Being productive will mean different things to different people. In this post, I will list 5+ free productivity software that has helped me get more things done or get something done better. The top 3 free productivity software mentioned in this writeup deal with either time tracking or time management. Then, there is mention of other useful software that aids in your productivity.
Productivity is a very relative concept. Some people think getting a lot done is being productive while others opine getting something done efficiently is productivity. I really liked the following definition by James Clear:
Productivity is a measure of efficiency of a person completing a task. We often assume that productivity means getting more things done each day. Wrong. Productivity is getting important things done consistently.
The part he mentions
getting important things done consistently is the key in my opinion. You could get lots of things done in a day but if none of them are important it will not be a productive day. So the art of prioritizing also plays a vital role in being productive.
Let’s analyze which free productivity software can help us get the important things done consistently.
Free productivity software to use frequently #
I could have jotted down a long list of 20, 40, or even 60 free productivity software. But most of them would be applications I have never used or used once in a while. Below are the productivity software that I have used frequently and each of them has a free plan too, let’s get going:
Toggl Track #
If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.
Without any doubt, the same thing applies to your time. If you cannot measure where you spend your time you can never improve and manage it. Time is the most scarce resource. You could earn back money if you lost it but if time has passed it can’t be gained back. So start tracking your time.
To track your time, I would suggest manual tracking with the Toggl track software. Toggl has recently diversified and rebranded the time tracking as Toggl Track.
The idea is simple whenever you start working on something, you start the timer. You can name the task, pick a project, client, and add tags. When you finish stop the timer. This might sound mundane in the beginning. Over time you will get a gold mine of data on where your time was spent.
I use a dedicated desktop and a mobile app. You can get started with the chrome extension or the web app if a dedicated app feels like an early commitment. You can easily log in with your Google Account and get started in seconds.
Trust me, you will not regret tracking time. It can even be used for a basis to discuss achievement in your performance review.
In case you do any freelancing work it can also double up as your hours’ tracker for billing purposes.
If you want something to work automatically in the background to start with. You can give Rescue Time a try. It will report back to you how much time you spent on a particular application or website too. Stop wondering where your time flew off, get a log of each minute spent on any screen. Rescue time also has both desktop and mobile applications. You can log in with your Google account and the free plan should be a great start.
World Time Buddy #
Picture this, you need to schedule a meeting with a friend. You are in Sydney and your friend lives in Dubai. You start wondering should I do it at 8 AM or 5 PM Sydney time. Here is your answer: it is best to do it at 5 PM which is 10 AM in Dubai, how do I know this? Because World Time Buddy free productivity software gives us an easy-to-use interface to know this critical information.
You can log in if you want to, even here a Google account is enough to log in. Another useful feature of World Time Buddy is the ability to share a selection as a link. Just click on the time block then click “Link To This Selection” and copy the link from the tab to share it.
There are other features you might find useful.
For instance, the overlay of your personal calendar feature is one that I find very handy.
Of course, the calendar feature is pretty neat too for selecting time a bit far in the future.
Have you ever had to send a chain of emails with another person to find 30 mins of common free time? I have surely gone through this and it is not fun at all. Then I thought someone should have found a solution to this meeting scheduling madness and the answer was Calendly.
You can sign up with your email for free and add meeting slots easily.
You can brand your meeting page with your own picture/logo. The free plan is enough for one user with one calendar to have meetings with another person. As per your need, you might be interested in the paid plans too.
With the new integration like the Zoom one, Calendly makes it very easy to link up with other services. With the Stripe and Paypal integration creating paid meetings is a breeze too. This is a great feature, especially for freelancers. Calendly can be a good fit for teams too.
Imagine this, You are reading a long document and thinking over and over again this could have been represented a lot better visually. Or maybe you wanted to collaborate in real-time on a planning document or run a workshop with a much better visual feel than Google docs. The answer is Miro.
The free plan only gives you 3 boards. You can easily log in with a Google account and start creating real-time collaborative, visually appealing artifacts.
The templates are the heart of Miro. I frequently use the mind map template to explain some concepts. The clarity a mind map provides cannot be achieved by just text. If you are [starting a new startup] the Customer journey map template can be used to explore uncharted territories.
We have used it for planning, brainstorming, and even workshops with 10s of people using it at the same time.
We have also utilized it from explaining an idea with a mind map to running our team retrospective. It will take a bit of time to get used to Miro. Once you get used to it, it is a great tool to have in your toolbox.
If you just want to use the mind map diagrams I would suggest having a look at Coggle too. It also has a free plan with 3 mind maps.
I Love PDF #
You want to upload that important PDF form on the website. You upload it but it gives you a size limit error. You can again go back to the scanner and scan the document in low resolution but there is an easier way. Just use I Love PDF’s compress PDF option and your 5 MB PDF is compressed to a 3 MB file.
I Love PDF has also come up with fully offline desktop applications. You can split PDF, merge PDF, or even edit it. There are a host of other features related to PDF files including signing a PDF file too.
I have used ILovePDF to split PDFs, merge them, and even compress them when I hit a size limit while submitting a form.
I think ILovePDF is one of the best free productivity software out there. If you want to fill a PDF form, PDF Escape is also a great tool.
Honorable mentions #
There are some other free productivity software that I find very useful, below are three of those:
- Microsoft todo - My favorite to-do list Wunderlist converted to Microsoft todo. To my surprise, I have started to like it.
- Buffer - Buffer Publish is one of the easiest ways to schedule your social media posts. On the free account, you can queue up to 10 posts for 1 user over 3 social accounts.
- Photopea - I have used photoshop in the distant past and can do some image resizing these days. This is where Photopea helps a lot.
Productivity doesn’t always come with the use of software or apps. Currently, due to a lot of Zoom usage, I am using a notebook to take notes and keep a short weekly to-do list. The use of pen and paper has proven to be quite productive too.
If you want to use free productivity software to enhance your outcome, you must try the above-mentioned apps now.
I hope you have an ultra-productive day! If you know of any other free productivity software or application please do mention it in the comments.