Organization and sanity just don’t get enough credit these days. Look at any online entrepreneur and you might see the virtual equivalent of a chicken with its head cut off if that person doesn’t have systems in place and time management down pat.
Anyone else sick of reading blog posts about apps that turn Facebook off so it’s not a distraction? I’m not saying that those apps aren’t addressing a serious problem, but I hated that kind of censorship and blocking in my day job, so I won’t be sharing anything like that here. I prefer to focus on positive reinforcement.
To-Do List Apps/Project Management Software for Freelancers
In this post, I’ll tell you about my favorite applications and tools. They just may help you keep yourself sane as a freelance writer. I know they do the trick for me!
TeuxDeux (Basic): See Your Day/Week at a Glance
TeuxDeux allows to simply enter your tasks and track them. For $24/year, you can get their pro version. The tasks from yesterday automatically roll over from the day before and it’s a great way to see your week at a glance.
You won’t be able to dig as deeply as a piece of project management software since you can’t change the format much, but this is a great app that allows you to see how many projects you’ve got on tap.
I’ve tried a lot of basic to-do apps, but this one has stuck with me over the past four years. It’s a great place to throw up a reminder to work on someone’s content when I’m on a phone call and/or when I land a new project while at the grocery store, for example.
I love that it just automatically rolls over my unfinished tasks quietly rather than sending me one of those annoying “20 tasks overdue” emails that make me feel like a total failure.
If you like getting a visual on bigger projects, or if you’re managing someone’s content campaign, for example, tools like Trello and Asana can help you make sense of milestones and be able to locate materials in one location.
This is really helpful if you have any other writers or virtual assistants under you, too. The free versions of both these apps should certainly suit your needs, although they do have paid versions.
Pomodoro Timer (Basic): Block Your Time
You can even use an egg timer if you want, or a countdown clock on your phone or computer. The Pomorodo technique recommends working in focused 25 minute blocks with a 5 minute break at the end (or a 50 minute block with a 10 minute break.)
Focus @Will (Advanced): Train Your Brain to Focus
Focus@ Will: I’ve been using this website for four months now, and it’s amazing. I choose the “alpha chill” channel and use the timer in Pomodoro blocks. I’ve now trained my brain that when hearing this kind of music, I need to be focusing. You can even track how focused you were during a particular session and change channels to listen to classical music, piano, water sounds, and more.
This app has a free trial, so see if it works for you. Personally, I find it worth the less than $12/month it costs to stay focused during my writing time blocks.
“Mistake-Proof Your Writing” Tools
Copyscape (Basic): Avoid the Duplicate Content Penalty
It’s all too easy to accidentally copy something or write a phrase that’s similar to another site. This is really true if you’re writing in a saturated niche where the general keywords, blog titles, or quotes might accidentally get flagged as being duplicate content.
Just to be sure, it’s always a good idea to run your content through a program like Copyscape to ensure it’s completely original. Another benefit? You can also discover whether or not anyone else has stolen your personal content! At $.05/search, this is definitely worth it.
The minimum order is $10 but the credits last for a year. I used this all the time when I had a team of writers under me and I had to verify originality.
Grammarly (Advanced): Easily Fix Grammar Mistakes
Grammarly has a great free plugin, but their paid version tells you what you’re doing wrong on a more evolved level (imagine your English teacher standing over you with a red pen). The plugin actually turns your text red when you make a grammar mistake.
This browser plugin is amazing, even if you consider yourself a great writer. It helps you catch those small but devastating mistakes like missing an s in “assess” so that you don’t have to backtrack on embarrassing slips in email with your clients.
This tool is amazing when you’re writing in digital platforms. Spot your errors quickly in email and WordPress, among other places. For the grammar nerd in you, it even tells you the proper English term for your boo-boo.
Anyone else out there have to remind themselves what a “gerund” is?
The premium version even has a plagiarism checker in it, so you can omit your Copyscape work! For non-web grammar checks, there’s a premium add-in for Microsoft products, too.
If This, Then That (Advanced): The “Do Any and Everything” Tool
This tool can set up recipes to do just about anything. For example, it emails me a weekly Trello card to review my team’s tasks and sends me an email if there’s a thunderstorm coming the next morning, too.
The possibilities are endless for your writing business if you want certain events to trigger others.
What Tools Make Your Freelance Writing Life Easier?
What tools are you using to make life easier and increase your freelance writing income these days?
Next Post: Next time, I’ll be writing about how to create a seamless client intake process to make sure you’re on the same page regarding content creation.
About the Author: Laura Pennington is a former inner city teacher and corporate employee who fled the grind in 2012 to work at home. Since then, she’s focused on SEO content for law firms and insurance agencies, writing everything from ebooks to blogs to video scripts. She now blogs at www.sixfigurewritingsecrets.com.
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Thanks to your help and inspiration, I have more work than I know what to do with and have successfully landed a number of clients that give me recurring work. Thanks again for your advice!
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