Over the past few days I have been trying to organize myself to keep up with the various activities that I am undertaking. As a “solopreneur” consultant, I find that I don’t have the structure of an office environment and all the perks that come with it… namely a nice accounting department and software to track things. So I’ve had to take matters into my own hands!
I started out with a planner and a notebook to keep track of notes, ideas, work time, study time, social media marketing, meetings and a whole host of other bits and pieces. While the planner and notebook remain, they aren’t enough to keep track of all the moving parts. Time management is a a very important part of a freelancer’s life, not to mention knowing how much you need to get paid.
With technology being ever present in our lives, I decided to put it to good use and make it work for me and simplify my life.
Here are a few apps that’s excellent for the novice freelancer or consultant:
- Google Keep: (Free) I love this app. It’s basically my capture/inbox device. It’s extremely easy to use. You can add notes, voice notes, checklists, and put in reminders. Best of all it links to Google maps so you can actually set a reminder to go off when you reach a certain place. I realized that as much as I would like to have a notebook with me as a capture device, using my phone is just so much more convenient because it’s always there. I just transfer everything to my planner later.
- Word Swag: (Paid version) Put words on pictures, just like the captioned picture in this blog. The free version is ok with very limited options so I pay for the full option. The app is extremely useful for Instagram marketing.
- Buffer: (Free) I’m sure most of you have already heard of this. This is a great app to manage multiple social media accounts. The basic version allows three profiles to be managed, which is enough for me at the moment. There are other similar apps out there but this seems to be the best, although I’m convinced that the app could be vastly improved.
- Toggl: (Free) This is a time tracking system. Sure, the old spreadsheet works just fine but why not automate. The app is extremely easy to use and add projects and tasks on the fly. It has a decent web interface and an app for MacOS with downloadable reports. The best part is it is free for five users with unlimited projects. No other time tracking app provides this much convenience with its free version. Toggl is best suited for individuals and freelancers to track billable hours and non-billable hours, so you know where your time is being spent.
- Invoice by Wave: (Free) Most time tracking apps come with a built-in feature to generate invoices. Since Toggl’s free version does not, I decided to download a separate invoice generator. I have to say, I love the way this app generates invoices so easily. Wave also provides a host of accounting services and linking to payment systems, if that is something you may need later. For a consultant starting out, this free app should do the trick.
- TurboScan: (Free) This is an extremely useful app to scan documents with your phone. I’ve been using this for years now and it’s extremely convenient to turn photos into documents that look like you’ve put them to through a scanner so, they look professional.
- Trello: (Free) One of the more popular apps for project managements. I do like the interface and it’s nots very complicated. I’m yet to make full use of it because I still use pen and paper to track my projects. I’m going to give this another shot though once I start building up my other streams of work.
So there you have it.
As a pen and paper girl, it took me a while to realize that apps have come a long way and they can be so useful to increase your productivity, simplify your life and overall save time. The best part is most of them are free and costs you nothing to try them out so just go for it, you never know how it may help.
*The above reviews are my own opinion and I have not been paid by any of the app companies that I’ve mentioned above.*