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Habits & Routines

10 Productivity Apps Every Freelancer Needs

Task management, goal setting, invoices, and contracts—all made easier.


Making a living as a freelancer can be fulfilling, but it can also be lonely and stressful. You, alone, have to balance not just your “must-do’s” and “want-to-do’s”—but also your books.

The good news? You don’t have to go it alone. In today’s digitally powered world, online tools abound that can address a great many of the typical freelancer’s productivity, workflow, organizational, and intellectual needs. A well-curated selection of apps, websites, and software provides additional arrows in your creative quiver—not to mention sanity. To help you refresh your workflow, we’ve curated 10 apps that have captured our attention:

 

Noisli 

Noisli   Improve Focus and Boost Productivity with Background Noise

This free app puts you in the DJ booth of your work environment, whether that’s your home office, the local coffee shop, or your coworking space (if it’s one of the latter two, you’ll want to go the headphones route), letting you fine-tune volume and a variety of focus-inducing background sounds from rainfall to pink noise.

Bonsai

Bulletproof contracts  simple e signing  integrated escrow for freelancers   Bonsai

Breeze past the pain-in-the-ass administrative minutiae of negotiating client agreements and get right to the work with this bulletproof e-sign-enabled contract tool. Save the time and money you’d need to spend on an attorney—these contracts have already been greenlit by them—and skip the awkward PDF swap in the process.

Flow

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 5.39.15 PM

You can make endless email chains things of the past with this intuitive, robust up-and-coming task manager that makes project management actually pleasant, via a handy built-in calendar, actionable chat, and taggable tasks. No matter where your clients or collaborators are located, you can work together seamlessly. Flow integrates a cool social layer into task management (Slack-like chat, Reddit-esque upvoting) that category stalwarts like Basecamp don’t have. Oh, and it’s cheaper than Trello.

Bidsketch

Bidsketch  Proposal Software   Proposal Templates

Creating client proposals doesn’t have to be such a chore. Created by a freelancer, for freelancers (and open to everyone else, too), Bidsketch helps you craft clear, professional-looking proposals from a selection of templates, or else from scratch. By spending less time on proposals, without sacrificing quality, you can pitch more clients—and do so convincingly.

Dropmark

Car Blogs

Dropmark lets you organize all your links, files, and notes into visual collections you can keep private or share with whomever you want. It’s handy for collecting bits of research and inspiration, Pinterest style. But you can also use Dropmark as an image-sharing vehicle, a la Dropbox, for example to show design mockups to clients. You can even use it as a de facto online radio, curating a queue of YouTube videos to play in the background, or else as a full-screen photo slideshow builder or presentation tool. The kicker: Dropmark’s team plan ($5/month per person) lets your crew comment, annotate, and tag each of your collections, all on a custom domain name.

Thingthing Keyboard

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This smartphone keyboard app makes multitasking actually productive, letting you access your images, videos, calendar, files, and chat all from one dock. Working on the fly is all too familiar to freelancers; but it doesn’t have to feel so scatterbrained.

Curator

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 6.01.05 PM

A combo of Pinterest, Evernote, and Instagram, this drag-and-drop curation tool lets you mix text, and images, and live websites from your device or cloud to assemble moodboards and client presentations on-the-go. It’s like Powerpoint or Keynote, but quicker to assemble and prettier. Curator integrates with your Google Drive, Instagram, Flickr, Facebook, and Dropbox accounts so you can import content seamlessly. Naturally, you can also export any presentation as a PDF.

Sketchboard

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What’s design without communication? Sketchboard lets you sketch in real time with collaborators, whether you’re mind-mapping with a remote colleague, whiteboarding with a client on a conference call, or visually brainstorming with a far-flung team. It’s like the dry erase version of Google Docs.

Avoid Humans

Avoid Humans

Need to avoid human contact in order to get work done, but can’t be productive at home? No shame. This web app combs data from Foursquare and Instagram check-ins to gauge how crowded locations near you are, and color-codes them to indicate the level of human presence.

 

Balanced

balanced-history

Make progress towards any goal—meditate every day, write one blog post per week, double your client base in six months—with this pocket personal mentor, which helps you build habits based on your personal specs (think: frequency, level of priority). The app pings you with reminders and tracks your daily progress, letting you visually evaluate how you’re doing. The simple gesture-based UI makes integrating Balanced into your daily routine a breeze.

Allison Stadd

Allison Stadd is a New York-based marketer, freelance blogger, and digital life coach. She’s produced content, crafted social media strategy, and built online and offline communities for everything from small women-owned businesses to global brands. 

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