There are many digital tools to help make you more productive. When it comes to setting goals, prioritizing, and managing your time, even the smallest changes can make a real difference.
It’s useful to stay current with the latest apps and services that give you an extra edge on your time and productivity.
Here are 10 of the most valuable productivity tools for solopreneurs:
Google offers such a large selection of services that it’s easy to overlook some of the most useful ones. Gsuite has quite a few productivity tools that you can access from any platform or device. For $5 a month, you get a professional email address, 30GB of online storage, mobile device management, and 24/7 support.
Google Calendar is a useful way to set up appointments and remind yourself and team members of meetings and deadlines. If you explore GSuite, you may be surprised how it can replace many other costlier apps and services.
Whether you work at an office, home, or your local Starbucks, distractions are everywhere.
Many of the worst distractions are right on your computer or phone, such as Facebook, email, and YouTube. 1Focus is one of the best apps for tuning out the diversions that are most distracting for you. You just program it to block whatever websites you find most distracting. It’s easy to use and costs only $10.
The only limitation is that it’s only available on iTunes. If you use another OS, there are similar programs that are good alternatives. StayFocused is a Chrome extension. FocusMe is available for Windows and Android as well as Mac.
The to-do list is perhaps the oldest productivity tool of all.
Creating a task list is still useful today, and Todoist provides an efficient digital version of this concept. In addition to providing space for writing down your daily tasks, Todoist lets you measure your progress and share projects. You can access this app on all of your devices and integrate it with many other services such as Dropbox, IFTTT, and Zapier.
You can use the free version or upgrade to the Business or Premium plans (there are free trials for these).
Scanbot lets you quickly scan documents, receipts, QR codes, barcodes, business cards, or anything else with your smartphone. You can save your scans in either PDF or JPEG format. You can then upload your scans to the cloud or fax them to more than 50 countries. This app is also convenient if you need to sign a document digitally.
You can download Scanbot for either iOS or Android for about $10.
Keeping track of expenses is a universal challenge for businesses of all types and sizes.
Expensify, especially geared towards people who frequently travel for business (or who are in the travel industry), is also useful for anyone who wants an efficient tool to manage expenses. With Expensify, it’s simple to enter all of your expense details into your smartphone.
Features include real-time expense reports, unlimited receipt, and expenditure uploads, advanced tax tracking, direct deposit reimbursement and much more.
This productivity tool works with the most popular accounting and financial software including Quickbooks, Oracle, Bill.com, Sage, and Microsoft Dynamics. It also integrates with travel services such as Uber and HotelTonight. Expensify has a free plan, a Team plan for $5/month, and a corporate strategy for $9 a month.
If you’re looking for a way to simplify teamwork and collaboration, Trello is your best choice.
The app has a user-friendly interface that utilizes boards for projects and cards for specific tasks. Trello makes it easy to prioritize and find out at a glance which functions need to be done and by whom. The free version provides many useful features but if you want to upgrade the Business plan, which provides enhanced security and team overviews, is only $9.99 a month.
Larger businesses managing multiple teams may wish to use Enterprise at just over $20 a month.
Adobe Creative Cloud
If your business is involved with publishing images, PDFs, or videos, you probably already use one or more Adobe services.
It can be confusing to manage programs such as Premiere Pro, Photoshop, Illustrator, and others. Adobe Creative Cloud is a suite of apps that help you stay organized and easily access the visual tools you need for the task at hand. Rather than providing a new tool, Creative Cloud is more of a dashboard for managing the apps you’re already using.
However, it also gives you access to new apps you may not have considered before.
There are several plans to choose from: Individuals, Business, Students, and Teachers, with pricing starting at $19.99 a month.
IFTTT, which stands for If This, Then That, is a useful free productivity tool, like Zapier, that lets you connect many different apps.
It gives you the ability to set up a variety of commands to your services and devices without having to do any coding. You set up simple programs called applets to perform the functions you want.
There are already more than 50 million applets, and you can create customized programs of your own as well. You can use it to connect various applications automatically. For example, if you give a command to Amazon Alexa, you can arrange to have it placed on your Google Calendar or iOS Reminders app.
It may take a little practice to get comfortable with IFTTT but once you do you’ll find it has a wide range of useful possibilities.
If you work remotely with people in different regions, it can get confusing to keep track of time zones.
Scheduling a call with clients or traveling team members requires you to calculate time differences. If you’re organizing a webinar and want to tell everyone what time it starts in various time zones, you have to look it up. Timezone, which allows you to calculate time zones instantly, is also the most efficient way to know what time it is anywhere in the world.
Strong passwords are an essential element of online security. It’s easy to forget or lose track of your passwords when you have dozens of them.
The frustrating experience of frequently resetting passwords is all too common. Using simple and easy-to-remember passwords is no solution for this compromises your security. 1Password is a password manager that stores all of your passwords in one place. High-level encryption along with a master password and secret key ensures that your data is secure. Business plans start at $3.99/month.
These 10 tools can help you manage your time, sharpen your focus, and get more accomplished.
Depending on your business and personal challenges, some of these apps and services will be more useful to you than others. Do your research, take advantage of free trials, and identify which tools prove most effective and increasing your productivity.