12 Must Have Productivity Apps for Self Employed

By MBO Partners | March 11, 2024


Key Points

Productivity apps can help with organization, planning, and automation.

Maximizing productivity can help you focus on key tasks rather than spending time on things you can outsource.

Discover 12 apps to better manage your independent business.

While your favorite apps might involve watching viral videos, scrolling through beautiful pictures, or zoning out while playing a game, you don’t always have the luxury of getting sucked into the vortex of your phone when you run your own business. Luckily, there’s another category of apps that are equally engaging—and can help you maximize productivity.

We’ve assembled a list of 12 productivity apps to assist with some of the most important parts of your daily work life. These productivity apps can help with the collaboration, organization, and dedication it takes to be an independent professional.

1. Stay Organized

Task management app Todoist is an organization master for independent professionals on the go. Create projects along with task to-do lists, sub-tasks, and color-coded priorities. Todoist is a cloud-based service, so it will integrate wherever you have it enabled, whether that’s your tablet, smartwatch, or Gmail or Outlook inbox.

2. Automate Social Media

Maintaining an active social media presence can be an essential part of your marketing strategy, but monitoring your accounts can also cut into valuable time. Check out Buffer to create a queue of posts for all your social networks for the day, week, or beyond. Customize messages for each account, pick the time and date you want your posts to go live, or let Buffer decide when to post.

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3. Manage Daily Tasks

If you work with multiple clients or if you partner with other independent professionals as part of your work, collaboration is essential. Stay on top of task management with Asana, a project management app. Asana lets you organize projects on a timeline, assign to-dos, and automate repetitive tasks.

4. Streamline Your Workflow

Imagine if after a big networking event you automatically received an email reminder to follow up with your new contacts, or if your work hours were seamlessly logged in a spreadsheet each day. IFTTT—short for If This, Then That—automates daily tasks by acting as a messenger between services and apps you use every day like Dropbox, Google Drive, social media accounts, and Todoist. IFTTT uses ‘Applets,’ combinations of triggers and actions, to complete tasks you set up. Choose from existing Applets or create your own to start optimizing your workflow.

5. Project Management

Trello is another popular project management app that lets you organize work via a Trello board. You can add lists and cards to your board and assign and organize tasks. Trello is helpful if you are working one-on-one with a client or project team. It is a visual app, which is nice if your brain works that way, and easily syncs with apps you likely already use like Google Drive, DropBox, and Slack.

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6. Visualize Your Ideas

Mind mapping is a visual way to present a big concept along with ideas, plans, words, or images that relate to the main topic. If you’re stuck in a creative rut, graphically planning out hierarchies and establishing relationships between pieces of a whole can help you more easily visualize a new idea or plan out how to tackle an upcoming project. With MindMeister, create a mind map right on your smartphone and customize each idea branch with different icons, colors, and text styles.

7. Track Your Hours

For independent professionals who charge their clients by the hour, Clockify can be an invaluable tool. The app allows. Users to track time across different projects, clients, and devices.  You can set reminders for tasks, clock your time offline, sync tasks to a calendar, and even bill clients.

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8. Manage Multiple Projects at Once

As an independent contractor, you are likely juggling multiple projects at any given time. Freedcamp is a project management tool that can help you manage your business on a budget. Get projects up and running quickly, track costs, and upload corresponding documents. If you’re collaborating with others, set project due dates, create personalized task lists, and participate in discussion boards. There’s a free version available, or you can upgrade for more features and integrations.

9. Host a Professional Virtual Meeting

One of the benefits of being independent is that you can work from where you want, but that can make it tricky to handle spur-of-the-moment client meetings or calls. Be prepared to meet with clients anywhere and anytime with Zoom. Chances are you’ve been on a Zoom meeting in the past year, but if you’re not familiar with the platform, Zoom is a user-friendly app where you can schedule video meetings from your phone or desktop computer (in addition to a lot of other collaboration and connection tools.) It’s always nice to talk to a client face-to-face, and video conferencing is the next best way to get that experience.

10. File Organization and Sharing

A maybe obvious but important app to mention is Google Drive. One of the big perks here is that it’s free—you can upgrade if you need more storage space. Google Drive is great for collaboration and file sharing. Google Drive’s Docs, Sheets, and Slides are very user-friendly and can be accessed via your computer or phone.

11. Calendar Scheduling

Scheduling meetings can often feel like a job in and of itself. Enter, Calendly. This app helps eliminate all those back-and-forth emails it takes to schedule a meeting by asking people for their availability preferences. It’s sort of like having a virtual assistant. Calendly has a wealth of integrations as well including Zoom, Webex, Microsoft Teams, and PayPal.

12. Meditation

Sometimes, taking time to do nothing is just as important as filling your day with a lot of somethings. Boost productivity and take a few minutes to clear your head with a short meditation or breathing exercise from Calm. Just choose the amount of time and type of meditation you’re looking for and return to work less stressed and more focused.


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