10 Free Productivity Apps to Make Your Life Easier

Now more than ever, we can all use help keeping ourselves organized and on track.

October 6, 2020 6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The one thing that we all have in common is the number of hours in the day. As a busy (or aspiring entrepreneur), you likely have to make tough decisions all day long about the most important tasks to spend your time on. With the current global pandemic limiting all of our direct interactions with people, our digital lives have gone into overdrive. I reached out to some other entrepreneurs to get an idea about what apps they believe are boosting their productivity, even during a pandemic. Here’s the top 10 list (in alphabetical order) with commentary from the feedback I received.

  1. Evernote: Rachel Johnson Burns, founder of RLJ Public Relations relies heavily on Evernote. She says “Evernote is my daily lifesaver. Because it syncs on all of my devices: computer, phone and iPad, I can take notes, jot down to-dos, and keep organized with any device. I can even share notebooks with team members and clients. It saves me a ton of time.” 
  2. FollowUpThen: Rick Barrera of RBA Associates uses this free app to make sure he stays on top of reaching back out to people and says “It’s quite simple and I love that I can just bcc 1pm@followupthen.com (for example) and at 1 pm that day, I’ll get an email reminder to take the appropriate action. I use it for remembering my client’s birthdays, upcoming events that I want to make sure I get tickets for, etc. I can also use it to send my associates reminders. It’s such a time saver and makes me so much more productive.”
  3. Hugo: Christinnah Oyedeji of Calendly shared that for meetings, she has moved off of Evernote where she had lots of stacks and notebooks. Hugo is much simpler because the calendar connection organizes everything for her. Hugo provides one place to collaboratively prepare, take notes, assign tasks and share, and integrates with more than 20+ work apps.
  4. Loom: I personally love this app because it allows me to make quick video or voice recordings to show a teammate or client how to do something, record demonstrations that I can reference later, or even just take notes for myself. Loom also has a handy Chrome extension so you can quickly start recording a video of your screen without additional set up. 
  5. Notion: Matt Bowman of Thrive Agency described why he thinks this app is incredible. “Being the person who spearheads most of the company’s functions, Notion is my go-to free app that keeps my workflow well-organized. What I like about Notion is that it is very collaborative! Anyone can see what others are doing that week at any time. My favorite feature of this app is probably the to-do list; it may be basic for others, but it helps me keep track of what I do for that particular day. As I tick off the tasks that I completed, it makes me feel that the day has been productive.”
  6. Otter: Sam Lessin of Fin says, “Otter.ai helps me remember things I need to get done. I frequently will just speak rather than type and then share these thoughts with a few friends, partners or colleagues. It used to be that speaking is faster than writing for most people, but listening is much slower than reading. Otter takes excellent notes, but with a hybrid approach of having the text plus the audio to refer to, so it is actually faster for the person generating content and faster for the person receiving the content to get to the key ideas and go and get things done. With remote work and hours spent on web-conference calls, it’s an essential tool to support collaboration and increase productivity.”
  7. PartnerHere: Stephanie Burns of Chic CEO uses Partner Here because she believes, “nothing wastes more time than doing something you’re not good at. I love PartnerHere. It’s a platform for entrepreneurs to connect and create no-cash deals like bartering or equity exchange. It’s super fast to find someone who can swap tasks with me so we can both move our businesses forward by doing what we’re good at.” 
  8. Streak: Chris Kaiser of Click A Tree has saved a ton of time by using this free plug-in with Gmail. Chris says “It’s a CRM built right into G Suite and comes with snippets (reusable templates for phrases or paragraphs you often use) and mail merge to contact many people at once — but each of them with a personalized touch. It has saved me tons of time compared to having a CRM in a different window and a mass mail system in yet another app, then trying to sync all these apps. Streak is a huge time-saver for everyone working with G Suite or Gmail.”
  9. Trello: Michelle Knight of Brandmerry shared one of her favorite productivity apps that has helped her achieve her personal goals. She shared “as a business owner who is RVing around the world with my family, it’s important to maximize my working time so I can stay focused and productive. I’m a lover of all things Trello. It has boards, lists, and cards that allow entrepreneurs to organize and prioritize projects. You can use Trello to organize your content, workflows, weekly schedule and daily tasks. It makes planning and executing blog posts, podcasts, and content super easy — especially when you live a life like mine where planning far in advance is a necessity.”
  10. Vibe: Vibe’s co-founder, Zach McMahon shared some background on how the app increases productivity. He said “it helps listeners get into the zone faster by building a custom and personalized playlist for each experience. Our AI learns what music boosts focus and productivity, and what music is distracting and shouldn’t be played. Each person’s experience with music is unique and personal, it’s crazy to think that there are millions of people all listening to the same study playlist!”

Hopefully, these tools help you be more productive during a time when life may seem even more out of control than we could have imagined. Be safe out there, now get back to work!


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