Hi, subscribers! Today, I’m talking about productivity tools – the best and the brightest. These are all for personal productivity, and I either currently or have used every single one of these tools. I am a big fan!
Note that I almost always am using the free version of whatever it is that I recommend to you! I keep my budget super lean for my side hustles, so if I recommend a tool to you, I’m telling you that the free version is a must-have. I bet the paid versions for most of these (if applicable) are even more robust – I just rarely pay for tools.
The only exceptions are Calendly and Tailwind, which are 100% worth it for me.
1 – Evernote.
I have signed up for Evernote roughly a hundred times, but back in August, I decided to try it out again.
I have been a convert ever since! A friend of mine asked me what was different about Evernote and Google Drive, which was the main reason I didn’t latch onto it before. But my explanation is: I can view all of my notes really easily in Evernote, and it’s a lot simpler, so I don’t get distracted by formatting.
It’s also super easy to search and organize, and I’ve found the free version to be very robust.
What I use EverNote for:
- Weekly meal plans.
- Brain dumps.
- Meeting notes.
- Blog posts.
- My blog calendar.
- Gift planning.
Why this boosts my productivity: I can spend a lot of time searching for notes sometimes! This takes away the searching – the search feature works great, and I can easily organize all of my notes. Plus, I can save links and more here, so no racking my brains to remember what I wanted to share with my students.
2 – ToDoIst.
I have tried every online task management system on the planet. I mean it – every single one!
And none of them stuck for more than a few months until ToDoIst. This is my best friend in the world. I get points every time I finish a task or add a new one, and then I can level up. If you’re competitive, this will be great for you.
Plus, it’s so easy to add tasks to it. Half the reason I would dump other task management systems is because it was too difficult to add tasks and get them formatted the way I wanted them. ToDoIst has its own shortcode language that is easy to figure out and saves so much time.
What I use ToDoIst for:
- Work tasks.
- Personal / side hustle tasks.
- Remembering meetings.
- Starring important emails.
- Managing household chores.
Why this boosts my productivity: I am super competitive, so I love getting tasks done just to up my ToDoIst Karma. Plus, it is so easy to add a task that I almost never forget to do anything. Unless it doesn’t make it onto ToDoIst.
3 – Trello.
ToDoIst is how I manage my personal and professional to-do lists. But Trello is how I project manage and assign tasks to my team. So, if you have a team, I can’t recommend Trello enough. You can do a lot with the free version. I haven’t found a reason to upgrade yet and don’t think we ever will.
We use Trello very seriously on my marketing team. We can easily track the amount of work we have due, upcoming, out to clients and more.
Trello is also how Jordan and I plan our content calendar for our shared Instagram account. If you like to plan content out in advance, Trello is great for this!
What I use Trello for:
- Assigning work to my team.
- Managing client projects across an extended period of time.
- Social media calendar.
Why this boosts my productivity: I have a lot of team tasks I am juggling, with 20-something students I need to keep on task. Without Trello, I would spend a lot of time managing tasks. I am all about making that sort of administrative work easier!
4 – Google Drive.
Who doesn’t use Google Drive?
I know, I know. We all do these days. And it’s simply great.
Unless you have a reason to use desktop-based software, I recommend switching to Google Drive (or another cloud-based system, if you prefer). This makes it so much easier to share files across departments and keep tabs on work.
What I use Google Drive for:
- Uh, besides everything?
- Sharing files across my department
- Keeping an archive of our client work
- Sharing work with clients
- Collaborating on projects across departments
Why this boosts my productivity: Because I use Google Drive exclusively for file sharing, there’s no worrying if someone doesn’t attach something to a file. As long as they are on my team, I can find the file. It also reduces stress of cross-department collaboration, because it’s easy to share things and keep everyone up to date!
5 – Slack.
If you have a handful or more people on a team, get a Slack. I use a lot of tools every day, but Slack is the one I am using literally all the time.
In essence, Slack is a very professional GroupMe. It is an alternative to email, where you can direct message members of your team as well as have categorized channels of conversation. We use this for our agency and our advertising sales reps, and it is great.
I always ask people to Slack me – never email!
What I use Slack for:
- Internal communication
- Providing feedback
- Sending team-wide reminders
- Sharing tips and training with my staff
Why this boosts my productivity: I’m sure that in some ways, Slack reduces my productivity, because I can easily communicate with anyone on my team very quickly. So, I often do – even when it isn’t necessarily relevant to work. But Slack does make it easier for me to communicate with my 20-something students without chasing down or remembering emails. It is also easy to bring large groups of people together without long email chains.
6 – Zapier.
Oh, Zapier. Love of my life. Apple of my eye.
Zapier is an absolutely magical tool that allows you to automate all sorts of simple tasks. I haven’t even tapped the surface of Zapier, but it is a really robust tool. It works with almost every business tool out there, from Salesforce to Google Drive to Square.
What I use Zapier for:
- Adding emails to my to do list.
- Adding calendar events to my to do list.
- Adding Patreon subscribers to my Mailchimp list.
Why this boosts my productivity: I am certain that I could expand my use of Zapier by about 10000 percent, but for now, this really helps me with managing my to do list. It keeps me from missing things and also from wasting time on small administrative tasks that could easily fill my day – but not get me closer to my overall goals.
7 – Planoly.
If you manage or schedule social media, specifically Instagram, Planoly is the No. 1 tool out there for it. I love Planoly because it is really easy to move things around, view your full calendar and schedule content. If you have multiple people running an Instagram, also, this is great. When Jordan and I are scheduling content, we can both upload posts here and schedule it. If I need to move something around, I can easily click and drag.
Facebook and Tweetdeck both make scheduling and rescheduling a bit of a circus. But Planoly and Instagram work together almost seamlessly.
What I use Planoly for:
- Scheduling social posts for clients on our brand accounts.
- Managing my personal and podcast Instagrams.
- Collaborating on an Instagram account with my friend Jordan.
Why this boosts my productivity: Since I schedule Instagram posts using Planoly, I can easily upload multiple posts at once. This means batch tasking! I absolutely love batch tasking and think it is way easier to write 5 captions in one sitting than try to wrangle a different post every day.
8 – Tailwind.
If Pinterest is part of your business strategy at all, I 100 percent recommend Tailwind. Tailwind is a Pinterest scheduler, so you can easily fill your queue with pins, set up recurring schedules (called loops) and manage your content.
I get a majority of my blog content from Pinterest, so this is a great feature for me. Pinterest has a manual scheduler also, but the Tailwind scheduler is ten times more user friendly and useful.
What I use Tailwind for:
- Sharing my new content.
- Scheduling my old content throughout the year.
- Growing my Pinterest.
Why this boosts my productivity: Looping content is important on Pinterest. To make the most of your blog, sharing your content regularly but in a non-spammy way is the No. 1 way to grow. Tailwind makes this super easy.
9 – Calendly.
I schedule a lot of meetings in my day-to-day, from consultations with potential clients to feedback sessions with students of mine. When meetings are a big part of your strategy, you can spend a lot of time going back and forth.
I hate the back-and-forth of scheduling meetings. So, I do pay for Calendly, so I can have more than one calendar link (one for my students, one for clients, etc.) It is so worth it! I have the links saved or memorized so I can easily copy and paste them, and I keep a link in my email signature, too.
If meetings are a big part of your life, spring for a meeting scheduler.
What I use Calendly for:
- Scheduling consultations with potential clients.
- Scheduling interviews with job applicants (and providing them with location details, etc.)
- Sending people reminders for meetings.
Why this boosts my productivity: Like I said, I could easily spend 10 hours scheduling meetings every week. But Calendly takes that and makes it so simple.