Project Management Professional (PMP)® Articles - Eight Productivity Tools You Should Be Using in 2020

Eight Productivity Tools You Should Be Using in 2020

You cannot accomplish goals without the necessary tools. Building a house cannot happen without a hammer, or creating a software program is impossible without essential programming apps. The same is also valid for productivity. You can start to improve your productivity with different practices and techniques. Nevertheless, your productivity is going to be the most effective—and long lasting— when you combine it with the right tools.

You need the right productivity tools if:

  • You cannot seem to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
  • Time seems to just disappear throughout the workday.
  • You are finding it hard to delegate.
  • Your output has taken a significant dive.

So, where should you start? How can you better monitor your productivity? Take a look at these eight productivity tools you should be using in 2020:

Time Tracking App

Where does the time go? Well, whether you are a freelancer, solopreneur, or the owner of a mid-sized company, a time tracking app enables you to answer the question effectively. Most apps will allow you to simply turn on a time tracking program that allows you to monitor the amount of time you spend working in a day.

If you are working with freelancers, or even have staff, these apps can also be used to take timed screenshots to ensure everyone is staying on task. Additionally, time tracking apps help you to stay productive by tracking what you are spending your time on, and can even integrate with accounting tools to quickly invoice for the time spent working. For this one, check out Toggl and Harvest.

App Blocker

It is tempting to change tabs to scroll Facebook, Instagram, or just to keep an eye on the daily news. However, before you know it, that five minutes have turned into 40 minutes of retweeting, sharing, or endless scrolling. There is nothing wrong with taking a break, but your rest periods should be timed and strategically planned throughout the day.

An app blocker tool can prevent you from straying from your work task. These tools can block apps, allow you to set times for breaks, and even prevent you from accessing the internet. According to a workplace distraction study by Udemy, 65 percent of respondents described Facebook as a top workplace distraction. If online—and specifically social media—distractions are a big deal for you, give StayFocusd or Strict Workflow. a try.

Task Delegation App

Are you still using emails to delegate tasks? Is it hard to track who is doing what? It may be time to invest in a task delegation app. While there are a variety of choices out there, at their simplest, these apps make it easy to delegate projects. For example, tools like Trello allow you to create boards to sort projects by priority and progress.

Asana and Todoist make it easy to set up to-do lists for individuals while making task assignments straightforward. Participants can also monitor due dates in a calendar view.

You need to know who is working on what, when they will be done, and the deliverables. This category of apps can accomplish all three, and will be sure to give you peace of mind in 2020.

Cloud Drive

As surprising as it is, some companies are still not using cloud-based storage systems and drives. It can be challenging to move to something new, but these apps can be just what your company needs to improve productivity. Here are the three main reasons these tools are excellent for getting work done:

  • They allow you and any other leaders to determine who is allowed to access specific documents or folders.
  • Those with access can easily find what they need, regardless of whether they are in or out of the office.
  • Most allow for team members to work on documents or projects simultaneously.

Finding passwords, providing access to documents, requiring individuals to have to come in the office to work on things, or for one person to be able to work on a project at a time significantly reduces productivity. Fortunately, cloud drives allow you and your team to be at their most productive. There is a wide range of options out there, but Dropbox and Google Drive are two of the most widely used. So, put them on your list to research.

Communication and Collaboration Tools

A report of over 100,000 employees in the UK and the US found that communication barriers cost the average company $62.4 million in lost productivity. Your team cannot move forward with lackluster communication and collaboration policies and tools. Today, organizations have to manage asynchronous and synchronous communications efficiently. In other terms, the determination of what should be sent over email and what should be discussed over instant messages or other forms of real-time communication.

These become an even more significant issue when remote work enters the picture. Tools like Slack allow you to organize chatrooms by teams or topics, while Skype IM or Google Hangouts enables your staff to speak with one another in real-time. Poor communication can tank your productivity, so be sure to invest in a tool that makes discussing work straightforward and more streamlined in 2020.

Task Automations

We’ve discussed task delegation, but there is another tool that can make completing projects a lot less complicated: task automation technologies. These apps are excellent for taking repetitive tasks from workers and having a software program handle them. There is a variety of examples of how this can work. Two of the top apps in this sphere, IFTTT (If This Then That) and Zapier, can cause various apps to communicate with one another. For example, you can make a Trello board from Evernote notes, or create a to-do from a Gmail message. While it may seem challenging at first, mastering apps like IFTTT and Zapier can improve your workflows and make your work life more straightforward.

Password Keeper

You may be wondering why we would include this as a productivity tool, but hear us out. Think about the last time you couldn't locate your password. What did you do? You had to reach out to the person who knew it—and wait for them, or you had to go through the “Forgot Password” process.

The other common issue that arises with passwords is a lack of security. How many times has an app been inaccessible because of a breach or hack? Unfortunately, losing a password—or causing one to fall into the wrong hands, can sink your productivity. You do not want to waste time finding a password or having to stop what you are doing to find one for a new hire. As a result, we suggest looking into a tool like LastPass or Dashlane to securely manage your passwords and share them with those who need access.

Email Organizer

On average, professionals check their email 15 times a day. In line with this statistic, Gallup found that it takes 23 minutes and 15 seconds to recover from a distraction (an email would be in this category). If you are not careful, checking your email can be a morning or afternoon-long activity. Hearing that email notification go off can distract you from what you are working on, and have you losing precious time addressing something that could be handled later.

So, we would first advise you to turn off email notifications, so you have the opportunity to check them when you are ready. Next, you would make your workday flow a lot more smoothly if you invest in an email organizer. A variety of email extensions can sort through your messages, make specific types of emails priority, schedule when emails go out, and organize emails according to your parameters. For this one, we would suggest you take a look at Sortd and Boomerang.

The Right Productivity Tools Can Help You Take Control of 2020

At one point or another, we have all felt as if we have lost control of our work time. From unexpected workplace occurrences to that project that required multiple re-dos, there are going to be instances when you feel the pressure. Fortunately, we live in a time where some innovative people have created productivity tools to make your work life much more comfortable. This year doesn’t have to look like 2019 when it comes to productivity. So, take a moment to see where you and your team are struggling, create strategies to address these issues, and find tools that can help you implement the solutions. Before you know it, you and your team will truly get to enjoy the advantages of exceptional productivity.


2018 Workplace Distraction Report,

How to Stop Wasting 2.5 Hours on Email Every Day,

The Cost of Poor Communications,

Too Many Interruptions at Work?,


Google Drive,
Google Hangouts,
Skype IM,
Strict Workflow,