Are you ready to skyrocket your productivity and get more done?
When I speak to people (whether they’re mamas or not), the thing that they say they struggle with the most when running a business is productivity. When I ask what’s holding them back, “I don’t have time” is the most common answer.
They are either lacking the time to get everything done or simply getting distracted by things around them.
But there is an answer to this – to use our time differently and run our businesses in a more effective and efficient way. To get more done in the time we have and to spend less time sitting at our desks buried in work.
It’s time for us to claim back our time, streamline our businesses, work more efficiently and, most importantly, have time for other things in our lives again.
There are tonnes of tools and apps out there and the temptation can be to try and use them all. At the same time. This will only get you bogged down in playing around with those tools and apps and spending even less time in your business. But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with this list of 20 awesome tools that will skyrocket your productivity.
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20 AWESOME TOOLS TO SKYROCKET YOUR PRODUCTIVITY
Planning and Project Management Tools
If you’re ready to skyrocket your productivity, we need to start with the very basics – planning!
All too often we get excited by the prospect of a new project and just dive in head first with very little planning happening. We get distracted by unimportant tasks and new business ideas and, before we know it, we’ve forgotten about important tasks and deadlines.
If you work with multiple clients and customers you DO NOT want to be missing deadlines!
That’s where Asana comes in!
Asana is a free project management tool that allows you to keep track of everything business related (and non-business related if you really want to!) You can have up to 15 team members and unlimited projects and workspaces on the free plan too.
I personally create workspaces for each client so that we can share everything within that workspace and then create projects within that workspace. You can assign tasks to team members and set deadlines for them too which is great for when there is more than one person working on a particular thing. Your clients can also allocate things to you too which saves time and multiple emails clogging up your inbox.
Alongside Asana, I use Google Calendar to help ensure that my personal life, business and any other appointments don’t clash or get out of hand.
Any appointments that I schedule through emails, such as client calls, automatically get added to the calendar. I add in any personal appointments I have too (midwife appointments, lunch with my mum etc.) so I know what times I am working each day.
My Google Calendar is synced to my phone and I share it with my other half too which means that no matter where I am, I always know what appointments I have scheduled, when I have meetings and when we have family things planned too.
I actually take things one step further and use my Google Calendar to block out time each day for pretty much everything. Whilst this might be too much for some people, it really helps my productivity. For example, I know how long I have to complete housework before I start my workday. The temptation when you work from home can be to keep doing chores all day long which isn’t great for your business! Having set times for different things in my life such as client work, my blog work, general admin, housework and general downtime, means that I’m more productive in each of those windows that I have blocked out.
In their own words, Airtable is a spreadsheet that acts like a database. Now, I don’t know about you but I **LOVE** a good spreadsheet! And, whilst the initial set up of a good spreadsheet might take me a few hours, over the course of a few months, they can save me hours, if not days of work!
I use Airtable to plan and track everything in all of my business from content calendars to finance and sales funnel tracking. I find Airtable much easier to use than Excel and, as someone who is very visual, I love the way it looks (hello, colour coding heaven!)
If you want to learn more about how to use Airtable to skyrocket your productivity, check out this post by Terra from Uncork Your Dork.
I’ll hold my hands up now and say that I put off investing in Dubsado for way too long! I thought I could manage my clients using spreadsheets, Word and Excel (yeah, not even the online versions!)
The moment that I signed up to Dubsado and saw what it was actually capable of, I knew it was going to make a huge difference to my productivity. Instead of sending emails to potential clients with lots of questions about what kind of assistance they required, I could create a template and set it to send automatically when someone completed an initial inquiry form. I could suddenly send contracts that the clients could sign with the click of a button which would then form part of their record in Dubsado. I could create and send invoices at the click of a button and auto-schedule payment reminders instead of having to set diary dates and chase people manually!
It really does save tonnes of time having everything you need for one client in a single place – no need to refer back to a long string of emails and Facebook messages to track down minor details. And, as an added bonus, each client can have their own client portal so that they too can access things like their contract, emails, previous invoices etc. in one easy to access, convenient place.
The Contract Shop
You’re probably sitting there thinking this isn’t a tool that can skyrocket your productivity but bear with me!
One of the things that we try to do when we first start our businesses is…EVERYTHING!
We literally try to do every single thing ourselves. And I get it, I really do. I was the same. Part of it is a pride thing – we want to be able to say that we built our businesses from scratch all by ourselves. Another part of it is money – if we’re just starting out, not many of us have “spare cash” lying around to just pay other people to help us.
The great thing about The Contract Shop is that it’s run by Christina Scalera, who really knows her legal stuff and has something for pretty much everyone! Here are just a few examples of what you can find in The Contract Shop that will save you not only time but also the headache of having to draft things yourself:
No more going backwards and forwards 20,000 times over email with a new client just to find a time that suits you both for a 20-minute call!
With Calendly, you can set your available times, send a link to your client and they can choose a time that suits them from your calendar. It’s super simple and free to use (there are some features that you’ll need to upgrade for but I’ve found the free version fine!)
Simply set up a free account, make sure that you keep your availability up to date and say goodbye to all of that wasted time trying to set up calls.
Social Media and Graphics
- Own blog posts
- Own products
- Affiliate links
- Posts from other people
- Tips and tricks
You then add a whole list of posts to each category and select the time slots that you want to share those categories with your audience on each platform. And what really saves you time? If your mark those posts as “evergreen” SmarterQueue will recycle them for you once they’ve been posted. You don’t have to log in and retype them every week or month! If you want to know more about using SmarterQueue and how I’ve saved myself over 8 hours a week using it, check out this post.
Planoly is my favourite tool when it comes to scheduling Instagram posts.
I’ve found that I’m much, much productive when I can batch tasks. This includes scheduling my Instagram posts which I do every Sunday for the week ahead. I sit down for half an hour, plan out my content and schedule it out.
There are a couple of reasons that I chose Planoly as my go-to Instagram scheduler and they all come down to saving time and being more productive.
Firstly, you can use Planoly on your laptop/desktop. I don’t know about you but I hate typing out long captions to an Instagram post on my phone. I can type much faster, and more naturally on my keyboard.
Next up, you can save groups of hashtags within Planoly and add them to your posts with the click of a button. For example, I have a group of productivity related hashtags, a group of VA specific hashtags, a group for my favourite blogging hashtags and so on. Trust me when I tell you that this feature will save you so. much. time.
Third on my list is the drag and drop grid planner feature. You can see how your images will look on your grid before you post and, if you’re not happy with the layout, you can rearrange them. This isn’t necessarily a time-saver but it is a dream come true for those of us seeking the perfect 9 square!
Finally, and most importantly for me, Planoly is a trusted third-party app to Instagram. This means that they are allowed to automatically post to Instagram for you. You simply add the caption and hashtags to the image you want to post, schedule a date and time and select “autopost”. Repeat until you have scheduled your posts for the day, week or month and Planoly will take care of the rest. No more push notifications on your phone. No more having to log into the app on your phone and copy everything over to Instagram.
Let’s face it, none of us has the time (or the energy) to be on Pinterest 24 hours a day. Well, maybe we do for home inspiration and hairstyle ideas, but not for work!
In order to save time and avoid spending hours trying to pin 50 pins each day, I schedule ahead of time using Tailwind.
Tailwind has a Chrome, Firefox and Safari extension so you can pin from anywhere which is a huge timesaver. You can also batch pin by pinning one single pin to multiple relevant boards. Tailwind also has great analytics and suggests the best times for you to pin so you don’t have to work it all out for yourself.
If you’re completely new to Pinterest and you’re not sure where to start, check out this eBook from Ana at the She Approach.
It’s not just any old eBook though, here’s what you get:
- A 170+ page eBook with detailed strategies on how to get started with Pinterest, craft an advanced pinning schedule and boost your blog traffic like a pro
- Access to 17 case studies from bloggers and biz owners who mastered Pinterest (and their best kept secrets)
- Free video training: How to create stunning Pinterest graphics and templates in Canva
- Free video training: How to find, report, take down and prevent stolen images on Pinterest
You know all of those lovely graphics you need to create for your website and social media accounts, including pins for Pinterest? Imagine how much you could skyrocket your productivity is there was a quick and easy tool to help you create them?
Well, there is and it’s called Canva! Now I know that the graphic designers out there will be cringing at my recommendation of Canva, screaming at their screens that tools like Photoshop and Illustrator are much better but for most of us, Canva will do the job. Plus it’s super easy to use.
How does it save you time? Well, you can create as many templates as you need and simply edit the text each time you need to use one. If you’re not creative or you simply don’t have time to sit down and put a set of templates together, check out these beautiful templates from Bluchic:
Styled Stock Society
When it comes to making our websites look great and curating those lovely social media graphics that entice people to click through to our sites and buy from us, image is everything.
When I first started blogging I would spend hours putting together flatlays, taking hundreds of pictures and editing them. Just for them to look less than ordinary and actually make my blog look pretty amateur. Then I came across the world of stock photos and, more specifically, the Styled Stock Society membership.
There are currently over 1,400 images in their library with new content being added each week. There really is something for everyone, with categories such as lifestyle, desktop, mockups and seasonal images.
Emails are so last season!
Whether you’re working in a team or looking for a time-saving way to communicate with your clients, I will always recommend Slack. It’s kind of like going back to the old days of MSN messenger but with new, quicker, more professional technology!
You can message each other instantly, share documents and create team channels (like group chats), making those one-line emails a thing of the past.
Not only is it quick and easy to type your shorter messages into Slack but it also means you won’t have as many emails in your inbox each day which is another task off your list. Another added bonus is that it’s free to use. Like most of the “free” tools, there are upgrades available but I’ve never needed to upgrade to the paid version of Slack.
Do you feel like you’d be able to skyrocket your productivity if only you didn’t have to write or type everything out? I hear ya!
Loom is an amazing tool that you can record yourself and/or your computer screen with. As a VA, this is a total lifesaver. If I need to show a client how I’ve set up a new workspace or Airtable spreadsheet, I simply record a quick tutorial on my screen. No need to write a 20-page manual for them.
And it works the other way too. I often ask clients to record themselves completing a task that they have allocated to me to do in the future so that I can follow the exact same process at them. Having the video makes it easier to follow instructions and it means that you can go back and re-watch it again as many times as you need.
Oh, and did I mention that Loom is free too? There is a paid version but I’ve never needed to use any of its features.
Sometimes (most of the time) it’s much easier and more time efficient to jump on a call and talk something through with someone. Emails can be misread and are often long-winded, causing more confusion than they solve!
That’s why I use the free version of Zoom to have video calls with my clients. It’s really easy to use. You create a meeting and send the link to the other person (you can be super efficient and send it to them via Slack!)
There are a number of options available so you can use Zoom in a way that suits you. You can opt to use the audio only (great for those days when you’ve got a call 2 minutes after you’ve woken up!), you can use your camera and you can share your screen. You can mix and match these options too.
One feature of Zoom that I absolutely love, and is a great time saver, is the record feature. You can record your video to play back later. This is ideal for initial discovery calls with clients where there’s lots of information that you want to note down. You don’t want to get distracted by handwriting notes during the call so just record it and listen back later.
As most of you will already know, I always recommend ConvertKit to anyone looking to build an email list.
When you first look at ConvertKit and all of its amazing functions you might wonder how this amazing tool will skyrocket your productivity. Surely, you’re just going to lose hours on end trying to get everything set up?
Well yes, and no.
It might take you a while to get to grips with ConvertKit and get everything set up. But, once you do, you can automate pretty much everything email related in your business! From delivering freebies to new subscribers to creating and automating free email courses, there’s nothing that ConvertKit can’t do for you!
As I mentioned, there are tonnes of functions and things that ConvertKit can do for you which can be overwhelming. That’s why I joined – and would recommend to anyone else wanting to use ConvertKit to join – the ConvertKit Club by Elizabeth Buckley-Goddard
If you’re unsure about joining the membership or just want a quick guide to Convertkit, Elizabeth also offers this free beginners guide to Convertkit.
Gmail and GSuite
I have to say that the biggest thing I ever did to increase my productivity was to get organised!
It sounds silly but every single day I was wasting so much time looking for documents and images and emails and…well, basically everything because nothing on my laptop was in any sort of order.
When I got myself a professional looking email with Gmail, I took advantage of the storage that came with it. Not only did Google Drive provide me with the perfect place to save and organise my stuff, but it also proved to be a fantastic way to share documents with clients and team members too.
Do you spend 10-15 minutes searching for your login details every single time you need to log into anything online? I know I used to.
Originally, I kept them in a spreadsheet but, well…you know, that’s not very safe! Then I discovered LastPass.
It’s a great tool that saves your login details securely. The Chrome extension will automatically complete the details on the login screen of online programs you use. You can also share passwords with other LastPass users without them actually being able to see what your password is. This is great for client work or when you’re working with a team of people. You can send your details via LastPass meaning that they can log into your accounts without seeing your password
It will also generate passwords for you should you need to create new passwords for anything.
When I sit down to write a blog post or long email, I like to write. And write. And write some more until everything I need to say is on the screen. I don’t like to write a few words and then edit and then write a few more and edit. It’s just not my style.
I also don’t like to write a huge blog post – like this beast that is over 3,000 words long – and then spend an extra 2 hours proofreading it. Quite honestly it’s a boring task. Plus, I’m usually so tired from writing that I don’t actually spot my own mistakes.
That’s why I use the free Grammarly extension. It’s basically like Word’s spellcheck but for online “stuff”. Yes, you have to go through and correct the red underlined words but it’s faster than editing from scratch.
I mentioned Bluchic templates earlier in this post but they’ve saved me so much time that they’re getting another mention.
On top of the Canva Social Media Templates, Bluchic also sell some beautiful Landing Page Templates.
What. A. Game. Changer.
I’ve honestly spent hours and hours trying to create the perfect landing pages for various things. And, no matter what I did, they never seemed to be quite right. After purchasing a theme from Bluchic (the one I use on here), I was so impressed that I checked out some of their other stuff too.
After purchasing the templates I’ve been able to create sales pages, tripwires and more in the blink of an eye. All of the pages have played a huge part in automating various areas of my business, in particular in setting up sales funnels.
The bundle of templates includes:
- Opt-in Page
- Tripwire Offer Page
- Thank You Page
- Webinar Registration Page
- Live Webinar Page
- Sales Page
- Offer Expired Page
The templates are designed to be used in WordPress with the Elementor plugin which I’m a huge fan of. You simply upload the templates, add the relevant one to your page and edit the content to suit your needs! Easy peasy!
Not only will they help you save time in the short term but they’ll take you a long way in automating other parts of your business too!
The final tool on this list of 20 tools to skyrocket your productivity today – the Tomato Timer!
There’s not really much to say about this. I am a huge fan of it and use it every single day.
You may or may not have heard of the Pomodoro technique. The idea is that you work in short, uninterrupted bursts. So, you work for 25 minutes with no extra browser tabs open, no phone, no TV etc. followed by a 5-minute break. When I do this, I use the Tomato Timer to keep track of my short bursts of work.
Why? Because I have zero self-control. And every time I pick up my phone I spend 45 minutes scrolling through Facebook and Instagram! With the Tomato Timer, I just open up another tab and leave my phone completely out of reach.
Phew! That’s a long old list. Whilst it might seem overwhelming, making small changes and using these tools in your business will save hours of time.
Let me know what your favourite productivity tools are in the comments below.