productivity tools

25+ Free Productivity Tools for Developers

Productivity tools seem to be very important nowadays. The Digital Era has exposed us to a multitude of distractions, therefore people feel the need to create tools that help them focus. More tasks, more projects, more time needed… today everything is about being proactive and productive. As a developer, you are always busy coding for your clients’ projects that are always urgent and need to be done fast (“get shit done”). Here comes in play the magical productivity tools.

What are productivity tools?

Productivity tools are software and online applications that allow people to keep track of their tasks and the time spend working, with the scope of better self-organization and fluent teamwork.

In other words, productivity tools are designed for:

  • Time tracking
  • Team collaboration and communication
  • Self-Organization & motivation
  • Sharing information

How helpful are productivity tools?

Very helpful! Usually, these tools are necessary when you have more projects than one (as all developers do 😊). How else can you stay focused when your email inbox is full, someone tagged you on a Social Media platform or there is a funny Youtube video? These tools help you not to get stuck. Also, proper tools can help you optimize those tasks and make the most of them at the same time.

What are the best productivity tools?

Here’s a list with the best free productivity tools organized by the problem they solve, that any developer should review and choose the one that fits his need:

Task Tracking Tool

1. Asana

Asana is a work management platform that teams use to stay focused on the goals, projects, and daily tasks in order to grow their business. This platform is essentially designed to help assigning and tracking tasks. Tasks can be shown in a list format or on a Kanban board, and each task can imply sub-tasks, due dates, attachments, assigned team members, and other custom fields.

What is great about Asana is that it is highly customizable and you can really tailor it to the needs of your specific team and project. It is user-friendly, neat and colorful at the same time.

Main Features:

  • Mobile app in addition to the web app – both IOS and Android
  • Task management: Task assignees, Custom fields, Due dates, Due times, Milestones, Gantt style Timeline, Attachments (Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox), Engagement (likes), Approvals
  • Communication through comments and proofing (comments directly on images or PDFs)
  • Views: My Tasks, Workload, Calendars, Files View
  • Team management: Team, Followers, Guests
  • Integrations: Top ones – Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, Adobe Creative Cloud, Github, Salesforce

*Pro Price: starting from €10.99/user/month

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2. Trello

Trello is a tool for project management and task management based on Kanban boards. The app is really easy to use and pretty much self-explanatory. You can easily move things around or relabel them if you need to.

We, at Creative Tim, are using this task tracking tool and we love it! Trello is a great task management app for us because we are a fan of transparency and we can keep our daily activities in one place. This way we can easily see what our colleagues are working on and we can collaborate more efficiently. Also, we love that we can use tags, labels, mention people, use cool backgrounds for our boards.

Main Features:

  • Task management: Boards and Cards
  • Individual/Group Task Assignment
  • Drag-and-Drop Editing
  • Voting Options and Progress Meter Checklist
  • Integrations: Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, and it works with public developer APIs
  • Communication through Comments

*Pro Price: starting from $12.50/user/month *billed monthly

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3. Monday

Monday is a simple and intuitive visual team management tool that powers teams to run processes, workflows, and projects in one digital workspace. This app looks pretty much the same as a collection of very customized spreadsheets in which every team member can log their tasks and updates them with status reports and other relevant information. In this way, every person can see all active tasks and keep count on their progress. Also, the boards are completely yours to design, own and use.

Monday has powerful productivity features such as time tracking, automated notifications, customizable workflows, dependencies, timeline views and integrations that will help you and your team achieve better and faster results for every project.

Main Features:

  • Highly customizable interface based on columns
  • Execution Board – with big screen display
  • Task management templates by industry
  • Personal and public Boards
  • Visual progress display – Timeline view
  • Communication through comments and visuals
  • Integration: Top ones – GitHub, Slack, Outlook, Zendesk, Jira, Typeform, Excel, Salesforce, Dropbox

*Pro Price: starting from $49/max. 5 users/month *billed monthly

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4. Airtable

Airtable is a collaboration software that can store information in a spreadsheet that’s visually appealing and easy-to-use. Airtable helps you put in all the data you have, but the fact that it is so successful is due to its filtering system: you can easily filter it down to only the essential information you need. It’s a decision-maker database. It is also a very flexible tool and it gives you the ability to create almost anything with it.
Airtable has a great collection of templates that help you understand how other people use it.

Main features:

  • Customized Fields & Views
  • Forms Management
  • Snapshots
  • Link Records Between Tables
  • Upload Spreadsheet
  • Task management templates by industry
  • Integration: Top ones – GitHub, Slack, Trello, WordPress, Gmail, Zendesk

*Pro Price: starting from $12/user/month *billed monthly

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5. Clickup

ClickUp is a straightforward, user-friendly cloud-based collaboration and project management tool. More than just task management, ClickUp offers documents, scheduling, reminders, goals, calendars, and even an inbox. It is also a very flexible tool in terms of access management, task creation, and task tracking.
What is nice about Clickup is its mobile app that is not limited to one view like some competitors.

Main features:

  • Process Management
  • Task Management
  • Time Management
  • Team Collaboration
  • Complete Customization
  • Reporting
  • Integration: public API, GitLab, Slack, GitHub, Google Drive, and many others

*Pro Price: starting from $8.9/user/month *billed monthly

 

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6. Bitrix 24

Bitrix24 is a collaboration software with complete tools for management, collaboration, and communication. It has everything you need to work with tasks: templates, collaborators, time tracking, reminders, auto-renewal of paused tasks, Gantt chart, custom Kanban board. Also, this software does a great job integrating other cloud sharing platform which makes it easy for multi-platform users.

Main features:

  • Mobile app in addition to the web app – both IOS and Android
  • Time management and progress tracking
  • Task reports
  • Project calendars
  • Interactive printable Gantt charts
  • Group task management
  • Recurring tasks and tasks from email
  • Integrations: Top ones – Gmail, Google Drive, Dropbox, Mailchimp, Box

*Pro Price: starting from $24/2 users/month *billed monthly

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Time Management Tools

7. Jibble

Jibble is a multi-device, cloud-based Time & Attendance tracker. The Application allows the users to use the services remotely just not only from a computer but also from employee’s mobile phones making it more accessible. Also, seeing how much a project cost in developers’time is so much easier.

Main features:

  • Mobile/Desktop App
  • Attendance Time Clock
  • Dashboard & notifications
  • Automated timesheets
  • Bot in Slack / Microsoft Teams

*Pro Price: starting from $2/user/month *billed monthly

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8. Clockify

Clockify is a simple time tracker and timesheet app that lets you track work hours across projects. It is very easy to use this time management tool and it really helps you when you have to provide better estimates for new customers. Also, the user interface is very intuitive, clean, and beautiful.

Features:

  • Mobile/Desktop App
  • Timekeeping using a timer, you can also mark time as billable
  • Reporting – visual time breakdown
  • Team collaboration – you can invite the whole team, set hourly rates and see who worked on what

*Pro Price: starting from $9.99/month

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9. RescueTime

RescueTime is a monitoring tool that keeps track of websites and applications that are used during work. It is highly intuitive and simple to use. RescueTime runs in the background, collecting valuable Internet usage data while working on a project. It really helps you when at the end of the day you want to draw a line and find out if your day was productive or not. Also, if it was not, you will see exactly why.

Main features:

  • Website Usage Categorization
  • Customization of Goals
  • Block Distracting Sites
  • Track Offline Time
  • Weekly Productivity Report

*Pro Price: starting from $10/user/month

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10. Toggl

Toggl is a very useful time tracking app that offers online time tracking and reporting services. Toggl tracks time based on task/projects through an interactive task timer or through manual entry. Toggl is ideal for freelancers and small businesses and its free plan covers almost everything you need in this kind of apps. Also, Toggl’s handy browser add-on allows you to track time without ever having to open the web application.

Main Features:

  • Mobile/Desktop App
  • One-click Timers and Tracking Reminders
  • Over 100+ App Integrations
  • Reporting
  • Project Dashboard
  • Billable Rates

*Pro Price: starting from $10/user/month

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Communication Tools

11. Slack

Slack is a team communication tool and collaboration hub that can replace email to help you and your team raise productivity level. It’s designed to support the way people naturally work together, so you can collaborate with people online as efficiently as they do face-to-face.

Slack has a very intuitive and clean user interface and it allows the team to sort multiple conversations easily. It is also very useful for organizing different projects into the right conversations, especially over long periods of time.
A really good thing about this tool is that it supports both smartphones and computers simultaneously. If you ever miss any information or notification not being at work you will eventually get notified on your smartphone.

We, at Creative Tim, love this tool and it is working perfectly with our team’s goals. Our colleagues use it when they need immediate help or have difficulties in some development subject, when there are HR announcements, or when we are planning where we have lunch today. Slack is the place where we do most of our interaction. Even when someone is working remotely, they can be somehow present through this app. We also love using gifs and emojis! 😎

Main features:

  • Organized conversations – channels
  • Searchable history
  • Connected apps: Google Drive, Github, Gitlab, Dribble, Sketchboard, and a lot more
  • Voice or video calls

*Pro Price: starting from €7.50/user/month *billed monthly

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12. Chanty

Chanty is a simple and fast chat app designed to boost communication and productivity in teams. Besides the chat feature, you can also manage your tasks by turning messages into tasks with one click. Simplicity is one of the most important features this software has. The interface and layout are great – they’re simply made to support work.

Chanty also allows code snippets and you can enjoy a quick and easy way to share blocks of code with your product team. Your colleagues can open and read snippets without leaving the chat app.

Main features:

  • Activity/News Feed
  • Real-time Chat
  • Discussion Threads
  • Task Management
  • Video Conferencing

*Pro Price: starting from $4/user/month *billed monthly

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13. Rocket Chat

Rocket.Chat is a free, unlimited and open-source communication tool with good & clean usability. It is very useful for communicating and collaborating with your team, sharing files, chat in real-time or you can switch to video/audio conferencing.

With complete access to the source code, you can fully customize, extend or add new functionality to meet your requirements. You have the freedom to control and centralize your communication with internal or external clients by choosing where to securely host their data, and by opting for a fully customizable interface with a range of plugins, themes, and unlimited integrations.
Another interesting thing about this tool is the fact that you can integrate bots, which seems like the latest thing.

Main features:

  • Audio and video conferencing
  • Screen and file sharing, file sharing
  • Real-Time Translation
  • Live Chat
  • LDAP Group Sync, Two-factor authentication (2FA), E2E encryption, SSO, and dozens of OAuth providers

*Pro Price: starting from $3/user/month *billed monthly

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14. Zoho Cliq

Zoho Cliq is a cloud-based collaborative and interactive platform that allows teams to make video and audio calls, chat and share files. Zoho Cliq looks pretty much the same as Slack, and it adds the ability to see multiple channels in one window. It also has a forking option for branching discussions. This tool has a fast handling system and a friendly interface. Another nice thing about this platform is that it integrates many other advanced features such as polls, event invitations, and visual assignment tools.

Main features:

  • Use of emojis
  • Easy drag-and-drop file sharing
  • Audio and video conferencing
  • Polls, event invitations, and visual assignment tools
  • Screen sharing

*Pro Price: starting from $3/user/month *billed monthly (for max. 10 persons team)

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15. Workplace

Workplace is a mobile and web app that used to be called Facebook Work and offers features like Facebook Groups, Facebook Messenger, built-in audio and video calling, and access to the social network’s profiles, Events, and Live video tools. Its layout is similar to Facebook’s but this app is meant for work, productivity and to keep the team connected.
It also includes viewing updates from people similar to the Facebook newsfeed, live video broadcasting of announcements, training, and meetings.

Main features:

  • Discussion Boards
  • Calendar Management
  • Audio & Video Conferencing
  • Project & Tasks Management
  • Brainstorming
  • Language translation

*Pro Price: starting from $3/user/month

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16. Flock

Flock is an app that organizes all your team’s conversations, apps, and tools in one place, so you can focus on the things that matter – getting work done faster.

What is good about Flock is that it adds some productivity concepts in the app. For example, in different channels and private chats, you can have working to-do lists with assignments and due dates. Also, you can pin documents and files in a conversation or channel that is relevant to the conversation.

Main features:

  • Communication management
  • Discussion threads and Instant messaging
  • Reminders and Project notes
  • Productivity reporting
  • Collaboration tools
  • Drag & drop file sharing

*Pro Price: starting from $4.5/user/month

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Sharing Tools

17. Quip

Quip is a very useful and complete software that combines content and communication in one simple experience. It gives teams one place to collaborate through documents, spreadsheets, checklists, and chat.

This software is really easy to use and it’s faster than Google Docs. Our favorite feature is the collaboration tool which allows you to edit documents and discuss them in real-time with other users. Similar to Slack, there is an option to notify everyone with an @everyone option to send messages to a whole team. Quip integrates well with Salesforce, so if you are using Salesforce, this is a good option. Also, you are able to insert Kanban boards inside <3.

We, at Creative Tim, are using and loving this tool! It is a great app for collaborating on plans, tasks, and sharing ideas or documents. You get notified every time someone made changes, therefore, the transparency is at the highest level. Also, it is good for our developers because you can insert source code blocks as figures. Checklists are an important feature too.

Main features:

  • Team Chat: you can talk about anything whether or not it’s attached to a document
  • Mobile friendly: formatted to fit whatever screen size you’re using
  • Spreadsheets: simple, collaborative, easy to edit on any device, online or offline, integrated with the rest of your work
  • Documents: write, edit, and discuss documents — online or offline

*Pro Price: starting from $12/user/month *billed monthly

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18. Notion

Notion is an all-in-one Cloud-based workspace where you can write, plan, collaborate and get organized. It is also a note-taking application with markdown support that integrates tasks, wikis, and databases.

It has a Kanban board interface that simplifies the process of creating and storing collaborative documents. What is nice about this app is that you can share with your clients some determined information and hide the rest to not overwhelm them with extra information. You can easily configure it to your needs while you are using it.

Main features:

  • Kanban board, calendar, and list views
  • Spreadsheets & Databases
  • #Markdown. /Slash commands
  • Collaborate in real-time

* Pro Price: starting from $4/month

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19. Boostnote

Boostnote is an open-source, intuitive and stylish markdown note app for developers. Markdown makes it easy to organize information. Boostnote is not an app suitable for everyone, it‘s a much more appropriate note-taking app for programmers.

What is nice about Boostnote is that it provides folders and tagging for better organization of your notes. It also supports checkboxes and includes a progress bar to track the completion of all your tasks.

Main Features:

  • Write offline
  • Syntax highlight: more than 100 languages
  • Notes can be taken as Markdown or in code snippet format
  • Notes can be tagged
  • Search functionality

* No premium version

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20. Google Docs

Google Docs is a free web-based app designed for creating, editing and online storing documents and spreadsheets. Files can be accessed from any computer with an Internet connection and a full-featured web browser. In other words, Google Docs is a great tool to use if you want to edit a document at the same time while seeing each others’ changes instantaneously. Users can produce text documents, slide presentations, spreadsheets, drawings, and surveys.

Main features:

  • Voice Typing
  • Clear formatting
  • Conference Calls
  • Suggesting Mode
  • Tag People in Comments

* Pro Price for teams: depends on the GSuite plan you choose – starting from $6/ user/ month

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21. Evernote

Evernote is an app designed to help you capture, prioritize, and archive ideas, projects, and to-do lists. This tool is a perfect hub to store all the materials needed for any project and manage the many moving parts, deliverables and, deadlines. Whether you work alone, or with a team, Evernote makes it easy to send important information to colleagues or clients.

Main features:

  • Collaboration tools
  • AI-suggested content
  • Presentation mode
  • Mobile offline notes – access to your notes even with no internet connection
  • Versatile notetaking capability – audio, video, image, text
  • Set reminders

* Pro Price: starting from $2.49/month

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22. Joplin

Joplin is a free, open-source note taking and to-do application, which can handle a large number of notes organized into notebooks. The notes are searchable, can be copied, tagged and modified either from the applications directly or from your own text editor. They are also in Markdown format.

Another good thing about this app is the fact that the notes can be synchronized with various cloud services including Nextcloud, Dropbox, OneDrive, WebDAV or the file system (for example with a network directory). When synchronizing the notes, notebooks, tags and other metadata they are saved to plain text files that can be easily inspected, backed up and moved around.

Main features:

  • Supports markdown
  • Offline access
  • Supports tags for notes
  • Multiple languages
  • Supports file attachments

* No premium version

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Special Tools for Developers

23. Creative Tim Ui Tools

Creative Tim’ Ui Tools are fully coded UI Kits and Dashboards built on top of modern frameworks: Bootstrap, Angular, React, Vue js, Laravel, Node js. Creating your web design from scratch with dedicated designers can be very expensive and time-consuming. This is why these UI tools are very helpful and you don’t have to worry about the design. You will save time and money by focusing on the business model.

  • UI Kits & Example Pages
  • Pre-Made Sections & Elements
  • Fully coded Dashboards
  • Free UI Tools
  • Open-source products

*Premium products available

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24. The Silver Searcher

The Silver Searcher is a tool for searching code. It started off as a clone of Ack, but their feature sets have since diverged slightly. In typical usage, Ag is 5-10x faster than Ack.

Main features:

  • It is an order of magnitude faster than ack.
  • It ignores file patterns from your .gitignore and .hgignore.
  • If there are files in your source repo you don’t want to search, just add their patterns to a .ignore file. (*cough* *.min.js *cough*)
  • The command name is 33% shorter than ack, and all keys are on the home row!

* No premium version

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25. Atom

Atom is a hackable text editor for developers. It is a free and open-source text and source code editor for macOS, Linux, and Microsoft Windows with support for plug-ins written in Node.js, and embedded Git Control. The main goal of Atom is that anyone can hack the core to make it do what they want. This tool is developed by GitHub.

Atom is fully modular which means that it is easy to download extensions and modules from the Internet to make the editor more useful for your needs. Themes are also part of this modularity.

Main features:

  • Highly customizable
  • Cross-platform – OS X, Windows, and Linux.
  • Package manager – thousands of plugins available
  • Autocompletion
  • File system browser
  • Multiple panes

* No premium version

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26. Brackets

Brackets is a modern, open-source text editor designed for web designers and front-end developers. It is written using a combination of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

What is cool about Brackets is that it has live updates preview of the website you are working on. It allows you to see in real-time the changes you’ve made to your file on the browser without manually click reload or hitting “Ctrl + R” / F5 all the time. It also supports multiple languages.

Main features:

  • Quick Editing
  • Cross-platform – OS X, Windows, and Linux.
  • Live Preview
  • Highly Extendable
  • Multiple Cursors

* No premium version

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27. Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code is a streamlined code editor with support for development operations like debugging, task running, and version control. It aims to provide just the tools a developer needs for a quick code-build-debug cycle and leaves more complex workflows to fuller featured IDEs, such as Visual Studio IDE

What is nice about Visual Studio Code is that there is a large variety of extensions that boost your productivity. It will also let you know if you miss any tags in HTML or even it will close the tags for you on its own when you open a tag.

Main features:

  • Cross-platform – OS X, Windows, and Linux.
  • A great ecosystem of plugins
  • Built-in support for Javascript, TypeScript, nodeJs (auto-completion, syntax check, debug, …)
  • Highly customizable: you can change themes, keyboard shortcuts, and workspace settings

* No premium version

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Final Thoughts

Do you feel you are not enough efficient in your daily work and you are looking for becoming more productive?
These productivity tools may be the answer for you and your team. With the right help, you can produce quality work and smile at what you have achieved.

But let’s not turn productivity into obsession, we’re not machines or robots. Let’s try to do something that is also meaningful, not just what makes us busy! 😉

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