recommended tools featured image

Recommended Tools

as of October 2021

Here are my favourite tools for getting work done and running my business. You can also check out my home office and everyday carry.

Listen to my explanation of these tools on the Paul Minors Podcast:

1PASSWORD – password management

1Password is my go-to password management app. First off, it's great for storing all your passwords for your different online accounts. It even supports 2-factor authentication for services like your Google account. It's also great for storing credit card details, recovery keys, licenses, and other important information. With 1Password you can quickly create long and unique passwords for all your accounts and with 1Password Mini, you can type a quick keyboard shortcut to quickly input your passwords, no matter what app you're in. Seriously, this app is a must-have!

If you're just getting started with 1Password, I highly recommend you check out The Sweet Setups ‘Unlock 1Password(affiliate link) program all about how to get started.

ALFRED – powerful search and automation

I didn't really “get” Alfred at first. But once I started experimenting with it, I quickly fell in love with this powerful application. Alfred helps you to search and find things on your computer. But it's so much more than that. Using Alfred's customisable web search I can search for payments on my website. With workflows (and some help from Zapier) I can execute actions like creating tasks in Asana and remove email addresses in my ConvertKit account. My absolute favourite feature of Alfred is the clipboard. Alfred stores all my recently copied items so I can quickly go back, find and paste recently copied links and text. This feature alone has drastically improved my productivity.

Read more:

APPLE CALENDAR – time management

I use the Apple Calendar for all my personal appointments. I put literally everything in my calendar – social appointments, CrossFit classes and even what I'm doing at the weekend. By scheduling everything that I'm up to, I find that I get more done at work and at home. As the calendar seamlessly syncs with my iPhone, iPad, and Mac, it's quick and easy to move appointments and have them reflected on all your devices.

APPLE MAIL – email

Because I use a MacBook and iPhone as my primary devices, it makes sense to use the Apple Mail client for managing my email. I've tried other apps like CloudMagic and Mailbox which are both really good. But for some reason, I find I keep coming back to Apple Mail. I've added more features to Apple Mail by installing the MailButler extension (see below).

APPLE NOTES – note-taking and my digital brain

I switched to Apple Notes from Evernote for its simplicity and deep integration with the iOS and macOS systems. I found that I didn't need all the features that Evernote offers and I prefer the simple and clean interface of Apple Notes. I use Notes for storing ideas, journaling and articles. It's basically my digital brain.

APPLE REMINDERS – quick reminders

I use the Apple Reminders app to set reminders for smaller personal tasks that I need to complete. I generally use it for tasks that aren't big enough to be ‘worthy' of a calendar appointment and are quick to complete. I also love saying: “Hey Siri, remind me to X when I get home”.

ASANA – project management

This is one of the productivity tools I just can't live without. Asana is a task management app that's well designed, functional and easy to use. It's great for organising your work into multiple projects and with the “My Tasks” view, you get a great snapshot at all the work you're doing across all projects, in one place. Asana is great for organisations and increases personal accountability and teams progress.

Read more:

Need help optimising up your Asana account and training your team? Book a free 30-minute introductory call with me here to learn how I can help!

BACKBLAZE – online backups

(affiliate link)

Backblaze allows you to back up your computer to the cloud. This is awesome if you have a laptop (like me) and don't always remember to make physical backups to a hard drive. Backblaze will backup using your internet connection and you can even set the upload speed so your backups don't throttle and slow down your internet connection.

CALENDLY – easy scheduling

(affiliate link)

Calendly is a really useful scheduling app that allows you to specify what times you're available so other people can book appointments in your calendar. If you've got a meeting or phone call to schedule, you can simply send someone a link where they'll see a list of times that you're available so they can pick one. The appointment gets added to your calendar and you're good to go. You can even add questions to the booking form e.g. “What's your Skype name?”. This is a great tool for scheduling appointments without the back and forth emails.

Read more:

CLEAN MY MAC – mac clean up and optimisation

(affiliate link)

This is a very handy little app that comes with a Setapp subscription (see below) that I use to clean up old files and optimise the performance of my Mac. It lets you scan your Mac for large files, malware and perform maintenance scripts. It's something I use every few weeks to keep everything running nice and smoothly.

DROPBOX – file management (and backup)

(affiliate link)

I've now migrated from Dropbox to iCloud Drive so my usage of Dropbox has significantly decreased. Now I use Dropbox for syncing app settings and sharing temporary files with people.

Read more:

EXCEL – number crunching

This is the one and only Microsoft product that I use. For crunching numbers and working with data, there is no better option.

G-SUITE – business email and calendar

I have a G-Suite subscription for my business email and calendar.

GOOGLE CALENDAR – secondary calendar

I use the Google Calendar for scheduling appointments with contacts and clients. I've connected Google Calendar with other services like Pipedrive and Calendly and then sync these appointments to my Apple Calendar.

GOOGLE DRIVE – secondary file management

Again, I get Google Drive as part of my G-Suite subscription. The only time I use Google Drive is for collaborating on shared documents with clients. I also use Google Sheets to run some of my Zapier automation workflows.

Read more:

GOOGLE MAIL – just because

In this day and age, you need a Google account (you just do).

GRAMMARLY – spelling and grammar checker

Grammarly is a web extension that checks your spelling and grammar as you type. It’s unlike other built-in spell checkers that you probably have on your computer because it’s actually good. It recognises issues with your grammar and makes smart suggestions on how to write better.

HAZEL – automatic document management

Hazel is an incredibly useful system preferences app that you can train to watch certain folders on your Mac. When files or folders within that target folder meet certain criteria, you have Hazel perform actions on those items. For example, you can have Hazel rename receipts, move invoices to Dropbox, clear old files from your downloads and so much more. You need to spend a bit of time with it when getting started, but it's well worth learning how to use.

Read more:

iCLOUD – my life in the cloud

I love iCloud! Without even thinking, I can have all my calendar appointments, reminders, email, photos, documents and more on all of my devices. I love the improvements Apple has made to iCloud over the last few years. It means my information is always safe and secure. If my wife or I ever lose a device, I can find them using the Find My app. And if we can't get them back, you can set up a new Mac or iPhone from one of your daily backups. Easy!

I would go so far as to say my most important information is stored on iCloud. I feel Apple is one of the most trustworthy companies in the world and one of the few that really cares about privacy and security.

ICLOUD DRIVE – file storage

I decided to migrate from Google Drive to iCloud Drive after Dropbox started to get really buggy on my computer. I found that some files weren't syncing and I was also really attracted to the simplicity of the Files app on iOS. I also find that Apple's ecosystem “just works” and so far I've been really happy with the change.

Read more:

KEYBOARD MAESTRO – mac automation

Keyboard Maestro is a fantastic automation tool for the Mac. For example, when I open Zoom for a conference call, KM will enable Do Not Disturb on my Mac. Or if I type a keyboard shortcut while I'm using Asana, it can create tasks from a template. There's a bit of a learning curve with Keyboard Maestro which is why I signed up to David Sparks' Keyboard Maestro Field Guide. This course really helped me to figure out how I could use KM and get the most benefit from it.

MAILBUTLER – extensions

(affiliate link)

I've tried loads of email clients and I always seem to come back to Apple Mail. But Mail lacks a few key productivity features I've come to know and love, like snoozing emails and read receipts. MailButler is an extension for Apple Mail that adds these extra features and more… It means I can still use Apple Mail while getting all the benefits of a third-party application.

Read more:


(affiliate link)

Pipedrive is my customer relationship management (CRM) tool of choice. When someone books a time to chat with me via one of my consulting pages, a new “deal” is created in Pipedrive with the client's information from the Calendly booking form. I can then track the prospect through a sales funnel before signing them up for some one-on-one consulting work with me. Pipedrive makes it easy to see what stage each prospect is at, the communication history with the client, it helps you to forecast future revenue and see how many activities are involved in closing a sale. For freelancers and sales roles, I highly recommend Pipedrive for managing and tracking your sales.

Read more:

Sign up using this link to get a free 45-day trial (trials normally only 30 days)! Or, if you've already created an account, apply to the code AF-Paulminors in the “Billing” page of your settings.

If you need help optimising your Pipedrive account or with team training, book a free 30-minute introductory call with me to learn more about how I can help!

POCKETSMITH – personal finance tracker

(affiliate link)

PocketSmith is a personal finance web app that lets you track your spending and income. You can set budgets for different categories of spending, like “eating out” and track your spending against this goal each month. With the ability to pull data directly from your account, it's very easy to keep on top of your savings. I used to use a spreadsheet to do all this myself, but PocketSmith takes away all the hard work and lets you focus on the important things – where your money is coming from and where it's going.

Get 50% off the PocketSmith Premium Monthly plan for the first two months using the code: 50OFFPREMIUM-F4RG. This can be applied in your account settings after you sign up for the trial.

SETAPP – app subscription marketplace

(affiliate link)

Setapp is a subscription-based app marketplace that features all the best Mac apps in one place. They curate and collect all the best tools in one place so you don't have to worry about shady developers or which app is best. And with their monthly subscription, I can pay for loads of different apps like Timing, Ulysses and Clean My Mac for one small monthly fee.

Read more:

TEXTEXPANDER – quick typing and text expansion

(affiliate link)

Along with Alfred's clipboard, TextExpander is one of my secret weapons when it comes to using my Mac faster. With TextExpander, you can store big blocks of text which you can quickly expand using a simple abbreviation or keyboard shortcut. This is incredibly useful for storing canned email responses, commonly used links, personal details like phone numbers and addresses and other text you have to type on a regular basis.

Sign up here to save 20% when you sign up (affiliate link).

Read more:

TIMING – time tracking for Mac

(affiliate link)

Timing is a beautifully designed time tracking app for the Mac. It runs in the background to track the websites, documents and apps you use. You can then assign time spent on different services to work and personal projects to see how you spent your time. It's great for freelancers who need to generate reports and invoices based on time spent on client work.

Read more:

ULYSSES – writing blog posts

I use Ulysses for writing blog posts (generally it's not advisable to write directly on the web in case you have browser issues and lose your work). You can connect Ulysses to WordPress and publish straight to your blog which is great. I also use Ulysses for writing ebooks and other documentation.

ZAPIER – online automation

Zapier is the automation tool I use to link different services together. For example, when someone books a time to chat with me in Calendly, Zapier will automatically create a new deal in Pipedrive so I can track the prospect through a sales funnel. Zapier makes it simple and easy to link different services together, so when something happens on one platform, you can trigger an action on another. It's a must-have for any automation geek.

Read more:

ZOOM – video conferencing

I use Zoom for all my conference calls with clients. I find it's the most reliable, easy to use and comes with cloud recording options as well.

BLUEHOST – domains and web hosting

(affiliate link)

Bluehost is one of the top hosting providers on the internet. They offer professional hosting that is recommended by WordPress and their packages are extremely affordable.

Read more:

CONVERTKIT – email newsletter provider

(affiliate link)

When you sign up to my newsletter or download any of my freebies, you are added to my email list in ConvertKit. I've used ConvertKit to build out onboarding sequences and sales funnels so that new subscribers are taken through a journey to learn about me and the different services and products I have to offer. I switched from Mailchimp to ConvertKit in 2019 and have been very happy with the change. Updating emails and sequences is a breeze and it's really helped me to do more advanced stuff with email.

Read more:

EASY DIGITAL DOWNLOADS – e-commerce provider

(affiliate link)

I use EDD to manage the sale and downloads of my digital products like my Personal Productivity Toolkit. It’s a free e-commerce platform and the features can be extended with additional add ons. For example, I use the ConvertKit for EDD add on to add customers to my email list. Not only is EDD a great e-commerce platform, but their customer support is top-notch!

FASTCOMMENTS – comment system

I switched from Disqus to FastComments in early 2020. FastComments provides a much cleaner commenting interface, it's easier for users to comment with no complicated sign-up process and doesn't slow down your site like other commenting tools.

NAMECHEAP – domains and web hosting

(affiliate link)

Namecheap is where I host my website and domain. Having experienced some bad service at another host I switched to Namecheap who are incredible. The Namecheap interface is beautifully designed, easy to use and the hosting packages themselves are very reasonably priced.

OPTIMIZEPRESS – wordpress page builder

(affiliate link)

Optimizepress is the plugin I use to create my sales and opt-in pages. There's a bit of learning involved, but once you've mastered the basics it's quick and easy to set up new pages.

RIGHT MESSAGE – website and email personalisation

(affiliate link)

This is a really cool tool I use to create email opt-in surveys on my website to learn more about subscribers and their goals. This information can be used to personalise email content and event the copy on my website to make it appeal more to readers.

SOUNDCLOUD – podcast hosting

SoundCloud is where I host my podcast episodes for the The Paul Minors Podcast. SoundCloud is simple and easy to use. The interface is nicely designed and the fees seem to be the most reasonable when it comes to podcast hosting.

STRIPE – credit card processor

Stripe is the payment gateway I use for processing credit card payments. The fees are really generous and the integration is really easy to set up. I use the Stripe Payment Gateway plugin for integrating Stripe with Easy Digital Downloads.

WARFARE PLUGINS – social sharing buttons

(affiliate link) 

This is the plugin I use for generating the social sharing buttons on my blog posts. I like this plugin for it's beautifully designed sharing buttons and it's also very lightweight on the site and doesn't slow things down.

WP COMPLETE – creating completable lessons

In 2019 I created membership areas for some of my products. I use the WP Complete plugin to make each lesson “completeable” so that customers can check them off and track their progress.

YOAST  SEO – seo optimisation

A must-have plugin, this tool gives you a whole raft of options for improving your sites Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). You can customise the titles and descriptions of posts and pages and the plugin shows you a snippet of how the page will appear in search results, so you can really optimise your content for search engines. Secondary to this, the plugin adds the necessary open graph and meta tags to your content so you can produce nice Twitter Cards and Facebook/Google+ Posts when you share content to these social channels.