If you’re a content creator making YouTube videos, blog posts, podcasts or social media content then you should likely spend some time thinking about productivity. Being a content creator is a lot of work, and there are a million little things you have to keep track of.
I’ve been a content creator for many years, and this is how I make my living. As a result i’ve tried a bunch of tools to increase my productivity and maintain my sanity. In this post i’m going to share what I think are the best ones.
Best Productivity Tools
This list is roughly sorted with my favorites at the top, but all of these tools are great. Depending on the exact type of content creator you are and your exact niche, you may have a different order for this list.
My entire business has run on ClickUp for over 2 years. In fact, several of my businesses run on ClickUp and wouldn’t function without it. That isn’t to say that some of the other tools on this list couldn’t replace it, it was just the best fit for my business.
ClickUp is a lot of things, but at its heart its a task management software. You can create lists of tasks, and track the status of those tasks over time. You can assign different people to these tasks, add comments to the tasks and take notes or add due dates to these tasks.
They do have a Docs feature similar to Notion (another software on this list), automations like Zapier (also on this list) and other task features like Gantt chart views, calendar views and more.
One way I use ClickUp is I have a list called ‘YouTube Videos’, with statuses such as ‘ideas’, ‘planned’, ‘filmed’, ‘edited’, ‘scheduled’ and ‘live’. This way I can list out my ideas, organize them by if I want to film them and then track them through the entire process. I also use the description inside the task to outline my videos, plan title / thumbnail concepts and more.
Notion actually isn’t a tool that I use in my business that much, largely because I use ClickUp instead. However I wanted to have it at number 2 on this list because I think for many of you it could make more sense.
Notion is also a lot of things, but at its heart its a note taking software. You can create pages of notes with plenty of blocks to customize them, but also embed other pages onto your other pages. This allows you to create a wiki-like structure with all the information you want in any structure you desire.
This isn’t to discount the power of their task management features though. When you create a page you can make it a database instead, which is very similar to how ClickUp handles lists of tasks. Items in the database can have custom fields, due dates, assignees and much more.
You could run your entire business on either ClickUp or Notion and have an amazing experience on both. In my opinion Notion feels more note-forward and ClickUp is more task-forward out of the box. For me, I care much more about task management than taking notes so ClickUp made the most sense.
Zapier is the duct tape and superglue holding many online businesses together. Sometimes you use multiple pieces of software in your business and sometimes they have direct integrations with each other. But what happens when the email software you want to use doesn’t play nicely with the website platform you want to use?
Thats where Zapier comes in. Almost every company online integrates with Zapier, and Zapier provides a custom no-code interface for connecting any of those services together.
I use Zapier to invite course students to my Mighty Networks community when they purchase through ThriveCart. I use it to sync my broader mailing list subscribers with my weekly newsletter list. I use it to filter out Shopify orders and place them into the appropriate ClickUp list automatically for order tracking. And so much more.
One of the most essential productivity skills anyone should learn is to utilize their calendar. For years I used Google Calendar, but after a while I found the process slow and inconvenient. Then I found Fantastical.
One of the great features they have is their natural language processing. This means you can say something like ‘this Friday at 4PM Forbid Media Tagup’, and it will automatically setup the calendar event for that day and time with that title.
Then inside of the event you can add your Zoom link, configure Zoom settings and invite guests. You can even use the language processing for easily setting up recurring meetings. This might sound silly at first, but when you have 20-30 calendar events per week the time savings starts to add up quick.
The mobile app is also quite good, and the iOS widget is the first thing on the first page of my iPhone.
Shift is a unique hybrid of an email client and a web browser. It allows you to log in to multiple email accounts and have separate browsers for each email. This means you can be logged into the same website with multiple accounts at the same time.
Additionally they also have apps where you can log into services you use to manage your whole business, such as Freshbooks or WhatsApp.
In addition to email and a web browser, each account gets a calendar and Drive section. But you. can also look at your global calendar which aggregates every individual calendar.
Superhuman is insanely expensive for what it is, but it does exactly what it promises to do – give you the fastest email experience possible. At $30/month its a hard sell, but it saves me at least an hour or two per month which pays for itself many times over.
Superhuman at its core is just a skin for Gmail or Outlook. However it provides a bunch of standard shortcuts in a way that allows you to navigate your inbox without every touching your mouse. It also loads incredibly fast, has a useful inbox segmentation system and recently introduced AI functionality.
You can see when other people open your emails you send them, you can schedule messages, snooze messages so. they come up later and unsubscribe to email lists directly from the interface.
I use Superhuman for my main email inbox where I receive the most volume, then I use Shift for the other 6 emails I have and to manage accounts across those other emails.
Raycast is a MacOS software to replace or supplement Spotlight. You press the hotkey to pull it up anywhere, and you can open apps, run custom extensions or navigate the files on your computer within seconds. The extensions allow you to do things like Download a YouTube video, summarize a YouTube video using AI, search through your Notion or Apple Notes pages and much more.
Additionally if you’re on a paid plan they integrate with ChatGPT. This means you just press tab once you open up Raycast and you have instant access to ChatGPT. Then you can open up the chat window and overlay it next to what you’re working on.
Love that feature on Windows where you can snap apps to take up the left or right half of the screen? Thats a Raycast hotkey. Want to map a sequence of letters or symbols to trigger some template text? You can do that too.
8. CleanShot X
CleanShot is a MacOS screenshot tool. This is another thing that sounds silly at first – why would you pay for a screenshot tool when you have a free one already?
Well, it allows you to super easily markup screenshots and present them in a beautiful way. Look at this:
That took like 10 seconds to make and it looks amazing. In fact all of the screenshots in this article are from CleanShot.
If you write blog posts, make landing pages, help desk articles or regularly communicate with people online this tool will save you time.Prior to CleanShot when I wanted beautiful screenshots i’d pull up Photoshop – this would take minutes per image instead of seconds.