Seven time-saving apps for freelancers

Struggling to stay productive, or manage your time as a freelancer? Check out these seven handy time-saving apps. 

As a freelancer, you can be your own boss, work to your own schedule and choose your own hours. Which is great. But such freedom also comes with responsibility.

Clients trust that you’ll deliver they work on time, and bill them appropriately. And you need to manage your own time – and ensure you budget enough hours to complete projects (and knuckle down to work when you need to, without a manager breathing down your neck).

And while technology can sometimes be a procrastinating freelancer’s downfall (hello Twitter and Instagram!), used wisely it can also be your best friend. To this end, here are seven time-saving apps that can help to make your work and life easier.

1) Shake – use to manage legalities

As a freelancer, managing legalities can be a real pain. Ridding yourself of contracts may seem appealing, especially if you think you’re working with someone you trust, but misunderstandings can escalate quickly if you and the other party aren’t on the same page.

Sometimes you need something more than the email trail to keep track of what is expected of you. Instead of risking a he said, she said scenario down the line, enlist Shake as your lawyer. When clients don’t want to pour money into an overcomplicated contract, Shake creates legally binding agreements on your phone and makes them available immediately.

This free app creates straightforward contracts based upon the specifics of your agreement. In a matter of minutes, Shake provides the electronic document, ready to sign, keep or send to another party.

2) RescueTime – use to avoid procrastination

Even in an office, surrounded by colleagues and managers, procrastination is possible. And while we all need a break sometimes, drawing the line between a legitimate timeout and simple evasion of work is tricky. Luckily, RescueTime can help you to piece together your day and analyse your own productivity.

RescueTime is a desktop and browser add-on which records what you’re doing with your day and reports back as to whether you’re being productive or not. The settings allow you to rate what you consider to be productive or distracting activities.

This way, if your job is to look at YouTube videos all day, you can make sure you don’t get marked down for spending too much time there!

For freelancers who spend most of their time on the computer, this app is a must. Having wasted time laid out before your eyes will make you far more conscious of whether you’re being productive or not, and give you a reason to feel guilty about logging onto Facebook.

3) Wave – use to manage your time

Almost as difficult as accounting for your time, is accounting for your money. Keeping abreast of client payments, bookkeeping and your personal expenses is an important aspect of managing your own business, and one that needs to be done correctly.

Wave brings simple financial-management tools to your fingertips and will prove invaluable to even the most money-savvy of freelancers. Create and send invoices to clients and track your spending by syncing the app to your outgoings – bank accounts, credit cards and Paypal can all be followed using Wave, helping you to watch every penny.

4) Trello – use to manage your time

With multiple clients to keep up with, good time management is essential. Hundreds of apps promise to help you organise your time when an old-fashioned post-it note just won’t do the trick. And the abundance of apps aimed at increasing productivity and task coordination means the top contenders are of superb quality.

Like Pinterest for the workplace, Trello is a virtual pin board/to-do list. The premise is super-simple and based around one board with multiple lists to which you add individual items. Move, label and archive to your heart’s content for a visual overview of your outstanding tasks, and add collaborators to share with partners, clients and team members.

5) Toggl – use to keep an eye on the time

Then there’s Toggl. If your billable time is split between numerous clients, you will know how hard it is to ensure that each job is receiving the correct number of hours. Toggl is like the stopwatch on your phone, but it allows you to set up multiple projects at a time.

All it takes is a click of a button to get tracking the time spent on a project with adjustable rates per hour to let you know just how much your time is worth.

6) OpenTable – use to organise dinner

Choosing your own hours allows you to work far more flexibly than in an office. But if your home is your office, you may find it difficult to separate your work life from your personal life.

Taking care of personal tasks while you’re working will free up more time to do what you love, and of course, there are plenty of apps to help with that.

When you’re ready to let your hair down after a long week, OpenTable takes the stress out of organising dinner plans. Find a table near you and have it booked in seconds, or take your time browsing reviews and ratings of your area’s finest dining options.

OpenTable will also reward you with points each time you book a meal through the app, letting you enjoy more of the finer things for less.

7) Gumtree – use to sell unwanted items

And if your spare room has become a source of anxiety, stacked high with things you no longer need, turn to Gumtree. Car boot sales are all well and good, but who’s got the time – or motivation – to spend half a day in a disused car park trying to shift books for 50p each?

With Gumtree, you can upload listings direct from your phone for locals to browse – you won’t even have to post it to the lucky buyer, who might live just around the corner and can come and collect it.

And who knows? Your newly clutter-free spare room could make a perfect home office!

There’s an app for that

Regardless of where you work or who you work for, technology is changing the way we get our jobs done. As the quality of work-related apps improves, there’s a solution to almost every problem that comes between you and success. A quick visit to the app store could be all you need to make freelancing work for you.

Article provided by Fiona King from The Dry Cleaner App, the hassle-free app designed to free up your time and take care of all your laundry needs.