14 Best Personal Productivity Tools

Despite the proliferation of “labor saving” devices and process automation software, marketers (along with their colleagues in pretty much every other business function) are busier than ever.

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Of course, there’s always been pressure to do more with less—the definition of productivity improvement—but the mantra seems to have taken on almost religious status as the anemic, drawn-out recovery from the 2008 financial crisis drags on.

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Combined with the widespread adoption of mobile technologies, enabling corporate professionals to work from pretty much anywhere, at any time (which they are therefore expected to do), the demands on our time feel unprecedented.

So how can you get at least some of that time back? How can you get more done without simply working even longer and harder?

The personal productivity apps here can help. These tools, divided into four categories—time-tracking, online timers, personal organization and scheduling, and task automation tools—may help you get a bit more done with a bit less time and effort.

Online Time-Tracking Apps

1) RescueTime
Google Review Count: 355

RescueTime helps you understand how you spend time online so you can focus and be more productive. It runs securely in the background on your computer and mobile devices; tracks time spent on applications and websites, giving you an accurate picture of your day; and provides detailed reports based on your activity.

Sample review: “These top productivity tools will help you grow…(use) RescueTime for tracking your time, eliminating distractions, and optimizing your daily productivity.” — Marketing Insider Group (Startup)

Pricing: free, $9 per month, or $72 per year

Showcase reviews: Marketing Insider Group (Startup)

2) Time Doctor
Google Review Count: 183

Get insights into exactly what is going on with your business, or use Time Doctor for your own personal productivity. Features include online time monitoring, ability to track time spent in meetings, client/project time tracking, desktop/mobile time tracking, and an integrated payroll module. Integrates with a wide range of applications including Basecamp, Salesforce.com, and Teamwork.

Sample review: “Time Doctor allows content marketers to track the productivity of a team, including tracking time spent working and managing hours.” — Express Writers

Pricing: free, $5 per month, or $10 per month per user

Showcase reviews: Express Writers

3) Toggl
Google Review Count: 170

Online time-tracking tool for individuals or teams, on desktop or mobile devices.

Sample review: “As a B2B business owner, you’ve probably noticed that a lot of your time is unaccounted for. You’ve been busy all day, but how much of that is actually billable time? With Toggle, you can track your time by client and project both on your desktop and on your mobile device. ” — B2B PR Sense Blog

Pricing: free or three levels from $10 to $59 per user per month

Showcase reviews: B2B PR Sense Blog, Blogging Wizard, BuzzBlogger, Marketing Insider Group (Startup)

Online Clocks/Timers

1) E.ggTimer
Google Review Count: 363

A simple countdown timer to help with tasks and workflow. Includes special timers for Pomodoro, brushing teeth, and common intervals.

Pricing: free

Showcase reviews: Siasat

2) Qlock
Google Review Count: 297

Qlock is a stylish, simple desktop world clock for Windows–plus much more. Create unlimited clock windows for every major city in the world, then simply drag them around the screen until you`re happy with the layout. Each window can have its color, size and display changed, they even clamp themselves to each other and to the sides of the desktop. Qlock will even display RSS or Atom feeds and update them automatically throughout the day to help you keep on top of news and events around the globe, without even having to open a browser, and you can attach notes to any city to keep track of phone numbers and reminders.

Pricing: $15 (single user) or $90 (multi-user) one-time fee

Showcase reviews: Siasat

Personal Organization and Scheduling Apps

1) Any.do
Google Review Count: 295

A combination to-do list for tasks and lists; calendar for planning; and assistant for automated tasks. Available for iPhone, Android or desktop.

Sample review: “These top productivity tools will help you grow…(use) AnyDo for building personal and professional task lists.” — Marketing Insider Group (Startup)

Pricing: free, $3 per month, or $27 per year

Showcase reviews: Marketing Insider Group (Startup)

2) TeuxDeux
Google Review Count: 272

Create to-do lists, rearrange tasks, and mark when completed. Unfinished tasks automatically roll over to the next day. You can also create recurring tasks and other types of lists.

Sample review: “TeuxDeux (is) a beautiful to-do app that looks like your paper dairy.” — Siasat

Pricing: $3 per month or $24 per year

Showcase reviews: Siasat

3) Google Keep
Google Review Count: 203

Create online “sticky notes” for notes, lists, and photos, set to-do reminders, collaborate on task lists, and search your notes. Versions for Android, iOS and desktop.

Sample review: “Do we really need to get complicated apps for to-do lists? I don’t think so, and if you are with me, then Google Keep is your best bet for staying on top of daily/weekly/etc to-do lists.” — StoreYa Blog

Pricing: free

Showcase reviews: StoreYa Blog

4) Cold Turkey
Google Review Count: 122

Cold Turkey lets you temporarily block distractions (like Facebook) so you can focus on finishing your work sooner. It’s customizable—you can set it to block anything from a specific webpage to the entire Internet—and difficult to circumvent, to help keep you on track (though you can set up exceptions).

Sample review: “If you intend to spend just a few minutes on Pinterest, only to end up spending half a day looking at recipes, you need Cold Turkey. Use Cold Turkey to group distracting sites, such as social and news sites, and then block them off for certain time periods.” — Social Media Examiner (Productivity)

Pricing: free or $25 one-time

Showcase reviews: Social Media Examiner (Productivity)

5) Ohdontforget
Google Review Count: 120

The easiest way to schedule SMS reminders for yourself, your family, friends or customers. Just send a message now or schedule it for a later date, to one person or many at once. You can have it repeat every week, month or year – or at any interval you choose.

Sample review: “Send yourself text message reminders for important or time-sensitive tasks.” — Wrike

Pricing: one to three cents per message, based on volume purchased

Showcase reviews: Wrike

6) World Clock for Mac
Google Review Count: 17

Check the time anywhere on earth. Add cities and timezones with a keystroke, convert time with a flick, create calendar events with a click.

Sample review: “World Clock is a Mac app that is much more than just a clock. Select your favorite cities and change the time by clicking and dragging on the screen. The rest of the time zones change in sync, so you can see what time it is at any point on the map. World Clock is useful for scheduling meetings and social updates, and you can use it across the board to get in front of different audiences as they come online.” — Social Media Examiner (Tools)

Pricing: $5 one time

Showcase reviews: Social Media Examiner (Tools)

Task Automation Tools

1) IFTTT
Google Review Count: 336

Create applets to connect online services to automate a wide variety of tasks: automatically tweet out your new blog posts. Get an email when you favorite blogger pubishes a new post. Get notifications, weather alerts at specific times, create playlists, and more.

Sample review: “If you’re not using this, you’re doing too much work. ..Try it. Spend an hour looking at what it can do with your different channels and you’ll be glad you did. I especially like dumping things into Evernote with it. Great way to put all of your life and day in to one place.” — Katie Lance

Pricing: free

Showcase reviews: Express Writers, Katie Lance, Marketing Insider Group (Arsenal), Siasat, SmallBusinessNewz, Social Media Examiner (Productivity), StoreYa Blog, TNW News

2) Zapier
Google Review Count: 210

Connect apps and automate task workflows, without coding. Pick a Trigger that sets your Zap into motion and complete th action. Point, click, automate. Go from idea to workflow in minutes.

Sample review: “Automate social sharing, get on top of to-do lists, make sure your team doesn’t forget deadlines, and so much more. All of it is done via automation so all you have to do is complete the one-time setup, and then let it work for you.” — StoreYa Blog

Pricing: free, $20 or $125 per month

Showcase reviews: Siasat, StoreYa Blog

3) Azuqua
Google Review Count: 137

An integration platform to help connect on-premises and cloud applications, automate workflow processes, and create microservices.

Sample review: “A mix of sales, marketing, and customer service is provided by Azuqua, a start-up based in Seattle that connects and automates business processes in the cloud. Its “workflow scenarios” offer personalisation, and integration with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems and some social media.” — 201 Digital

Pricing: $250 or $1,000 per month; conntact vendor for enterprise pricing

Showcase reviews: 201 Digital

Showcase Reviews

201 Digital
B2B PR Sense Blog
Blogging Wizard
BuzzBlogger
Express Writers
Katie Lance
Marketing Insider Group (Arsenal)
Marketing Insider Group (Startup)
Siasat
SmallBusinessNewz
Social Media Examiner (Productivity)
Social Media Examiner (Tools)
StoreYa Blog
TNW News
Wrike

This was the 30th post in the Best Online Business Tools series.

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#22: The 32 Best Twitter Marketing Tools
#23: The 29 Best Web Analytics Tools
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#26: The 29 Best Social Media Monitoring Tools
#27: The 17 Best Project Management Tools
#28: The 21 Best Content Curation Tools
#29: The 26 Best WordPress Plugins
#30: The 14 Best Personal Productivity Tools

Source: Webbiquity