Get more done at work.

Using productivity tools and apps can increase your focus and speed up delivery. From CEOs to start-ups, these services will help you get more from your working week and give you an edge over competitors. Thanks to Rob Hope (@hitdelete) for helping me put this list together.

1. Momentum (Browser)

Momentum Browser Productivity Tool

Scientifically proven: Multi-tasking drops your IQ.

Keeping focus on one important task not only helps boost your brain’s cognitive performance, it’s also better for your health. Momentum is a free Chrome plug-in that replaces the ‘new tab’ page with a personal dashboard designed to help your focus on a single daily task. Momentum eliminates distraction and provides inspiration, focus, and productivity.

Momentum – Price: Free

2. Boomerang (Browser, Outlook)

Boomerang E-mail Productivity Tools

An average employee spends 28% of their working week checking e-mail.

An business inbox receives over 100 e-mails a day – a number that is growing 15% p.a. Boomerang is a free Gmail or Outlook plugin that adds a suite of productivity tools like reminders, follow-up emails, recurring e-mails, delay sending and read receipts to your e-mails. Its simple interface ensures you’re following up on important sales leads, or that colleagues stay informed on projects, and helps get you on top of your Inbox. It’s a very handy tool for a busy executive.

Boomerang – Price: Free for Basic Version

3. TripMode (Mac)


TripMode is your best friend when working while traveling on a fickle connection.

It allows you to block certain apps that are consuming your precious mobile data and allocate that data to the right areas. Allowing you to be more productive while saving you money. The UI is simple to use and it conveniently disables when back on a wifi connection.

TripMode – Price: $7.99 (Free 7 day trial)

4. Noizio (Mac, iPhone)


Noizio replaces your current background noise with sounds of a gorgeous natural surrounding.

The UI is beautiful and you can easily set the volume levels of natural ambient sounds. Within no time you find yourself productivity writing your next blog post to the sound of light October rain and a subtle crackling camp fire.

Noizio – Price: Free

5. TeuxDeux (Browser)


TeuxDeux is a to-do-list app with a simple slick UI in a unique column view.

To-do-list apps are generally subjective but TeuxDeux is more for someone who likes to see their weekly tasks in one view. You can also easily ‘drag’ a task between days which is really useful. Other features include recurring tasks, colour schemes and an interesting stats section to monitor your productivity.

TeuxDeux – Price: $24/year (Free 30 day trial)

6. Elevate App (iPhone, Android)


A free ‘brain fitness’ training app that improves analytical, comprehension and communication skills.

Putting the dubious claims of brain training technology aside, Elevate seems to really work. A free version of the app sets three challenges daily that adjusts over time based on your performance. Used as a daily cognitive ‘pick-me-up’ through some challenging ‘neurobics’.

Elevate – Price: Free for Basic Version

7. iA Writer (Mac)

iA Writer

iA Writer is quite possibly the most gorgeously minimal writing app available today.

The UI puts huge focus on distraction-free writing allowing you to work more productivity. Features include a flawless sync with DropBox, markdown support and a lovely dark-schemed night mode.

iA Writer – Price: $19.99

8. Rescue Time (Mac, Windows)

Rescue Time

RescueTime silently monitors where you spend your time behind the screen.

At the end of each week the app reports back with a breakdown of your usage in productive and unproductive categories. It’s honestly fascinating and no doubt subconsciously makes you more productive the more you use it. What’s great to know is that you can tweak what apps and websites are productive or not – creating a more accurate, personalised analysis for your niche industry.

Rescue Time – Price: Free

9. Readline (Browser)


A Spritz inspired Chrome extension that let’s you speed read text online.

Highlight any text online and set Readline to show the content word-by-word. Set your speed reading level from 10 to 1,000 words per minute and you’ll comfortably be getting through memos at three times the speed.

Readline – Price: Free

10. Hemingway (Mac, Windows, Browser)


Write clearly and get straight to the point.

Hemingway is a word editor that helps write bold and clear documents. It cuts the dead weight from your writing by highlighting wordy sentences, helps cut out adverbs, passive voice and dull complicated words. Helping your communicate faster.

Hemingway – Price: Free for Browser, $19.99 for Mac and Windows

Bonus 11. Soulver (Mac, iPhone, iPad)


Soulver is the human way of making quick business calculations.

Soulver is a calculator that works in the same way as you’d write problems down on paper. You see your answer instantly without setting up formulas or getting the calculator out, and it’s currency support is invaluable. It’s a fantastic tool for those doing business across borders.

Soulver – Price: $11.95 (Free 10 day trial)


  • Wojtek

    Wojtek Wojtek

    Reply Author

    Love the Noizio app for background sounds. Nice list;)

    Posted on

    • Duncan Robertson

      Thanks Wojtek, Rob introduced me to Noizio – it’s a great free productivity app!

      Posted on

  • Ritchie

    Ritchie Ritchie

    Reply Author

    Great list. Worth following up on so you don’t waste your time following up on everything else ; ) Nothing worse than doing everything and getting nothing done. Spend less time in your inbox and to do lists and more time on the ball! Cheers Duncan

    Posted on

  • Jerry Carwyn

    Great article, thanks Duncan! I didn’t know about Readline, I will definitely try it out. As an entrepreneur, I’m always trying to manage my time in the best way possible. What I have found to be the ultimate productivity hack is to setup a personalized browser start page with all the links and RSS feeds I frequently use. I’m using for this and it saves me a few hours per week easily.

    Posted on