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15 Must-Have Apps and Tools Every Freelancer Should Use To Maximize Work

15 Must-Have Apps and Tools Every Freelancer Should Use To Maximize Work

Seeking a full-time job or a single career may not be a great choice these days especially with the rising prices of commodities. Working from home and having multiple part-time jobs can help you land to a more profitable venture. However, you cannot figure out everything by yourself. With the right tools, everything you need is a few clicks away from living your life as a successful freelancer.

As Rich Moncure, President of On Hold Marketing, puts it,

“Freelancers bring an invaluable outside perspective to a project. In one instance, we needed body copy for a web page. We knew what to write, but wanted to make sure it was understandable by our target market of non-technical buyers. The freelancer took our original content and replaced the industry jargon with language that made the benefits of doing business with us clear to any reader.

We’re always looking for a freelancer who’s on top of things, beats deadlines, and communicates well the status of a project. If you have these skills, then we’ll surely have a great relationship. However, if you are unprofessional and not able to complete projects on time, it probably won’t work out. ”

Turning new clients to loyal clients is your goal. This means more work, more projects, more income.

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From increasing productivity to storing your files in a cloud, these apps and tools will surely help you grow your clientele.

Productivity Tools

1. ZenDay

This psychology-based app allows you to have a virtual planner where you can prioritize and plan tasks ahead of time, at the same time maintaining your work-life balance. The fluid 3D timeline display provides you easy navigation and clear view of your schedules and tasks. These are also automatically readjusted depending on every user’s needs and top priorities. With just a screen tap, you are ready to insert a new task, add a heading, and you’re done. Boost your productivity by keeping with ZenDay’s cycle of “Plan, Do, Debrief” and sync your commitments on all your devices.

2. Tmetric.com

To track your work real-time, have a shot at this work time tracker suitable to most freelancers because of its zero-cost benefit. Every minute of your paid time counts, so take advantage of its built-in activity timer. The simple interface gives a user-friendly impression. It also boasts of its multi-tasking ability to switch between differing tasks, creates detailed work time reports, integrates with multiple project management systems like Asana, Trello, RedMine and many others. You can also monitor your team members online. TMetric lets you export the most detailed time entries on each activity reflected in your TMetric dashboard or timeline.

3. Stayfocusd

This tool is a web extension applicable for Google Chrome browser users. As it name implies, its aim is to stay focused on the task at hand and prevent you from other unnecessary distractions that lead to procrastination. It works by restricting the amount of time you spend on time-wasting websites. It doesn’t necessarily limit the internet usage; instead, it is customizable as to what type of sites you want to restrict. When the timer finishes, all indicated sites will be blocked until the following day. This internet guardian is a bit strict. No cheating.

Communication Tools
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    Image Credit | Highrise

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    4. Campfire

    Designed to promote team collaboration, Campfire works like a group instant messaging app. With the easy-to-learn user interface, this web-based app is a powerful tool to organize your projects with several individuals. Share group notes, files, messages to other members online. Managers also have the privilege to assign tasks and update members of what’s going on and what needs to be done. Secure your messages by setting up password-protected chat rooms within a few seconds. Widen your network as you invite clients and partners to chat and team up.

    5. Highrise

    What better way can you manage all your contacts in one indispensable tool? Highrise is a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool which helps you track customers and potential clients. Dubbed as the most comprehensive CRM package that’s free of charge, this app can monitor your customer relations and dealings. It constantly reminds you to stay in touch with them and when to follow up. Inclusive is a built-in contact and task manager and a reminder service. Entries can be added to each client’s page whenever an interaction takes place.

    6. Glip

    Huddling with your colleagues is so much easier with Glip. This software tool is good for task management and puts all forms of communication in one place. Share files and calendars, chat online, and set up video conferences. You do not have to consume and waste all your time checking your inbox. Glip provides built-in versions of everything you need. All communication is searchable and easy to find. Never have the hassle of switching from one window to another ever again.

    Project Management Tools

    7. Redbooth

    Get started free with Redbooth as you keep your projects organized. Hit deadlines even before they come running after you. Redbooth assures to help you with your day-to-day activities and in managing your team’s projects more efficiently. Forgetfulness is not an excuse when it comes to Redbooth. Its persistence in sending notifications is unstoppable unless you mark your task as completed. There are Gantt charts, Kanban boards, file storage, checklists, workflow reports, and automatic archiving features that will assist the user in managing a remote team. Plus, you may use its HD video conference call for a quick meeting.

    8. Asana

    Despite the stress of working from home, keep your work tools easy on the eyes by opting for a simpler and cleaner layout like the Asana tool. The “Highlight” option allows you to apply color codes based on the projects created and their sub-tasks. Loop in your clients and partners when you upload attachments or apply any changes to tasks. Project templates are also readily available for easier completion of work. This project management tool is free for use for a maximum of 15 people.

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    9. Trello

    Whether you are a freelancer or have multiple business personalities, Trello is an ideal project management web-based tool for you. It boasts of its simple and easy-to-use dashboard that helps users to move easily between projects. Adding separate boards or cards for each project and member can help the team better understand what needs to be done, what is going on at the moment, and what was done already. It also encourages your team to have in-card discussions. The email notification feature decreases the time of having to open the tool every now and then.

    Accounting/Invoicing Tools
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      10. Xero TaxTouch

      When it comes to ease of use, Xero is your best accounting companion. Track your expenses with a mere swipe of your finger while you’re on the go. It has both options for business and personal expenses. Xero works by providing full accounting and payroll solution for small businesses. On the other hand, Xero TaxTouch is specifically created for freelancers to help them monitor their expenses against their income. With this mobile app, your tax filings become simplified. Send the required tax form data to Xero accounting professionals with just a click.

      11. BoxBilling

      A free billing and client management software, BoxBilling permits its users to create a pseudo online e-commerce website. It includes automated billing, accepts one-time and recurring payments, invoicing, and supports multiple currencies. This tool is personal as you can customize its features according to your liking. Tailor taxation rules for every invoice depending on your needs. You can also issue invoices, notify your client, and receive money from them. BoxBilling provides a wide range of time-saving automation functions for fast and reliable use.

      12. Invoicera

      Invoicera is an online finance tool that will assist you in simplifying accounting and invoicing processes. It is a combination of bookkeeping, client and inventory management, subscription billing, expense tracking, and reporting. It enables members the usage of multiple languages as well as currencies. And if you want to impress your clients with a professional-looking invoice, Invoicera is the one. Receive payments from more than 20 payment gateways. Also, every client has their own portal where they can login their account and check details.

      Data Cloud Tools

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        Image Credit | OneDrive

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        13. OneDrive

        If you are an avid Microsoft user, OneDrive is the perfect cloud storage for your business. Although it is designed for Microsoft’s operating system, iOS and Android users also have available versions. Its “Fetch” functionality is quite interesting as it lets you retrieve a non-uploaded file from a Windows computer (as long as it’s connected to the internet). There’s no worrying if you forgot to upload that important file and you need it ASAP. Ideal for on-the-go individuals, OneDrive works well with other Microsoft Office tools accessible anytime, anywhere, and on all devices. Lastly, it sends real-time notifications when someone edits a file in the drive.

        14. Evernote

        This cloud data tool, Evernote, stores every essential note in the system, including receipts, and other files connected to your projects. It is a versatile platform which can serve as your “file cabinet” for all the information you want to keep. Access your documents wherever you are without having to worry if your computer shuts down accidentally. Furthermore, it can act as a task manager with its option to add checklists and tags to its notebook system for a more efficient organization.

        15. IDrive

        One of the most convenient cloud storages there is, IDrive has the capability to backup all of your files and sync them on all your devices. It doesn’t only get business-related documents, but also memorable pictures from your social media accounts. Real-time updates are done across all devices’ file locations. Drag and drop with ease the files you want to restore. Uploading of files can be paused and resumed whenever you want to. It’s also safe to use as it supports a private encryption code.

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        Jane Dizon

        Nurse, Ninja Mom, Digital Marketing Specialist and Writer

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        1 How to Stop Being Passive and Start Getting What You Want 2 How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement 3 5 Less-Known Reasons Why Less is More 4 10 Smart Productivity Software to Boost Work Performance 5 How to Take Good Notes at Work: 6 Effective Ways

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        Last Updated on July 8, 2020

        How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

        How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

        What is decision fatigue? Let me explain this with an example:

        When determining a court ruling, there are many factors that contribute to their final verdict. You probably assume that the judge’s decision is influenced solely by the nature of the crime committed or the particular laws that were broken. While this is completely valid, there is an even greater influential factor that dictates the judge’s decision: the time of day.

        In 2012, a research team from Columbia University[1] examined 1,112 court rulings set in place by a Parole Board Judge over a 10 month period. The judge would have to determine whether the individuals in question would be released from prison on parole, or a change in the parole terms.

        While the facts of the case often take precedence in decision making, the judges mental state had an alarming influence on their verdict.

        As the day goes on, the chance of a favorable ruling drops:

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          Image source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

          Does the time of day, or the judges level of hunger really contribute that greatly to their decision making? Yes, it does.

          The research went on to show that at the start of the day the likelihood of the judging giving out a favorable ruling was somewhere around 65%.

          But as the morning dragged on, the judge became fatigued and drained from making decision after decision. As more time went on, the odds of receiving a favorable ruling decreased steadily until it was whittled down to zero.

          However, right after their lunch break, the judge would return to the courtroom feeling refreshed and recharged. Energized by their second wind, their leniency skyrockets back up to a whopping 65%. And again, as the day drags on to its finish, the favorable rulings slowly diminish along with the judge’s spirits.

          This is no coincidence. According to the carefully recorded research, this was true for all 1,112 cases. The severity of the crime didn’t matter. Whether it was rape, murder, theft, or embezzlement, the criminal was more likely to get a favorable ruling either early in the morning, or after the judges lunch break.

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          Are You Suffering from Decision Fatigue Too?

          We all suffer from decision fatigue without even realizing it.

          Perhaps you aren’t a judge with the fate of an individual’s life at your disposal, but the daily decisions you make for yourself could hinder you if you’re not in the right head-space.

          Regardless of how energetic you feel (as I imagine it is somehow caffeine induced anyway), you will still experience decision fatigue. Just like every other muscle, your brain gets tired after periods of overuse, pumping out one decision after the next. It needs a chance to rest in order to function at a productive rate.

          The Detrimental Consequences of Decision Fatigue

          When you are in a position such as a Judge, you can’t afford to let your mental state dictate your decision making; but it still does. According to George Lowenstein, an American educator and economy expert, decision fatigue is to blame for poor decision making among members of high office. The disastrous level of failure among these individuals to control their impulses could be directly related to their day to day stresses at work and their private life.

          When you’re just too tired to think, you stop caring. And once you get careless, that’s when you need to worry. Decision fatigue can contribute to a number of issues such as impulse shopping (guilty), poor decision making at work, and poor decision making with after work relationships. You know what I’m talking about. Don’t dip your pen in the company ink.

          How to Make Decision Effectively

          Either alter the time of decision making to when your mind is the most fresh, or limit the number of decisions to be made. Try utilizing the following hacks for more effective decision making.

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          1. Make Your Most Important Decisions within the First 3 Hours

          You want to make decisions at your peak performance, so either first thing in the morning, or right after a break.

          Research has actually shown that you are the most productive for the first 3 hours[2] of your day. Utilize this time! Don’t waste it on trivial decisions such as what to wear, or mindlessly scrolling through social media.

          Instead, use this time to tweak your game plan. What do you want to accomplish? What can you improve? What steps do you need to take to reach these goals?

          2. Form Habits to Reduce Decision Making

          You don’t have to choose all the time.

          Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it doesn’t have to be an extravagant spread every morning. Make a habit out of eating a similar or quick breakfast, and cut that step of your morning out of the way. Can’t decide what to wear? Pick the first thing that catches your eye. We both know that after 20 minutes of changing outfits you’ll just go with the first thing anyway.

          Powerful individuals such as Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, and Mark Zuckerberg don’t waste their precious time deciding what to wear. In fact, they have been known to limiting their outfits down to two options in order to reduce their daily decision making.

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          3. Take Frequent Breaks for a Clearer Mind

          You are at your peak of productivity after a break, so to reap the benefits, you need to take lots of breaks! I know, what a sacrifice. If judges make better decisions in the morning and after their lunch break, then so will you.

          The reason for this is because the belly is now full, and the hunger is gone. Roy Baumeister, Florida State University social psychologist[3] had found that low-glucose levels take a negative toll on decision making. By taking a break to replenish your glucose levels, you will be able to focus better and improve your decision making abilities.

          Even if you aren’t hungry, little breaks are still necessary to let your mind refresh, and come back being able to think more clearly.

          Structure your break times. Decide beforehand when you will take breaks, and eat energy sustaining snacks so that your energy level doesn’t drop too low. The time you “lose” during your breaks will be made up in the end, as your productivity will increase after each break.

          So instead of slogging through your day, letting your mind deteriorate and fall victim to the daily abuses of decision making, take a break, eat a snack. Let your mind refresh and reset, and jump-start your productivity throughout the day.

          More Tips About Decision Making

          Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

          Reference

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