Life is busy, there are so many things to do in a day. One of the things we all want to achieve is using our 24 hours productive. You want to work smarter, not harder. Below I have shared some free apps and tools I use daily, and you should too! So let's get right into the best 22 productivity tools which will make your day much easier!
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1. Google Docs
You probably have used this tool at least once before. This one is a must for notetaking. It's so easy to use and you can easily collaborate on a document. It saves automatically, and you can download into pdf file or more. You can also download as an app here.
2. Microsoft OneNote
I love this tool. OneNote lets you type, draw, record, and more. It also has a lot of functions such as checklists or creating unlimited notebooks and sub tabs. All notes are automatically synced across devices. You can also send your notes through email right away. One downside is you can't "select all". If you want to, you need to manually drag your cursor.
A notetaking app like Microsoft OneNote. They don't really differ, but I think Microsoft OneNote is easier to use than Evernote! I will say Evernote has a more of a clean web interface. For Evernote, you can "select all" which is great. Other functions are pretty much similar.
Recently found out about this one, totally fell in love! Keep allows you to jot down short notes and lists. You can record audio files and draw. Perfect app. I really like the fact where it records what you say because sometimes, I'm too lazy to write down my thoughts. Sadly, this one doesn't download on your desktop, but I keep it on my iPhone!
Another quick notetaking tool (only available on Mac). I think this one is more of a simplified one compared to above. It does have all the functions though, sub-tabs, able to draw and more. The great thing is when you copy and paste content onto Notes, it will automatically remove any structure it previously had. A useful function to have when you are working on HTML or moving content from one website to another. More, if you have passwords or important documents, you can protect it by locking it.
This one is only available on Mac as well. You can think of this as an online sticky note. It's extremely useful to jot down things. Whether it's a to-do list or an important date you can't forget, it will always be there to remind you. The design comes in different colors, sizes, and fonts.
If you don't want to go through 20+ emails every day or need to collaborate with your team members daily, Slack is the platform for you. It both has the desktop app & mobile app which is convenient. There are many functions available as it incorporated a lot of other tools we already use. There is the private message channel where it can be an alternative of emails. You can also mention others, search files and people within the group. It can also be used by companies or groups to chat online.
Another simple and free platform for teamwork. Asana is just like Slack. Its web interface is clean and fast to use for tasks, projects, and meeting notes. You can track projects from beginning to end, assign it to people, and also have a connection with several apps such as Google drive or dropbox.
Social Media Automation Apps
Hootsuite is an in-depth tool and social media scheduler, but you need to learn how to manage since it's a bit difficult. Great news is Hootsuite offers platform training and social media training where you can learn more about how to navigate the app for free! They also have certifications or webinars if you are interested in checking out. If you don't have more than 3 social media accounts to manage, schedule, analyze, the free plan should work for you. I really like how you can create streams on each account. If not, you can either upgrade to the business account. I think once you get the grasp of how to use Hootsuite, you will like it since it gives you wide analysis. Below is an example of how my dashboard is.
I totally recommend Buffer if you are looking for social media automation app. Unlike Hootsuite, it is a bit easier to navigate and schedule posts. You can also get a detailed analysis of each account and how the posts are doing. I haven't upgraded yet, but the free account does a lot of things. If you upgrade, you will be able to connect more accounts, RSS feeds, collaborate with team members, and much more.
11. Sprout Social
Sprout Social is another automation app that is easy to use. It is similar to Buffer where it is super easy to navigate and you can schedule posts on several accounts. I used it for Facebook and Twitter. There are 3 plans; Premium let you add more accounts up to 10. Unless you are a big business needing to schedule 10 different accounts, I think staying on the free trial isn't too bad.
If you didn't know, Facebook actually has simple functions where you can schedule your posts. It also shows detailed analysis based on the engagement of the posts which is useful. It is really easy to use, you can think of Facebook analysis as a simple version of Google Analytics.
I have introduced about this tool in my May Favorites post, and I am sharing Tailwind again since it's one of my favorite tools! The #1 Pinterest scheduler. Pinterest has been bringing a lot of traffic to my website, and Tailwind has been helping me a LOT! To add, It also has "tribes" where it's like groups where you can reach more audiences. To update from May Favorites analysis, below are two images from July and October 2017. Consider Pinterest as a search platform like Google, not social media platform. The more you pin, the more exposure you will have, and the more people you can reach! :) Get a free month of Tailwind Plus & schedule unlimited pins to grow traffic.
Tailwind Plus & Unlimited Pins Results (Oct. 2017) 👇🏼
14. Board Booster
Board booster is a great way to automate your pins! It's similar to Tailwind but has a bit different functions. I started to use Board Booster, as it was highly recommended by a lot of other bloggers. At first, it was a bit difficult to use, but once you get used to it, it's awesome! There are 3 primary features which are campaigns, scheduler, and looping. I haven't used campaigns yet, but scheduler is going to help you schedule pins like Tailwind does. Looping is for you to gain more exposure to your old pins. If you have old pins, this feature will help the pin to be on the top of the page. But then, it will automatically delete the ones with fewer re-pins out of all the pins you have. So it's a good feature where you can see which pins your followers like. Below image is what you will see after logging in. On the right top corner, you will see functions like pinning tools and maintenance tools to help you guide through boosting your Pinterest.
Not the Instagram Boomerang, this one is for Gmail. You can schedule emails to be sent automatically later on. For example, you can write a business mail at 9 pm, and schedule it for 7 am the next day. You can also set email reminders so you won't forget. As you can see the photo below, once you install this tool, you have the choice to "send later" and it gives you the option to set reminders. It's awesome.
Other Time-Saving Tools
Seriously, the planner is a must! I am currently using this monthly planner from Ziga Media. Love this since I love the designs inside on every page and the calendar helps me to simplify my tasks. I normally buy my planners from either Barnes and Nobles or Amazon as they have the cutest designs. Some of the other planners I have used are this one with floral design & this one with gold dots (reminds me of Kate Spade). I love a planner that is well-designed because I'm a visual person and love decorating. Planners that are artsy motivates me to carry around my planner and just write down everything neat. Ever felt that way before? If you are journal person, check out here! This one gives you a lot of prompts and fun activities where you can write and jot down things.
17. Fresh Books
This site helps you manage and track expenses, invoices or time. I am not a finance person, so as soon as I found about this site, I knew this could help me keep track of my finances. If you are a small business or sole proprietor like me, Fresh Books will keep you organized with your accounting system. I am currently on the 30-day trial, and so far I like it since it's pretty straightforward and easy to use!
18. IFTTT (If This, Then That)
This new app is brilliant. I've never seen something smarter than this. If, (app) then, (app). Basically, you can choose two different apps to take action. They have the wide array of apps, most of them I never even heard of, but it's cool since you get to navigate; even try new apps. IFTTT makes life much easier. You connect your favorite apps by creating "applets". For example, I made my own applet where "if (I post on Instagram) then, (it automatically saves in Google Drive)". You can also turn on the applets that are pre-made (recommended) for your use. I highly recommend this app since it is time-saving and efficient.
The platform I am using right now. My current website might look a bit different from the free plan since I am on the starter plan where I can customize my website. I really recommend Weebly since it consists drag and drop interface, comes with a lot of free templates to use, and free hosting. Their customer service is great as they reply within 24 hours or sometimes faster. If you have basic knowledge of HTML, you can also design your website. There's a lot of connected free tools for social media, content, and more. I never had major issues with Weebly before.
Tide lets you set a timer based on the Pomodoro technique. This technique is time management tool where you can focus better with intervals while working. If you concentrate better with white noise or nature sounds like me, this app is the perfect choice for you. Tide has five options (sunrise, rain, forest, muse & cafe). I personally don't like the cafe as it sounds too unorganized, but others are better. My favorite is the forest! All of these sounds keeps you focused and calm.
Can't forget this one as it is helping me every day! This app is just perfect. Whether you are writing a blog post, a letter, a resume, an essay or more, Grammarly will correct all of your mistakes! Once you download this tool, it will automatically warn you for your grammatical errors in any website. You don't need to even click it. As I have been sharing on my latest posts, it let me to perfectly write all my blog posts. Highly recommend this tool!
22. Creative Market
Last but not least, creative market! Love this website! It's like Canva, but slightly different. They have so many pretty and well-designed templates, themes, fonts, graphics, and more! They also offer free goods weekly, which I download it all the time! You can find them here!
So those were the best 22 free tools I use, & all of these will increase your productivity. These tools can be used in the office, in school, or for yourself to really make things easier. Of course, there are more apps out there where it helps you focus better or avoid distraction. However, unlike those, these free 22 tools save you more time and increase your productivity. Hope this post helped! What are some of your favorite apps or tools?
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I am a Houston based blogger who loves trying new dishes, traveling beautiful destinations, capturing moments, and more! Blogging gives me a chance to share and talk all about these moments with you.
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