For freelancers, the expression “time is money” holds considerable significance: the more we procrastinate, the fewer jobs we get done, the less we get paid.
Luckily, there’s a wide selection of handy apps and online tools to help keep us focused, save time, and be more productive versions of our fabulous selves.
Here’s a look at 10 popular time-saving apps — many of them free — that can help pull your freelance work together.
1. Boomerang – This freemium, intuitive Gmail plug-in is essential for freelancers who spend a lot of time emailing or pitching for gigs, or who rely on timely responses. Boomerang also allows you to keep your inbox clear while not forgetting the important stuff. It sends you a reminder when you need to follow-up — as and when required — and even lets you know if you haven’t heard back about an important email within a specified time frame.
2. Pocket – Free your bookmark bar and step away from the procrastination station. Pocket is a free tool that will help you organize all the blog posts that catch your eye and store them to read another time, when you don’t have a looming deadline. It’s available as a mobile app or bookmarklet and allows you to store and organize videos, articles, images, and more. You can view items in Pocket even without an Internet connection — perfect for traveling to client meetings or when you’re stuck on transit.
3. FastCustomer – Being kept on hold is a time consuming and incredibly frustrating activity that some freelancers endure on a regular basis. FastCustomer does the waiting for you: with more than 3,000 companies they’ll contact on your behalf, their customer service agent does the waiting while you make the most of all your saved time.
4. Toggl – Branded as an “insanely simple time tracking” tool, Toggl is the perfect app for freelancers with a time management or procrastination problem. This free tool allows you to schedule activities and record how long each takes you. You can then create charts of your time by day, week or month and analyze what consumes the most time, how productive it is, and figure out how to make your time management more efficient in the future.
5. Citymapper – How much time is wasted trying to find the right place for a meeting or freelance event? Winner of the Apple apps of the year 2013 award, Citymapper makes traveling stress-free and much quicker. It also makes your travel process less clunky, removing the need for a bus app, train app, or Google Maps; with Citymapper, it’s all in one place. The number of cities available is limited, but for London dwellers or freelancers in cities like Berlin, Madrid or New York who need to get to a meeting, this is truly a life saver.
6. Priorities – For $2.99 a month, Priorities is one of the most popular task management apps on the market. You can add alerts, due times and dates, save and create templates, and sync with other devices. This functionality can help you accomplish all your tasks and be mind-blowingly organized! This will, in turn, help you boost your freelance business by ensuring you’re always reliable, and help you to take on more jobs as you progress in your career.
7. Bunker App – Specifically designed to help freelancers effectively manage their business, Bunker App can track time spent on various projects for a multitude of clients, track payments and taxes, allow for collaboration between multiple workers, and set milestones and tasks for completion. You can also export documents to PDF and track expenses. The main downside is the cost: at $29 a month, it’s not cheap. You also need an Internet connection to access the app, as it’s a cloud-based system.
8. Timely – Schedule your work and then log it using this free app, designed specifically for desktop and Apple devices. Timely is primarily aimed at freelancers and contractors who work billable and non-billable hours; it allows you to adjust your hourly rate as you log your activity. You can also create personal projects, assign projects to different clients, and have a visual representation of your work calendar — with a drag-and-drop function that makes moving projects around as easy as possible. For $14 a month, you can sign up as a freelancer and get unlimited projects.
9. Wunderlist – Perfect for list lovers, Wunderlist helps you sync all aspects of your life. Set goals and reminders, and organize your days using a highly customizable calendar. You can set up multiple lists, then share and collaborate between clients, colleagues, and friends.
10. Expensify – This free app makes logging expenses quick and easy to do on the go, saving you time and frustration when it comes to filing your taxes. Expensify allows you to capture receipts, track time, mileage and business travel. You can also sync credit cards and track purchases instantly, and create expense reports that are then sent to your email. It’s the perfect app for busy freelance creatives who are always on the go.
What apps help you save time and energy? Tell us about them in the comments below.