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Tools & Tips

Five freelance tools for more relaxed & productive work in the new year

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Accounting, office management, corporate communications - as a freelancer or small business, you must juggle many tasks, and oftentimes simultaneously. Oh, and the actual work, with which one earns his money also needs to be taken care of. "Non-billable working hours" sound as unpleasant as they actually are. But unfortunately, these activities are necessary to keep the business running, and they are often not added to a clients invoice. Whoever saves time, by successfully multi-tasking and taking on bigger jobs, will earn the most at the end of the day. That's why we search for tools that can save freelancers and small businesses time and money.

Timr

Speaking of work- even when the customer base is still clear, small and the number of individual projects is low - you should always have an accurate picture of exactly how much work you put into each project and for which customer. This is especially important in regards to jobs that are paid by the daily rate. Most people work on several jobs within the same day. The tool Timr helps the freelancer keep track of their work, and gives an accurate overview of the projects and progress being made on each one.

Timr works like an electronic time clock by "checking-in" to a project. Once you have completed your work for the day, it’s time to “check-out”. The software can be created around individual tasks and clients for whom the working hours are recorded separately. At any time, with a simple click you can monitor your progress, because the program has already displayed the time that you have worked on each customer's or project. In this case the period is of course arbitrary. Such realistic bills at the end of the month are created within minutes. If you have forgotten your exact working hours, Timr can help you keep an accurate log.

Timr also acts as a browser app, regardless of the platform, for your desktop or smartphone. You can also quickly start & stop the recording. Timr also synchronizes automatically.

To use this application you have to open an account. The basic version is free and can be used only when working on projects, or keeping records. In the full version, starting at $10,90 a month, you can do both at the same time. There is also a logbook function with a GPS support feature as well. The free version is sufficient if you simply want an overview of your own work and proves to be extremely helpful when it comes to pricing. The mobile app is available for iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile and BlackBerry.

Wunderlist 2

It can sometimes get a bit tricky when it comes to finding the right task manager for your computer. Sure everyone wants to take advantage of electronic devices, moving away from handwritten to-do lists, onto better software. There are many tools packed with innovative features, such as graphic representation of the project process, deadlines, synchronization of calendars, milestones, etc. Cool! Proper and mature project management software for everyone. In theory, it seems perfect, but in reality it is all too complicated. After a few weeks the IT department will be back using the program and our computer screens will be covered with post-it notes saying "Call XX" once again.

Wunderlist 2, in contrary, is still simply an online to-do list. You create individual tasks, give them a due date and assign them to their specific project. In the morning, the app shows everything what has to be done for the day. Tasks disappear once completed and are then checked-off the list. Overdue tasks are displayed in red. 

With its new version you can setup recurring tasks and integrate your address book & Facebook contacts to share tasks with others. Furthermore they added subtasks to the new list. You can access Wunderlist via desktop or smartphone app, and the list is always kept in sync. This Wunderlist sure looks charming, plus it's free and available for Windows and Mac, iPhone and Android.

 

Producteev

Those who often share tasks and files with other people should check Producteev. The platform isn’t as aesthetically pleasing when compared to Wunderlist, but it still provides some more opportunities. Apart from easily creating tasks, you can also add notes, messages and sub-tasks. In addition to that, you can share files or create archives of files by task. Unlike Wunderlist, the tool only allows the free use of each workspace for up to two people. However, you don't need more if you work on 1to1 level with different clients. Team workspaces for unlimited users start at US$20.

Producteev has the most practical design when it comes to creating new tasks on your computer, just click on a symbol at the top of your computer. The platform is available for Windows and MacOS, as well as for iPhone, iPad and Android Phones & Tablets.

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