Top 10 productivity apps for freelancers

With freelancing on the increase across the UK, and more and more of us working flexibly or from home, there is the eternal niggling question of how to stay productive. Sometimes that sunny spot in the garden is looking a little too tempting or the sofa might be screaming your name, but when you’ve got no boss around other than yourself it can be hard to say no and stay on top of things. Let’s face it when you’re starting down the barrel of a tricky task you’ve already been putting off, every little thing can become a distraction. In fact now would be a perfect time to put that wash on, bake a cake and fix that light switch that’s been broken for the last 18 months.

So to help you get back on track, tear away from the sofa and stay focused, we’ve rounded up our top 10 favourite apps (ok 9 apps and 1 web based programme but its still amazing) to help you stay productive (and earning money!). Let’s face it procrastination is great until you realise you’re not being paid to do it (though imagine if you were…).

  1. Dropbox

    Available on web, iOS or Android - Free up to 2GB of data and business plans available.

    All your files in one place with no hassle, shared easily between devices. What’s not to love?!

  2. Trello

    Available on web, iOS or Android - Free with larger business plans available.

    Sometimes there are just too many ideas in your head and you need to get everything out there to be able to organise them into a coherent plan. Well, enter Trello. Instead of your usual list of tasks, Trello has been designed around a kanban card system. Fabulous for brainstorming, free and easy to move ideas into different groups, it’s ideal for getting a project from idea to completion.

  3. Noisli

    Available on web, iOS or Android - Free online or £1.99 for the app

    Ever found it hard to focus whilst working on a chattery train, or hearing the bin men down the road? Noisli is a brilliant tool that creates ambient background noise, whilst also being a colour generator. There are loads of high-quality sounds to help you focus on work or even to relieve anxiety or relax before going to bed. Just choose the right sound for you and you’re away!

  4. IFTTT

    Available on web only - Free

    Standing for ‘If This Then That’, this helpful automation tool allows you to connect anything to put together the outcome you want. For example, if you get a new Twitter follower, you can invite them to connect on LinkedIn. The options are limitless and it can save you a lot of time.

  5. Google Drive

    Available on web, iOS or Android - Free with extra storage plans available

    Now yes we’ve already mentioned a file storage solution but for co-working on a document, Google Drive and all its associated programmes (Sheets, Documents, Forms etc) is pretty unbeatable. The benefits of being able to see who has done what, when and where are fabulous for a freelancer (no more having a client tell you they’ve edited when they haven’t) and you can access your GDrive anywhere with the Drive app.

  6. Buffer

    Available on web, iOS or Android - Free with expansion plans available

    Social media is a must for many freelancers these days. It’s a fantastic way to build your network and get your name out there. But it can be a major time suck and a brilliant way to lose several hours to procrastination before you know it. Buffer helps you to schedule your posts at the right time for each platform, customise your message and best of all Buffer will also suggest content to you. This can be done via the web interface or from the Suggestions app for iOS.

  7. Toggl

    Available on web, iOS or Android - Free with monthly plans available if needed

    There are lots of jobs where you might need to track your hours for a client and make sure that you’re on target and Toggl let’s you do exactly that. It keeps up with your tasks while measuring how long things take. It even has a mobile app that lets you track while you’re out and about. Not only that but it even follows the pomodorro technique and reminds you to take a 5 minute break every 25 minutes. Now, time to put the kettle on.

  8. Grammarly

    Available on web, iOS or Android - Free for core tools with business plans available

    Spelling and grammar not your strong point? Well this handy little tool has got your back. Grammarly can work instead Microsoft Word, any web app and even in mobile with a custom keyboard. It might not be totally perfect with industry terms (watch out for acronyms in particular) but it’s a brilliant way to avoid those simple mistakes. Pobody’s nerfect after all!

  9. Forest

    Available on Safari extension, iOS or Android - App £1.99

    Distraction and avoiding work doesn’t just happen on your laptop. It happens on your phone too (gets bored of big internet on laptop so looks at what’s happening on the smaller phone internet). The Forest app helps you to avoid that pesky smaller internet by encouraging you to grow a virtual forest. You set a time and your lovely little virtual forest will grow as long as you don’t play with your phone! The better you do the more trees you get, which in turn earns you virtual currency which is used to buy REAL TREES! So not only do you get to help the environment, focus better and get some work done, you even loosen your ties to your phone a bit. Can’t say fairer than that.

  10. Albert

    Available on iOS - Android coming soon!

    We’re your perfect pocket bookkeeper, saving you time and money. Need we say more.

Lucy Watson