My Productivity Stack In 2024

Having the right productivity stack is only something YOU can decide. There’s hardly a right or wrong. 

Too many factors are in play such as budget, hardware or device used and the industry you are working in or aiming to make a breakthrough in making money online with a niche website or legitimate side hustle.

Assuming that you are that someone, I am sharing my software stack for 2024 that are critical working on remote, with a small team and serves me well for additional online income.

This list EXCLUDES hyper-specific tools I use in various industries such as finance, e-commerce etc.

As a disclaimer, it’s personal preference and I shortly explain WHY I prefer this over something else.

The List

If you prefer not to scroll through the content, here is my shortlist:

(links go to all official platforms)

Let me walk you through my decisions and why I picked them over many alternatives that are either free, more expensive or just…ugh in my opinion.

Zoom Pro ($149.9/year)

On average I make about 12 phone calls per week. And some of those sessions requires recording (with their consent) because I also coach first-time founders in their mental game and and leadership skills.

I went back and forth with other alternatives, such as Google Meet and let’s face it: the days of Skype are well past us.

But none of the alternatives I tried were justifiable enough for me to consider a free tool or an alternative.

Reasons Why I Choose Zoom Pro

  • Virtually no limit in the duration of a phone call or session, whilst free is capped at 40 mins
  • AI companion for transcripts, which can come in handy for some of my clients being a non-native English speaker myself
  • Flawless Integration with Superhuman and Google Workspace (more on that later)
  • The yearly subscription is worth it, considering my average return per month through coaching founders is anywhere between $4000 and $9500 per month
  • It’s a mature product

I don’t see any reason to pick an alternative that seems fair for the usage and the integrations I need.

Visit Zoom Pro

Google Workspace ($21.60/month)

Okay, I have to admit. I am not a fan of Google products in general. Hence why you probably didn’t see Google Docs or Sheets on that list.

But going through dozens of premium email providers, I kept falling back on the big G.

Reasons Why I Choose Google Workspace

  • The integration with Superhuman (more on that later)
  • The ease of use for team members
  • It’s a mature product with immediate support
  • Deliverability
  • Easy to set up (MX Records etc)

It’s the only product I use. I tried other email providers such as Proton, Migadu, Fastmail but for some reason they absolutely start to tilt me with different or complex instructions.

Sometimes I feel like I am a total idiot in those things but hey, if a model becomes dummy proof then I am always in favor of finding a frictionless experience.

Visit Google Workspace

Superhuman ($360/year)

The most expensive tool on my list and the most expensive tool that I use for personal use only. (no team collaborations or shared spaces).

Superhuman in my opinion is fantastic.

It’s an… email application. An email app that integrates with Google Workspace, Zoom and a few other key apps.

Superhuman is the reason why I am using G-space.

Before you protest or want to lash out on the price there are more reasons why I think you should try it before judging.

Reasons Why I Choose Superhuman

  • It works insanely fast as an application
  • I am a Mac user and this app is built with the same aesthetics. (lean, clean and focused)
  • Speed and performance wise: This app blows the Gmail app out of the water
  • Shortcuts
  • It saves me about 5 hours per week of my time. (more on that later)
  • Perfect integration with Zoom
  • Built-in calendar makes me work better and focused
  • AI integration
  • It auto summarizes emails in bulletpoints
  • And probably a dozen more reasons

But let’s tackle the price justifcation here, because you still think someone would be mad enough to pay $30 per month ‘just an email app’.

Price Justification

Let’s assume you work on an average rate of $50/hour.

There are a couple things you can’t change, and that is the factor of time. Time does not go faster or slower. It’s up to the individual to optimize their efforts in the least amount of time possible without running at a net loss.

This is where Superhuman saves me $$$, time or allows me to take bigger breaks.

So, let’s go with the following example:

  • You make $50/hour average in your business or as a freelancer
  • Superhuman costs $30/month
  • You save about 4 hours on average with the use of Superhuman because of the shortcuts, AI and integrations
  • That equals $200 per week or 200*4.3 = $860/month
  • You pay $30/month, which equals to about 3.4% of $860

You can look at the $860 as:

  • Opportunity to increase your revenue based on your hourly rate
  • Lead a more balanced life, because saving 16 hours per month is A LOT
  • Focus on more critical elements of your business or activites
  • Take more breaks and do the same amount of work in the same timespan

I would look at Superhuman as an opportunity cost.

Opportunity cost represents the potential benefits that a business, an investor, or an individual consumer misses out on when choosing one alternative over another.Investopedia

For the non-believers I would invite you to try Superhuman out for FREE for a month if you are a Mac and a Gmail/Outlook user.

It took me a while to get used to their shortcuts but once my brain was trained, I simply cannot look back.

If I have to pick one premium productivity tool I would never leave behind it’s Superhuman.

Try Superhuman For Free

Obsidian ($96/year)

I take a lot of notes. I write drafts in Obsidian and it’s actually my preferred platform over MS Office (for writing).

Over the years I swayed back and forth from apps like Notion, Evernote, Whimsical and even the OneNote app.

But none of them uphold the criteria I want.Whilst Obsidian is also a free app, the premium version is worth it since it instantly syncs over all your devices.

It doesn’t mean I ignore Apple Notes, especially now with their new updates in MacOS Sequoia. In fact I use both equally for different purposes.

Reasons Why I Choose Obsidian

  • It’s MD format and future-proof
  • It’s faster than most note taking applications
  • I don’t need an internet connection
  • Focused on note taking with little distraction
  • Syncs flawlessly between my Mac and iOS devices in real time

There are some drawbacks. I was honestly NOT a big fan in the beginning of Obsidian because some of the more simple features were missing.

But that was me, not knowing how MD format works, nor adding the right plugins to the application.

Once in a while, I scour the web for new Obsidian alternatives but they simply keep failing. Not because of the quality, but because of what I personally require in an application.

I am not writing up spaceship material in Obsidian, and even so, I am probably underusing the software because of my primary or only needs.

I do think that Notion is the better alternative for the majority of users since Notion offers a free tier with (almost) no limitations.

But I tried to use notion on a daily basis and it’s…too bloated and too slow for me.

Visit Obsidian

Creative Cloud ($20/month)

Well, this is a bit of a special one. I started creating a monologue podcast and record bits and pieces since recently. And I am still in the discovery phase.

After trying soooooo many different platforms, I kept favoring Adobe Audition for my use case. It was straightforward for my needs. All I had to do was plug in my mic, record and export.

It was cheaper for me to take Creative Cloud than just Audition, since the bundle comes with:

  • Audition
  • Frame
  • Adobe Express
  • Adobe Firefly
  • Adobe Fonts

Granted, that I don’t heavily use most of them, but I do require some Express and Firefly 1-2 times a week.

Adobe is not always well received by content creators being too expensive or too complicated but it fits my needs with no friction.

Try Adobe Creative Cloud For Free

About Me

I am Jiang Ming or Jay, I write passionately about niche blogging, starting a business, WFH, and productivity, with a pinch of marketing and side hustle tips.

All content is based on my views and/or my own experiences. Some of the links might have an affiliate link which I earn a small commission from, which I prefer over stuffing my blog with ads.

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