to follow a set of tasks that need to be done, if need be — prioritizing the most important ones (often the ones that are most difficult) could help you get more done in less time.
This isn’t our first time writing about productivity, we wrote several posts on the subject:
- Time Tracking Tools to Improve Your Productivity
- Collaborative Productivity Tools for Designers
- Storytelling Tools for Content Creators To Boost Productivity
But this is going to be our first post about tools related directly with business and work related tasks, the areas in which productivity can provide significant gains in your revenue and general happiness about your work. The mind can tricks us into thinking that we have it all under control, but only a few weeks of not taking notes or writing down lists, and we realize that our brain has become like a bowl of spaghetti: there’s a lot of information there, but it’s hard to connect the dots. So, why give yourself a hard time, and why not employ some of these amazing tools built by people who have had past experience with being distracted all the time?
We will cover bookmarking tools, general content dashboards to organize your business world, a number of great apps for creating lists, and a selection of business related tools that you’d need to use in daily workflow anyway — for example, why resort to manual keyword research when you can automatically scan all of your competitors with a single click; productivity comes in different shapes and forms, and we hope to cover the majority of them here.
Who says that to-do lists are dead? There’s nothing more frustrating than “forgetting” something important on your list of things to do. Carrying around your notebook can often be a distraction, so you leave it at home, only to realize that you’ve missed an important task to accomplish. With the growth of digital mediums, and the accessibility of applications using mobile devices, it’s imperative to consider an online option for storing and managing your lists of things that need to get done. Todoist runs a well off company that provides to-do list solutions for both desktop and mobile users. Write them on your desktop computer, and access from your tablet or smartphone device; that easy! If you’re doing family trips or have a work-related schedule..why not use Todoist’s collaboration features to invite others to join your list? Putting two minds together is always a better way of finding the right angle towards a solution. The user interface is sleek, with modern features, yet remains utterly minimalistic, the kind of thing that you need when it comes to lists. You can schedule and reorganize any tasks at your hand, and even get notifications for them when the time has come to work on something important. Through a comments widget you can expand on a single idea and add any additional information, including documents and photos that could help to polish the idea in a more refined fashion. For premium users, there’s a feature that allows Todoist users to add custom labels and filters to their lists, so that it becomes easier to navigate the things that you’ve accomplished, and stuff that you’ve yet to do.
Lists are great, they help to organize your thoughts and they provide a solid outline of what’s happening in your life, but what if lists aren’t enough to conclude your most important things in life? Sure, traditional diary writing is a viable option, but as a business person or someone who has many tasks at hand.. you need something effective, digital and efficient. Evernote is a world-class information management platform used by bloggers, entrepreneurs, journalists, and everyday ordinary people to better understand themselves, and their projects. Whether your plan is to brainstorm ideas with co-workers, to take notes of creative ideas, or simply collect feedback on a particular subject, Evernote gives you the right set of tools to get the job done, professionally! Write inspirational notes during nighttime, and follow back on them the next day using your smartphone — it’s fully compatible with any modern device that has access to a web browser, or the most popular mobile app stores. Evernote is known for catering to the business sector, by providing a concise business platform where workers can collaborate, brainstorm, and work together on any given issues. The in-built tools for finding and archiving content will never make you want to switch back to the traditional way of keeping your notes.
With two excellent choices already on the list, what could Trello possibly add to your experience if not distraction? Well, Trello’s approach is different. It’s a board-style productivity tool to help you manage and collaborate on projects more effectively. The secret recipe lies in the design of the boards, which can be categorized, tagged, and even customized with custom colors so that you always known which boards (tasks) to prioritize. It’s fairly popular amongst developer communities that constantly work on improving their software, having colored boards can help developers determine which tasks are most crucial to complete, and lets devs to assign and manage tasks that have already been finished. If anything, it’s a visual enterprise of productivity management that will not leave you disappointed. Take Trello with you anywhere, as beautiful and modern iOS and Android apps are available to download on the app store. Companies like Google, PayPal, Adobe and others are all using Trello to improve their productivity performance, and if you know anything about the digital business sector — those names alone should mean a whole lot to you.
Business people need to write, it’s an essential part of the business. For example, digital entrepreneurs will often market themselves using famous media publishing platforms, which means that writing needs to be acquired as a skill. Nevertheless, even if you outsource your writing, you still want to check it against common errors and readability. The Hemingway Editor is a digital online tool for checking your writing against common errors, use of poorly written words, and different ways that your writing is expressing itself. When you can perfect your writing for better readability, it makes your audience that much more interested to engage with what you have to offer. Hemingway is a free app to use, and it does an incredible job at giving writers the insight that they need in order to bring their writing to the next level. You might get frustrated at times, because of the sheer number of suggestions that this app is giving you, but once you’re done with editing you will understand that sometimes a little bit of polishing can go a long way towards a friendly and professional copy.
The web is not a static resource, things are dynamic and always changing, and website links is what it is all about. Even your business homepage is a link in itself, but when you’re doing concise research on subjects important to you, it’s easy to get lost in the sea of content overload, without ever managing to collect and manage all the important stories within a single dashboard, until now. Pocket is your digital library of the most interesting, useful, and insightful stories that you find on the web. Having such a library can help you better organize your digital presence, understanding, and gives you the tools to keep track of the influential people in your niche. It’s simple to use, chrome users can install a simple extension that adds a Pocket button to your toolbar, whenever you stumble upon a website that you really enjoy.. just click the button and it is saved in your library, and if you like you can add custom keywords and descriptions, so that later on you remember the exact reason why you saved the link in the first place. Pocket is also kind enough to send out an email every day with the top stories as voted by the users, this can give you the edge to save time by not having to research top stories on your own.
Do you feel frustrated to have to visit individual business platforms and websites that you use for your business, all of them individually? It can be a tedious tasks to sort through dozens of business platform that you use for work daily. This problem was solved through the launch of digital business platforms, specific platforms that can organize your most favorite business tools in a single place, and even give you a completely new interface for analyzing and tracking the way that your business is performing. Cyfe is somewhat of an expert in this field, and their business management platform can link together with some of the most prominent business software on the market, such as: Google, MailChimp, PayPal, Basecamp, Facebook, Compete, Klout, Stripe, Shopify and countless other services — get a clear real-time understanding of how your business is performing using Cyfe! Business intelligence is a growing sector, within which business owners and entrepreneurs can better streamline the process of data analysis and performance tracking, so consider your options and maybe give Cyfe a try — you may find that you never want to go back to the traditional way of tracking your business performance.
From journalists, to bloggers, to publishers.. everyone is involved in content production. It’s an unavoidable part of digital marketing, and small businesses are beginning to embrace the process of writing content on regular basis to attract readership and new clients. That’s just how things are. In the olden days, it was enough to spark up open your WordPress dashboard and start typing new content, but these days as demand for content increases and companies hire more writers, it’s important to employ the technique of using a content calendar so that no days are missed, guaranteeing that content flows freely and in timely fashion. CoSchedule have built a professional platform for keeping all your content related tasks at optimal health and performance. CoSchedule doesn’t just permit general content editing only, it’s an excellent platform to use for content marketing, social marketing, general marketing project management, and blog management. It integrates the kind of tools that make you forget about the tedious task of having to keep written notes on your computer, and instead everything is beautifully saved online in your own digital enterprise. CoSchedule understands that one platform isn’t enough to keep it all nice and neat, so it happily provides tools to integrate with platforms like WordPress, Evernote, Google Chrome, and social media networks to truly streamline your process of editing, producing, and publishing interesting content.
Mac users are some of the most business driven people, many would say this is because of the high entry price for a new Mac computer, but perhaps the reason is far more simple than that, a Mac computer provides a super intuitive interface that makes doing business a breeze! HazeOver is a productivity tool specifically created for Mac users, it’s a “dimmer” tools that dims any background windows that you’re not using, and lets you focus on the window that you have open presently. This lets you work with tools like Keynote and Pages without feeling the urge to change the window because you feel like you need to take a break. Don’t let yourself drown in scores of open windows. Hiding, switching, looking for the right one, more hiding, more switching. Calm down, breathe in, breathe out, launch HazeOver and finally concentrate on what’s you’ve been up to. HazeOver automatically highlights an active window or app when you switch windows. The less important things gently fade away in the background, helping increase your productivity.
We do have a selection of productivity tools for writers available, but only because we have prior experience in business and we do know how pivotal writing is to a successful business. Getting the name out there of your business often involves collaborating on pieces for media platforms, and not having the right tools for doing impeccable writing can leave you with disappointment as your wokr gets rejected. This stunning distraction-free writing tool for Windows and Mac computers is going to revolutionize the way you see writing, and how a simple software can improve your productivity by a 1000% that easily. Within a single interface you get tools for writing, editing, and taking notes — it’s much like turning your existing writing workflow into a powerhouse of an editing process, which only requires a single piece of software to achieve. You can choose from predetermined styles, focus modes, and templates to inspire yourself even more.
UnDistracted is a productivity app for Mac users which totally transforms the way you have interpreted productivity on your computer in the past. With a single click you can minimize all of your existing windows, applications, and any taskbars and focus on what is important to you — to get work done! Having too many distractions on your screen can prohibit you from feeling expressive and driven to give your best to each individual task, so UnDistracted takes that distraction away and gives you a smooth way to view only a single window — one that you’re using to do work presumably. There are custom rulesets and options available for making sure that this app does exactly what you want it to do, even if that means leaving several windows open that are work related. Mac developers are creative people, and apps like this just go to show that the possibilities in this field are endless. Train your mind to adapt to a smooth, and clean work experience.. gradually you won’t even need to rely on apps anymore.
The Omni Group
The Omni Group is a software company that builds tools for Apple products: the Mac, iPad tablet, and iPhone smartphone. Their flagship productivity app is called OmniFocus, an individual piece of software developed for the purpose of helping users stay on top of things in tasks related to work, productivity, and other forms of document management. Create dynamic lists of things to do, and add custom layers of tasks that you have already done, and those that need to be worked on still. This way, you can encourage yourself to keep pushing through individual tasks knowing that you’re already making progress. The design is amazing, totally beautiful and will leave you stunned at the possibilities that Mac can provide for its users. The price, for an app of this scale, is really not so bad, and they’re constantly promoting their affordable offers so you could always upgrade to Pro for a reasonable price, needless to say that putting price on productivity is impossible, these tools will pay themselves back within days of using them.
They say, digital marketers, that money is always in the list..it’s not far from the truth. With such large changes in the way that digital advertising works, thanks AdBlock!, there’s real incentive to move all selling and promotional campaigns towards an email list. Your email list becomes like the list of contacts you have in your phone, they’re always there and you can always “hit them up” with messages of your preference, for business people those messages will involve selling something, usually. Think about managing a list of 10,000 email addresses without some kind of support from a third-party software like MailChimp, it would simply be impossible! That’s why we can’t recommend MailChimp enough as one of the leading email marketing platforms out there, the reasons are many, but perhaps the fact that MailChimp provides a free plan for up to 2,000 email addresses is the ultimate selling point. You still get access to all those juicy tools and templates that make your emails look stunning, and upgrading is as easy as clicking a button. The powerful automation features will go well with businesses that sell and promote products directly through email, some of our favorites include abandoned cart followups, ability to follow up on product sales, and send out email campaigns tailored to the best customers on the list.. amazing software, you’ll be impressed how easy it is to use it, given the amount of scope that it can cover.
Creating the right team for your business is an essential part of success. Without the right people doing all the hard work, you’ll have a slim chance of succeeding as a lone wolf. Even solopreneurs need to consider upgrading to office space as their business starts to grow and expand. Betterteam is a professional job seeking platform that can publish your job offers to more than one hundred of the most prominent job sites in the market. You could find your next best candidate within 48 hours using their amazing platform. Betterteam enables employers to create a sophisticated business profile that can help others understand what your business does, and what kind of creative talents it is looking for, once that is done it’s time for you to fire up the job posting form and get ready for attracting some of the best talent in the world. Just think about the amount of time it would take you to go through all these job board sites individually.. it’s a crazy amount of time, and Betterteam have found the perfect process to ease that process into a simple workflow. The pricing is below $500, but you can’t put a price on finding the perfect candidate for your open positions.
Billing should never be complicated, let your tax accountant deal with the numbers, while you enjoy sending invoices to your clients effortlessly. Hiveage is one of the better tools out there that can do automated billing requests, create a streamlined process of managing invoices, and even gives you ways to track orders and their past performance, so that you never have to deal with people who’re avoiding of paying their dues. Hiveage studies have shown that small businesses can expect to save up to 100 hours of work just by using their intelligent invoicing platform, and it makes sense.. doing billing manually is not a productive process, and digital age has provided business owners with tools to take away that extra stress from getting stuff done quickly! The financial reports gives you a clear glimpse of how well things are going in your business, and you can always take that data to learn and adapt to new ways of concluding business.
RescueTime to the rescue for your bad habits of spending too much time browsing Facebook and Reddit! RescueTime’s main functionality is to enable its users to track their average usage per application, which can then encourage users to cut down where necessary in order to be able to get more done, while spending less time doing it. We love the alerts feature that helps to create a daily reminder for yourself on how much time you’ve spent doing a task, when the limit is reached the RescueTime software gives you a soft nudge letting you know that it is time to take a break, or leave the rest for tomorrow. RescueTime’s intelligent algorithm can also help to block out any time-wasting websites that you’re spending too much time on.. track your activity, and rule out the websites that take away all your productivity and only encourage procrastination, because once you do — your whole workflow will improve drastically. It’s a very well tested time management application, and the reviews couldn’t be any better.. it takes someone who understands productivity to build an app of this scale, and do know that RescueTime’s team are some of the best in this field.
Developers and designers are in big demand right now, with the big tech companies trying to snag the best talent out of the market before it is too late. Toptal is the world’s leading job platform where some of the best technical talent in the world is hanging out. You can hire them for freelance projects, or you may even find them to apply for your permanent position, given that your offer is irresistible. Professional design and development is a costly thing, but it’s truly essential that business owners hire talent that they know they can trust. This has never been an issue with Toptal, because the liability goes to the freelancer himself, he is putting his reputation on the line to deliver his best work for your personal needs, and if things to go wrong, the Toptal team will be there to assist you. Again, just a cautionary notice, but worth remembering. You can browse the Toptal’s directory of talent and pinpoint the exact kind of people who’d be of best assistance for your current business requirements. You do get what you pay for, and paying for exceptional talent will provide exceptional results where business is concerned.
Meetings are some of the most productive times of the day for a business or company, it’s when the ideas and progress comes together into a single room and it’s time to make things stick. Do started off as a hopeful project in hopes to change the landscape of streamlining the meetings process, and despite the hardships.. they’ve become one of the leaders in this particular niche. The Do platform lets you prepare for a meeting by setting an agenda, by providing notes, and expected outcomes, and you can attach custom files required as well, all while running your productive meetings using software like Slack, email, Evernote, and others. Remote teams have found Do to be one of their best assets for concluding meetings between people who’re thousands of miles apart from each other. The intelligent statistics that Do provides can further enhance the way your meetings are concluded, answering questions like “How much time is spent on meetings, and how much progress is made?” can help to create more strong foundations for any meetings to come.
Scoro is a sophisticated platform for work management that will suite agencies, freelance businesses, and businesses of any size that require a complex platform that can do tasks related to calendar management, contacts, projects, quotes, expenses, invoices, and those who need in-depth reports of the business performance. Scoro can track monthly revenue, give insights about any overdue payments, and provides a really extensive way of managing events, proposals, and tasks that need to get accomplished. Workers can collaborate together to make their own workflow ten times easier, whilst still doing the regular business as usual. Your company doesn’t have to give up on traditional business tools either, as Scoro provides a way to integrate itself with your favorite business apps: MailChimp, Dropbox, Xero, and others.
When you’re running a business, every minute of your time counts, and the more time you lose the less productive you’re going to be in the long run. IFTTT is a recipe site built for managing and automating anything that you do online. It integrates with hundreds of popular web services that you can stitch together and perform automated tasks based on your requirements. Gmail users can use IFTTT to send automatic replies, and those who manage social media can configure a selection of recipes to send one piece of content to other social media networks just by posting on one site alone. Other interesting productivity recipes include a streamlined way to schedule meetings, custom reminders for tasks that need to be finishes, ability to categorize important emails coming to your inbox, you can use IFTTT to sync your files across different cloud services so that they become accessible to everyone, you can even track the amount of time you’re spending on different tasks.. to truly test your ability to remain productive.
SelfControl is for those who spend too much time on distracting web pages, with SelfControl’s application (which is available for Mac users only) you can make your own choices for the websites that you’d like to block, especially if you’re someone who works from an office and need a way to keep yourself away from Reddit and other similar social platforms. Tens of thousands are using it already, are you going to join them? There’s nothing more satisfying that rewiring your own brain to keep away from websites that consume majority of your time.
Travel is an inevitable part of business, sure — digital age has provided business owners with tools for remote communication, but if you’ve ever done business in person you will know that the connection and energy while being in the presence of another business partner is much stronger than that over Skype or Slack. Expensify provides its users with a range of business products that relate to managing your expenses, and in particular in the travel sector. Expensify platform can help you track your spendings on flights, and even encourage you to find better deals that wouldn’t leave such a dent in your wallet. With integrations like Uber, HotelTonight, and more, Expensify automatically captures expenses from all the travel tools your employees already love. Throw in realtime alerts for itinerary changes, and business travel is simpler than ever. It works for individuals as much as it does for companies that regularly scheduled flights for its employees.
SEMRush is a digital software company that can provide its customers with competitive analysis of any website in the world. Wouldn’t you want to find out what people are searching for when they visit one of your competitor websites? Once you get access to that data, you can start to bring out the big guns and repurpose some of their existing content to enrich it with more insights and information. IT’s a time-tested theory to win over your competition, and SEMrush affordable platform is going to give you so many invaluable insights about your own pages, including those of your competition, that you’ll never want to look back. This is one of the services that we use on monthly basis to understand what kind of content is currently trending in the industry, but also to explore hidden backlink opportunities that could help our business grown. Nevertheless, the productivity with this tool is off the charts, and you won’t find a better solution for this price anywhere.
Adobe Creative Cloud
Entrepreneurs need to have tools for managing digital art, it’s that simple. Whether you’re publishing on social media, or you have a neat presentation to make, without the right tools at your disposal you might come off as someone who is sticking to old-school techniques, and while those methods aren’t necessarily bad in their own right, using modern tools gives you a much needed flexibility to create the kind of digital art that puts your business in the front line of success. Adobe Creative Cloud is a fairly new platform that was transformed by Adobe to help people decide on which tools they want to use the most, and then give them an affordable price tag that would be too appealing to say not to. Your favorite apps like Photoshop, Illustrator and Premiere Pro are all part of the bundle, but you can always select other tools, out of more than 30 that they have available. Don’t just impress your business partners with words, impress them with solid design, too!
Customer management is a huge niche by itself, it’s a sophisticated field of interest that covers everything to do with making customers happy, because all business people know — if customers are happy, the business is a success. One of the main ways of keeping customers happy these days is through your ability to listen to their needs and issues, and what better way to do that, than to connect a solid helpdesk management platform to your existing digital business. Kayako has been around for over a decade, and is finally stepping into the modern era of helpdesk and support management. Their software will take care off all the common quirks that you’d need to cover when it comes to running a help desk platform on the web. It will be easy to communicate with your customers, while you generate reports and understand what is currently working and what isn’t. There’s a lot to be taken away from constant customer queries, and that can only improve your business bottom line in the long-term.
Insightly is a modern tool that helps small business owners to manage tasks like lead generation, contact management, partnership relations, supply and demand tasks. Using Insightly’s concise tools you can understand everything there is to know about a particular customer or contact, from simple background checks to concise history that you’ve shared with each customer. Once you get your hands on this information, everything else becomes incredibly easy. Insightly provides customers with a dashboard for managing any potential sales opportunities, so you can use your sales funnel to its full potential. Understand how others interpret your funnel and make improvements that will bring about a lasting improvement in your sales department. Those who use Insightly have been known to leave good reviews about their support system, which is always there to help each and every individual to make the most of their sales and customer relations management.
If Insightly seems too big of a choice for now, then you might want to check out Streak — a Google Chrome, but also available on other devices, extension that’s used by more than 500,000 users who want to do all customer relations management in their browser, directly from Gmail. You can create custom sales pipelines that resemble an onboarding process, giving you extensive ways to treat each email (customer) with utmost care and respect. All work related emails come with custom widgets that give you an insight as to who you are talking to, and what you know about them already. It takes some time to get going with Streak, but once you have the basics figured out.. you won’t want to go back, and your team will be excited to use only email for all sales related tasks.
How do you promote your business in front of a new audience, quickly and effectively? If there’s one method that has stood out over the years, then it’s definitely influencer marketing. Influencers are people who have already established themselves as influential persons in a particular market, and influencer marketing as a category has continued to evolve over the years. Getting in touch with a new audience is pivotal for your own success, because the more people you expose your product to, the more likely you’re going to grow your business. Influencers are everywhere, they’re also highly busy people, so getting their attention will requirement some thorough thinking and research, which is where Traackr starts to come in. A solid influencer management platform that puts you in charge of how you interact and land deals with prominent figures in your business category. Influence is something you earn, not something you buy. By building relationships with people your customers trust, you’ll earn lasting influence. That’s influencer marketing. Brands that use Traackr have more than doubled their level of influence. It’s not impossible, it’s influencer relationship management (IRM).
Last but not least you have SpyFu — a thorough keyword research tool that’s more affordable than SEMRush, whilst still giving you detailed reports of how each website is performing and what are the main keywords that is driving traffic to them. Knowing the right keywords is not just about content, it’s about the purpose of content and how it can be improved to further strengthen your bottom line.