10 Productivity Tools To Help You Work Smarter [part one]

May 23, 2012

by Justine Parsons


Updated: I forgot the most important tool of all … a virtual assistant!

In this busy world we need all the help we can get to make each minute count.  The following productivity tools will help you do this, making you a more productive manager and your day a little easier!

10 productivity tools to help you work smarter


I use Dropbox daily to share files and folders with subcontractors, clients and suppliers and enjoy access to my documents wherever I am.  Dropbox is also my backup system for all documents and images.  Download the app for your desktop, iPhone, iPad and Android and stay synched no matter where you are.

Article: 7 Ways to Use Dropbox

Connect by Quickoffice

  • Cross platform synch and editing tool
  • Cost: Free desktop download, affordable Apps for mobile
  • www.quickoffice.com

I was told about this tool very recently and already couldn’t be without it.  This all-in-one, cross platform solution, lets you search, access, edit, share and sync your files across multiple devices, computers & clouds.  I use it to edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint docs collated from my Google Docs, Dropbox and Evernote accounts, and there are more options available.

Updated [following an email from Google this afternoon]: We are delighted to announce that Quickoffice has been acquired by Google! As such, we have decided to shut down Connect by Quickoffice effective July 15, 2012 and focus our work on Google Drive at drive.google.com.  More information on Google Drive (ex Google Docs) is available on Another 11 Productivity Tools To Help You Work Smarter [part two].


Mailchimp make it super easy to keep in touch with existing clients and to establish a relationship with prospective clients.   You can choose from a list of templates, create your own, integrate everything with your social networks and website and track results.


Stay in touch with customers, friends, colleagues and more.  Very easy to use, Skype allows chat and video chat with people at any time in any place.  Apps also available for mobile, tablet and iPads to keep in touch on the go.  A must have for any small business.

Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn

  • Social Networks
  • Cost: Free

Yes, I have included the above four social networks in my productivity tools.  For small businesses, these are some of the most productive and lucrative business tools you will ever get your hands on.  Follow companies and people in your industry and be informed.  Follow your target audience and learn what they are talking about.  Key words here are to listen to conversations, social networking is not an anagram for sales and marketing!


Setting up a credit card payment system for small businesses can be a tedious task, not to mention expensive.  With Square things are much simpler, faster and easier on your wallet.  You can take or make payments anywhere and at any time and since all the payments are electronically tracked, you don’t have to re-enter the information every time you wish to make an online payment.  This service is available on all mobile phones and Smart Phones.


The best note-taking platform available on the web.  You can save notes in separate folders, leave voice memos, store images, save articles, and more.  The mobile application is very easy to use and syncs instantly with your online account.  Share folders and articles, tag for easy retrieval, clip pages from the web … I use Evernote constantly and highly recommend it.

Article: Remembering everything with Evernote

Google Analytics

Google have totally revamped Analytics in recent months and your web analytics is now better than ever.  Customise reports, track goals and now with their social reporting, measure and compare which social networks are driving the most traffic to your site and how this behaviour changes based on the social network (i.e. which network is driving the most engaged traffic).  The flow diagrams show exactly where visitors are entering your site and which pages they are dropping off at.  A must have for any sized business.

Time Tracker

Time Tracker is a simple tool to keep track of the time you spend on any task.  Think of it as a to-do-list with a clock. And yes, it’s free.

 Zoho CRM

  • Customer Relationship Management system
  • Cost: Free
  • http://www.zoho.com/crm/

Build, Maintain & Strengthen your Customer Relationships.  The free version allows three users and there are some upgrades that you are denied but, for the average small business professional, there’s no better and more cost-effective way to keep track of your contacts, leads and customers.  App available for your mobile devices.


I’ve run out of both time and room with more tools on my list so look out for part two of this post next week where I’ll over (amongst others) Survey Monkey, Google Docs, Mind Meister, Instapaper, Remember the Milk, Google Calendar, AnyMeeting and Dlvr .it.

Updated: Part two  – Another 11 productivity tools

What tools make you a more productive person and what are your thoughts on the tools above?  Comment below – I’m always on the lookout for ways to work smarter … not harder!

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