21st February 2020

Productivity Tools: The Hidden Gems

As a freelancer or entrepreneur, your most important resource is your time which makes mastering time management and optimal productivity critical to success.

Most of us have a few sneaky productivity hacks tucked away up our sleeves. There’s something about finding that perfect productivity tool – no matter how big or small – that adds just the right finishing touch to take your workflow to the next level. Not to mention that smug feeling when you discover a whole new productivity hack to add to your repertoire. The hidden gems hold the double whammy of transforming your workflow while getting to watch others have their mind blown as you proudly share it with your fellow freelancers.

Here are some of our favourite productivity tools to keep you focused and make the most of your time.

For the time-sensitive brainstorm

Sometimes a project needs to be given the creative space to fully develop and come to life in line with your vision. Taking time to clear our minds of all other distractions, thoughts and notifications can be challenging, especially within an already frantic, busy schedule. That’s where these hourglass timers come into play.

Whether you need ten minutes to simply brain dump all of your stresses or you’re ready to get to work brainstorming and fleshing out a new project, these finely crafted hourglass timers help to make time for the things that matter.

For intense focus

You’ve shut off the email notifications, put your phone on aeroplane mode but you’re still not quite on the ball with complete concentration. Time to call in the big guns.


Noisli is an app and browser extension that lets you mix and match different background noises to create your perfect sound environment for work, relaxation or study. You can even create the perfect combination to help you sleep, though maybe save that feature for the end of your workday.

Noisli also offers a timer feature for when you want to break your work up into shorter bursts of concentration. This also helps to prevent burnout.

Background noise like rainfall or soft chatter boosts productivity because it doesn’t contain spikes in volume like that of white noise or listening to music. It’s a calm, constant, predictable noise combination that helps our inner alarm systems to remain calm and avoids the intensity of working in silence.

For avoiding mindless scrolling

The biggest productivity time suck comes down to mindless social media scrolling on our phones, something we’re now kindly reminded of with weekly screen time reports. We’ve all been there. Laptop on the desk, phone by our side and ready to get the show on the road on the productivity front. Then the notifications pop up and temptation wins as we reach for our phone to quickly check what’s going on in the social media sphere. Research shows that when this happens, it takes an average of 23 minutes for our brains to return to a ‘focused state’.

The answer to this problem? Freedom.

Freedom aims to make technology less distracting by blocking websites and apps to help you stay focused on what matters most. Without the constant distraction of notifications, social media and your inbox, you’re free to focus, be creative and take your productivity up a notch to produce your best work.

What are your go-to productivity tools?