12 essential smart-working apps for contractors and freelancers

app

Like many millennials, when not at inniAccounts, you’ll find me freelancing. This morning, after having a chat with a colleague about Evernote and how it has become crucial to my way of working, I got to thinking about the apps and tools that help us to work smarter.

More and more applications are being created with the busy professional in mind, allowing us to streamline both our work and life admin so we have more time to focus on our contracts, building our client base and of course freeing up more of our time to enjoy life outside of work. There are thousands of apps and tools to choose from, and it all comes down to personal user preferences, but here are some of our absolute favourites to get you started.

1. Evernote

Evernote is an online workspace that allows you to track projects, make and share files and notes, record audio, clip websites, scan documents, run team meetings and capture your thoughts while on the go. It syncs automatically across all your platforms; so that crucial scribbled note is never left behind in a notepad on your desk. With built-in features to capture handwriting and track your client interactions so you can always remember when you last spoke it’s the perfect organisational hub. I’d personally be completely lost without it.

2. Trello

Trello is, simply put, an online whiteboard that you can share with anyone, anywhere. We use Trello here at inni and many of our client’s benefit from it too. It’s a collaboration tool that allows you to organise your projects into boards so you can clearly see what’s being worked on, who’s working on what and where something is in a process.

3. HMRC

Even HMRC have an app now. While functionality is fairly limited for the time being, you can use it to quickly view your tax code, follow any correspondence, get updates and estimate the tax you to pay.

2. Pinterest

Great for ideas on your next kitchen remodel, but Pinterest is also a fantastic tool for self-development. It’s a great place to find creative inspiration, organisational tips, to keep up with innovations in your field, point you in the direction of new resources and an excellent platform to market yourself.

4. DropBox / Google Drive

Cloud-based file-sharing services that allow you to save any file to the cloud and sync with all your devices at once. I’m an advocator of Google Drive but both are excellent options for ensuring your files are always backed up and easily shareable with your clients.

5. Fantastical 2 / Google Calander

An easy to use calendar and reminder app that lets you quickly create and view your appointments, add and search through events and syncs with services such as Google Drive and iCloud, so you’re always updated.

6. Hootsuite / Buffer

Both provide a platform to manage all of your social media activity in one place – pulling feeds from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and others, scheduling posts and tracking your clients’ activity. Ensure your social media is always up to date and posting at the optimal times even when you’re away from the screen.

7. Slack

Slack’s another app we’ve embraced at inni, and I couldn’t be shouting its praises more. It’s a messaging hub that can be used across multiple devices and platforms. It’s equipped with robust features to allow you to chat one-on-one with your clients or with multiple groups. It lets you easily upload and share files while also integrating with other apps such as Skype.

8. LinkedIn

The professional network of choice is now, unsurprisingly, accessible through an app. Keep in touch with your connections and monitor profile updates whenever and wherever you like. LinkedIn is a great resource for contractors and freelancers to connect, stay updated and find new contracts.

9. Twilight / F.lux

Up working late at night? Guilty of staring at your phone before you head to bed? I recently discovered F.lux (for the desktop) and immediately had to find a version for my phone (Twilight). These two apps adjust your devices display colour according to location and time of day. It’s designed to reduce eye strain and disruption to your sleeping patterns. I’ve found the cooling colour throughout the day helps to wind me down after hours of staring at a screen.

10. Boomerang

More of an add on to your Gmail account. Boomerang lets you take control of when you send and receive email messages; schedule an email to be sent later or set up email reminders. It’s simple and extremely effective.

11. Freedom

We’re all guilty of procrastination sometimes. Freedom gives your productivity a nudge in the right direction by protecting your time and attention from online distraction; i.e. it lets you block the likes of Facebook so you can do more of what you love.

12. And of course… inniAccounts

A bit of shameless self-promotion, but we believe our app is by far one of the best time-savers out there. We’ve designed it to take the hassle out of our client’s daily admin. You can use it to view your company’s finances in real-time where ever you are, quickly record your time, expenses and mileage while on the go and snap a photo of your receipts, so you never have to worry about whats gotten lost in the depths of your wallet.

Can’t stop singing the praises of a new app? Have a tool you’d be entirely lost without? Drop us a line on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn and let us know what we’ve missed from our list.