I think you agree that it is complicated for a designer to keep everything in order. Moreover, the productivity level straightforwardly depends on it.
We, as a team that has a tight connection with the creative sphere, have tried tons of online productivity software. Some of them helped us to build a personal business strategy that works for us now. In this article, we will tell you about 14 best productivity tools for designers including the pros and cons of every tool.
Table of contents:
What Is Productivity Software?
Productivity software is application software used for producing information (ref. Wikipedia).
In other words, these are the tools that produce something for further purposes. Their name the software received due to the ability to increase productivity. 62% – this is how Approval Studio teams speeded up their workflow using productivity tools.
How to Pick the Best Productivity Software?
Having analyzed our state a year ago, we came to the conclusion that our company needs time-tracking, collaboration, and proofing tools (which is Approval Studio). So, how to pick the best productivity software? Think in the way of Problem → Solution. Let’s see:
Time issues → time-tracking program – analyzing time spent – implementing changes – solving the situation
Consequently, the list of the best productivity tools depends on your needs and if for you as a designer, such software in 2019 should stick to the following requirements:
- Reasonable price
- Management function
- User-friendly interface
- Be the answer to your question
Now we are close to the main topic that gathered all of us here. Are you ready to increase productivity with the smart choice of tools? Then, let’s just jump into it!
Best productivity tools 2019
Do you have problems with storing company files and artworks? Are you tired of sending these files million times instead of having them accessible in one place?
Google Drive will be a panacea in such situations for those who are doing design business. Having much space for your artworks and iterations, the service helps to organize all the files in virtual storage.
You can grant several levels of access to files which is convenient when you work with external users. If you need to have google drive offline, you can sync it with your PC and files will be accessible without an internet connection.
- Supports all formats
- Easy access for other users via sharing link
- Friendly interface
- Templates for documents
- Internet connection needed everywhere
Price: Lite: $30/mo, Pro: $240/mo
One of the best productivity software is Approval Studio. The software solves the problem of long-lasting asset proofing and increases productivity. How?
Having a review tool and versioning, the program becomes an inevitable component of a designer’s routine. Look, email proofing is inconvenient and takes much time, which is valuable in 2019. This tool helps to go through the proofing process in minutes.
If you still hesitating whether online proofing is better than emails, we recommend you to read this article.
The online collaboration will help to receive instant replies and updates on the project. Also, you may generate reports if your client needs it. Do not you think this will increase your productivity level and save valuable time?
- Review tool
- Clients do not need to register
- Proof Reports
- Friendly interface
- Live chats
- Does not support video files
Price: Standart: $6.67/user/mo, Plus: $12.50/user/mo, Enterprise: custom pricing
Need to improve the communication process within the company? Do not have one and comfortable communication platform? Slack is a software that will help you and members of your team to always find the right person.
You may have different chats for different needs: for shifts (in&out), for updates, for general communication, etc.
What is more, Slack has audio and video calls. This really saves time when you need to immediately solve the problem.
Moreover, it is available on the web and every platform and optimization is on top.
- Searchable archives with chats
- Tons of applications that have Slack integration
- Audio and video calls plus screen sharing
- Threads within conversations
- Spotify/YouTube embeds, GIFs, emojis, emoticons, etc.
- Free communication leads to tons of messages
- Many notifications
Price: Free, Business Class: $12.50/user/mo, Enterprise: $21/user/mo
Let’s now talk about what can help to speed up the project management process and make it more productive. Trello is one of the best productivity management tools for designers because it allows to easily organize the working process.
It has a dashboard with cards that is simple and customizable. Visualizing project goals is important for members and Trello gives it. Fun stickers are included. You can always use it with other tools, like Approval Studio, for example adding a new
If you are a Pro user, you may even upload files that are up 250 MB. Consequently, being a designer, you may store artworks straight in the cards and download them any time.
- Extremely friendly interface
- The whole field for customization and experiments
- File sharing
- Kanban system
- Instant notifications
- Storage limits
- Hard to handle big projects
Price: Basic: Free, Premium: $7.99/mo, Business: $14.99/user/year
You are planning to do some management staff and not to forget? Or some great ideas of how to impress the world in 2019 came to your mind? That is why the next on our list of online productivity tools is Evernote. This tool will help you to remember and just keep all the ideas organized in one place.
You can upload any files you want and add them to collections. All the information is fully accessible on all of the devices you own. So, it is comfortable to take notes when going somewhere and not having a laptop nearby.
Also, a browser plugin is available.
- Powerful Search
- Browser plugin
- Huge storage provided
- Paid plans are pretty pricey
- May be some issues when sharing info with those who do not have Evernote
Price: Starter: $10/user/mo, Premium: $20/user/mo, Enterprise: custom pricing
I think you will agree that if you do not know how much time you spend on tasks, it is complicated to optimize the overall process. What solution do we suggest? You may use Toggl tracker to deal with time management.
This software will be your friend if you need to find out who is the most time-consuming client or just how much time you spend on particular tasks. Monitoring the process, Your PMs will be astonished by how it may simplify their routine.
Set estimates or time blocks, integrate with other tools, and just start with one click.
- Friendly UI
- Integration with other programs
- Great support
- Permanent Internet connection needed
Price: Monthly: $4.95, Yearly: $3.33
All we know how complicated sometimes to stay focused on the task at the end of the day. Suddenly, you find yourself browsing news feed even if there is nothing peculiar. Which products can help to control the situation?
Momentum – the next participant in the best productivity programs list. Sometimes it becomes really complicated to stay focused on the task at the end of the day. This tool is a panacea from distractions and blocks that may prevent you from doing your job.
The workflow is focused on bad habits – you set actions that you need to avoid and program motivates you. Momentum appears everywhere with reminders about your goals. This really helps to not to get distracted.
- Helps to concentrate
- Inspiring messages
- Picturesque images
- Background cannot be changed manually
Price: Basic: $39/mo, Standart: $49/mo, Pro: $79/mo, Enterprise: custom pricing
Do you remember we were talking about project management problems? This is also a tool that helps to speed up productivity but for more complicated tasks and projects. If you need to handle a big team – this tool is your choice.
This is another team management software that is simple but not simplistic. Friendly UI makes it popular all around the world and a year of 2019 is not an exception. Set preferences, priorities, assign tasks, and enter all the data for team members.
This is a centralized management tool that will be easily accessible for every worker. If you use it wisely, macentralizednday.com will help you to reach a new productivity level.
- Price & Quality balance
- Friendly UI
- Permanent updates
- Pricey for individuals
- Sometimes you may spend too much time organizing the workflow
Price: Free + tips for photographers (optional)
You may notice yourself in a situation when you need to update your blog but there is no time for drawing or designing pictures.
Unsplash comes in handy in such moments. This is a service that hosts tons of photos of a high quality that you may use.
All images are free and you will not violate any rules. Unsplash is your bro when you have no time.
- Free service
- High-quality photos
- Easy navigation
- Tons of images
- Lacks some specific keywords
- Very rarely keyword does not suit the image
Price: Individual: $199/year, Team: $1999/year
What to do if you need to quickly create a draft prototype? You may use some prototyping software and not do it by hand.
That is why the next program in our list of top productivity tools 2019 is Mockplus. The software, with more than 3200 icons and 200 components, helps to design faster.
It is easy to use and user interface if as friendly as possible.
- Tons of mockups and components
- Intuitive interface
- Drag&Drop function
- Cloud save
- First glance may be overwhelming
Price: Basic: free, Premium: $9.99/mo, Pro: $19.99/mo, Enterprise: custom pricing
Again, we are solving project management issues. What if you need something with a big name and stable quality that will help to handle both small and big projects? Let’s use Asana.
This is a project management tool that may be called a veteran. Asana has been successfully functioning since 2008. A collaboration tool that will help to organize your working process and make it smoother and smarter.
Friendly UI helps all team members, united under one environment, use it with pleasure. This makes the tool prove the niche of productivity software. Asana optimizes workflow and saves time for your company.
- Free plan
- Tons of integrations
- Gannt charts
- Many features
- Complexity of projects
- Limiting tasks
- No time-tracking
Price: Free, Basic: $9/user/mo, Plus: $14/user/mo, Premium: $24/user/mo
Let’s imagine the situation when you need to manage the team anytime and no matter where. You should find software that provides a powerful mobile app. Let’s take a look at the following program.
Podio is also one of the best productivity tools but has something special. Its developers made comfortable and easy-to-use mobile apps. This is a good advantage nowadays since people want to have the ability to work everywhere. Podio will help you with that.
Unlike Asana, you may assign the task to multiple users from what you will benefit when working with a big team. Also, a standard set of features for management programs is available.
If you are working with other software, Podio will help you since they have many integrations. Thus, Podio becomes a good tool to increase the productivity of any company.
- Mobile apps
- Communication tools
- Reporting and calculation features
- No time tracking
- May appear complicated for the first time
Price: Starter: $49/mo, Unlimited: $99/mo, Enterprise: $399/mo
Some companies try to find complex tools to not pay more and increase productivity by having one software for multiple needs. How to find a solution to this?
Ryver is a combination of two tools we mentioned before – Slack and Trello. This is a communication and task management software that allows you to gather all people in one place. What is peculiar, you can create as many teams as you want.
A big plus of this program is its chats. You can set certain people who can see what you are saying if you need only them to check. Furthermore, Ryver has a company feed and it looks similar to Facebook.
- Customizable chats
- Tasks management
- Messy chats (basically, this is an issue for all such types of software)
- Connection issues sometimes appear
Price: Personal: Free; Pro: $11.95/mo. Business: Team: $20/3 users/mo, Enterprise: custom pricing
Visualization of the workflow helps to better understand set goals. It fastens perception and, thus, productivity. What software can help in such a situation?
This tool is Lucidchart which is the last program in our list of best productivity tools 2019. It is not a full management tool but it is extremely useful and saves time immensely. The software helps to visualize the project and its tasks via diagramming.
They have project templates and drag and drop building of schemes. Your team members will thank you for the tool and their saved time.
- Easy of use
- Many components and tools for creating charts
- User and company managing functions
- Not enough free space for documents in Free plan
- The first time user logs in, the site is slightly slow
Let’s sum up our thoughts. Time flies extremely fast nowadays and every designer or design company should have a productivity level on top. Thus, productivity programs come in handy for optimizing the working process.
We have mentioned 10 different tools which we consider the best ones. They cover different parts of the working process of a company or individual. Using one of those will help to raise your productivity.
Also, we would like to recommend you Approval Studio services. Why should you try it? Online collaboration is what really fasten your working process. Our review tool allows us to forget about missed revisions among tons of emails – the client is here right now, making annotations.
This will save your time and efforts for more tasks and more money. Isn’t it a productivity increase?