Discover our selection of the best free utilities of time management, to gain productivity when you are freelance.
As a freelancer, you have the choice to charge your customers for time spent or for the package. If you prefer the first option, a tool to accurately track the time you spend working for each client can quickly prove indispensable. Indeed, your days are rarely devoted to a single client: in general you spend several times a day from one client to another, and - in the end - it is not always easy to know precisely the number of hours that you have spent on this or that client.
This is where your time-tracking application comes in! After installation, it allows you to start a small stopwatch every time you start working on a folder. You can see in real time the number of minutes and hours you spend on your client's files. Discreet, the application runs in the background. Be careful however, do not forget to stop the timer to avoid charging the customer your break time;)
Time-tracking applications are numerous. They are usually based on an online service that must be registered. If you are looking for a free and multi-platform solution, take a look at Clockify which offers a web version but also versions on Mac, Linux, Windows and Android and iOS mobile devices. For more advanced (and business-oriented) use, Harvest offers an interesting solution that starts with a free but limited formula.
The freedom that you confer your status of independent can unfortunately result in a disorganized schedule which leads you to live from day to day ... If you do not anticipate the planning of your days, you risk to lose in productivity and especially to lose morale! Do not have clear visibility on your schedule is very destabilizing.
Our first advice is to add to your calendar all the recurring tasks that you tend to leave behind, but which nevertheless punctuate your activity. Book days (or half-days) entitled "Accounting" (at the beginning of each month) or "Prospection" on a fixed day, every week. Once these routines are installed in your diary, no more questions to forget them! Next, plan work schedules for your clients by focusing on half-day (or quarter-day) as a unit of measure to avoid jumping too often from one file to another while remaining effective.
In terms of agenda, the two behemoths are Google Calendar and the Apple Calendar app. Both tools are available on most platforms and allow you to synchronize your schedule on your smartphone. Their main advantage is to offer many features while remaining free. Note that with Google Calendar, you can share your agenda with your customers via a simple link to communicate your availability, while hiding the details of your occupations.
What's more satisfying than ticking your todo list each time you complete a task? Check! It is still necessary to feed it regularly and keep it updated ... A todo list allows you to list in more detail the different steps to be carried out for each of your projects. In this, it is complementary to your agenda, where you only write the outline of the files on which you plan to work.
Your todo list is your best anti-procrastination weapon: with it, you are sure not to forget anything and do not systematically put off your urgent business of the day. It is a short-term productivity tool that serves to punctuate your days.
Mac users are familiar with the Reminders application, installed by default with macOS, but know that there are alternatives (sometimes paying) that offer more advanced functions. Thus, Todoist allows you to categorize your tasks with tags to find them more easily and assign them a priority.