If work in the 21st century has a theme, it’s this: Productivity.
We’re all striving to be more productive — at work, at home, and everywhere in between. And to help us achieve ultimate productivity, there are countless tools and resources that promise to make you able to work harder, better, faster, and stronger.
But not all productivity tools were created equal. Some are just better than others, and some are better suited to different tasks and workflows. That’s where this guide comes in.
If you’re a developer standing in front of the veritable sea of productivity apps and tools available and wondering where to start, don’t worry. We’ve got you. We’ve narrowed down the 21 best developer productivity tools, focusing on resources that will help you stave off distractions, find your flow, and work collaboratively across your team.
Before we dive in, let’s cover the bad news: You’re never going to become 100 percent productive. Sorry, but that’s just not how human brains work.
The first step is to approach this list with the right motives. If you’re looking to work better with your teammates or break bad work habits (like checking social media every few minutes), these tools can help. If your goal is to deep work for 14 hours a day, you need to accept that that’s just unrealistic.
Don’t think of productivity as an end goal or something you will eventually achieve. Think of it as a journey you take every time you sit down to work. And use these tools to help guide you on that daily journey.
HeySpace is a task management software that also has a chat feature — sort of like a combination of Slack and Trello. Its innovative and user-friendly design allows you to see tasks and communications in just one screen. That means no more toggling between different screens (or different apps) to chat with your team about a project or task. HeySpace offers both free and paid premium plans, depending on the number of users on your team.
Codestream is for developers who are tired of the effort and frustration that come with code reviews. This tool lets you skip the pull request by simply highlighting a code block and adding a note. This means discussing code with your team simply and directly in the coding environment. Codestream offers support for every programming language and makes group problem solving a simple part of any team’s workflow.
MantisBT is the bug tracker of your dreams. Just like its namesake, the Mantis, this tool leaves no stone unturned in its search for bugs in your code. A web-based bug tracking program, MantisBT tracks your code for errors, and then sends an email notification to you and everyone on your team whenever it finds a problem. Don’t worry — you can customize notifications if an email for every bug isn’t your thing.
Codeanywhere is a game-changing tool for teams of developers who need to work together on one code block at the same time. Think of it like Google Docs for code. It’s a code editor that supports more than 70 different programming languages, and allows all users to see who’s working on what in real time. All you have to do to get started is send a link to your code editor to anyone who’s on your team.
AnyDesk is for anyone who has a killer desktop setup at work, and a similarly killer desktop setup at home, and wants to be able to work on both of them. Setting up the perfect virtual environment is a pain — and can take literal hours. So instead of doing it for every computer you use to code, just do it once and then use AnyDesk to connect to your work PC from any computer anywhere.
Tupleis for developers who have realized that, as much as they’ve become standard for workers in 2020, Slack and Zoom weren’t made for programmers — and it shows. A trio of software engineers created Tuple to make pair programming easier for remote teams, and the result is an app with simple, high-quality screen sharing, crisp audio, and efficient CPU usage so it has full functionality even on a low-latency connection.
Todolist is the only to-do list app that’s made just for developers. With just how many list apps exist, you’re probably wondering what makes this one good enough to make our list, so here it is: Todolist allows you to do all the same productivity tasks you’d do with any list app — prioritize tasks, filter and group them, and archive them — but from a code-like environment. You manage everything with simple commands that make it easy to check things off your list and queue up a new project, without breaking your flow.
Figma is a must-have tool for developers who work with designers, product managers, or product teams. It’s a browser-based tool that gives designers one, single link where they can access crucial information and assets like colors, widths, and heights for design elements.
Habitica makes it fun to create good habits at work. Using pixel-like design, Habitica turns you into a hero in an in-platform world where you’re tasked with fighting through daily, weekly, and long-term goals. For completing tasks and building up good habits, you earn points, discover new animals, and build your strength. For failing at tasks, you lose strength — and your character can die. For developers who love gaming, this is an entertaining (and effective) way to build better work habits.
F.lux is the productivity tool that will save you from dry, tired eyes — a problem for developers everywhere. This tool automatically adjusts your screen color based on your time and location, making colors warmer as it gets dark where you are to make your screen more natural for your eyes in the dark. You can also override the automatic color-changes and set your own schedule, which is a great way to remind yourself to take breaks from the harsh light of your computer screen.
Sublime Text is designed to be a code editor with an easy-to-use interface and eye-friendly work environment. It allows you to markup and program in a variety of coding languages, while also easily moving across files, switching between projects, and changing specific lines of code. But one of the features we love most about Sublime Text is its built-in distraction mode, which is sort of like a do-not-disturb setting for when you want to deep work.
Pi-Hole is for those developers who think there’s nothing more distracting than a webpage ad. Think about it: They clutter up your screen. They reduce network performance. By all accounts, they’re an unnecessary obstacle in the way of productive work. Enter Pi-Hole, an ad-blocker that connects to your router instead of your browser, making it able to provide network-wide ad blocking. Pairing Pi-Hole with a VPN protects every device on your network from ads that distract away from work.
Cold Turkey requires you to know exactly what your vices are. But then it does a really great job at blocking you from accessing them. Set it up to limit access to certain websites, certain apps, and even your internet access. The result? A work environment that’s free of all distractions for as long as you need it to be, allowing you to work without the usual interruptions.
Strict Workflow embraces the research-backed success of the Pomodoro method — the idea that for maximum productivity, you should alternate 25-minute focused sprints with 5-minute breaks. Using the Pomodoro method used to require a timer, but not anymore. Strict Workflow is a Chrome extension that acts as a built-in timer for that uber-effective work-and-break cycle. It runs in the background and lets you know when it’s time to work, and when it’s time to take a breather. No egg timer required.
Dewo is the tool developers need to combat one of their biggest disruptors: Context switching. Dewo bills itself as users’ “personal assistant for deep work,” and that’s pretty much what it does. The app uses AI to analyze your productivity patterns, and then provides you with insights that should help you figure out how to work not harder, but smarter. Dewo can also toggle a do-not-disturb mode that silences other apps and sets your Slack status to “Away” once you enter a flow state, ensuring that nothing gets in the way of that sweet, sweet deep work.
The Silver Searcher is another app for developers that’s meant to minimize wasted time at work — by making it easier to search your code. Think about it: If you’re like a lot of devs, you probably spend a fair amount of your “coding time” actually reading and scanning code, not writing it. The Silver Searcher helps combat that by making it much easier — and much, much faster — to search through code.
Walrus.ai is yet another app that’s here to save money and effort for teams of developers, this time by automating QA testing. It makes testing more efficient and lightweight by providing full end-to-end testing via a single API call, as opposed to cumbersome in-house automated testing or manual QA. And if you’re concerned about accuracy, Walrus employs a whole team to monitor every run and keep a look out for false positives and negatives.
Programmer’s Music is the perfect app for the developer that wants the perfect soundtrack for productive work, but doesn’t want to put in the time or effort to curate a playlist his or herself. There are plenty of sites out there that offer curated music lists to promote focus and productivity, but this one is our favorite because of its non-vocal, distraction free songs that can be timed to the Pomodoro method if you want them to be.
7pace Timetracker is the only time tracking tool developers need. Time trackers are not inherently tools for productivity, because measuring actual productivity requires knowing more than how many minutes or hours you spent at your computer. 7pace Timetracker allows you to track other valuable metrics in addition to your time worked, and you can turn those metrics into insights that can help you improve your pace and efficiency.
Ready to see why developers love 7pace Timetracker? Try it for yourself today.
7pace Timetracker is the only integrated, professional time management solution for teams using Azure DevOps and GitHub.