Top 10 Productivity Tools to Work Smarter, Not Harder

It’s the start of the day. You wake up, drive to the office (or walk down the hall), and feel ready to tackle the day. You pour yourself a cup of coffee, write a to-do list, and prepare to put your head down and get to work. And then 5:00 rolls around. You look back at your to-do list, and you’ve hardly made a dent.

Sound familiar? Do you often feel you never have enough time to finish everything? As a leader, your time and energy are finite resources, and you need to use them wisely to ensure you’re as productive as possible.

Fortunately, there are plenty of great tools to help take care of the monotonous or repetitive tasks of your business so you can focus on what matters – your clients, your staff, and your strategic goals.

Here are our top ten picks for productivity tools to help you work smarter, not harder:

  1. Asana

Asana lets you organize and manage all of your projects in one place. It makes it easy for large or small teams to work on tasks at once and ensure nothing falls through the cracks. 

A quick tip: Even if you aren’t using Asana for project management purposes, consider creating a shared task list as a collaborative way to keep everyone involved in your business on track. The Asana calendar tool is excellent for that.

Top Features:

  • Customizable Dashboards
  • Individual Task Lists & Focus Mode
  • Email & Calendar Integration
  • Project Management & Task Assignments

2. Slack

Slack is like the text message epicenter of your business team. It combines voice calls, video chats, and file sharing with essential work tools (like Google Drive) to create a single place where you can connect with anyone on the team. It’s a more effective way to get projects done and more seamless communication with teammates. 

It also offers immense flexibility regarding notifications—going on vacation? Set your availability. Need peace and quiet during a meeting? Integrate your calendar, and Slack will place an icon by your name to let coworkers know you’re busy.

Top Features:

  • Simplifies Remote Work
  • Custom, Private Channels
  • Reminders & Notifications
  • App Integrations (like Zoom & Miro) for easy collaboration and sharing

3. Miro

More than just a project manager, Miro is ideal for early-stage project management as it provides visual interfaces and dashboards that help you map out projects in a creative way. It can be valuable in figuring out what needs doing (i.e., who needs working with) and when. 

The primary benefit of Miro, however, is its ease of use; its intuitive nature makes jumping into projects quick and easy – which means less time spent getting organized and more time making things happen. At Clever Lucy, we use it for everything from project planning and Gantt charting to storyboarding a customer’s journey. The possibilities are endless.

Top Features:

  • Track progress and goal completion
  • Visualize tasks and outcomes
  • Inspire collaboration and brainstorming
  • Map work plans and illustrate ideas

4. Airtable

As you build your business on social media channels like Facebook and Twitter, it’s easy to get lost in constantly posting. Use a tool like AirTable to keep track of everything you post across your accounts. 

AirTable is also great for managing multiple team members and ensuring everyone is up-to-date with their tasks. If one person is sick or on vacation, another member can take over seamlessly without missing a beat. 

Top Features:

  • Pre-made Templates
  • Task Delegation & Tracking
  • Custom Views (Calendar, Spreadsheet, etc.)
  • Third-Party Integrations

5. Google Drive

It allows all team members to collaborate and give feedback on projects that are stored online. You can quickly search and sort through files, drag and drop uploads, and sync across your devices. Google Drive is ideal for teams working on large-scale projects or for those who have clients with whom they need to share files. This tool also backs files up online, so you don’t have to stress over potential risks with standard computer storage.

Top Features:

  • Share Files Internally & Externally
  • Online, Cloud Storage
  • Collaborate In Real-Time
  • Easy to Use

6. Zoom

In the world we’re all currently living in, most of us have used Zoom. And for many, Zoom is now an integral tool for daily tasks for work, school, and life. For our team at Clever Lucy, Zoom is essential for meeting with coworkers and clients based all over the country. 

It isn’t complicated or bloated—in fact, it’s pretty streamlined—so there’s little setup required before you can start your first call. The best part? Its basic subscription plan is free.

Top Features:

  • Communicate Across the Globe
  • Tools for Engaging Meetings
  • Third-Party App Integrations
  • Free & Affordable Subscription Plans

7. Quickbooks Time

QuickBooks Time is another critical tool in the day-to-day functionality of the Clever Lucy team. It allows us to track time spent on client projects to ensure accurate estimates of future jobs. QuickBooks Time can also generate invoices based on hours worked, streamlining the process and providing correct billing records.

Top Features:

  • Can Track Multiple Users
  • Tracks Projects & PTO
  • Automated Scheduling
  • Several App Integrations

8. Otter.ai

This transcription service uses artificial intelligence (AI) to turn audio into an organized document. It also allows you to search for key phrases in your recordings. If a meeting is particularly long and rambling or features multiple speakers, Otter will find a way of breaking it down into bite-sized chunks of audio. It’s beneficial if you’re trying to identify repeated ideas or themes. 

At Clever Lucy, we use this tool for important recorded meetings and podcasts to leverage the content throughout our workflow.

Top Features:

  • Real-Time Transcription
  • Voice Note & Recording Transcription
  • Tagged & Searchable Audio
  • Video Conference Integrations

9. MailChimp

MailChimp is a free email marketing and newsletter service. When creating and sending email newsletters and other marketing content, it’s easy to use. The drag-and-drop template builder helps you create attractive newsletters with ease. 

It has analytics features that allow you to track performance and identify trends in your audience behavior. MailChimp can manage multiple user accounts and efficiently handle large mailing lists.

Top Features:

  • Organize Email Lists
  • Drag & Drop Templates
  • Send & Track Marketing Emails
  • Identify Customer Trends

10. Calendly

Have you ever felt you’ve spent an entire day going back and forth with people trying to determine a meeting time? Calendly is a simple scheduling tool that eliminates the headaches of finding an ideal time. 

Instead of exchanging times with your coworkers, you can set availability in Calendly and send potential clients direct links to book time. It also integrates directly with popular CRMs such as Salesforce so you can stay on top of who booked what time slots and manage your calendar in one place.

Top Features:

  • Free & Affordable Subscription Plans
  • Integrates with CRMs & Calendars
  • Eliminates Back & Forth Scheduling
  • Helps You Regain Control Over Your Calendar

Streamlining projects is essential for a productive work week. These top 10 productivity tools, coupled with a few self-managed practices like setting deadlines and not being afraid to say no sometimes, remain key to our success. Because at Clever Lucy, we like to get things done. 

Is our list missing a productivity tool you simply can’t live without? Connect with us and let us know! We’d love to hear all about it.