3 Powerful Productivity Apps for Business Leaders

Exploring three of the highest impact productivity-enhancing apps.

Abraham Lincoln once said “if I had six hours to chop down a tree I’d spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

Productivity apps, tools and strategies can often be viewed in this manner – it may take a bit of time to get them set up and integrated, but once they are, it makes life easier moving forward.

I view some “productivity” apps as a bit gimmicky. Nice shiny toys packaged beautifully, that add extra admin to your life, without yielding the offsetting performance gains down the line.

The following three platforms I’m going to share with you are our favourites, and we have found them to save not only us countless hours every week, but also our clients too.

1. Shift

  • What is it:

- A desktop streamlining tool that keeps your workspace clean, organised and focused.

- It enables you to have a separately organised workspace linked to each email address (so all your related web browsers, calendar, shared drives etc are all present here and here alone).

- There are tonnes of integrations with various apps which you can connect into the platform. You can create dedicated workspaces depending on how you like to organise your workflow too. For example, you could have a separate social media workspace, a separate marketing workspace, a separate team management workspace etc.

  • How much:

- $129 per year.

  • Impact:

- Low set up time with high potential productivity gains.

2. Freedom

  • What is it:

- It is a distraction blocker that covers both apps and specific websites. If you need a more dramatic option, you can also block the entire internet too.

- The platform enables you to set up blocklists for your more distracting websites and apps, and can have different blocklists for different scenarios.

- It can be used ad-hoc or via the advanced planning function, so however you prefer to approach it you’re covered.

- There is a harder “fully locked” mode where it is impossible to break from your “Freedom Session” for a defined period.

- It provides a great way to significantly reduce distractions and to build new, more productive habits in the process.

  • How much:

- $6.99 per month or $29 per year.

  • Impact:

-       Low set up time with high potential productivity gains.

3. Zapier

  • What is it:

- An app that enables the automation of tasks across a vast array of technology platforms. It facilitates communication between different platforms and action being taken across them. With over 3,000 direct integrations plus loads more potential via webhooks, it is an absolute beast of a tool.

- The “Zaps” as they’re called (automated actions) can be as simple as an operation within the same app (for example, when an email comes in from X, create to do list entry). It can be between two platforms (for example, when an email is received in Gmail, add a card in Trello).

- It can also automate across multiple apps, plus use filters and branching logic for more complex automations.

- It truly is an incredibly powerful platform where the potential productivity gains are amazing.  

  • How much:

- The downside is that it can get a bit pricey if you have lots of automations running. However the price of hiring a human to do the same tasks would likely be way more.

- There is an always free version (which is heavily restricted).

- Paid plans: $29.99 per month (for 750 tasks pm) / $49.99 per month (for 2,000 tasks pm) / $299.99 per month (for 50,000 tasks pm) / $599.99 per month (for 100,000 tasks pm)

- If you pay annually for any of their plans, you will get approximately 30% off relative to paying monthly.

  • Impact:

- Depends on the type of “Zaps” and the volume you set up in terms of time required.

- The potential productivity gains from Zapier are immense, and are well worth performing a full audit of your processes and implementing wherever possible.

Written by: Dan Gayle – Peak Vantage CEO.

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