Feeling overwhelmed with your tech stack?
Want to simplify the tools you use down to the most essential?
But don’t want to sacrifice productivity gains?
We got you covered in today’s post.
We gathered the top productivity apps to make your work life easier and broke them into 3 categories:
- Project management software
- Time-tracking software
- Communication software
After you see the apps on this list, you’ll be able to narrow down your tech stack and streamline your workload using the top tools available.
Let’s get started!
Project Management Software to Improve Productivity
Basecamp is one of the finest project management software solutions for teams in the market.
It’s designed for veteran managers and those just starting out alike. It was designed to be an intuitive platform for cooperation and collaboration.
Basecamp seeks to make email obsolete. Instead of everything starting in a state of disorganization, requiring you to manage the chaos, Basecamp organizes your work by default.
The goal: more organized teams. Fewer meetings. Better communication. More efficiency. And improved productivity.
All your work can be split into separate projects, each containing the relevant work required, the people involved, every meeting and discussion, all documents, files, tasks, and dates.
They also include various tools: real-time group chat, message boards, check-in questions, schedules, to-dos, and lets you integrate 3rd-party tools like time trackers (which we’ll cover in the next section).
Pretty much everything you need for any project can be found all in one place.
But that doesn’t mean you’ll be bogged down in countless messages and notifications from your team. Basecamp gives you the ability to balance your work life.
You can pause notifications with one click to stay focused. You can even set specific times when notifications are off until you’re “back on the clock.”
Basecamp restores your attention and helps teams get way more done with much less confusion and miscommunication.
Asana is one of the most popular project management tools that helps you banish phrases from your vocabulary like “I forgot about that” or “I missed that.”
Asana makes sure nothing falls through the cracks.
It features one of the best to-do lists out there. You can prioritize and plan your day while affixing descriptions, attachments, and due dates to your tasks, along with reminders for upcoming work.
Asana wants to help you avoid spreadsheets, email, and worst of all, handwritten notes by organizing all of the vital plans and information into a single “pool of knowledge” within Asana you can dip in and out of with ease.
The software provides various templates so you don’t have to start from scratch with things like recurring projects or tasks. The beauty of templates is they reduce mistakes and provide a repeatable process everyone your team can follow.
Sharing your work and collaborating with your team is easy to do in Asana. You can assign tasks to teammates, prioritize the most important tasks, and help everyone budget their time and hit their deadlines.
Monday promises to help your teams run efficiently.
The platform lets you build the app in the way you want. You can choose from a variety of templates to hit the ground running or design it yourself with drag-and-drop building blocks.
Some of the building blocks include:
- Calendar View
- Timeline View
- Kanban View
- Map View
- Guests Permissions
- Time Tracking
- File Sharing
It all starts with a board.
This is your table for managing projects, workflows, and the rest of your work. Boards are fully customizable using the building blocks listed above.
You can add code-free automations to your board, freeing up time and mitigating errors caused by tedious, manual work.
You can see your team’s workload in one place and immediately know who can take on more work, who’s behind, if deadlines are being missed, and if any members of your team are burning out from a heavy amount of work.
Monday makes work visual.
You can see exactly what’s planned for any given timeframe. You can specify key deliverables, establish deadlines with reminders, and stay on track toward your goals.
Plus, with a high-level view of everything you have to get done, you can confidently make faster decisions based on real-time data.
Time-Tracking Software to Improve Productivity
Harvest is one of the best and highest-rated time-tracking apps.
It’s also a favorite for managing teams. It was built to enhance collaboration on any size workload. For those struggling to track and organize their team’s time, Harvest makes it as easy to understand and execute as possible.
Harvest works across platforms, so your team can collaborate on the desktop and mobile app or through the browser extension. And if you don’t have an internet connection, you can still work on your tasks and record your time offline.
You’re given an administrator account where you can see and track all timekeeping clocks from all of your team members. You get a complete summary and a detailed breakdown for all timesheets.
Harvest also integrates with many different apps for optimal productivity, including some of the project management software we mentioned earlier such as Asana and Basecamp.
Harvest is flexible in terms of how you track your time. You can start and stop timers while you’re working or manually enter your hours all at once. Or a mix of both. However you want to track and manage your time, Harvest will help you do it.
HourStack is a unique time-tracking tool designed with collaboration in mind. Its standout feature is displaying time in blocks, similar to a task or event on your calendar.
The big idea behind HourStack is planning your time before you start working, and they emphasize this more than most other time-tracking software. You could set tasks for any time in the week, and input how much time you think it will take you to complete it or enter the specific amount of time you want to dedicate to it, i.e. no more than 1 hour.
HourStack’s timer will help you stay within the expectations you set.
You can also create projects and tasks within HourStack and visualize them using color-coding. Plus, you can add labels to different types of tasks to easily identify them.
Not only can you set a timer for a specific task, but you can specify the amount of time you want to work in a single day. If you only want to work for 5 hours on Friday, HourStack will warn you when you go into overtime.
And, like Harvest, HourStack integrates with a variety of other apps, for instance, Asana, Google Calendar, and Slack.
RescueTime is an automatic time-tracking app that works in the background, monitoring how you spend your time and what you spend it on.
Your computer usage is recorded and presented to you in a web-based dashboard.
You never need to manually log your hours, although this feature exists if you need to use it. It’s made for people who forget to track their time or find it difficult to consistently use other time-trackers. With RescueTime, you don’t even have to think about it.
RescueTime automatically logs your business activities, communications, and all your important tasks along with your unproductive habits.
The app uses a set of rules to categorize your habits as best as it can. Time spent on Facebook may be categorized as “very distracting” while time spent in Microsoft OneNote may be categorized as “very productive.”
However, you can assign categories to specific activities. If you’re spending time on Facebook because you’re a Facebook marketing manager, you can program RescueTime to categorize it as a productive activity.
The bonus that the other apps on this list don’t have is the website blocker you get called FocusTime – allowing you to block any website.
This app has all the features to deliver on their promises of improved productivity.
Communication Software to Improve Productivity
Slack is the go-to team collaboration software for many types of businesses, from startups to national brands.
It’s hyper-focused on organizing all of your conversations for easy access and retrieval. Instead of an email inbox, Slack gives you “channels.”
You can create a channel for every project, topic, or team you manage. By having a channel for everything important, you’re able to focus on contextualized conversations without confusion or miscommunication.
With channels, you and your team can share the same view of work that needs to be done. Everyone can see their responsibilities and work in unison. Even new members have full context for what they need to work on.
Channels will populate with conversations and files that may be hard to sort through for other apps, but Slack has a searchable archive that keeps everything within hand’s reach.
There are 3 types of channels to create in Slack:
Public channels can be joined and found in search by anyone in your organization.
Private channels can be joined only after receiving an invite from the admins of the channel and are used to store sensitive or confidential conversations and documents.
Shared channels allow entirely separate organizations to collaborate. You can work in real-time with clients, vendors, agencies, or virtually anyone else.
Zoom is the world’s most popular video conferencing tool used on desktop and mobile devices.
Remotely communicating with your team is as easy as sending them a link to your Zoom meeting. You can even host a conference with people who don’t have a Zoom account.
Zoom offers more features for meetings than most other conferencing apps.
You can record your meetings with a single click and Zoom automatically generates a searchable transcript.
One of the coolest new features is Virtual Backgrounds. If you’re working from home and would rather hide the clothes on the ground and dishes on your nightstand, you can change the background to something pleasing like Kaui, Hawaii or Disneyland.
All the best features of Zoom meetings on desktop are also available on Mobile.
You can turn on Virtual Backgrounds. You can share your screen. You can co-annotate on a shared “whiteboard.” And you can enable Safe Driving Mode while on the road.
However you need to meet with your team, Zoom makes it happen.
9. Zight (formerly CloudApp)
Zight (formerly CloudApp) is used by 53% of companies on the Fortune 500 to capture and share everything on their screens with their team.
Zight (formerly CloudApp) helps you show what you’re talking about, rather than telling – cutting down on miscommunications and confusion while amplifying collaboration and teamwork.
Instead of spending 15 minutes writing an email, you can turn on your webcam and record your thoughts in 15 seconds then instantly share that link through email or any other app with your team. The added bonus besides speed of delivery is that video is more personal and creates a stronger connection with members of your team.
Instead of writing out a complicated description of a work process, you can easily create a loopable GIF to better explain difficult concepts. Now you can drag and drop this GIF into your email and send that instead of a wall of text.
You can also use screenshots or screen recordings to show your team what you’re working on or what you’ve created. And using annotations, your team can make quick drawings with lines, arrows, emojis and more to sharpen communication.Zight (formerly CloudApp) also offers a snipping tool.
Visual communication is the most effective form of getting a message across. Zight (formerly CloudApp) makes it easy for you to work with your teammates for maximum comprehension and collaboration.
Get the Communication App Even Basecamp Uses
You already know we think Basecamp is one of, if not the best project management software for teams.
What you don’t know is that Basecamp is a happy Zight (formerly CloudApp) customer.
By using Zight (formerly CloudApp), they were able to decrease training time, improve collaboration, and save over 80 minutes per week they can now spend on more productive activities.
We’ve been ranked by G2 Crowd as one of the top sales enablement tools and we continue to help companies improve communication with one of the easiest-to-use visual content apps available in the cloud.
Discover why Zight (formerly CloudApp) is essential to improve productivity today.