Last Updated on September 7, 2022 by Thalia
spring represents a fresh start and creative change.
It’s brightening up outside with longer daylight hours and the weather is gradually getting warmer.
I always seem to take things slow in January and February and ease into the year.
But by April I’m ready to take some serious action and make good progress towards my goals.
I also use the start of a new season to do a deep “spring” clean and reflect on all the things that are working and let go of the things that no longer serve me.
That means decluttering my digital spaces like unsubscribing from pointless emails and cleaning up my “following” list as well as shifting my environment so I’m gaining maximum input and adjusting the productivity hacks I choose to use.
I’m someone who is heavily influenced by their mood and the seasons so I regularly nurture and change what productivity hacks I turn to.
But my go-to productivity tools always remain the same because they work best for me.
And for that reason, I want to share them with you.
So here are the 10 best productivity tools to use to help you work smarter, not harder, while also being kind to your well-being.
Table of Contents
- What are the best paid productivity tools?
- What are the best free productivity tools?
- Final thoughts
What are the best paid productivity tools?
I’ve been working from home now since the beginning of 2020, and although the productivity hacks I choose to lean on regularly change depending on my mood and life situation I find myself in, some things always remain the same.
And those “things” are the productivity tools I use on a daily basis.
From online productivity apps and software tools to physical items, these are the best productivity tools I use to help me work smarter and not harder while also being kind to my well-being.
- The Five Minute Journal
- Daily Work-Life Balance Planner
- Lumie Light Therapy Desk Lamp
- Last Pass
- Apple AirPods
1 | Notion
Best productivity tool for organisation
Notion is a digital organisation tool that keeps all of your ideas in one place so there’s no need for multiple tools. In short, “it’s a workspace that adapts to your needs.” (MatchGroup)
With powerful features, your possibilities are quite simply endless as you can customise your Notion workspace to work for you with numerous templates. Or start from scratch and build from there by using databases and “blocks”.
Blocks are the pieces of content you add to a page like text, a to-do list item, an image or embedded file, etc. Whereas a database is the core of your organisation by grouping all your content into either a table, a calendar, a board, a gallery, a list or a timeline.
- Available on both iOS or Android and Mac or Windows
- Customise your workspace with blocks, emojis, coloured or highlighted text, images, etc
- One tool for everything
- Formats text and headings, etc for seamless copy and paste
- Simple and easy to use
- Offline mode
- Syncs between devices
- Work with your team with smooth and easy collaboration
- Supports integrations so you can connect your favourite apps
→ Price: Free to start and then $4 for a personal pro plan (annually) and $8 for a team plan (annually). Find the right plan for you by comparing features and prices
Notion has become my second brain.
I’ve been using this productivity tool every day for the best part of 2-years now.
I started off using the free plan before hitting my storage limit and I am now the proud owner of a personal pro plan.
It is home to everything: my lists, blog schedule and templates, email marketing calendar, content calendar, book quotes (yes I’m an underliner), travel plans, goal planner and so much more. I literally use it to organise every “corner of my life.”
Honestly, it’s probably the best productivity tool I use because I would be lost without it.
Best productivity tool for mindset
The Five Minute Journal encourages you to have a more mindful morning so you can start the day feeling happier by focusing on the positive.
This notebook has space for you to write down 3 things you are grateful for every morning and what would make today great. It also promotes self-love and positive self-talk by guiding you to write down a daily affirmation.
And not only that, but The Five Minute Journal also allows you to practice gratitude before you go to bed by prompting you to write down 3 highlights from the day and a lesson learnt.
- Available in 6 different colours
- 100% linen hardback cover and cotton ribbon
- Includes guided exercises as well as inspiring quotes
- Morning gratitude and evening reflection
- Weekly challenge
- Space to write down a daily affirmation
- Lasts for 6 months of daily journaling
- Backed by science
- 100% biodegradable and plastic free
- Recyclable, FSC certified paper
→ Price: $29 and get 10% off today by entering THALIA10 at the checkout
Practising gratitude with this notebook has helped me to focus on all the good things in life and the things that continue to light me up inside. I now have a newfound appreciation for the smaller, more simple things in life and the things that I have access to that others might not.
I’ve also found that by focusing on the things that bring me joy, my perspective on life has changed and I don’t get as angry or low as I did before. Because there’s always a bright side.
And what I love most about The Five Minute Journal is that it provides space for you to not only practice gratitude in the morning but also at night through daily reflection.
Best productivity tool for creating balance
Do you find that most daily planners only focus on maximising your productivity and getting you organised?
You spend so much time listing down your to-dos, time blocking in meetings and work admin that you forget about the most important thing – taking care of yourself.
This Work-Life Balance Planner helps you to balance your productivity with your well-being so you can show up every day as the healthiest version of yourself. There’s no need for multiple planners as this one has it all.
- Create balance on your terms
- 30-page A4 undated planner
- Includes daily planner, hourly planner, to-do list, goal tracker, habit tracker, etc
- Schedule in time for self-care while feeling good about it
- Includes self-care planner, sleep tracker, mood tracker, morning routine printable, etc
- Print seamlessly at home
- Fillable on any computer or tablet
- Digital PDF download – get your order instantly
- Infinite reprints
- Includes a 18-page example guidebook to help you get started
→ Price: £9.50 or get 30% off with code LOVELY30
This planner makes YOU the priority.
You have the usual pages to get productive and work smarter but you also have the space to reflect and be kind to your well-being. By dedicating time for self-care you are allowing your mind to unwind and reset so you can show up the next day feeling prepared and motivated and without hitting burnout. By being able to track healthy habits and build a better morning & evening routine you are setting your mindset up for success.
Be more mindful of how you spend your time with this planner. It’s just the companion you need to spark a healthy work-life balance that brings you joy. Sounds amazing right? And I promise… I’m not being biased.
Best productivity tool for your well-being
Working without natural light can sometimes make you feel unproductive, lethargic and unmotivated. However, thanks to new technology there is now a solution to bring “natural” light inside and get your daily dose of light therapy.
Just like with a sunrise alarm clock, a light therapy desk lamp mimics natural sunlight to increase your serotonin levels and boost focus, energy and overall mood.
- Adjustable neck for reading and focused tasks
- Get your daily dose of light therapy in one go or over several short sessions
- 4 light levels with touch-control brightening
- Energy-efficient and UV-free
- Desk lamp provides 10,000 lux at 20 cm
- Includes an extra blue light diffuser to provide 3,800 lux at 50 cm
- Blue-enriched white light LEDs
- Certified medical device class 2a
- Treats Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and winter blues
→ Price: £144 or pay in monthly instalments on Amazon
If you suffer from low moods and energy during the dark, winter months then a light therapy desk lamp could work wonders on your well-being.
I’m a huge fan of Lumie and plan on investing in one of their sunrise alarm clocks when I have a more concrete base. They were the brand to invent the world’s first wake-up clock so you can guarantee their products are one of the best on the market today.
However, because their products are on the pricier side, they might not be for everyone. I would encourage you to look for a more affordable alternative or even move your desk near a window for a simpler, temporary solution.
5 | Zapier
Best productivity tool to save you time
“Zapier makes you happier.”
Their tagline not mine, but it’s true.
Zapier is the tool for busy people who want to get more out of their apps. With Zapier, you can connect your favourite tools to create custom workflows that automate tedious tasks and save you time. No coding is required, it’s super quick and easy to set up a “zap”.
- Automate repetitive tasks
- Extensive library of 4000+ apps to start integrating
- Build powerful custom integrations that connect any app via Webhooks
- Choose from single-step and multi-step zaps
- Simple and easy-to-use interface
- Templates available to save time
- Get started for free
- Data is 100% secure
- 99.9% uptime
- Customer support on any plan
→ Price: Free to start or from $19 a month. Find the right plan for you by comparing features and price plans.
I’m new to using Zapier but as soon as I created my first “zap” I knew it would be a match made in heaven. It integrates my apps effortlessly and does things that I have no idea how to do. It saves me so much time and it works seamlessly so it can run behind the scenes and I don’t need to worry about it.
The UI is also super simple and it’s easy to use which is a bonus if you’re not tech-savvy like me! Talk about working smarter not harder!
6 | LastPass
Best “life hack” productivity tool
Do you have a million passwords to remember? Then let LastPass manage them for you.
LastPass is a password management tool that you can access from multiple devices. All you need is one master password and LastPass takes care of the rest. Plus, they make it easy to access your passwords on any device – perfect for when you’re on the go.
- Save a password once and access it whenever you need it
- Generates strong and secure passwords for you
- Conveniently and safely share passwords with anyone
- Dark web monitoring
- Mobile app available for iOS or Android as well as desktop app
- Install on your browser with the Chrome extension app
- Access your mobile app with Face or Touch ID
- New passwords automatically saved in your vault
- Stores digital records and important notes as well as passwords
- Strong encryption algorithms
→ Price: Get started for free or from as little as £2.60 a month. Find the right plan for you by comparing features and price plans.
This one might seem like a rogue tool to add to this list but how much time do you reckon you spend trying to remember a password or getting the incorrect password warning sign appear after multiple inputs?
LastPass saves me so much time as it remembers all my passwords for me so I don’t have to!
It’s honestly got to be my number 1 life hack!
7 | Apple AirPods
Best productivity tool for focus
Apple AirPods are revolutionary earphones that connect to your iPhone, iPad or MacBook without any cords or cables. Just pop them in your ears and you’re good to go. With a built-in microphone, AirPods let you take calls and talk to Siri hands-free.
Plus, they deliver rich, immersive sound quality that’s super impressive.
- Fully wireless
- Rich, high-quality and clear audio
- Fast bluetooth connection
- Built in microphone and quick access to Siri
- Easy setup for all your Apple devices
- Automatically connects to your devices
- Seamless switching between devices
- Double-tap to play or skip forward
- Comes with a charging case that holds multiple charges
- Up to 5-hrs of listening time on one charge
→ Price: £109 with free delivery on Amazon
I absolutely love my Apple AirPods. I’m someone who has quite small ears and other earphones in the past have hurt my ears. But these Apple AirPods fit nicely in my ear. They don’t hurt or fall out either which was what I was worried about with wireless. They’re a bit expensive but so totally worth it!
Every morning when I sit down at my laptop I put in my AirPods, play my favourite Spotify playlists, zone out and get into my flow. They’re also great for drowning out unwanted or distracting noise.
What are the best free productivity tools?
I couldn’t write this blog post without also including the best free productivity tools that are also available.
Because let’s face it, there are some incredible free tools out there that help you work smarter and not harder just as much as a paid tool.
Here are my go-to free tools:
On a scale of 1 – 10, how overwhelmed do you feel when you open your laptop and see a messy desktop background? Take back control and get organised with a desktop organiser and wallpaper.
A desktop wallpaper and organiser will declutter your desktop and help you get organised so your mental space can breathe.
Not only are they practical, but they’re super cute too with 6 colours to choose from.
And the best part? The ones I’ve created for you are completely free!
2 | Pause by Freedom
Pause by Freedom is a Chrome extension that helps stop mindless browsing by blocking any web pages you are about to open and asking you to pause for a few seconds.
In that moment you can choose to continue to said webpage or escape to freedom and stop your mind from wandering. You are in full control and can choose which web pages you choose to put on your “pause list” from The Daily Mail, to social media sites or eCommerce shops to stop you from online shopping during the day.
This productivity tool works best for people who are easily distracted or regularly procrastinate.
3 | Momentum
Momentum is another chrome extension for your browser and changes the boring new tab window to a stunning landscape picture with the current time on it.
It also acts as an encouragement tool by sharing a daily mantra with you to give you that momentum to keep going.
Personalise it as well with your name for that extra bit of motivation and comfort.
Gosh that was a hefty post!
But I hope you have gained something from it and feel even more inspired to work smarter and not harder.
Remember, you don’t need to do absolutely everything yourself.
There are so many tools out there designed to save you time and make your life easier.
And all of the tools mentioned above do exactly that.
So to recap, here are the best productivity tools to help you work smarter and not harder, while also being kind to your well-being.
- The Five Minute Journal
- Daily Work-Life Balance Planner
- Lumie Light Therapy Desk Lamp
- Last Pass
- Apple AirPods
- Desktop Organiser and Wallpaper
I can’t wait to hear if you end up using one or more of these productivity tools after my recommendation! Hopefully, you will fall in love with them just as much as I have.
Until next week,
♡ Thalia xx
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