My Top 5 Business Tools That Keep Me Efficient & Motivated

business improvement efficiency & productivity

As you start to really dedicate time, energy, and resources toward growing your business, you know the feelings of excitement and motivation that overcome you. It feels like the doors of opportunity are open, and everything is possible! But then, the work starts to become a bit much, and there are loose bits of paper everywhere with reminders of what you need to do or who you need to call. You’re googling things like “How to make an Instagram graphic,” when really you should be focused on your products or services.

This is what most of us in the business space call “Wearing all the hats,” and it’s part of what drives many entrepreneurs and business owners to keep going. The challenge and new knowledge can be incredibly rewarding, but it can also get overwhelming quickly. If you’re in the space where constantly switching your “business hats” is getting a bit tedious, I highly recommend selecting a few business tools to make your life easier.

Why you need tools to help manage and grow your business

When you’re first starting out, you may try to keep things lean as you figure out your direction and what is truly required to run the show. That’s fantastic! But as your daily workload increases, you’ll want to find tools that can help you automate tasks, or cut down on the time they require. I also think it’s incredibly important to note that not all business tools require an investment. There are many free options out there for many of the tools I love and use daily.

While I am going to share a few of my favorite tools, I also want to note that you should choose business tools that serve your specific needs. For example, in my business, I use ConvertKit quite often because I need to segment (break up) email lists, add tags to make sure the right people get the right email, and so forth. If your business isn’t heavily reliant on email marketing just yet, you may only need a free or low-cost tool like MailChimp. None of the tools I’m about to share are a hard-and-fast must-have for your business—simply ideas to get your toolkit started!

Now, without further ado, here are my favorite business tools!

Asana for project management

Asana is probably one of the best things I’ve ever done for my business, especially as I started asking for help from contractors. It allows me to map out a project, including specific tasks that must be done and by which day. I can also assign those tasks to others who are involved, and communicate with them directly in the tool. No messy email conversations, no more wondering when something is due, and everyone can get a clear snapshot of what’s expected.

Asana has a free option that is all I currently require, but there are paid options if your team is growing or you want more functionality. There are also other options that make work better for the way you operate, such as ClickUp, Notion, Trello, or Monday. Play around and see what works for you!

Canva for design help

I’ll be the first to admit: I am not a graphic designer. While I can guide the creation of gorgeous journals and planners over at Ponderlily®, selecting Instagram graphics or email images is beyond my skill set. Instead of grueling over a blank image and trying to find the right shapes, fonts, or layouts for something, I just use Canva. The tool is easy to use and design from scratch, or you can use one of their many templates. Plus, with a Canva Pro account, the tool saves my brand colors and fonts so I can drag and drop everything I need without fuss. I’ve cut down on my social media management time, and I can design resources for all of you in a snap.

ConvertKit for email marketing

There are a number of email tools out there, and I have tried a few of them. ConvertKit is by far my favorite because it makes it easy to send emails to specific people with specific interests, or to nurture lists based on how they found me. This easy customization and audience focus helps me feel like I’m having more of a connection with my list—because I’m genuinely curating content based on their interests or needs! ConvertKit is also design-friendly and has easy-to-customize templates for emails. It is a higher cost per month than other tools out there, so make sure you do your research before choosing an email tool. (I will also note that switching email platforms can be a pain, so make sure to invest in a tool that feels good for you now and in the future, when you have more subscribers!)

Aaptive to keep me active

I know you might be thinking, “Why is she including a fitness app in a list of business tools?” but the truth is: As a busy mum, a business owner, and someone with a full-time job, I have minimal time to take care of myself. But I know that taking care of myself is the only way I will manage to do the rest of it, so I searched for ways to sneak fitness and exercise into my day. I really love Aaptive because it adds dozens of new classes of virtually any kind every week, the trainers are excellent, and they curate fun playlists that motivate me. There are also business options for Aaptive to keep your team active and healthy, and I admire their goal to promote wellness in the corporate space.

Pomodoro to keep me on-task

Do you ever stare at a blank screen and don’t want to type out what you need to type? Or look at your to-do list and think, “All of these things are going to take me forever. I don’t even want to get started”? You’re definitely not alone. I feel that often, as do many other people. My trick for overcoming this “getting started” hurdle is to set a timer. The Pomodoro technique can help guide you!

In case you’re new to the Pomodoro technique, it involves setting a timer for 25 and focusing on one task. If, while working on that task, you remember something else, write it down and focus on the task at hand. Once the 25-minute timer is up, take a few minutes (3 to 5) to move, get a drink, use the restroom, etc. Then, after the few minutes, sit back down at your desk or wherever you were working and set another timer for 25 minutes. After three or four of these “pomodoros,” take a longer 20-30 minute break. The idea is that you work for just over an hour before giving your brain a longer break!

This method has been proven time and time again to work with our brain’s natural energy and focus needs, and I find that the simple act of setting a timer turns on the competitive part of my brain. Will I get this done before the timer goes off? Let’s find out! 

Of course, you can use a simple timer on your phone or desktop, but there are actually Pomodoro timers available for free or purchase. Websites like are free and super simple to use, while others offer desktop downloads you can use without the internet!

Business tools are not one-size-fits-all

Hopefully this insight into the tools I use to run my business and manage my time help jog some new ideas for how you can improve your efficiency, productivity, and joy in business. I know that not all of these tools are right for everyone. Don’t be afraid to try out the free trials, play around, and do your research. Ask your fellow business owners or others in your industry which tools they use, and build a list to try! I also want to note that your business toolkit will change as your business grows. Be flexible as you find tools that support you where you are now.

And, in case you are also looking to organize your days, weeks, and projects, I also offer a FREE business planning bundle. These printables are delivered right to your inbox, and are ready for you to get started creating a plan that helps you stay the course!

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