The 5 Best Productivity Tools
I'm an app hoarder. Yes, I download dozens of apps every year with the best intentions to use them, only to never open them once. This is twice as true for exercise & meditation apps. #imtheworst. I've also spent a lot of time using apps for to-do lists, productivity. And I used to work somewhere where we switched the workflow tool we used every single month. So I have tried them all. And I am here to say that I now have the definitive list of great tools that every business owner, a creative, productive person needs to be using. Keep reading to learn about my top five apps to keep me productive!
I will be honest, I held out on Asana for a long time. I felt like it was another app that sounded like it would fix my life but end up being another chore. But I kept hearing about other creatives using it so I thought I should give it a go! And I’m very glad I did. It’s such a treat. Asana is great for project management, especially when exchanging information with clients.
How I use it:
Once a client has signed the agreement and paid their deposit, I create a new project in Asana. Then I outline the project into the big phases (usually something like moodboard, style guide, brand collateral, and website). Then under each phase, I list out all of the steps that goes into that. And I mean every single step. I also assigned deadlines to each step. If the client is responsible for a step like creating a Pinterest board, I assign it to them, and they get a notification. For me, the best part of Asana, is that you can upload links and files to each step, so everything is right where you need it, which saves me so much time from mining my inbox every time I need that one specific email a client sent me months ago.
Along the way, I mark tasks completed. It’s super easy to use. And it doesn’t feel like a nuisance to create or edit.
I’ve got great feedback from clients that I’ve used it with. They even ask me to update it more to keep them accountable.
Bonus: Asana is totally free for teams up to 15! Such a steal.
HoneyBook is designed specifically for creatives and it 100% feels like it was made for me. I use HoneyBook at the beginning stages with a client, starting from the inquiry stage to signing the contract and paying the deposit. It makes signing on a clients seamless for both parties.
How I use it:
CRM – A Client Relationship Manager system helps you to keep track of all the touchpoints you have with prospective and paid clients.
Contracts - I’ve created a set of templates that I can customize for each client or project. Once I customize a template, I can send it to the client from HoneyBook, where they can e-sign it.
Invoicing – HoneyBook makes invoicing so, so easy! I just add the line items and send. The client can pay from the link they get in the email. HoneyBook uses Stripe, just like Squarespace, to pay me.
There’s also a bunch of other features on HoneyBook, i.e. calendar, networking with other creatives, and even help finding jobs. The only bad news is that HoneyBook is the most expensive app on here, with no free option. But you do get 7-day free trial (no credit card required) and I also have a link for you that will help you save money when you sign up!
Everyone who has ever sent an email has at one point had a crazy inbox. Whether it’s from coworkers asking the same question for the 86th time or from all those email subscriptions you’re signed up for, we all suffer from inbox clutter.
UnRoll.Me is a free app that helps you clean up that clutter! You can select all of the emails you want to “roll up”.
How I use It:
In the UnRoll.Me app, I select all the marketing emails and subscriptions I’ve signed up for but can’t quite quit. And then UnRoll.Me bundles them all up and sends them all in one email every morning. Every once in a while, I update the list of what I want rolled up to include any new subscriptions.
It cuts my inbox down from like 106 to 14. It makes me tackling my inbox so much more manageable.
If you want to plan out what your grid looks like before you post your photos, use Planoly. The app, available on your phone and desktop, is helpful for creating, scheduling, and autoposting everything for your Instagram. I love Planoly because it is super easy to use and makes my life so much easier. By planning my content on Instagram ahead of time, I save so much time each day and I’m ensuring that my grid looks on point.
How I use it:
Every two weeks, I upload 15 photos I want to post. Then I play around with the order of the photos to see how it looks on my grid. I check to make sure the color scheme is congruent. At the time, I’m also making sure that I am not posting photos from the same photoshoot too close to each other.
Once I have my grid down, I write a caption for each. When I’ve finalized the caption, I select the date and time I want it to be autoposted. And that’s it! It’s that easy. You can even use Planoly to schedule your Instagram stories.
While I use Planoly for my Instagram feed, I still need something for the other social media platforms I use – LinkedIn and Facebook. For that, I use Buffer.
Just like Planoly, Buffer allows you to create and schedule posts ahead of time and the app will automatically post for you. And you can even share the same post on different platforms. Buffer has a few paid memberships, but the free version allows you to have up to three social media accounts attached to it, which is more than enough for me. Sign up for Buffer at www.Buffer.com.
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While all the opinions on are my (Stephanie DeLacy) own, I am a part of affiliate advertising programs. This means that if you click and/or make a purchase through certain links on this site or any related social media platforms, I may make a small commission from that click and/or purchase.