Practical productivity apps that will improve your work-life balance – 2021

Astute Review Top Productivity tools

I recently had a conversation with a good friend of mine who works for a prominent professional services firm about time management. He is constantly amazed by how many hours in his day is spent around administrative tasks like billing, meeting scheduling and other logistics vs. the actually consulting work he is being paid to do.

At 12+ years into his career, he is the furthest thing from a low-cost employee. As a result, he is being paid tens and tens of thousands of dollars a year to literally schedule meetings and coordinate invoices. So many of his administrative pain points could be solved quickly if his firm adopted new technologies and allow him to focus on what matters most, his clients.

Hopefully in the near future his company realizes the inefficiencies within their practice and attempts to improve their processes.

Unfortunately. My friend’s situation is not unique. Inefficiencies exist at any company, and they are likely compounding with most employees still working from home.

Working professionals are busier than ever and a little time and planning upfront can save you a lot of time (and sanity) going forward.

Check out these popular productivity tools that we love for business professionals.

You don’t wait for your company to adopt more efficient processes. You can be an agent of change by adopting these easy tools for yourself. Spread the word and share the wealth and enjoy more time doing what you love.


Check out this email exchange

Send Availability
Delayed response, propose time
Conflict arises and back and forth continues

What an inefficient use of time. It took me 5 minutes to determine my availability and write an email. Next it took 1 day to get a response and by that time the meeting slot has been filled. AND that led to more emails and calendar searching.

To be clear, this is not a criticism of the other person in the email chain, we are all busy and have day jobs. The two of us probably spent a collective 20 minutes looking at our calendars, entering them into email and then repeating once I had another meeting scheduled.

Calendly is a great tool that takes all the back and forth out of scheduling meetings. Send a link and the recipient can schedule a meeting based on your availability. The best part is, your availability in Calendly updates as you continue to schedule and reschedule other meetings. This means you will never have to worry about getting double-booked.


Not blessed with that eye for design? Intimidated by Photoshop? You’re not alone and you are in luck.

Canva is a great tool that let’s even the most design-challenged individuals create professional looking content without having to be an expert in design or learning a complex new software.

You can easily create countless materials (slides, digital banners, display ads, business cards, etc.) with modern fonts and images. They even allow you to create slides, edit images and leverage hundreds of templates before downloading directly into your PowerPoint presentation, something that I personally find very useful.

In our opinion, Canva is a great complimentary tool to PowerPoint, not a direct competitor.

Astute Review

Think of Astute Review like spellcheck / Grammarly, but for PowerPoint Formatting. It catches and resolves all font mismatches, layout inconsistencies and misaligned bullet points in the click of a button, saving users up to 60% of their time in PowerPoint.

There has been an increased interest in and focus around increasing productivity over the last year as a way to guarantee teams create high quality deliverables, quickly and efficiently—especially when working from home.

Regardless of the templates or processes your company has in place, presentations still get messy and require manual formatting. Astute Review’s automated software ensures consistent quality of presentations and proposals—slides will look meticulously formatted every time.

Book a 15 minute intro call to see what Astute Review can do for your team.


If you work in professional services, tracking time is a part of your daily life. Sure, this can be done with Word or Excel, but there are better solutions out there.

Clockify is a free tool that lets you track and manage your billable hours in an intuitive format. You can manage your hours in real-time with the click of a button, a much more efficient solution when compared to manual entry.


LastPass brings you increased security with decreased brainpower. With hacking and internet ransoms on the rise, everyone should be focused on creating complex passwords for their logins.

This plug-in is a secure way to store all your passwords and let you easily log into any website or app on your computer, phone or tablet.

On top of never forgetting another password again, LastPass will also auto-generate and store ultra-long, complex and secure passwords, decreasing hacking risk.


Having difficulty comparing two solutions? No worries, G2 has you covered. This Chicago-based company has changed the way to compare business solutions. No matter how niche the application, G2 likely has a list of companies in the space for you to learn about and compare. Make confident purchasing decisions though using G2.


These tools are easy to use and even easier to implement. Check them out. Trust us, they will save you a ton of time in your day-today.



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