You just found a treasure trove of productivity tools!
Welcome to my updated 2017 list of personal productivity tools! There are over 140 tools in this list categorized by functionality.
From task management to social media, desktop to mobile, I tried to create the most comprehensive list of tools to help you find those that will work for you.
As a free bonus, I have created a guide to selecting and evaluating personal productivity tools. You can get the guide, a template for capturing your requirements, and the PDF download of this list. Just let me know where to send it:
While tools are important enablers, you need to find a productivity system that works for you first, then find tools in this list to support your system.
While there is no one-size-fits-all system that works for everyone, I have created a five-step productivity system that helps you draw from world-class components to create a personal system that works for you.
Once you have determined the productivity system that works for you, it’s time to dive into selecting personal productivity tools to enable that system!
Note about links: Some of the links in this list are affiliate links for those applications that I use or recommend. The links to the Apple App store are all affiliate links. If you use these links I earn a (very) small commission at no extra cost to you which helps me build better content for you!
Dave’s Choice: I use both OneNote and Evernote. I use OneNote for note taking as it allows much more flexibility in styling and arranging. Evernote is still a bit better as a storage solution for reference material so I use EverNote for capture.
This category covers tools that help you establish a habit of journaling.
dayoneapp.com (Mac) Never miss a moment with Day One’s simple elegant interface.
Dave’s Choice: Mind mapping is a really interesting technique but it’s not become a habit for me yet. I use MindManager and it is very robust but also expensive. I suggest either a trial or one of the free tools here to see if mind mapping will work for you.
This category covers cloud based storage for your data and documents.
DropBox (direct, iOS, Android) Dropbox is a technology company that builds simple, powerful products for people and businesses.
OneDrive (direct, iOS, Android) Get to your files from anywhere, on any device, with Microsoft OneDrive. Share and work together with anyone in your work and life.
Box (direct, iOS, Android) Secure, effortless collaboration from any device. Box makes it easy to manage and share files across your business.
iDrive (direct, iOS, Android) One stop solution to protect all of your PCs, Macs, iPhones, iPads, Android devices and Facebook pictures into a single account!
Dave’s Choice: Since I am in the Microsoft ecosystem I use OneDrive as my primary cloud storage solution. The integration in Windows and Office is very good and getting better. I also usig DropBox in some scenarios particularly for other tools that integrate with it and not OneDrive.
This category includes tools that help you track and manage your time. Too many of us spend way too much time on non-essential tasks or outright time wasting activities such as too much web surfing or social media. Many of us don’t realize how much time we spend on those activities each week. These tools help you track, or in some cases, block such activity.
rescuetime.com(direct)RescueTime helps you understand your daily habits so you can focus and be more productive.
stayfocusedapp.me (direct) With this, a Pomodoro timer is used for the purpose of breaking down work into smaller portions, usually in a period of 25 minutes. The short breaks in between the completion of work are known to be highly influential in making people productive and mentally agile in their work.
focusboosterapp.com (direct) Based on the pomodoro technique, focus booster will empower you to maintain focus and manage distractions. Stay focused and fresh to get more done.
This category is broad and deep. Tools in this category help you enter, track, and close tasks or actions. This is the modern incarnation of the classic to-do list. At the high end these blend into team or project management but I have created separate categories for those. For this category, the focus is on task management for individuals.
nozbe.com (direct, iOS, Android)Busy people and effective teams get tasks and projects done thanks to Nozbe system and apps for the Mac, Windows, Linux, Android, iPad and iPhone.
getflow.com (direct, iOS, Android) Flow is a team task manager that makes it easy to delegate tasks, prioritize to-do lists, and make sure nothing gets missed.
hitask.com (direct, iOS, Android) Using hiTask as your task manager, shared calendar, you can handle your to-do list, manage a team task list. Synchronize tasks and projects between team members, your mobile devices and Google Calendar.
Dave’s Choice: After looking at a lot of these, I recently started using Nozbe. It is more powerful than a basic task tracker since it includes projects, some team collaboration, and integration with other tools like Evernote. It is very aligned to the Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology that I use as well.
This category includes tools that help you manage your email. From processing emails faster to unsubscribing to lists you don’t need, these tools can save a lot of time.
drag (direct) Transform Gmail into organized lists (like Trello, in Gmail)
Dave’s Choice: I use Outlook 2016 as my desktop email client and on my iPhone I use the Outlook app which is a very good mail client. While several of the mail clients have this, I like the ability to customize actions based on swiping. So for me swipe left deletes the message and swipe right opens the move dialog so I can put it into a selected folder (action, read later, etc.)
This category is all about project management across teams of two or more people. Many of these tools could also be used as your individual task management tool but tend to have more features which may make them too complicated for personal task management.
Dave’s Choice: I tried to use one tool (Nozbe for both personal, day job, and side job) but it got much too complicated moving tasks around. So I use Nozbe for personal and just moved my virtual team over to Asana for project management. My team at Microsoft has moved to using Microsoft Planner.
This category covers tools for sharing content between team members, virtual assistant, and contractors.
sharepoint.com (direct, iOS) With Office 365, SharePoint offers enhanced security technologies, is easy to manage, and can be accessed from almost anywhere.
teamgum.com (direct, iOS, Android) Teamgum is the quickest and easiest way to share anything on the web with your team. From articles, discoveries and research, inspirations, images to videos.
realtimeboard.com (direct) The simplest collaboration tool for project leaders, marketers, designers, developers and creatives.
conceptshare.com (direct) Getting approvals often takes longer than making the creative. ConceptShare makes approvals 80% faster – and fewer iterations are needed.
Dave’s Choice: Most of the project management tools as well as the cloud storage tools provide for team sharing. My current combo is Asana plus Dropbox. The tools in this category are more tailored toward specific workflows like content creation and review so may still be useful.
This category covers tools to chat-based collaboration between team members.
skype.com (direct, iOS, Android) Skype keeps the world talking. Video call, message and share with anyone for free, even if they’re not on Skype.
flowdock.com (direct, iOS, Android) Flowdock is a team collaboration app for desktop, mobile & web. Work on things that matter, be transparent and solve problems across tools, teams, and time zones
Dave’s Choice: I use Skype for Business a lot at work and am also about to start using Slack with my virtual assistants and freelance team. At Microsoft my team us using Microsoft Teams which is becoming quite robust.
Calendar Management / Scheduling
This category covers tools the help you schedule group meetings.
calendar.sunrise.am (direct, iOS, Android) Sunrise is a free calendar made for Google Calendar, iCloud and Exchange. Sunrise also connects with all your favorite apps like Facebook, Evernote, Wunderlist, Foursquare, TripIt, Todoist and more to make sure you’re always up to date with all the events happening in your life.
process.st (direct) Process Street is a simple, free and powerful way to manage your team’s recurring checklists and procedures.
Dave’s Choice: I use both IFTTT and Zapier. For automation with the Microsoft ecosystem, Flow has the most options. I am an automation guy and am both creating and documenting all of my workflows (writing, podcasting, video, social, publishing, marketing) and will be using these tools to automate those processes and integration between tools. I LOVE process.st for documenting manual checklists, processes, and workflows.
This category includes tools for creating and managing written content.
Scrivener (direct) Scrivener is a powerful content-generation tool for writers that allows you to concentrate on composing and structuring long and difficult documents. While it gives you complete control of the formatting, its focus is on helping you get to the end of that awkward first draft.
WriteRoom(direct) WriteRoom is a full screen writing environment. Unlike the cluttered word processors you’re used to, WriteRoom lets you focus on writing.
ommwriter.com (direct) OmmWriter is your own private writing room where you can close the door behind you to focus on your writing in peace.
Dave’s Choice: I use Scrivener for most of my writing of initial drafts. It is a very powerful tool and good for organization as well. All my blog posts and articles start in Scrivener. For better info on this tool, check out learnscrivenerfast.com and the training course. I purchased the course myself and am also an affiliate. Learning this tool can save you a LOT of time in the content creation process.
This category includes tools for writing in markdown. As described in the link, “Markdown is a text-to-HTML conversion tool for web writers. Markdown allows you to write using an easy-to-read, easy-to-write plain text format, then convert it to structurally valid XHTML (or HTML).” This format is increasingly utilized for first draft and editing of text and documentation.
Dave’s Choice: I don’t use markdown yet for my writing but I will be moving over to that very soon. Scrivener, my writing tool of choice, supports it and I am reviewing various workflows and tools to take markdown from Scrivener into WordPress and other locations. Here’s an example workflow. MarkdownPad2 is a tool a lot of my colleagues use.
Dictation and Transcription
This category covers tools and services that help you transcribe recorded audio.
Dragon (direct, iOS, Android) Work smarter and more productively in the office and on the road. With fast, accurate dictation and transcription, advanced customization, seamless integration across devices, and easy deployment for large enterprises.
AudioNote (direct, iOS, Android) Take notes synced to audio with our bestselling note-taking software. AudioNote combines the functionality of note-taking and voice recording apps to create a powerful tool that will save you time while improving the quality of your notes.
voice2note (direct) Record voice notes as usual using your favourite Evernote app on your Smartphone, PC or browser. We take your voice note and convert it to text.
This category covers tools the let you schedule your content development and publishing. Creating a content publishing schedule tends to help keep you motivated and on track toward consistently creating and publishing content.
editflow.org (direct) Edit Flow gives you custom statuses, a calendar, editorial comments, and more, all to make it much easier for your team to collaborate within WordPress.
divvyhq.com (direct) Enough with spreadsheets, meetings, emails and stress. It’s time to simplify your content process.
tweriod.com (direct) Tweriod is a free twitter tool that helps you make the most of Twitter by letting you know the best time to tweet.
Dave’s Choice: I recently chose CoSchedule as my editorial calendar too for my team. They have added significant new features including social media scheduling where I am in the process of moving all of my MeetEdgar content over to and will eventually phase out Edgar.
Research and Organization
This category covers tools and services to help you find, organize, and properly cite your research.
statista.com (direct) Statista is one of the world’s largest statistics portals. Providing you with access to relevant data from over 18,000 sources, our focus is firmly based on professional, clear, quick and consistent results.
wolframalpha.com (direct, iOS, Android) Wolfram|Alpha introduces a fundamentally new way to get knowledge and answers – not by searching the web, but by doing dynamic computations based on a vast collection of built-in data, algorithms, and methods.
zotero.org (direct) Zotero is a free, easy-to-use tool to help you collect, organize, cite, and share your research sources.
archives.gov(direct) The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is the nation’s (USA) record keeper.
Dave’s Choice: I use Buzzsumo for content and influencer research. The tool is great for finding the most shared content, the people who wrote and/or shared the content, and so on. A good part of the research for this list of tools came from sources Buzzsumo found. I also subscribe to Statista for research and statistics.
This category of tools covers those that help you track your time and associate it to activities. This is useful for services where you bill by the hour or for freelancing.
meshfire.com (direct) Meshfire is the only social media management platform powered by artificial intelligence. Spend less time managing social media and more time building valuable relationships and communities.
Dave’s Choice: I use MeetEdgar for social media scheduling but will be phasing that out since for the same price CoSchedule gives me full editorial calendar PLUS the same kind of scheduling that MeetEdgar does. They let you create a library of posts and schedule when they will be posted as well as how often to repeat them. I am also use Hootsuite for social monitoring and short term scheduling.
Financial and Business
This category covers tools tracking expenses and your finances as well as other administrative tools.
efax.com (direct, iOS, Android) Eliminate the cost of the fax machine, fax line and supplies. Now you can send and receive faxes anywhere you have an Internet connection.
This category covers tools that let you store all of your online passwords so that you don’t have to remember them. Be very careful in using these tools, make sure you evaluate them in detail and their reputation.
Dave’s Choice: I could tell you but then I’d have to… For security reasons I can say this: I may or may not use a password manager. It may or may not be in this list. Please do your research on this, use a different and complex password for every single site, and use two factor authentication when you can.
Personal Digital Assistant
This category covers tools that act as personal digital assistants.
Siri(direct, iOS) Talk to Siri as you would to a friend and it can help you get things done — like sending messages, placing calls, and making dinner reservations.
calm.com (iOS, Android) With Calm for iPhone and Android, you’ll discover how simple meditation really is, and how taking a few moments out of your day can make you happier and healthier.
SleepTime (iOS, Android) Place your phone in your bed. Sleeptime analyzes how you sleep. Wake up at your lightest sleep phase.
Wow… If you made it this far, congratulations! Clearly there are a lot of tools out there. I hope this list helped you find both new categories of tools you may not have thought of as well as some interesting ones to look into.
I always include an action plan in every one of my posts to help you take the next steps. Here’s my suggestions:
Pick two categories of tools that you are not using today but you think would be valuable to you
Begin an evaluation process of the tools in those three categories (see download below for how!)
Select one in each category to try
Add using each tool to your daily routines and habits
Click image below and I’ll send you a PDF download of this list. Also as a free bonus, I have created a guide to selecting and evaluating personal productivity tools. You can get the guide, a template for capturing your requirements, and the PDF download of this list. Just let me know where to send it: