Productivity is never an accident. It’s the result of commitment to excellence, intelligent planning and focused effort. ~Paul Meyer
Bruno Mars’ hit single, The Lazy Song, is every freelancer’s cry on those overwhelming days. The temptation to sit at your desk and do anything else except the work you need to do is great. However, as freelancers we have to live by the wise words of Paul Meyer. With proper planning, laser-like focus, and a passion for excellence we can win the battle of procrastination. Thankfully, the app and software gods have created a myriad of tools to help people keep on top of their game. Four of the best apps I’ve used are highlighted below.
Creating a to-do list is something many people shy away from. It seems easier to rely on memory and trust that inner angel to push us to do what we need to do. If we’re honest with ourselves, however, we’re lucky if we get 90 percent of our mental list done. I find that writing (or in this case typing) everything that I need to do in a day helps me get more done. Some people use sticky notes that they paste on their mirror or desk. I can’t stand seeing all of that paper around me. Wunderlist has been a god send. The features I love about this free app are:
- grouping tasks together. If I have several jobs to complete, I can create a “folder” for each task. Each folder contains the sub-tasks that need to be done for that job.
- setting a date for completing tasks. When a date is set, Wunderlist groups the tasks that you need to get done today together. So, you can see a lovely list of everything you have to accomplish today.
- setting reminders. Just like your phone’s to-do list, you can set a reminder for each task. The reminders will come as pop-ups on your screen and messages in your email; a double dose to keep you in check.
- the sound it makes when I check a task off as completed. You have the option of turning sounds on or off. I just love the sound the app makes when I tick off a task. In my mind all I hear is, “Yes! One thing down!”
- its interface. I can choose to make the background as pretty as I want it. Visual appeal is important to me.
I chanced upon this app about 3 weeks ago. The moment I saw it the first thought I had was, “Where have you been all my life?” Visuals are a major part of my work as a content marketer. Graphic design isn’t one of my skills. Snappa makes it extremely easy to create blog and social media images within minutes. I love the app so much that I’ve even signed up for their $15 per month Pro plan. The features I like about this app are:
- easy to use templates. They’ve basically done most of the work for you. All you have to do is choose the option that works best for you. Plus, there is so much variety that you’re bound to find the perfect fit.
- library of royalty-free images. They’ve collaborated with Unsplash, and other royalty-free image sites, to provide users with a wide variety of images.
- their wide variety of text styles.
- effects that transform an image into something spectacular
A client introduced me to the beauty of Asana over a year ago. It’s a great way to collaborate on projects. A project can be grouped into a series of tasks. The client provides details for each task and enables you to upload relevant files. Files related to each task can then be uploaded. Asana groups the files based on the tasks. It also provides a platform for constant feedback and communication, somewhat like OneDrive and Google Docs.
UpWork, one of the leading freelancing websites, has a downloadable time tracking desktop app. This app enables freelancers to be paid an hourly rate based on the number of hours worked. If I choose to work outside of UpWork, however, this tool is inaccessible. Then comes a gift from heaven…Time Doctor. This app can be likened to the UpWork time tracking app, but I love the independence it gives me to work with clients outside of the UpWork platform. Clients are able to see exactly what they’re paying for because the app takes regular screenshots. I am able to get precise payment for the amount of hour I work. It’s a win-win situation. It can’t get any better than that.
I’ve only written about productivity tools that I’ve used. However, there are a plethora of tools available. Do your research to find the tool that best meets your needs.
Christine is a content marketing professional. Her passion for writing resulted in the creation of her company CEM Writing Services. Learn more by visiting cemwritingservices.com.