6 productivity tools that make my work more enjoyable (while increasing my productivity)

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Close up image of tablet pc apple cup of coffee on table
If, like many freelancers, you are the CEO, the manager, administrative assistant and creative mind behind your business, you need some support in accomplishing you work.

Over the years, Ive come to rely on a few key productivity tools for project management, note-taking, invoicing and time tracking. Why am I sharing these tools with you now? Ive recently had to reorganize my work processes to make my office fully portable and I thought you might find these tools useful.

Whether you work from home or remotely, these 6 tools will help you to manage your work more efficiently, while saving time. And thats enjoyable!

1. Project management: Trello

I use Trello to manage work projects, much like some people use a whiteboard. While Ive tried a handful of other project management apps, Ive chosen Trello because of its simplicity and adaptability.

With Trello, its possible to organize a board in a way that makes sense to you and that suits the type of work you do. In my case, I organized a board by the day of the week to manage translation projects, and another board by project name for longer projects (such as business development). Being able to create several boards makes it easier to manage the resources associated with each task or project.

Trello is discrete.

  • My whiteboard is not portable and had become a distraction because it reminded me of work even during my leisure hours.
  • I like the fact that Trello disappears when I close it and can be set up to send reminders.

Find out more about Trello.

2. Digital note taking: Evernote

Evernote is great for storing digital articles and resources for future reference; its also where I jot down ideas. Its basically an external storehouse for my ongoing and future projects in translation, art and life.

For example, Ive written style guidelines for localization projects and when I work with a collaborator, I can quickly email these guidelines from Evernote. Its also where I organize ideas for travel and for writing projects.

Find out more about Evernote.

3. Analog note taking: Notebook

Being able to write, doodle and draw helps me to process ideas and to further develop them. Its usually where I record the initial spark for a project.

I gather in one notebook journal entries, field notes, lists and drawings that relate to both my personal and professional life. Other tools are useful to enrich the process, but pen and paper are still creators of magic for me.

Right now, I use a 3.5 by 5.5-inch Moleskine notebook and fine Uni pin permanent marker and I sometimes add watercolors.

4. Invoicing: Quickbooks

Ive been using Quickbooks for almost 10 years. I initially used it as computer software, but Ive just recently switched to the online version. Main features include:

  • Offers multiples currencies, which is essential if you have international clients
  • Helps keep track of business expenses
  • Automatically records when invoices are sent
  • Reminds me when an invoice is due or overdue
  • Easily creates reports to give you an overall or detailed picture of your business

It providees an essential service and has simplified producing a tax reports.

Find out more about Quickbooks.

5. Translation management: Memsource Cloud

Memsource is a user friendly translation platform that allows me to collaborate in real-time. It simplifies the method of organizing projects, delegating, translation and editing by centralizing and streamlining the process.

I started using it when I was looking for a way to collaborate with talented translators and editors who did not own translation software. It has since become one of my favorite collaboration tools.

Find out more about Memsource Cloud.

6. Time management: a timer

“Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”.

Have you noticed this too? If I have a lot of time before me, even a small project can become much longer, thats Parkinsons law. I use a simple digital timer on my computer to help me to remain focused and invoice accurately.

If I see Ive been working for a while without stretching, the timer also serves as a reminder that it is time to get moving.

There you have it, the basic toolkit that helps me pursue the work I enjoy.

Do you have a favorite productivity app?

Comments

  1. Eva

    November 28, 2014

    Hi :) Great article. Thank you for sharing. It seems that there are still many tools to try out. For now, my favorite tool is Kanban Tool (you can find it here: http://kanbantool.com). I like it because it allows me to organize my time and work together with my customers. It’s simple and allows customization. Moreover, I think Kanban Tool’s power-ups are pretty good idea.
    Regards,
    Eva

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