In life, we come across many challenges we must overcome to be fast and productive. Even though some of these challenges can be a very tough task, the personal productivity tools that are currently on the market could well be the silver lining to our dark clouds.
Personal productivity tools are various softwares, add-ons, and apps that help ease our day-to-day tasks. These tools can help us to be more effective in our everyday tasks of communication, collaboration, note taking, and many more. The tools must be used with the sole intention of saving time and shifting focus to more important tasks at hand.
The digital realm is full of these productivity tools. But choosing the wrong tools without knowing the true intentions behind them can be a recipe for disaster. Sound knowledge must be needed about the products and how to use them efficiently. Hence, this article will discuss everything you need to know about these productivity tools!
What Are Personal Productivity Tools?
To give the simplest answer, these are tools that will make our lives easier. These tools can range from the simple alarm clock on your phone to the complicated year organizers you need to plan. They are built in a way to help us reach maximum efficiency by easing our day-to-day tasks.
Most of these tools come as addons to our internet browsers while some come in the form of mobile applications. Alternatively, some products can come in many shapes and forms. As an example, the popular note-taking tool ‘Evernote’ comes as an addon, software, and an app to help sync our notes to one single space.
Most of these service providers use the freemium business model where some services are offered for free while advanced and more efficient services must be bought.
Most of our daily tasks can be accomplished by the free of charge services offered. We also have listed the advantages of these personal productivity tools;
- The tools ease our everyday lives by syncing up all our devices, making everything accessible from anywhere
- The tools are massive time savers, making our days free to do what we like
- They offer better communication which improves overall team efficiency at work and in studies.
- Most of the data used in these tools are saved in the cloud, letting users worry less about saving data to individual devices.
- Users can keep track of their performances and work towards peak productivity using the analytics these tools offer.
Best Personal Productivity Tools Currently in the Market
The current digital market showcases a plethora of productivity tools and finding the appropriate tool can be a daunting task. But some of these tools have been tried and tested by both experts and users who have provided feedback on each tool, giving us the chance to recommend the best tools in the current market.
Evernote for Note Taking
Taking notes and making to-do lists is something that we do every day. But finding all notes in one place is a completely different story. The typical note taker will have plenty of notes on the laptop and other minor notes and to-do lists on the smartphone.
Using a tool that synchronizes notes from different devices to one single place would result in more efficiency and productivity. Similarly, the productivity tools of Evernote and Microsoft OneNote are the market giants in this category. Using either of these apps will guarantee you access to all notes from different devices.
Although these two tools dominate the market, they both have key differences. We have outlined the main differences in the following table;
|Key Aspect||OneNote||Ever Note|
|Pricing||OneNote is a free-to-use software that has been developed by Microsoft. This is also the key difference between the two apps||Evernote is a freemium software. Although a free version is available, it offers very few features.The premium version of this app costs $7.99 per month while the business version costs $14.99 per month|
|Features||OneNote offers all features for free including ink to both text and math, dictation, webpage clipping, text search, syncing, and translating||Evernote only offers web clipping, syncing up to 2 devices, and text formatting on the free version. However, the paid version allows custom templates, pdf annotations, offline access, and unlimited device synchronizations|
|Storage||OneNote has a storage limit of 5GB. However, this can be extended by purchasing a Microsoft 365 package||Evernote’s free version has a storage limit of 25MB. The premium version offers a 200MB note size with an upload limit of 10GB|
|User Experience||OneNote has the usual Microsoft layout which makes it easy to learn||Although the user experience of the free version stands the same as OneNote, the premium version offers more templates and customizations|
In summary, the premium version of Evernote ticks all the boxes and proves to be the best note-taking app in the market. However, if you’re planning on using the free version, OneNote might be the best fit given its storage.
Grammarly for Language and Spellings
We all have bad experiences of sending emails with the wrong spellings and grammar discrepancies, and Grammarly prevents just that! Grammarly is a freemium spell checker that offers language clarity tips as well.
Adding Grammarly as an addon will allow the spell checker to review all documents you type online including google docs, spreadsheets, and emails. The system works by using algorithms that are powered by artificial intelligence that goes through the context of the document you type rather than individual words.
This allows the spell checker to provide information and advice unique to the document that you type. The app works in 4 sections: correctness, clarity, engagement, and delivery.
The free version corrects all punctuation, grammar mistakes, and spelling errors and provides suggestions to improve clarity as well. The premium has more checking criteria including readability, word choice, formality, and fluency of the document. The premium version also has plagiarism detection, proving its use for university students and writers.
The premium version starts from $12 per month which is billed as a one-off payment of $144. The business plan starts from $45 per month.
Slack for Communication
Effective communication is becoming a skill and a talent in the workspace with each passing day and many tools will help you to communicate effectively. Out of them, Slack hits the bullseye due to its versatility, transparency, and simplicity.
Slack is now a $16 billion worth company after its simple beginnings in 2013. This tool is renowned for its use in a professional environment, mainly because of two main characteristics;
- Transparency – Unlike other communication tools, team members working on Slack can receive real-time updates on the projects that other people are working on. This was a dealbreaker back in the day and it redefined the concept of teamwork when working remotely
- Centralization – Before Slack, people had to use different tools for different tasks. But Slack made all those tools available on its platform, eliminating the need for its users to go elsewhere. As an example, Slack has its own built-in cloud space, real-time chat function, and an internal email feature.
Hence, a customer using Slack doesn’t need to have different cloud storage to store data or a different emailing platform to communicate.
The app also offers face-to-face communication, external integration, secure collaborations, and more features in its premium version.
In terms of pricing, the free version offers only the basics which are not enough for a medium-scale company. The standard version costs $6.67 per user while the Plus version costs $12.50 per active user. The price for the premium version is not given where you will have to contact the sales team.
Buffer for Social Media Management
This tool is a must-have for all marketers, influencers, and social media coordinators. The tool automates all social media interactions by creating a schedule where the app will automatically update all social media posts. The app also provides an analysis of social media accounts based on user interactions.
This tool is simple to use. After logging in, a user can upload the weekly Instagram posts, Facebook stories, and tweets to a scheduler. The user also can edit what time it must be published along with the captions and hashtags. The scheduler will then automatically publish the content.
Buffer is also a freemium service. The free version offers the basic publishing tools with a landing page builder. The ‘Essentials’ package costs $5 per month and includes more features while the ‘Team’ package which costs $10 per month has some added features including draft collaborations and advanced analytics.
The agency version costs $100 per month and offers custom access and permissions.
Freedom to Block Distractions
This is the app you never knew that you wanted. Freedom is a personal productivity app designed to help us block out distractions while working. The app can be customized into blocking notifications and messages from all kinds of apps including WhatsApp, emails, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
The app also offers a personal scheduler, enabling you to stick to a specific routine and work more productively and efficiently. The app works on all modern operating systems and is guaranteed to be a definite gamechanger.
The only downside to this app is that it doesn’t include a freemium version. The trial version only offers free access for up to 7 sessions. There are no different paid versions, but the prices change according to the payment plan.
Paying every month would cost $8.99 while an annual payment cost $39.99. Alternatively, a lifetime version can also be bought for $159.99
How to Use Personal Productivity Tools?
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to working with these tools. But following some helpful guidelines and tricks will help you uncover their maximum potential. Here are some guidelines to follow;
- Buy a premium subscription for tools in your specialized industry. For example, get Grammarly premium if you’re a student or a writer as it will help you to hone your writing and check for plagiarism. This will help you and your career in the long run which will prove its worth for the money you spent.
- Do not be overdependent on the tools. After all, these are just tools that help us to ease our lives and be more productive and efficient. Depending too much on these tools carries the risk of users losing their peace of mind and not knowing how to act without these tools which can be dangerous in the long run.
- Integrate the tools with each other. Many modern apps and softwares allow external integrations, allowing you to use them with each other. As an example, you can use the Freedom app while working on Slack which will help you to cut down on distractions.
- Use the tools to shift your focus to more important tasks. These tools are designed to help users save time by doing most of the work. Use this free time to plan on your next project or work towards your mental health by starting a hobby that will give you an edge in life.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How Can Productivity Tools Help a Student?
Students can use productivity tools like Grammarly and Freedom to increase their writing abilities and lessen distractions respectively. Tools like Evernote will also be a perfect fit for a student as it helps to bring all notes to one unified place.
- Can Productivity Tools be Used in Smartphones?
Yes, most of the tools offer a free app that helps you to use them on the go. The accessibility will also depend on the specific tool that you use. For example, accessing a collaboration tool like Slack through a smartphone wouldn’t be the ideal choice as it is developed to work on a PC or a MacBook.
- How Can I Know More About These Tools?
Using the Appstore or the play store would be the easiest way as it offers more information including user reviews. Alternatively, using google to search for specific tool alternatives and following tech channels on social media will also help you to know more about productivity tools.
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We hope this article helped you in gaining more information about personal productivity tools. Be mindful to use the right tool for the right job and not to be over-dependent on them. Use these tools effectively and be the person that you always dreamed to be!
Best productivity tools in the market https://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/the-top-11-tools-you-can-use-to-be-more-productive.html
Benefits of using productivity tools https://www.turbinehq.com/blog/the-benefits-of-using-productivity-tools