8 Simple Online Time Management Tools for Freelancers
One of the biggest challenges for freelancers is managing our time — if we don’t do it well, we won’t survive as freelancers.
Time management is about developing good work habits, and using time management tools that work without getting in the way.
As freelancers, we also want tools that can be used and accessed from anywhere — multiple locations, while traveling, and on the go with our mobile devices if necessary. So today we’ll look at a few online tools that are simple, easy to use, and effective — helping you manage your time and tasks without too much hassle.
This list actually contains alternatives for each type of time-management tool, so you have options to check out.
Calendar: Google Calendar or 30 Boxes. A calendar is one of the cornerstones of any time, management program, of course, but it’s best to have one that’s simple and easy to use. You don’t want to have to wait to enter an appointment or to see what you have on tap. I’m a fan of GCal, with its multiple calendars (one for freelance work, one for work, one for personal, one for family?), its email reminders, and quick add extensions, but 30 Boxes is another favorite and is a great alternative. I suggest you only use your calendar for things that have to be done on a certain date or time — not for your daily to-do list.
To-do list: Vitalist or Todoist. There are dozens of to-do list managers online, and I’m not going to do a comprehensive comparison. But Vitalist is one of my favorites, because it is so intuitive and easy to use. Todoist is a great choice if you prefer things in a hierarchical, outline-type format.
Project management: Backpack or Basecamp. You can use a to-do list to manage the tasks of a project, of course, but if you need to collaborate, or store extensive notes or files, you’ll need something a little better. Backpack is the simplest way to do that, because it’s so versatile. You can share pages, have checklists or other lists for the project’s task, set up pages for each project, add files and notes and images, even send yourself reminders and do “white papers” for collaboration. If your project needs are more complicated, you’ll want to give Basecamp a try.
Contact management: Big Contacts or High Rise. Every freelancer has many contacts to manage, of course, but how is a contact manager a time-management tool? Well, Big Contacts and High Rise (from the same makers of Basecamp and Backpack) go beyond just storing phone numbers, addresses and email addresses. They also can store notes for each contact, phone calls made, meetings held, and tasks that need to be done. If you do extensive work with some of your contacts, these tools will be useful. I personally have been using Big Contacts, but High Rise is very slick, and simple to use.