Can technology make your life as a freelancer easier? The right technology certainly can. Apps and gadgets can help you with everything from managing your time to tracking your business expenses, which will free up more of your administrative time for billable work and building your client base. Check out this list of freelancer tech recommendations and see if some of these items might help you get your work done more efficiently.
Toggl for Time Billing
Tracking your billable hours is a function every freelancer wrestles with. You need a simple tool that tracks your time for each client and project. Toggl is a freelancer favorite because it makes the job nearly automatic, even if you are a multitasker. Toggl is available as a Chrome or Firefox browser extension and will automatically track your time as you switch between tasks and tabs. The app will produce reports in either a PDF or CSV format that you can use to invoice your clients.
RescueTime for Time Management
One of the hardships freelancers face is the difficulty of working without supervision, especially when you have to work online with the constant distractions of e-mail, social media, and other temptations. RescueTime offers a weekly report of the time you spend on productive tasks, along with a breakdown of how much time you’re spending on Facebook, Reddit, and other distractions. You can fine-tune the settings to let RescueTime know exactly which programs and websites are productive for you and which ones you consider non-productive.
Evernote to Organize Everything
Evernote is an amazing little program that helps you organize all your thoughts, resources, lists, and ideas. You can set up notebooks for each of your projects or business areas and then collect information from everywhere into one place. The desktop version comes with a toolbar extension that’s always available when you want to jot down a note or copy and paste a bit of content. A Chrome extension lets you save clippings or entire web pages.
Your clippings are searchable — they’ll even show up when you do a Google search in your browser if you want. Apps let you coordinate your desktop Evernote with your phone and tablet as well.
Asana to Manage Your Projects
This free project, task, and team management program is simple and effective for helping you organize multiple projects, teams, and priorities. Asana helps you break down your projects into specific tasks and then assign the tasks to individuals to track their progress. You and your collaborators can share files and communicate through the app as well. You can view graphs of your progress on each project, receive e-mails about the status of your daily tasks, and see a unicorn fly across the screen when you mark a task as complete.
Shoeboxed for Receipts
This magical app lets you scan receipts and business cards and organize them into contact lists, expense reports, and accounting entries. Instead of carrying envelopes full of receipts, or digging wadded-up papers out of your wallet, pockets, or purse, you’ll have a paperless system that’s easy to manage and accepted by the IRS. If you have a phone with a good camera like an iPhone 8 Plus on a reliable network like T-Mobile, you will be able to scan receipts and business cards wherever you are, whenever you need to, and you’ll never have to track a little piece of paper again.
Mindmeister for Mind Mapping
As a freelancer, you have to manage multiple clients with competing deadlines and a variety of creative projects. Sometimes your mind can become a messy place that feels disorganized and chaotic. Mind mapping is a great way to pull out all those threads and get them into an organized structure. It’s also a great tool to develop a creative plan when you feel stuck. Mindmeister is a terrific app that helps you create beautiful mind maps on the fly, using your phone or computer. Another great mind mapping tool worth checking out (which we also recently reviewed) is MindNode.
These tools can help you become more organized and productive as a freelancer. Choose the ones that suit your needs and give them a try today.