5 Digital Tools for Freelancers to Maximize Their Time

By Josh Hoffman, Contributor, on January 9, 2017

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If you’re like me, time is your number-one asset, and you’re constantly searching for opportunities to become more efficient and boost your time management. This is where digital tools for freelancers come in. After all, freelancers really sell their time as well as their skills, since services take time to provide. It’s imperative to be as efficient as possible, so you can dedicate more time for additional clients and gigs or create more free time away from work — whichever you prefer.

There’s something to be said for simplifying, and finding the right apps that do what you need them to do sounds like it should be effortless. But, that’s not the case: With millions of apps flooding and diluting the pool of resources offered by app stores, finding a reliable, user-friendly option that’s simple enough to avoid needless add-ons but innovative enough to be actually useful is an art in its own right. That said, we’ve done a bit of the legwork for you. Here are five free digital tools for freelancers to be more time-efficient:

1. Asana

The internet is lousy with tools and apps for taking notes, not to mention good old pen and paper. Many freelancers use several notepads, sticky notes, white boards and digital note-taking apps to visualize their reminders, but one of the keys to efficiency is using a central place to organize your thoughts, tasks and projects. Enter Asana, which is, first and foremost, incredibly easy to use from both your computer and phone. Whether you want to create a to-do list or plan a project, Asana offers several features for basic and sophisticated use cases alike.

Popular alternatives: Evernote or Trello.

2. HelloSign

What’s more time-conscious than minimizing the amount of steps it takes to complete a task? When it comes to contracts and service agreements, many freelancers resort to the tedious email, print and scan approach, but with HelloSign, you don’t need the other party to print and scan anything. Simply upload your documents to their online platform, add the fields each party needs to sign and off you go, saving time and trees simultaneously.

Popular alternatives: RightSignature or DocuSign.

3. You Can Book Me

Imagine if you could eliminate the back and forth that ensues when two people try to find a date and time that works best for each of them to meet or even just hop on a phone call. Imagine if there was a tool that allowed someone to see your calendar in real time and schedule an appointment with you when both of you are available. Sound too good to be true? Thankfully, the future has granted us this in the form of You Can Book Me. You can even get a customized booking page, so your customers can book you online.

Popular alternatives: Acuity Scheduling or Calendly.

4. Boomerang for Gmail

Email can cause constant headaches for many freelancers, but Boomerang for Gmail makes email fun again (if you can believe it). Major publications, like Fast Company, Forbes and Inc, have all discussed at length how and why email is a major productivity killer. For instance, checking an email as soon as you glance at the notification in the other tab disrupts your workflow; not every email warrants an immediate response. Boomerang lets you write an email now, schedule it to send later, get messages out of your inbox until you actually need them and create automatic email reminders, so you can block out time for email and keep your flow going seamlessly.

Popular alternatives: LetterMeLater or FollowUpThen.

5. Google Drive

With so many devices at our disposal today, it can feel frustrating to transfer files back and forth or remember to carry around a thumb drive. Fortunately, Google Drive allows you to store all your files in one place, available across every device via a desktop and mobile app. Plus, you can use built-in Google Docs to create written documents, spreadsheets and presentations, all on the cloud. Local hard drives are so last year.

Popular alternatives: Dropbox or OneDrive.

Try out these digital tools for freelancers and see how they fit into your daily routine — you might find yourself with more downtime, more accomplished and a lower stress level once you have the right tools streamlining your workday.

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