Staying Organized: A Guide to Digital Productivity Tools

Morning meditation and slow-release breakfasts are still superb ways to spark productivity—but as the world gets faster, we all need a little bit of digital support to stay organized and maximize our efficiency.

Whether you’re in an office, working remotely, running a small business, studying for a degree, or just searching for the ever-elusive work-life balance, digital productivity tools will help you keep on top of your workflow and find your most productive self. 

We’ve compiled some of our favorites in this guide for you to test out. Throughout, we'll also show you how you can incorporate these tools into your daily routine to boost your productivity.

Task and Project Management Tools

Often find yourself flooded with a deluge of deadlines? A personal project management tool (PMT) will let you view your whole workflow at a glance, prioritize your tasks, and get organized. 

A PMT lets you create tasks and sort them into columns. You could make ‘To Start’, ‘In Progress’, and ‘Completed’ columns for a simplistic option or break down large tasks into smaller chunks if you’re tackling a big project. 

Trello and Monday are two of the more popular options available to you. They’re visually attractive (both use the popular Kanban style), easy to customize, and the most newbie-friendly options of the bunch. Trello, in particular, has exceptional third-party integration options, known in-app as ‘Power-Ups’. 

Asana is a solid choice if you need something a bit more robust. It works best for collaborative, large-scale projects, letting you break down big chunks of work into smaller, manageable tasks. It’s pretty feature-rich, though, so it can be a bit overwhelming if you only need a personal PMT to tackle a few deadlines at a time. 

Project management tools are quite subjective. Everyone has their favorite, so the best option for you will depend on your needs and preferences. 

Note-Taking and Documentation Apps

Note-Taking and Documentation AppsNote-Taking and Documentation Apps

Whether you want to write up talking points from a meeting or just jot down your weekly shopping list, a note-taking app will help you keep everything in order. 

Evernote’s powerful and easy-to-customize platform meant it was once note-taking royalty, but a limited free plan and pricey paid version mean it’s hard to recommend the app if you just need a jotter to make occasional notes. 

Microsoft OneNote, Apple Notes and Google Keep all have the benefit of being free if you already use the respective services. OneNote, in particular, is easy to set up and adaptable—we love the ability to take freeform notes or create drawings by clicking at any point on the canvas.

If you take your note-taking really seriously (and who could blame you?), you might like something more robust like Obsidian. The app offers hundreds of integrations and lets you link notes together with embedded hyperlinks. It’s redefining what we thought note-taking apps could do, but it has a steep learning curve, so you might find it unnecessarily complicated if you only want to jot down the occasional to-do list. 

Calendar and Scheduling Solutions

The humble calendar has always been the ideal way to keep organized, but modern digital solutions offer a bunch of extra features that will make managing your personal and professional life even easier. 

Google Calendar, Microsoft Outlook Calendar, and Apple Calendar are all free, provided you have the required accounts. These apps offer everything you need to stay on top of your day-to-day schedule, and each will sync up with your other devices and apps.

If you use Google Calendar to schedule meetings at work, for example, you can view all of those meetings on an iPhone or Android device, too. Or, if you use Apple Calendar on mobile and Outlook on your laptop, you can sync both apps to view everything in one place. 

Need to take regular appointments to run your business? We recommend trying out a scheduling solution like Calendly or Square Appointments. These apps let clients reschedule and cancel appointments without contacting you directly, helping you save time on the booking process. 

You can easily sync these apps to your Calendar solution, too. If something changes, your schedule will update in real-time. 

Collaborative Document Editing

Collaborative Document EditingCollaborative Document Editing

A document collaboration solution lets multiple people work remotely on the same project at once. If one person comments or makes an edit, everyone else can see the update in real-time—no tedious back-and-forth revisions needed.

Google Docs is easy to use and (above all) free, meaning it’s the most popular choice on the digital market right now. When you share a link to your working document, colleagues can view or make edits in real time. While it won’t win any medals for complex features, we love how easy this platform is to use for both professionals and students. 

Microsoft 365 is another top choice for collaboration—especially if you already do your work on Word or Excel. As with Google Docs, you can share a link to your document so colleagues can make edits and leave comments. Fortunately, this even works if the person you’re sharing the doc with doesn’t have access to Microsoft 365—freebies for the win!

Time Tracking Apps

Time-tracking apps let you record hours worked and evaluate your efficiency—especially handy if you’re a freelancer and want to keep track of time for client invoices. 

Toggl Track is a solid choice if you need a simple tracker and would rather avoid paying. We really appreciate how easy this app is to use; you can start tracking with a single click and view your tracked time entries in a calendar. That said, while the platform has some basic analytics features, you’ll need to upgrade to the premium version if you want an in-depth look into your work habits.

One interesting innovation is the recent development of AI-powered auto-tracking. Apps like Memtime and Timely run in the background of your work and automatically track time based on your activity. These tools are surprisingly accurate, straightforward to set up, and provide insights into the actual time you spend on a task. 

If you find the idea of letting AI track your workflow unnerving, give these apps a miss and opt for something like Toggl Track. But if not, we think AI time tracking might be the next best way to boost your efficiency. 

Automation Platforms

Are repetitive tasks bogging down your workflow? An automation platform will automate tedious tasks so you can spend more time working on the important stuff. 

Zapier is the current king of automation apps. It lets you build multi-step workflows (known in-app as Zaps) across 6000+ apps without any coding know-how. You could use it to link your notes to your project management tool, connect your emails to your calendar, or send automated follow-up emails after three days if you don’t get a response. There’s no end to the possibilities. 

Zapier is feature-rich, though, so newbies might be overwhelmed by the sheer number of possibilities at their fingertips. In that case, IFTTT might be the better fit. While it lacks the sheer enormity of options available on Zapier, it more than makes up for it with its beginner-focussed design—perfect if you only want to automate a few core tasks in your personal or professional life. 

Password Managers

None of us want to spend the first 30 minutes of our work day trying to remember a unique password we created seven months ago. Password managers solve this issue by creating and saving strong passwords on your behalf—you don’t need to remember a thing. 

1Password is one of the most popular newbie-friendly options on the market. It’s practical, easy to use, and works on all devices and browsers. The security and encryption are top-notch, and the app will even find and provide steps for you to correct compromised, weak, or reused passwords. Note that the app costs $36 per year, which might be off-putting if you’re only using it to store a dozen passwords. 

If you’re looking for a free option, Bitwarden is a good alternative. It isn’t as fine-tuned or intuitive as 1Password but it does the basics well and won’t give you any problems with security. If you like, you can upgrade to the $10 per year premium plan, which comes with Vault Health Reports that let you know about any leaked, weak, or reused passwords. 

The best password manager for your needs will usually depend on which makes you feel the most safe. As long as your chosen solution has robust security measures, you’re good to go. 


The beauty of digital productivity tools is that you can invest in the ones that are important to you and choose a free option for those that aren't. 

If you only take notes once a week, stick to OneNote, Apple Notes, or Google Keep. If you’re constantly battling with a swarm of deadlines, consider investing in a PMT like Trello or Monday. If you work as a freelancer, time-tracking is a priority—you might like to invest in an AI-powered solution like Memtime that can do the hard work for you. It all comes down to your preferences. 

Above all else, we recommend starting small when you’re getting to grips with productivity tools. Trying to learn the ropes of ten platforms at once might actually set you back more than it boosts your productivity. Pick one app, test it for a week, and go from there. Achieving productivity is different for everyone—it’ll take a bit of trial and error to find your perfect toolkit.