I’ve read a million articles and blog posts on essential tools and web apps for businesses – both big and small. The reality is, there is a limitless list of tools you could add to your toolbox, but should you?
Instead of a list of all the possible things you could theoretically use, this is a list of the FIVE main things you really need to get on! I’ve not only tested each of these apps and web tools, I use them All. The. Time. So, in order of usage, here’s my Top 5 Must-Use Apps for Business (and Life in general!)
I use it: all day, everyday
Platforms: onlin, mobile apps
Uses: spreadsheets, word processing, online forms, shared files/folders, group edits
Not gonna lie to you, this is probably the newest addition to my toolbox, but it’s quickly become my most-used and favourite! Google Drive has a little bit of everything: online storage of files and images, free word processing and spreadsheets, shared folders, team edits of documents, and so much more! Google Forms are hugely useful and their new facelift is amazing – I use them for everything! Spreadsheet templates are awesome and intuitive. I have this one bookmarked in my browser and the (free) app on my iPhone! A few irks though: I wish you could set different emails for notifications when a form gets filled out, as well as more alternative views for form responses. I also wish it was easier to link different spreadsheets to each other. Ultimately though, Google Drive has replaced all of my dumb little apps to track things – now I have it all in one place. I have a folder for each client which has all of my important information in it – a spreadsheet of my expenses, hours tracking, budgets, important files, and even a shared folder so clients can upload images or documents for me!
I use it: almost everyday
Cost: free (premium elements available and pro version is a paid upgrade)
Uses: basic but powerful graphic design
Not a graphic designer? Photoshop stresses you out? Canva is an incredibly powerful FREE online platform that comes loaded with a ton of layouts: everything from social media posts to letterheads to business cards to presentations. The featured photo for this post? Made with Canva! Want more options? Canva has premium elements for $1 and a monthly subscription for Canva for Work (yes, I have Canva for Work and yes, it’s awesome!). Still, you could never pay a cent for Canva and still be happy with all it offers you!
I use it: all day, everyday
Platforms: online, mobile apps, MacBook app
Cost: free (premium version is a paid upgrade)
Uses: to do lists
Everyone raves about Wanderlist, but to be honest, it wasn’t my jam, for some reason. Instead I fell in love with Todoist – it’s another free “To do” app that integrates seamlessly with my iPhone/iPad/MacBook and even web browser! And yes, there’s an Android version too! My favourite thing about Todoist? Real language – if I want to be reminded to buy corn tomorrow, I can literally write “buy corn tomorrow” and Todoist will set a task for tomorrow that says “buy corn”. I’m about five minutes away from upgrading to the premium version so I can get push notifications, but so far, the free version has been sufficient since I use the app multiple times a day anyways.
I use it: all the time
Platforms: online, mobile apps
Cost: free Lite version (premium version available)
Uses: time tracking (project/client based)
This one is super simple and super easy to use – basically, it’s a one-click time tracker. Set a task, set a client if you wish, and start tracking the time you’re spending! Whether you’re billing by the hour (or minute) or just want to make sure you’re working efficiently, Toggle will help you figure out where all your time is going.
I use it: everyday (it runs in the background of my phone organizing my life while I ignore it)
Platforms: mobile apps
This is an iPhone/iPad/Android App that is simple but powerful. “If This Then That” lets you create “recipes” to automate simple tasks. For example, every time you take a screenshot, IFTTT can put that screenshot into a special screenshots album on your phone. Or use it to track your hours and load into a Google Drive spreadsheet, create/update invoices, or even turn on your home thermostat (what?!). The possibilities are endless!
I use it: frequently
Uses: stock photos
Gone are the days when you have to pay for good quality stock photos. There are a ton of great websites out there that offer free, no-usage-restrictions photography. My favourite is stocksnap.io because of its searchability and unsplash.com for just straight-up beautiful photography. And yes, the picture in this post is from stocksnap.io!
Tell me what apps and tools you use all the time! What’s working for you? What secret weapon is in your toolbox??