Check out this comprehensive guide to the best productivity tools, and streamline and improve your task management, collaboration, and workflow skills.
A successful freelance career includes a few different elements: neat skills, effective workflows, stellar organization, and more. Despite being wildly talented, standing out in a fiercely competitive market requires more than just delivering great work — it requires delivering great work efficiently.
Below, we’ll explore an arsenal of the best productivity tools, ranging from world-class task management apps to elite collaboration platforms. These tools will turbocharge your workflow, elevate efficiency, and ensure you shine brighter than your peers.
The importance of productivity 👇
Productivity isn’t just a buzzword — for Independents, it’s the glue that holds your career together. Boosting productivity enhances your work’s quality and functions as a lifeline for managing packed schedules, demanding deadlines, and simultaneous projects, all part of the busy freelancer lifestyle. Freelancing can be challenging, whether you’re just starting out or transitioning from full-time, but becoming more productive is an excellent way to reduce stress, up your work satisfaction levels, and live a more balanced life.
Productivity is all about accomplishing more with less — less time, less energy, and fewer resources — and that’s where paid and free productivity apps come in. In today’s digital age, productivity tools are your allies for getting more done, and they’re ready and waiting to serve you.
What are productivity tools? 🧰
Productivity tools, or productivity apps, are software applications designed to help you seamlessly accomplish tasks. They include everything from simple task management and organization apps to comprehensive project management platforms and collaborative tools. These tools simplify, automate, and enhance tasks and workflows to help individuals and teams tick off more tasks throughout the workday.
You can leverage these tools to schedule appointments, manage to-do lists, coordinate project tasks, and more. Many of these apps eliminate or automate tedious processes to save time and money, helping you focus on other important tasks.
Productivity apps possess the power to transform the independent journey, helping you manage projects, collaborate seamlessly, and scale operations for a more successful career.
Critical considerations for choosing productivity tools ✅
When chosen wisely, productivity tools are reliable partners for improving efficiency and boosting your career trajectory. But not all productivity tools are created equal, so it’s essential to research and make an informed choice. Here are a few key considerations for choosing tools to suit your needs:
The best productivity tools are easy to use and navigate, even without technical skills. Look for an intuitive interface and straightforward functionality, as these elements drastically reduce the time spent learning to use the app. Remember, the tool should boost your productivity, not drain your time, energy, or resources.
Choose a productivity tool that not only adapts to your unique work style and learning preferences, but it also adjusts to your needs as your roles and projects change. Our experts recommend using apps that offer customization, if possible. That’s because as you grow and scale your business, the tool should be able to support you and help you achieve multiple tasks.
Security and reliability 🔒
Steady, consistent performance is an important quality of good productivity tools and the ability to access, edit, and save your work anytime, anywhere. We also recommend choosing a tool with robust security and encryption features to protect your files, conversations, and personal data. This gives you peace of mind and prioritizes your privacy.
Whether working solo for a client or as part of a remote team, utilizing a productivity tool is an excellent way to facilitate collaboration and communication. Save time and keep everyone on the same page by choosing tools with chat features that streamline conversations and help avoid misunderstandings.
13 productivity apps for Android, iOS, and PCs 🔨
Achieving success in your independent niche is easier when you boost your productivity. Luckily, a diverse set of productivity tools is available to manage time, tasks, projects, and collaborations efficiently and effectively.
Here’s a list of productivity software essential for every freelancer’s toolkit:
- Hive: Designed for total productivity and project management, Hive allows you to communicate and collaborate on lists, files, projects, and more. It’s available for mobile, desktop, and web browsers, and pricing starts at $12 per month per user after a 14-day free trial.
- Todoist: An upgraded version of the traditional to-do list, Todoist facilitates easy task and project management. It allows you to share and assign tasks, promoting collaborative work. The basic version is free, and the premium version costs $4 per month for iOS, Android, and desktop.
- MindMeister: MindMeister helps you brainstorm, visualize data, plan projects, and more. This mind-mapping tool for iOS and Android is ideal for individuals and teams and includes preset themes. You can create up to three maps for free or opt for personal plans starting at $4.99 per month.
- Google Docs: A versatile OG tool for document collaboration, Google Docs is a unique productivity tool that lets you share and edit documents in real time. It’s perfect for remote collaborations and is free on iOS, Android, and desktop.
- IFTTT (If This Then That): This tool links different apps to streamline work and everyday tasks. It frees up time for more important work throughout the day and is free to use on iOS and Android.
- Calendly: This scheduling tool makes setting up meetings easy and hassle-free, removing the need for endless messages or emails. The premium version starts at $8/month, while the basic plan is free. It’s compatible with both iOS and Android.
- Chanty: This communication and collaboration tool offers audio and video calls with screen-sharing, chatting, and task creation and management capabilities. It’s free for up to 10 members, with the Business version costs $3 per month per user. You can use it on iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows desktop.
- Internxt: Internxt is a secure cloud storage service that prioritizes privacy and offers end-to-end encryption, open-source services, and a commitment to zero-knowledge technology. You can store up to 10GB of data for free or opt for premium plans that start at $0.98 per month. It’s available for web browsers, iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, and Linux.
- Evernote: Everyone’s favorite note-taking app, Evernote lets you take handwritten and digital notes and upload photographs of notes. It offers a sophisticated organization system and search function. While the basic version is free, the premium version starts at $13.33 per month. Also, it’s available for both iOS and Android.
- ClickUp: This platform is one of the best team productivity apps available. With a user-friendly interface, it’s designed for agile project management and adapted to different workflows easily. The software comes with both free and paid versions, starting at $5 per member per month. And it’s available for iOS, Android, and desktop.
- Toggl: With a clean, intuitive interface, Toggl offers time-tracking, custom reports, and billable hour tools. It’s free for up to five users and costs $8 per user for additional users. Toggl is available for iOS, Android, and desktop.
- Hootsuite: Hootsuite is a comprehensive social media tool allowing you to schedule posts and manage engagement across multiple accounts and platforms. There is a free 30-day trial, and the app is available for iOS and Android. Plans start at $99 per month.
- Mem: This artificial intelligence (AI) enables you to sync your calendar and emails, save notes, and store contracts in the app. It also has an in-house AI bot chat feature, which helps you look for stuff. It offers both free and paid versions, starting at $8 per month.
Apps to check out after a hectic day 🧘
Did you think we’ll leave you with only work- and skill-related productivity? Not quite! Relaxing your mind and body after a long day is imperative to maintain a healthy work-life balance and prepare for the following day.
Here are a few options to look for:
- Brain.fm: This music app fosters sleep, relaxation, and overall focus. It’s free for Android and iOS, and the pro version starts at $6.99.
- Engross App: This popular time management app offers a customizable Pomodoro technique timer and distraction tracker to improve focus. The basic version is free to download on iOS and Android.
- Forest App: Forest helps you focus on tasks by gamifying time management with virtual tree planting. You can start using it for just $1.99, with other in-app purchases (which are optional). It’s also compatible with both iOS and Android devices.
Promote your freelance services on Contra 🤩
Embracing the right productivity tools can be a game-changer for your independent career. Using these apps helps simplify tasks, enhance collaboration, and maximize productivity, ultimately allowing you to produce better work and gain new clients.
Whether you track time with Toggl, focus with Forest, manage distractions with Engross, brainstorm with MindMeister, or schedule social media posts with Hootsuite, there’s a tool available to take your productivity to the next level.
Now that you know how to streamline your workday and boost efficiency, explore Contra. Our commission-free platform helps Independents promote their services, manage their small businesses, and find work with clients all over the globe. It’s easy to start freelancing with the right tools at your fingertips.