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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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        Nurse, Ninja Mom, Digital Marketing Specialist and Writer

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        Published on January 16, 2019

        How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

        How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

        We’re all busy, but sometimes we go through periods where the work piles up and it seems like it might never end.

        You might have such a heavy workload that it feels too intimidating to even start.

        You may have said yes to some or too many projects, and now you’re afraid you won’t be able to deliver.

        That’s when you need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and start looking at what’s working and what’s not working.

        Here’re 13 strategies you can use to get out from under your overwhelming workload:

        1. Acknowledge You Can’t Do It All

        Many of us have a tendency to think we can do more than we actually can. We take on more and more projects and responsibility and wear numerous hats.

        We all have the opportunity to have and take on more work than we can reasonably expect to get done. Unfortunately, our workload is not static. Even now, while you are reading this article, I’m guessing that your inbox is filling up with fresh new tasks.

        To make real, effective progress, you have to have both the courage and resourcefulness to say, “This is not working”. Acknowledge that you can’t do it all and look for better solutions.

        At any given time in your life, there are likely many things that aren’t going according to plan. You have to be willing to be honest with yourself and those around you about what’s not working for you, both personally and professionally.

        The more you exercise your ability to tell the truth about what’s working and what’s not working, the faster you’ll make progress.

        2. Focus on Your Unique Strengths

        Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a leader or working as part of a team, every individual has unique strengths they can bring to the table.

        The challenge is that many people end up doing things that they’re simply not very good at.

        In the pursuit of reaching your goals or delivering a project, people end up doing everything themselves or taking on things that don’t play to their unique strengths. This can result in frustration, overwhelm and overwork.

        It can mean projects taking a lot longer to complete because of knowledge gaps, or simply not utilizing the unique strengths of other people you work with.

        It is often not about how to complete this project more effectively but who can help deliver this project.

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        So, what are your unique strengths that will ensure your workload is delivered more effectively? Here’re some questions to help you reflect:

        • Are you a great strategist?
        • Are you an effective planner?
        • Is Project Management your strength?
        • Is communication and bringing people together your strength?
        • Are you the ideas person?
        • Is Implementation your strength?

        Think about how you can bring the biggest value to your work and the projects you undertake.

        3. Use the Strengths of Your Team

        One of the simplest ways to manage your workload effectively is to free up your time so you bring your highest level of energy, focus and strengths to each project.

        Delegation or better teamwork is the solution.

        Everyone has unique strengths. It’s essential to think teamwork rather than working in isolation to ensure projects can be completed effectively. Besides, every time you give away a task or project that doesn’t play to your unique strengths, you open up an opportunity to do something you’re more talented at. This will empower both yourself and those around you.

        Rather than taking on all the responsibilities yourself, look at who you can work with to deliver the best results possible.

        4. Take Time for Planning

        “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”. – Abraham Lincoln

        One hour of effective planning could save hours of time. Rather than just rushing in and getting started on projects, take the time to map everything in.

        You can take the time to think about:

        • What’s the purpose of the project?
        • How Important is it?
        • When does it need to be delivered by?
        • What is the best result and worst result for this project?
        • What are the KPIs?
        • What does the project plan and key milestones look like?
        • Who is working on this project?
        • What is everyone’s responsibilities?
        • What tolerances can I add in?
        • What are the review stages?
        • What are the challenges we may face and the solutions for these challenges?

        Having absolute clarity on the project, the project deliverables and the result you want can save a lot of time. It also gets you clear on the priorities and timelines, so you can block out the required amount of time to focus and concentrate.

        5. Focus on Priorities

        Not everything is a priority, although it can often feel, in the moment, that it is.

        Whatever you’re working on, there is always the Most Urgent, Important or Most Valuable projects or tasks.

        One tool you can use to maximize your productivity and focus on your biggest priorities is to use the Eisenhower Matrix. This strategic tool for taking action on the things that matter most is simple. You separate your actions based on four possibilities:

        1. Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).
        2. Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).
        3. Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).
        4. Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will eliminate).

        James Clear has a great description on how to use the Eisenhower Matrix: How to be More Productive By Using the Eisenhower Box

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          The method I use with my coaching clients is to ask them to lay out their Top Five priorities for the day. Then to start with the most important priority first. At the end of the day, you review performance against these priorities.

          If you didn’t get everything accomplished, start the next day with your number one priority.

          If you are given additional task/projects during the day, then you will need to gauge their importance V the other priorities.

          6. Take Time Out

          To stay on top of a heavy workload, it’s important to take time out to rest and recuperate.

          If your energy levels are high and your mind and body is refreshed and alert, you are in more of a peak state to handle a heavy workload.

          Take time out of your day to go for a walk or get some exercise in. Leave early when possible and spend time with people who give you a lot of energy.

          In the background, it’s essential to get a good night’s sleep and eat healthily to sharpen the mind.

          Take a look at this article learn about The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

          7. Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

          Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be tough. The balance we all crave is very different from one another.

          I’ve written before about 13 Work Life Balance Tips for a Happy and Productive Life. Working longer and harder doesn’t mean achieving more, especially if you have no time to spend with the people that matter most. The quality of who you are as a person, the relationships you have, the time you spend in work, deciding on what matters most is completely within your control.

          Work-life balance is about finding peace within yourself to be fully present, wherever you are, whether that be in the office or at home, right now. It’s about choosing what matters most and creating your own balanced life.

          If you feel there is not enough balance, then it may be time to make a change.

          8. Stop Multitasking

          Multi-tasking is a myth. Your brain simply can’t work effectively by doing more than one thing at a time—at least more than one thing that requires focused attention.

          So get your list of priorities (see earlier point), do the most important thing first, then move to the next item and work down your list.

          When you split your focus over a multitude of different areas, you can’t consistently deliver a high performance. You won’t be fully present on the one task or project at hand.

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          If you allocate blocked time and create firm boundaries for specific activities and commitments, you won’t feel so overwhelmed or overworked with everything you have to do.

          9. Work in Blocks of Time

          To keep your energy up to produce your best results it’s essential to take regular breaks.

          I use the 60-60-30 method myself and teach it to my coaching clients.

          Work on a project for a sustained period of 50 minutes.

          Then take a 10-minute break. This could be taking a walk, having a healthy snack or just having a conversation with someone.

          Then continue to work on the project for a further 50 minutes.

          Then take another 10-minute break.

          Then take a complete 30-minute break to unplug from the work. This could be time for a proper lunch, a quick bit of exercise, reading or having a walk.

          By simply taking some time out, your energy levels stay up, the quality of your work improves and you reduce the risk of becoming burned out.

          10. Get Rid of Distractions

          Make an estimation on how many times you are distracted during an average working day. Now take that number and multiply it by 25. According to Gloria Mark in her study on The Cost of Interrupted Work, it takes us an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to the original task after interruption.[1]

          “Our research has shown that attention distraction can lead to higher stress, a bad mood and lower productivity.”

          Distractions don’t just take up your time during the distraction, they can derail your mental progress and focus for almost 25 minutes. So, if you are distracted 5 times per day, you could be losing almost 2 hours every day of productive work and almost 10 hours every week.

          If you have an important project to work on, find a space where you won’t be distracted, or try doing this.

          11. Commit Focused Time to Smaller Tasks

          You know sometimes, you need to simply tackle these tasks and take action on them. But there’s always something more pressing.

          Small tasks can often get in the way of your most important projects. They sit there on your daily To Do list but are often forgotten about because of more important priorities or because they hold no interest for you. But they take up mental energy. They clutter your mind.

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          Commit to spending a specific period of time completing all the small tasks you have on your To Do list. It will give you peace of mind and the space to focus more on your bigger priorities.

          12. Take a Time Audit

          Do you know exactly where your time is going each day? Are you spending too long on certain projects and tasks to the detriment of bigger opportunities?

          Spend a bit of time to analyze where you are spending your time. This insight will amaze you and give you the clarity to start adjusting where you focus your time and on what projects.

          You can start by taking a piece of paper and creating three columns:

          Column A is Priority Work. Column B is Good Work. Column C is low value work or stuff.

          Each day, write down the project or task and the time spent on each. Allocate that time to one of the columns.

          At the end of the week, record the total time spent in each column.

          If you are spending far too much time on certain types of work, look to change things so your focused time is in Column B and C.

          13. Protect Your Confidence

          It is essential to protect our confidence to ensure we don’t get overwhelmed, stressed and lose belief.

          When you have confidence as a daily resource, you are in a better position to problem solve, learn quicker, respond to anything, adjust to anything, and achieve your biggest opportunities.

          Confidence gives you the ability to transform fear into focused and relaxed thinking, communication, and action. This is key to put your mind into a productive state.

          When confidence is high, you can clearly see the possibilities at hand and create strategies to take advantage of them, or to solve the challenges you face each day.

          Final Words

          A heavy workload can be tough to deal with and can cause stress, burnout and ongoing frustration.

          The key is to tackle it head on, rather than let it go on and compound the long-term effects. Hopefully, you can take action on at least one of these tips.

          If it gets too much, and negatively affects your physical and mental health, it may be time to talk to someone. Instead of dealing with it alone and staying unhappier, resentful and getting to a point where you simply can’t cope, you have to make a change for your own sanity.

          Featured photo credit: Hannah Wei via unsplash.com

          Reference

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