How I've improved my freelancer workflow and productivity
I’ve done some business workflow ‘spring cleaning’ here recently. I’ve improved my invoicing, business process and task management and, as a result, I’m feeling more productive and better organised. Here’s what I’ve done.
Look at the tools you use
I took some time out to think about what I was doing day-to-day and there were two things I wasn’t completely happy with. Invoicing and getting “real work” done. As a result, I realised that I needed to change the systems I use.
With that in mind I tried several different apps and online tools and found two that have really helped me with my freelancer business processes.
Invoicing and business process
Firstly, I’ve changed my invoicing system and moved invoicing and business expense management to FreeAgent. It’s a great system and it’s already saved me time so that I can concentrate on work rather than freelance business admin tasks.
Previously, I was using a combination of spreadsheets and another online invoicing system that I liked. However, an upgrade to that system wasn’t to my liking and multiple spreadsheets meant that I was entering data in several places. At the end of the business year, I would hand over the spreadsheets to my accountant and they would create the accounts. Now, I enter the data in one place and I’ve given my accountant access to FreeAgent so that they can export/download my data whenever they need it.
In addition, I like the FreeAgent UI which makes it easy to use and, dare I say it, enjoyable!
That brings me on to my second workflow app – the To Do list.
I’ve used many To Do List apps and have recently gone back to Teux Deux. I don’t know why I left it but returning has made me feel a lot more productive. I’ve tried to analyse what Teux Deux is doing to cause that and I’ve come to the conclusion that the main reason is because, on my desktop PC, I can see everything on a single screen. I don’t need to open tasks to see sub-tasks or open projects to add more items. This means I have a great overview and can change or add tasks very easily.
I also like the timeline flow of Teux Deux and the way that it handles recurring tasks is brilliant! Just enter “every month” or “every year” when you add a To Do item and the app does the rest.
I became bogged down in admin tasks a few months back and wasn’t ‘feeling the love’ for running a freelance business. Since then I’ve definitely improved workflow and productivity after I assessed my usage and changed my business process. If there’s a lesson in this for me, it’s that I need to review things more often.
FreeAgent and Teux Deux are very well designed and thought out – so they are a joy to use for me. That alone is worth it!
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