6 Productivity Tools all Creatives Should Use
By Ella Nobre-Watts of whimsicella
In an increasingly digital age, a lot of our productivity revolves around the internet. And with attention spans decreasing (thanks TikTok) and so many other things demanding our attention (Pinterest scroll hole, anyone?), it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. So as creative business owners, we need to do everything we can to focus on what we do best: being creative.
So, why not use the things the internet has to offer to our advantage? We’ve compiled a list of productivity tools below to help you find simplicity and clarity in your work, so that you can ditch the overwhelm and get on with the stuff that’s most important.
If you’ve ever been a keen bullet journaler, you’ll love Notion. It combines many aspects of note-taking and puts it together in one easy-to-use platform, with many opportunities to customize and make it pretty.
You create calendars and tables, make to-do lists, embed various links and widgets… amongst a whole host of other cool functions. Because the platform is so customizable, it’s suitable for every type of person, from the full-range creative to those who are more analytical.
The best part? Notion is free for personal use up to 1000 blocks (which are single pieces of content added to a page), and paid subscriptions start from only $4 per month.
This is one for those who love beautiful visuals to incentivize their productivity. Forest helps you keep on-task by planting trees that require a particular amount of time to grow to full size. A tree will grow for as long as you keep the app open, but as soon as you leave, the tree dies.
This is a great one if you’re easily distracted by endless social media scrolling or obsessively checking your emails. Forest provides a visual (and physical) incentive to remain focused so that you can minimize procrastination and remain on task. Because you need to keep the app open to let your tree grow, it means that you’re less likely to get distracted by everything your phone has to offer.
The cherry on top is that Forest actually teams up with real organizations that work to plant trees all over the world. And it only costs a one-time purchase of $1.99.
Dealing with an overflowing inbox is stressful, especially if you’re someone who loves to stay at Inbox 0. But unsubscribing from different newsletters, lists or junk mail can take up a lot of time. Unroll allows you to unsubscribe from those unwanted emails in seconds with their easy-to-use interface.
It also gives you the option to categorize certain emails into a ‘Rollup’ so that you receive a single daily digest of your chosen subscriptions, rather than getting tons of separate emails. And you can choose when you’d like to receive your daily Rollup, whether it’s when you first wake up, during your lunch break, or late in the evening.
Your Rollup allows you to read all of these less important emails in one place, preventing your inbox from piling up and distracting you from important messages.
Time is money, and often it’s not enough to just get things done – you also need to know how long things are taking you. Even if you don’t bill hourly, tracking the amount of time you spend on certain tasks is important so that you can periodically review what is taking up too much of your time, which allows you to adjust your systems and processes accordingly.
Toggl is a simple yet effective time-tracking app that helps you do just that. The basic version is free to use, and comes in both desktop and mobile versions (which handily sync together). Once you’re all set up, you can start breaking down your working day by tracking all of your different tasks and projects, and in turn, boost your productivity and claim back your time.
Admit it: how much time do you spend trying to guess variations of all of your different passwords, only to spend more time resetting them? And especially now that more online services and websites have their own password requirements with a dreaded combination of both upper and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters… remembering all of your passwords can be a pain.
LastPass helps you generate strong and secure passwords that are available on whatever device you’re using, so that you only have to remember one master password. It also stores payment and shipping information for online shopping, so you don’t have to keep getting out that pesky credit card!
The basic version is free to use, with premium versions also available.
Headspace or Calm
When we’re busy working and trying to stay productive, it’s easy for our minds to become muddled in the process. So we need time to pause and give ourselves one of the seven forms of rest: mental rest.
Whether you’re stressed, tired, or just need a little clarity, meditation can work wonders on the busy mind. Apps like Headspace and Calm are simple, accessible, and frankly brilliant tools to make meditation and mindfulness an easy everyday practice.
Headspace is great for beginners who are trying to grasp the basics, and Calm offers a bunch of meditations narrated by your favorite celebrities (Harry Styles, anyone?). Both apps offer free trial periods, and subscripts start at $12.99 per month for Headspace and $14.99 per month for Calm.
We hope these tools help you feel more productive as you navigate your creative business! And if you want to learn more about healthy productivity and how to manage overwhelm as a small business owner, join the Magnetic Makers membership!
Not only will you be met with a community of creatives all leaning on each other for support, but you’ll also have instant access to dozens of resources and workshops that help you manage all aspects of your business – including more fun, hands-on sessions to keep the juices flowing.
Hey you! I'm Tracy.
Daisy Made is our “creative happy place” a space to gather and grow collectively. Where no one feels left behind, stuck, or alone in the process of pursuing their craft - because we’re not meant to go at it on our own!