Productivity

My Favorite Productivity Tools : 2021 Update

 July 14, 2018

By  Uriah Guilford, MFT

minute read

2021 update: I only had to make a few changes to update this list. This set of software, services and tools are still serving me well. Part of being a #productivetherapist is staying focused and sticking with what works!

This is my current list of gear, software and services that allows me to be efficient and productive on a daily basis.

I hope you find something useful here that will make a serious difference for you.

Disclosure: Some links in this blog post are affiliate links. This means that at no additional cost to you, I may get a commission if you make a purchase. Thanks for your support in this way!

Ok, let’s jump right in!

Some seriously good software

Gusto

I never thought it would be possible to actually say I love my payroll software. Gusto just makes everything so easy, from hiring to firing and everything in between. Their customer support is amazing, the software is super intuitive and it was even designed with fun little rewarding messages. If you are looking for a payroll service, Gusto is a great choice.

Evernote

Evernote is my external brain that syncs with every digital platform. I have over 8000 notes in there! I use Evernote with my Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner to rid my life of paper. Everything gets fed into my scanner and uploaded straight into Evernote. Not ideal for anything client related of course, but a super useful tool.

Apple Notes

I still use Apple Notes for some quick reference info, but I have gone back to fully relying on Evernote for almost everything. That is helping me stay more organized and track down all the details I need on a daily basis.

Boomerang for Gmail

This handy little piece of software allows me to schedule emails for the future and bring back emails that I need to follow up on. Something I wouldn’t want to live without and I wrote a whole blog post on it. Most recently I have been using the snooze and schedule send features in Gmail, but I will likely go back to Boomerang because there some great features it has like the ability to pause your inbox.

WeekCal

Simply put, WeekCal is the best iPhone calendar app that I have ever used. For one simple reason, it just has a great week view that allows me to quickly see everything. That’s about all I have to say about that one. Probably never switching calendar apps. 🙂

LastPass

This is one absolutely necessary tool for modern life. I have about 10,000 passwords that I can’t remember and apparently it’s a bad idea to make them all the same! LastPass safely and securely stores all that info and makes it easy to log into any site. You only have to remember your one master password. Incredibly handy and worth the couple bucks per month. I recently upgraded to the Team version so that all of my VAs can share passwords securely with their clients.

SimplePractice

I love SimplePractice and have been a faithful customer and advocate for many years. It’s not perfect, but it gets better all the time. Check out my full review.

Text Expander

Another one I don’t want to live without. This tool saves me from typing the same bits of text over and over again. I program keyboard shortcuts to expand portions of text that I use every single day. So great! Here is my full post on TextExpander.

Todoist

One of the best task managers out there. I use this for myself and my team of virtual assistants. I put everything in ToDoist. It keeps my whole life and business organized and prioritized. Works on every platform. It is just really good and easy to use.

Grasshopper

Grasshopper is a virtual phone system that makes it easy for me to add extensions, separate my business from personal calls and run my business from my smartphone. Overall, it’s been great with only a few issues. They will sign a BAA even though they don’t advertise as being HIPAA compliant.

Active Campaign

This is one of the absolute best email marketing software platforms out there, especially for business owners who want to level up their marketing without paying a ton of money. Read my full review.

QuickBooks Online

I’ll be honest, I don’t like QuickBooks very much at all. It makes me a bit anxious at times trying to sort out (seemingly) complicated accounting issues. However, with a good bookkeeper it is an essential tool to track all my income, expenses and profits.

Quip

Quip is basically what Google Docs/Sheets wants to be when it grows up. Super simple, but powerful document sharing and messaging. I use it to run two businesses and I don’t know how I would operate without it. Really nice mobile apps as well.

ScheduleOnce

There are many online scheduling apps out there, but I think this is one of the best ones. Cuts down on email/phone tag and makes it quite easy to schedule calls with other professionals and potential Productive Therapist clients. We use it for many of our clients to easily allow potential clients to schedule the first phone call. Trust me, you need this. Check out ScheduleOnce.

Zoom Video Conferencing

I am still loving Zoom, which I mostly use for training, meetings and screen sharing with my virtual team of virtual assistants and our clients. So easy to use and it just works great. I love being able to share my screen and show employees or clients exactly what I am talking about. I just recently upgraded to the paid version, called Zoom Pro.

Game changing services

Paid advertising

If you really want to grow your practice paid advertising through Google and Facebook is a no brainer. However, it’s not easy to find the right provider and you can quickly lose a lot of money. I use my good friend’s company WSI Smart Marketing and they are my secret weapon.

Virtual Assistants

You know I love virtual assistants and have been using one (or more) for almost 10 years now. Easily one of the best business decisions I have ever made that allows me to go on vacation, get more done and just get my life back. There are so many options out there, but Productive Therapist is the go-to place for mental health providers who want to get some game changing support. Ok, that’s my plug for this post. LOL.

Bookkeeper

Unless you really dig QuickBooks and all things accounting you should not be messing with it. Outsource that stuff. I recently switched over to using Greg Higdon at Grow The Books and it has been a fantastic experience. He works with many therapists and in fact is married to one as well!

Graphic Designer

True story. Right out of high school I was accepted into a couple awesome art schools and I was planning on becoming a graphic artist. Then I took a counseling 101 class and the rest is history. I mostly use my VAs to handle all my graphic design, but my favorite branding & design company by far is Practicery. They actually designed the new Productive Therapist logo in 2019.

Man, I love gear!

Post it notes

Decidedly low-tech, but these are awesome for quick notes and paper based to-do lists. For some reason I still love Post-it notes and use them daily.

Moleskine Notebooks

For a digital nomad, I can’t seem to get away from the feel of pen and paper. I think Moleskine makes some of the best notebooks and I keep several around for brainstorming, inspiration and general note taking.

Fujitsu Scansnap

I have been using this scanner for so many years! It is ridiculously easy to use and makes living the paperless lifestyle so easy to achieve. This little guy paired with Evernote is awesome. Highly recommended!

Gather desk organizer

This is a new addition to my productive desk setup. Jeff Sheldon is a really cool designer and he does t-shirts, desk accessories and more. I like this organizer so much that I gave one away to my email list last month.

Philips Hue light bulbs

These smart lightbulbs are so freakin’ cool! Paired with the Amazon Echo Dot in my therapy office I can turn all the lights on and off with my voice. Totally unnecessary, but really fun and my clients dig it.

Portable chargers

It might seem obvious, but it’s hard to be productive if your phone or laptop battery dies. Ugh! I dig these portable chargers by a company called Anker. There are a lot of options out there, but these are good quality and fairly cheap.

Amazon Echo Dot

I bought the first Alexa powered Amazon device when it became available in 2014. Easily the best personal assistant with more personality than you can imagine. I use these devices in my kitchen, bedroom and therapy office. Pretty affordable and quite handy.

MacBook Pro 13″

I am an unashamed Apple fanboy! I am crazy productive on my over priced MacBook Pro and I would not want to live without it. The touch bar is not all that helpful, but the finger print sensor is great for security because I do have a lot of sensitive data on my laptop. Plus, it’s just a beautiful piece of tech.

iMac

A few years ago I splurged on a 27″ iMac and it was a great purchase. I can get a lot more done with all that screen real estate and the computer looks great on my desk. I am all about minimalism and having an all-in-one computer is pretty cool. Still loving this computer, but looking forward to a new model in 2021.

iPad Pro 11″

In 2019 I splurged on the iPad Pro 11″ and I do not regret it. It is a beautiful new design with a ton of power. I use it often for note taking with the keyboard case, while watching training videos and going through online courses. The new Apple Pencil is fantastic and I find myself using it to do brainstorming as well as drawing. Great addition to my setup.

Apple AirPods Pro

Simply beautiful and functional wireless headphones. They connect to multiple devices, come in a self-contained charging case and just work really nicely. Yes, a bit expensive, but overall totally worth the purchase price. The upgrade to the newer AirPods Pro has been amazing. They fit better, sound better and the noise cancellation is super handy.

iPhone 11 Pro

My family makes fun of me, but these days I am rocking the iPhone 12 mini. The small size is just a bit more pocketable and nice in my admittedly large hands. I love the new design and the only thing I don’t like is the smaller battery, which just doesn’t last as long as the larger phones.

Well, there you go! That is my semi-comprehensive master list of gear, software and services that make my success possible.

I hope you enjoyed reading this and got a few useful tips as well!

Uriah Guilford, MFT


Uriah is a group practice owner and the creator of Productive Therapist. He is a technology nerd, a minimalist travel packer, a rock drummer and business development enthusiast.

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