Productivity tools are not an option for business owners and even those in a 9 to 5 job, but switching to find the right one can be tiresome. As the owner of two businesses, productivity is a huge buzz word, and I am continually looking for ways to be more efficient. When it comes to productivity tools, I tend to be quite the nerd and use them both professionally and personally.
When I quit my 9 to 5 job in 2019 to pursue my businesses full-time, I knew I had to be as organized as possible to make it work. That’s why I tried several productivity tools until I found the one that worked for me. Here are my findings.
The 5 productivity tools I tried
If you’re looking for a productivity tool of your own, here is a brief rundown of what to expect with each of the popular options mentioned below based on my own experience.
While the free plan is limited in the number of views and features you receive, Asana is still a great productivity tool for managing projects and communicating as a team.
As a special treat, a unicorn flashes across your screen every time you complete a task. I enjoyed using Asana, and it worked at a basic level, but I found that I didn’t have access to everything I needed without paying $10.99 per user per month.
Trello is great for those who prefer the visual layout of the kanban style. The boards and lists make everything easy to manage with the additional benefit of features like labels, checklists, various attachment types, and power-ups.
Power-ups, like the Calendar and Total Cost options I used, can especially make this tool very powerful. You can also communicate with users you add to your board on each card.
However, if you’re on the free plan, the number of power-ups per board is limited. Despite this, Trello offered everything I needed, and I enjoyed the way it is laid out.
ClickUp’s tagline says that they are the “one app to replace them all,” as it handles tasks, documents, discussion, goals, and more. But, to be honest, I found this software very difficult to use, so I did not try it for very long. I couldn’t figure out how to set everything up.
You can use it free forever or have unlimited everything for $5 per user per month when you sign up annually.
Monday was easily my favorite productivity tool to use. It had advanced features, a clean design, and was user-friendly. However, I did not find it useful when needing to chat with teammates on a project.
The price is also steep, given that you need to upgrade several tiers in their subscription model to have all of the features you need. On top of that, you have to sign up for a minimum of three users. Their pro plan is currently $16 per user per month, which would make this software $576 per year.
Airtable is great for those who do everything via spreadsheets. Instead of tirelessly trying to locate the right one, you’ll have them right at your fingertips when you log in to your dashboard. You can create multiple workspaces for each business, home, or topic and then bases, or spreadsheets, under each.
This software will work well for those who work independently, but it seriously lacks when it comes to collaborating with others. Not to mention, you are limited to the number of rows you have in each base unless you upgrade to one of their paid plans.
This downside makes it a short-term solution if you want to go the free route.
Which software did I choose?
After trying Asana, Trello, Clickup, Monday, and Airtable, I learned which productivity tool would work best in my life and businesses. Each one has different characteristics that fit different needs. However, I found that Trello was the best fit.
The visual elements and kanban style suited my projects the best, and I liked the power-up offerings. I made a different team for each business and personal with up to 10 boards under each. I even connected it to Zapier to automatically create cards for recurring daily, weekly, and monthly tasks.
You’ll probably hear people say that you should pick one tool, learn everything about it, and stick to it. However, my advice is a bit different. I believe you should try all options for a short period of time until you find the one that makes you the most efficient and organized.
If you limit yourself to only one tool on the first try, you don’t know what you could be missing.