After nearly 3 years of writing and working as a freelancer, I’ve found good tools that keep me productive are essential. I think these tools can be helpful to just about anyone, from writers and artists, to people who work in a more traditional job. Most of these are tools I have used for a time, and then I’ve gone on to modify them to best work for me personally. I’ve written about some of them before, but this is an updated list that I think will be of great use to you!
Momentum is an add-on app for Google Chrome. When you open a new tab on the browser, you are met with the beautiful Momentum Dashboard. This is one of my favorite parts of the app, each picture is stunning and inspiring. Way better than looking at a blank new tab page. It has a place to list your main focus for the day, as well as menus where you can make a to-do list and store your favorite links. For me, Momentum helps me remain focused on projects that matter, when I might be opening a new tab to do something that’s not quite as productive.
Strict Workflow is another add-on for Google Chrome and it is honestly one of my favorites. It uses the Pomodoro Technique, which involves 25-minute working sprints and 5-minute breaks, but it takes it a step further. The little tomato on the upper right-hand part of your browser works as a timer, but it also blocks sites that might distract you while it is ticking away. If you want to look at Facebook during those 25 minutes, you can’t, unless you want to disable the extension or uninstall it. If I am struggling to focus, this app is perfect. It blocks sites that might tempt me away from my work, but I can still access them once the break timer starts. You can also edit the work and break times, according to what works best for you.
RescueTime is an application that runs in the background of your computer and measures the time you spend on different programs and websites. You can log into their website and monitor your productive time, see what distractions you’re spending the most time on, or see if you’re spending way too much time replying to emails. They also send you a weekly email that breaks down all the time you spent on your computer for the week.
I love this app, because I can see exactly how much time I’ve spent writing and working for clients, based on the programs I’ve used and how long I used them for. I can also see if I’m spending too much time playing games or writing emails.
Focus Booster works similarly to Strict Workflow, in that, they both make use of the Pomodoro Technique. Focus Booster is not a free program, but they have a trial you can make use of to see if their program is helpful for you. They also have a “Professional” option, which is about $5 a month and allows you to track your sessions automatically and compile a timesheet. This is great for those of us who work freelance jobs, because you can seamlessly track the time you work on a particular job for a particular client. You can also export a CSV report to use for invoices.
This year I’ve actually purchased the Ink+Volt Planner, but I use a lot of the functions I learned from 2 years of bullet journaling. I loved using this method because it made it so easy to see what I had worked on and what I needed to work on. It’s basically like creating a renewable to do list. You can check out the Bullet Journal website for step by step instructions on how to craft and create your own journal. You can also check out the bulletjournal tag on tumblr to see how other users are creating their journals!
I hope this list helps you! Do you have any awesome apps or methods I should check out? Please comment if you do!