We all know the feeling of not having enough hours in the day – of tasks piling up, emails filling up the inbox and to-do lists stretching over multiple pages. We could all be more productive, whether you’re an entrepreneur, business owner / leader, or working on your side-hustle – your time is extremely limited and it can be difficult to try and figure out how you could be more efficient. This is where productivity apps and tools come in – crucial tools that, used effectively can increase growth, success and of course – free up your time!The importance of productivity tools for small businesses and start-ups is especially in 2021, with the increase in remote teams, working from home, and conference calls over Zoom. Businesses need to be flexible to ensure that both their clients and their staff are working in the most efficient way; focussing on the right tasks and (where possible) automating things that can free up additional time.However, a quick Google search for ‘productivity tools’ brings up thousands of options and it can be difficult to know which ones are best. With that in mind, we wanted to recommend the productivity tools that we use here at betternotstop – the ones that encourage engagement, support remote working and help with time allocation and team collaboration.These are the same tools that we recommend to the businesses we help as part of our business support work, our training and workshops for businesses, B Corp certification consultancy, and the Better Business Network.
Forest is an app that helps you stay focused on the important things in life – while also helping the planet! It works like a game, but it’s a game that gives you time rather than taking it away. Whenever you want to stay focused, you plant a tree in the app. Your tree will grow while you focus on your work. If you stay focused daily, you can turn hard work into a land of lush forest.What’s really brilliant about the Forest app, is that they team partners with a real-tree-planting organization, Trees for the Future, to plant real trees. When users spend the virtual coins that they earn in the Forest app on planting real trees, the Forest team donates to Trees for the Future and creates planting orders.ZoomZoom provides easy-to-use video communications that enable people to accomplish more within their work. The platform’s simplicity and ease of use simplifies how individuals and small-business teams can manage their time and enhance productivity.It’s easy to set up, use, and manage – bringing an efficient method of communication to dispersed teams, as well as a great way for businesses to connect with clients and customers through meetings, phone calls, webinars & chat via desktop clients, browsers, conference rooms & mobile devices.For everything you get, either via their free offering or the paid options, it really is the best value video conferencing tool available.Circle PlannerNot all productivity tools are online! The Circle Planner combines an inspiring, highly customisable layout with striking contemporary design and a luxury finish. Developed with a Clinical Psychologist to enhance a sense of achievement and positivity, the planner helps you to achieve success where it matters. As they say; “By planning well, you can achieve your most important goals and enhance your personal wellness.”Alongside the Circle Planner – we cannot recommend enough the use of old-fashioned pen (or pencil) and paper. Making notes in a physical, rather than purely digital, way enables you to separate your work from being entirely on screen(s). It allows for a moment of mindfulness, away from your laptop. And frankly, nothing beats crossing out a task on your to do list with a big marker, does it?TrelloTrello is a visual collaboration tool that allows you to organise and prioritise projects in a simple and flexible way. Its versatility makes it adaptable to be used by businesses, families, students, community groups and more. Their project management software is flawless, and how we utilise Trello ourselves – but it can also be a brilliant way to help with brainstorming, planning and evaluation of all your work.SlackMembers of The Better Business Network will know how much we love to use Slack; it gives access to real-time conversations with any colleague, teammate or team. Slack helps teams communicate faster and more efficiently while keeping all conversations documented in one place. Slack is especially great for remote teams. And if you add in the app integration and various security features it’s hard to beat!TogglToggl have a variety of tools that help both individuals and teams work better. Toggle Plan provides a full view of your team’s work allowing you to see when people are available, how projects are progressing, and when you have capacity to take on more.Toggl Track effortlessly assists with time tracking – whether that’s for individuals, small teams, or large teams. With a multitude of features within the tool itself, Track really helps you understand where the time goes!Toggl Hire is their intelligent candidate-screening tool – it allows you to screen and hire candidates effortlessly. Perfect for expanding businesses!Google DriveGoogle Drive is a cloud storage solution; a fantastic resource to use when sharing files, documents, etc. with both your team and clients / stakeholders. Alongside the cloud storage, the Google suite brings Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms too!No longer will you have to attach and store large files on your computer, with Google Drive you simply need to share a link with your colleagues to grant access, which can be ‘Edit’, ‘Comment’, or ‘View’. Truly a great time-saving solution.CalendlyCalendly is an app for scheduling appointments, meetings, and events – eliminating the often frustrating back-and-forth when trying to nail down times for meetings, calls, etc. Rather than email chains and numerous phone calls, you can set your availability with Calendly then send a link (even if the people booking time with you don’t use Calendly) and confirm your schedule in a far more efficient manner than ever before.NotionNotion blends your everyday work apps into an all-in-one workspace for you and your team. Task list? Product roadmap? Design repository? They can now all be in one place. Notion even allows you to customise your own workspace from dozens of their pre-made building blocks.And finally;Better Business Network accountability groupsAs we’ve written about previously on the betternotstop blog, being accountable is important; it’s a way of tracking success and helps you hit your goals – boosting your accomplishments by helping you make consistent progress.Accountability groups are key to the Better Business Network. Members connect with like-minded business owners to help define what success looks like and reach the goals they set – staying engaged within the groups, helping to develop and validate themselves, their ideas, and their businesses.