Freelancing or working from home means freedom and the ability to decide how you want to work, when you want to work, and where to work from. You can start working from bed by checking emails, get things done as you get coffee in the local café, and do the heavy lifting in a nearby co-working space.
With this much freedom and choice also comes many distractions, cyber threats, and other negative things that wouldn’t normally affect someone working a nine to five. Freelancers need a lot of discipline and the right set of tools to stay productive. It is said that a freelancer’s work revolves around the tools he/she uses every day.
With the above in mind, the following tools have been proven to enhance freelancer work and life significantly; try them out and see what works for you:
1. RescueTime- Time Management and Focus
Dealing with distractions and feeling like you can do more if you change your habits? Used by many freelancers, RescueTime is the perfect tool for those who want to improve their habits and stay productive. This focus tool allows freelancers to log their activity and analyse it in addition to helping them focus on the task at hand.
RescueTime is kind of a gold standard as far as time management, and focus assistance is concerned. It’s used by the biggest companies out there, including The New York Times, Wired WSJ, and many more.
2. A VPN - Personal Security and Privacy
In this day and age, working with a VPN is becoming a necessity. If you are like most freelancers, you probably use public WIFI hotspots a lot and handle e-payments on a daily basis. To avoid common cyberattacks such as MITMs on public WIFI, you can encrypt your data by downloading a VPN.
A good VPN encrypts all incoming and going data from your devices and passes it through a private channel. This means hackers sitting on a network, and other data-harvesting apps across the internet won’t access or make sense of your data.
3. Collaborate with Others - Basecamp, Trello, Slack
If you find yourself needing to work with a team or collaborate, then you’ll need a dedicated collaboration and organisation app as opposed to traditional email. Luckily there are many such tools out there, some of them free while others are paid for. Examples of useful collaboration tools you should know about include:
- GitHub- For Devs
- Monday and
Some of the tools here (such as Slack) are geared towards communication, while others come with full collaboration and project management features. You might find yourself using one or two concurrently as a freelancer.
Ok, Reddit isn’t a tool per se, but it’s a worthy addition to a freelancer’s toolset. Reddit is a must-have tool for freelancers because of the wealth of information and discussions taking place on the platform. If you haven’t been using Reddit as a freelancer, you should start using it today.
To start you off, check out freelancing subreddits such as /r/freelance, /r/entrepreneur, and /r/startups. You will not only enjoy the discussions but also build your reputation and land some gigs on there too!
5. Take and Organise Notes - Evernote and Notion
Taking notes is an everyday activity for most freelancers or those who work from home. Using a dedicated note-taking app like Evernote or Notion enhances your note-taking experience. It helps you keep every bit of information organised.
All in all, the phrase “a freelancer is as good as his/her toolset” is pretty accurate. Get the right tools that work for you, and you will enjoy working freely. As you’ve probably seen, there are several alternatives for each category of tools, so you’ll probably find one that suits all your needs.