It’s easy to get side-tracked when you’re a freelancer. There are distractions everywhere ranging from social media, to home comforts. Before you know it you’re distracted and this is causing dips in efficiency. Fast Company calls this a lack of private paternalism, which is essentially the accountability of working in an office. With no one looking over your shoulder it is easy to become less efficient. Fortunately, you can avoid this freelance trap by using these 5 apps:
When you’re organized, you’ll flow seamlessly from one aspect of work to another. And getting organized is something a project management app like Trello can help you with. Trello is a digital whiteboard, where you place virtual cards so you can track all things you need to do and when you need to finish them. You can also create virtual cards for every one of your projects and indicate all the important details. You can even use these cards to collaborate with team members or clients, who can add comments and suggestions, as well as place links and other files. Crucially, Trello is uncomplicated, which means you’ll be able to use it almost immediately to organize your days.
Planning gives you a roadmap that can help you through the completion of every project, something made harder when freelancing without a supervisor. You can do it with Cushion, a planning app made by freelancers for freelancers. Cushion can help you schedule your activities, make action plans for your projects, and manage your emails and documentation. You can even use it to create a budget, send and track invoices, and monitor expenses so you can have a clearer picture of where you are financially. Cushion encourages you to maintain a work-life balance as well through a section where you can plan for and keep track of vacations. With everything mapped in detail, all you’ll have to do is execute your plan to get the work done.
One of the ‘13 Ways to Improve Client Interaction’ is to let them take a peek of your uncompleted work, as it’ll let them feel part of the project. The best way to do this is through a file-sharing platform. File-sharing app Box is on the cloud and lets you upload as well as work on different kinds of files all at once. The platform allows your client to be able preview your uploaded files, and even download and edit them. With Box, file sharing between you and your client will be streamlined, and will allow you to bounce ideas off each other easily. This is a much more effective way for a freelancer to collaborate on a project compared to communicating via email.
Tracking how much time you spend working serves a dual purpose: It lets you bill clients correctly and helps you track where all your time is going. For this purpose, PC Mag considers TSheets as the standard, as it allows you to monitor accurately how long it takes you to finish specific tasks. It also has an intuitive user interface, along with an open application-programming interface that lets you integrate it with project management apps. With all your work hours accounted for, you can better strategize to maximize every minute you spend on your projects.
Once you’ve given your clients what they want, you’ve still got to bill them, receive their payment, and create invoices. It’s relatively simple, but can be time-consuming when done manually every time. Enter Wave, hailed by Inc. as one of the best invoicing apps for small businesses and freelancers. This app features a range of accounting services, notably income and expense tracking, receipt scanning and recording, and even personalized invoicing. With Wave, your end-of-project tasks will be simplified, letting you finish quickly so you can move onto your next project.
Distractions will always happen when freelancing. The question all freelancers must answer therefore is what steps they will take to make their work more efficient.