Tools to supercharge work productivity
Freelancing is becoming a popular trend in the modern work environment. A lot of people go into freelance expecting smooth sailing. The dream is to choose their projects and do what they love when they want to. Unshackled from bureaucratic corporations. That’s the whole point of freelancing right? Well true, but in a lot of ways, it’s like starting your own business. This brings a raft of challenges and nobody prepares you for the multitude of admin tasks ahead. If not careful, this can hinder you from focusing on what you love and consequently, interfere with your productivity.
Keeping organized, staying on top of deadlines, bringing new clients, creating contracts, and chasing invoices to ensure that you get paid on time are just some of the things that you have to do by yourself. Fortunately, there’s a wide range of digital tools to help you complete these important tasks with ease. I work as a software engineer in fintech and here are some game-changers for me when it comes to performance, dedication, and smart use of work time.
Bonsai: Contracts and Invoicing
Bonsai is an all-in-one tool for digital freelancers and self-employed professionals to manage their work and money. Bonsai has everything you need, from proposals and contracts to invoicing and online payments to client CRM and forms to accounting and tax tools. Since everything is in one app, you can save time and money and stay even more organized.
One thing I really like with Bonsai is the seamless integration with contracts and invoices. With this, clients are sent invoices automatically with regular payment reminders. You can connect this with a payment processor of your choice such as stripe, PayPal and their platform will automatically flag an invoice as paid and stop the reminders.
Some other benefits I’ve got from Bonsai are:
- Keeping organized by keeping all my projects in one place.
- Time-saving as I can utilize their beautiful and intuitive proposal maker.
- Built a professional image due to the seamless and easy integration between bonsai apps.
If this sounds appealing to you, they have a 14-day free trial and two other plans. Workflow for $19 per month which should suffice for most individuals and workflow plus for $29 per month. Should you decide to give Bonsai a trial, sign up using my referral link to support my work.
Wise, formerly Transferwise, is an international money transfer service. Wise has been a true game-changer in cross-border money transfer and I cannot recommend it enough. Wise essentially allows you to have a bank account in your client’s country and they can easily send money to that account as they normally would to any other local account. Once you have these funds in your wise account, you can easily convert that balance to your local currency and deposit it into your local bank account. Their exchange rate(a mid-market rate) is often better than the bank’s exchange rate so you get your funds at a premium 😃.
Receiving funds is free as of now so you should receive the entire amount in your invoices. They make money by taking a small percentage of the transaction from the sender.
Using my invite link to join wise, you’ll get a free transfer of up to 500 GBP! How awesome is that?
Grammarly: Checking writing errors
It should come as no surprise that in business, you need impeccable communication skills. Having well-crafted sentences with minimal errors can do wonders for your brand. No matter how much of a pro you are, we all make mistakes and that’s where Grammarly comes in. I use this tool to scan my writing for grammatical errors and tonal inference; emails, blog posts. Almost everything! They have a browser extension compatible with almost all popular browsers. The best thing is that their free plan is enough for most people!
Reclaim: Time management and scheduling
Reclaim is a smart calendar assistant that uses flexible time blocking for your calendar to make time for your important priorities, routines and tasks. If you’re competing with 50–60% of your calendar being taken up by meetings, or if you’re constantly having to context switch from one thing to another throughout the day, Reclaim is for you.
With reclaim, I can easily sync my work and personal calendar to avoid overbookings. One thing I really use this for is my workout time and lunch breaks. With reclaim, I can set these as high priority so anyone trying to book my time within those time blocks gets instantly notified that they’d have to reschedule. Their AI is smart enough to auto-schedule my low priority tasks to a later free time-block should anyone book a high priority meeting within a time-block allocated a less priority task. I'll get a notification of this re-scheduling. Here’s a more detailed article of their value proposition.
Reclaim is entirely free for now and will continue being so forever. However, they’ll add some premium packages (pro and team) starting March 28th 2022.
Using my invite link to register to reclaim will greatly help support this blog.
Asana: project management
I’ve been using Asana for a long time to manage my projects. Asana helps me organize and visualize any sort of project that I may be working on.
While I may not take many projects at a time, it always helps to have structure and I find their kanban boards super appealing and intuitive.
They have a basic plan which is free and suited for individuals getting started with project management. Check out their pricing page for the premium and business plan fees.
Last but not least, it’s important to note that these tools will not necessarily make your business successful as a solo entrepreneur. The most important thing I’ve found is to have a solid reputation, network, work ethic and quality work. These tools enhance your work and bring somewhat of a work-life balance. You can always do without them.
Know any other cool apps I don’t know about? Let me know in the comments and I’ll include them in this list.