This time year, motivation is the name of the game. Resolutions have been made, new budgets are getting executed, and gym memberships have increased. However, the sad truth is budgets get re-worked and most gym memberships are canceled after 24 weeks.

While there's nothing wrong with new resolutions and hitting the reset button, it's important to work towards goals that are achievable. And just like that gym membership and goal to get fit, the same approach should be taken when implementing new efficiency processes or software into your business's tech stack. Have realistic expectations and treat it as a long-term investment strategy rather than a get-rich-quick scheme.

Indeed, the software-as-a-service (SaaS) industry has spoiled us. We are no longer chained to contract-based, out-of-the-box, expensive software. We are free to do drive-by trials with no commitment. So how do we choose?

Is it affordable? Yes. Is it easy? Mostly. Will we actually use it? Eh....

Therein lies the problem: Will you actually use it? There are countless software tools created to make our lives easier. And the truth is, most are pretty good.

It comes down to whether it meets the needs you are looking for, and if you'll actually use it after a month or two. So rather than toss an overwhelming list of top 50 productivity tools out at you, my goal is to present a few golden nuggets that might actually stick, and help your team stay on task.

Technically a project management tool, Teamwork is a great option for companies of all sizes. Teamwork offers a variety of pricing, for a variety of team sizes.

Like many project management tools, it is robust. However, it provides great tutorials and help resources - something that seems to be overlooked more and more by others. Compatible with popular third-party software like Google Drive and Dropbox, Teamwork is a great option for those that already have some of those systems in place.

Teamwork also provides easy shortcuts like creating tasks via email and an integrated time tracker, which can double as a desktop to-do list. Even if you don't have billable hours per say, tracking time can help you pinpoint how much time your team is spending on particular tasks and what each project is actually costing your company including your time?

Lastly, not all project management software is created equal when it comes to team management. With the addition of unlimited subtasks to each individual task, managers can ensure all steps in the project process are clear, properly assigned and easily trackable along the way. These can also be made into templates so you don't have to reinvent the wheel when implementing a new task list.

A fan favorite, what Basecamp does better than any other software is offer simplicity. Basecamp is easy to use and easy to onboard other team members. It also provides great options for having internal and external team projects - meaning clients can't see everything.

Basecamp provides basics that seem to be missing in other software. There is something great about being able to create notes within a campaign, tag them and then actually find them in a search.

It's great for individuals or teams that have been drowning in Google Drive and other half-baked processes of managing projects. However, what Basecamp lacks are things that you might not need until you start to see what PM software can do for you.

For example, using Basecamp will help you get organized, assign most tasks and see progress on assignments. Suddenly, you're up and running, doing great, but once you've mastered the basics, there isn't a lot of scaling within Basecamp. Things like milestone planning, subtasks, and more sophisticated team communications is a bit lacking.

AceProject offers a few unique features. Yes, it helps manage tasks and projects. However, it also provides the ability for insightful, customizable reports, and unique features like timesheet reporting and expense tracking within a project.

With a variety of pricing options available, AceProject feels like a best-of-the-best of some of the favorite features from other platforms we know and love. I, for one, dig customizable reports - something that a lot of project- and task-management software lacks. So if reports, or the document management, versioning and document locking Box offers is your schtick, AceProject could be for you.

Do you like the timesheet tracking, submitting and approving Quickbooks offers? AceProject has it. Do you struggle with expense tracking, approval and reporting? AceProject has you covered.

Clearly catered to unique needs, AceProject may not be for "anyone" but it does a very good job of fitting the specialized needs of certain types of teams --something not being offered in most other software out there.

Bonus Pick: Bear

While all the software mentioned above will help keep you on track, many of us can't kick the old-school, pen and paper habit. Bear is really close to replacing my favorite notepad and pen. It gives you the ability to keep a personal and professional list of high level to-do's along with the incredibly satisfying act of crossing things off your list.

Published on: Jan 31, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.