The gig economy has undoubtedly made its mark on the global labor market, as it continues to enjoy an unbridled rise here and abroad. In fact, Small Business Trends reveals that a whopping one in three Americans right now, is a freelancer — a staggering number that is expected to increase in the next few years. This rapid growth has sparked a unique demand for niche tools for independent contractors, who are often lone wolves when it comes to managing their projects and their time. So whether you're just starting out in your freelance career or looking for ways to optimize your workflow, below are some tried-and-tested Android apps that can help you work effectively in today's bustling gig economy.
For time management
Freelancers know that one of the toughest things to do is to manage time properly, especially when there is an influx of clients. Thankfully, there are a ton of different apps that can help you do this.
A popular method among freelancers is the Pomodoro technique, which divides tasks into 25-minute chunks with 5-minute breaks in between. While in the 25-minute zone, you are not allowed to do anything else besides one designated task. Apps like Focus Booster and Brain Focus feature this technique, and can even help you track how many ‘Pomodoros’ it takes to accomplish each activity. A freelancer writing for NBC News details how the Pomodoro app has changed her approach to work, and claims that her newfound intentionality and self-discipline allows her to accomplish more in less time.
For cloud storage
Things can get out of hand when you’re managing all your data on your own. Creative freelancers who deal with thousands of design files understand this frustrating problem. This is why it’s so crucial to rely on apps like Dropbox and Google Drive to store and find files when you need them, wherever you are.
These applications allow you to sync files across devices and are easy to use with their drag-and-drop features. Whether you’re presenting to a client via your laptop, tablet, or phone, you can be confident because you know the file you need is in the same folder across all your gadgets.
For continuous learning
The key to staying ahead in any industry is to always be updated with the latest developments in your field. Freelancers who work in the tech industry know this all too well, and educational apps can help you do this with bite-sized portions of your day.
Apps like Enki, Coding Quiz, and Programming Hub are designed for both beginners trying to learn a language and experts who are honing their skills. They make learning enjoyable through interactive games and easy-to-absorb daily lessons. These can be especially useful for learning and maintaining coding knowledge in key languages, as Yoss points out the high demand for freelance Java developers right now. As one of the most popular and versatile programming languages in use today, Java is a skill that top tech companies will pay premium rates for. With the apps listed above, learning Java is fun and accessible for freelancers looking to advance their coding skills.
For financial management
Apps like Invoicely and Wave Accounting make it easy for freelancers to transact with clients in a professional manner. For a minimal fee, you’ll be able to provide receipts as well as track where your money comes from and goes on a daily basis. While these are convenient for those who are not mathematically inclined, users should be aware of the dangers of finance apps, too.
Online security expert James Lyne warns users against a new wave of cybercriminals who commit financial crimes focused on the consumer end, rather than on financial institutions. With that in mind, be careful about any finance apps that ask for your personal data, and remember that your private information is never fully safe online.
Being a freelancer is tough, but you don’t have to do it alone. Try out some of the above apps and see how they can change the way you work. You might just find yourself wondering how you ever managed your time, money, and productivity without them!
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November 30 2014