If you work as a freelancer—whether you’re a graphic designer, web developer, accountant, or lawyer—your job may include many tasks that lie outside of your field. Freelance work usually requires you to manage your money, market your service, schedule client meetings, and more.
In fact, freelance work is no different from running a small business. And sometimes, all the unpaid work you have to do can become stressful. Fortunately, with the help of several Chrome extensions, you can manage your time more efficiently. Here are some of the best.
Most full-time employees benefit from the ability to disconnect from emails at the end of the day. But for freelancers, it can be more difficult. When you fail to respond to an email in a timely manner, you may lose a potential customer, which translates to losing money.
If you use Gmail as your primary work email, the Boomerang extension can help you manage your responses more easily. First, you can flag an email in your inbox, and ask Boomerang to return it after a certain amount of time. So if you don’t want to deal with something at the moment, you can remove it to make your inbox less cluttered, without fear of forgetting it.
Second, when composing an email, you can request that it be returned to your inbox if there is no response. This, again, removes the fear that you will forget to follow through. Additionally, you can choose to track email openings, if you want to make sure your messages go through.
Finally, you can even use the extension to schedule meetings. with the Meets button, you can show your customers multiple suggested times, or share your availability, to make it easier for them to choose.
When talking about emails, it is also important to be as professional as possible when writing them. Since each interaction can lead to additional earnings, spelling and grammatical errors should be avoided. This may create the impression that you are responding quickly and have not thought much of your words.
Grammarly is a free spell-checking extension, for anything you write online – from your emails to your Reddit posts. You can also install the Grammarly extension on Google Docs. In addition to basic spelling, it also provides grammatical corrections, such as punctuation and eliminating repetition.
For a freelance content writer, it also has the added benefit of synonym suggestions and a choice between American, British or Australian English.
As mentioned, many freelancers do their work mostly via emails. This is usually done to avoid unnecessary meetings that waste everyone’s time. However, emails can sometimes lead to misunderstandings.
For example, if you’re collaborating with a site developer, and you want to indicate an item that doesn’t work, but you’re not sure how to describe it. In this case, Loom can come in handy. With this extension, you can record your screen as well as your microphone.
It helps you explain exactly what you mean on the page, and provide verbal instructions alongside it. The extension is also useful when you have a list of changes or questions. With it, you can avoid long emails that most people are afraid to open, and would rather be ignored. You can read more about what Loom is and how to use it effectively.
If your freelance business is on an hourly basis, you usually need an efficient way to record the amount of time you worked, and what you did during that time. While some clients will require you to use their system to do so, others are confident that you can track your work.
Of course, one way is to write the start and end time on an Excel sheet, and send it with your invoice. However, by using Clockify Time Tracker, you can simplify the process. First, you need to create a free account. After that, you can download your addon.
It allows you to start the timer and determine exactly what you are working on. You can also specify if this work is billable or not. When you stop the timer, the extension records the activity on the Clockify website. There, you can organize according to projects, clients, and even view reports.
Not only will this help you provide detailed reports to your clients, but it can also help you see how much time you spend on each task, even if you don’t charge by the hour.
Finally, we would like to mention the offline Google Docs. When you work remotely (as freelancers often do), it’s easier to collaborate when you keep all your documents on the cloud. There is no need to email documents back and forth, and multiple people can make changes at the same time.
However, when you use a cloud, like Google Docs, you rely on a good internet connection to do your work. But what happens if one day you decide to work from the beach, from a train on your way to vacation, or from a new coffee shop? Nothing is more frustrating than not being able to access your business documents.
With this extension, you don’t have to go from one place to another to find a better connection. It saves the latest version of documents locally, so you can continue working until internet resumes, saving you valuable time.
Unlike the other extensions on this list, you don’t do anything with these extensions. You just need to install it, then reap the benefits.
Use your time more efficiently
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to extensions. There are many other things available to help you organize your work and increase your productivity.
The key is to take a closer look at your work habits and try to figure out what is taking up the bulk of your time. Then, simply run a Google search to see if there is an extension to help with that.
Plenty of automation tools exist to help freelancers regain more control over their time. Here all the best.
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