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

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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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        Published on September 21, 2021

        How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

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        How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

        The internet is flooded with articles about remote work and its benefits or drawbacks. But in reality, the remote work experience is so subjective that it’s impossible to draw general conclusions and issue one-size-fits-all advice about it. However, one thing that’s universal and rock-solid is data. Data-backed findings and research about remote work productivity give us a clear picture of how our workdays have changed and how work from home affects us—because data doesn’t lie.

        In this article, we’ll look at three decisive findings from a recent data study and two survey reports concerning remote work productivity and worker well-being.

        1. We Take Less Frequent Breaks

        Your home can be a peaceful or a distracting place depending on your living and family conditions. While some of us might find it hard to focus amidst the sounds of our everyday life, other people will tell you that the peace and quiet while working from home (WFH) is a major productivity booster. Then there are those who find it hard to take proper breaks at home and switch off at the end of the workday.

        But what does data say about remote work productivity? Do we work more or less in a remote setting?

        Let’s take a step back to pre-pandemic times (2014, to be exact) when a time tracking application called DeskTime discovered that 10% of most productive people work for 52 minutes and then take a break for 17 minutes.

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        Recently, the same time tracking app repeated that study to reveal working and breaking patterns during the pandemic. They found that remote work has caused an increase in time worked, with the most productive people now working for 112 minutes and breaking for 26 minutes.[1]

        Now, this may seem rather innocent at first—so what if we work for extended periods of time as long as we also take longer breaks? But let’s take a closer look at this proportion.

        While breaks have become only nine minutes longer, work sprints have more than doubled. That’s nearly two hours of work, meaning that the most hard-working people only take three to four breaks per 8-hour workday. This discovery makes us question if working from home (WFH) really is as good a thing for our well-being as we thought it was. In addition, in the WFH format, breaks are no longer a treat but rather a time to squeeze in a chore or help children with schoolwork.

        Online meetings are among the main reasons for less frequent breaks. Pre-pandemic meetings meant going to another room, stretching your legs, and giving your eyes a rest from the computer. In a remote setting, all meetings happen on screen, sometimes back-to-back, which could be one of the main factors explaining the longer work hours recorded.

        2. We Face a Higher Risk of Burnout

        At first, many were optimistic about remote work’s benefits in terms of work-life balance as we save time on commuting and have more time to spend with family—at least in theory. But for many people, this was quickly counterbalanced by a struggle to separate their work and personal lives. Buffer’s 2021 survey for the State of Remote Work report found that the biggest struggle of remote workers is not being able to unplug, with collaboration difficulties and loneliness sharing second place.[2]

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        Buffer’s respondents were also asked if they are working more or less since their shift to remote work, and 45 percent admitted to working more. Forty-two percent said they are working the same amount, while 13 percent responded that they are working less.

        Longer work hours and fewer quality breaks can dramatically affect our health, as long-term sitting and computer use can cause eye strain, mental fatigue, and other issues. These, in turn, can lead to more severe consequences, such as burnout and heart disease.

        Let’s have a closer look at the connection between burnout and remote work.

        McKinsey’s report about the Future of work states that 49% of people say they’re feeling some symptoms of burnout.[3] And that may be an understatement since employees experiencing burnout are less likely to respond to survey requests and may have even left the workforce.

        From the viewpoint of the employer, remote workers may seem like they are more productive and working longer hours. However, managers must be aware of the risks associated with increased employee anxiety. Otherwise, the productivity gains won’t be long-lasting. It’s no secret that prolonged anxiety can reduce job satisfaction, decrease work performance, and negatively affect interpersonal relationships with colleagues.[4]

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        3. Despite everything, We Love Remote Work

        An overwhelming majority—97 percent—of Buffer report’s survey respondents say they would like to continue working remotely to some extent. The two main benefits mentioned by the respondents are the ability to have a flexible schedule and the flexibility to work from anywhere.

        McKinsey’s report found that more than half of employees would like their workplace to adopt a more flexible hybrid virtual-working model, with some days of work on-premises and some days working remotely. To be more exact, more than half of employees report that they would like at least three work-from-home days a week once the pandemic is over.

        Companies will increasingly be forced to find ways to satisfy these workforce demands while implementing policies to minimize the risks associated with overworking and burnout. Smart companies will embrace this new trend and realize that adopting hybrid models can also be a win for them—for example, for accessing talent in different locations and at a lower cost.

        Remote Work: Blessing or Plight?

        Understandably, workers worldwide are tempted to keep the good work-life aspects that have come out of the pandemic—professional flexibility, fewer commutes, and extra time with family. But with the once strict boundaries between work and life fading, we must remain cautious. We try to squeeze in house chores during breaks. We do online meetings from the kitchen or the same couch we watch TV shows from, and many of us report difficulties switching off after work.

        So, how do we keep our private and professional lives from hopelessly blending together?

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        The answer is that we try to replicate the physical and virtual boundaries that come naturally in an office setting. This doesn’t only mean having a dedicated workspace but also tracking your work time and stopping when your working hours are finished. In addition, it means working breaks into your schedule because watercooler chats don’t just naturally happen at home.

        If necessary, we need to introduce new rituals that resemble a normal office day—for example, going for a walk around the block in the morning to simulate “arriving at work.” Remote work is here to stay. If we want to enjoy the advantages it offers, then we need to learn how to cope with the personal challenges that come with it.

        Learn how to stay productive while working remotely with these tips: How to Work From Home: 10 Tips to Stay Productive

        Featured photo credit: Jenny Ueberberg via unsplash.com

        Reference

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