Having the right tools to deal with everything smoothly is critical, and will make your life easier.
Our modern lives are hyperconnected. There is so much to manage! Having the right tools to deal with everything smoothly is critical, and will make your life easier.
Creative types in particular are notorious for avoiding ‘admin’ because we want to focus on the stuff we love. I totally get it. Who wants to prepare invoices when you can finish the next artwork or design! But let me say this from personal experience: Dear creative friends, if you learn to embrace the right workflow, systems and tools like these below, you will have loads more time for doing the projects you love.
Here are tools I use on a regular basis that make my life easier:
- Trello. This is an absolute gem, at the heart of my personal and team organisation each day. I’m a Trello junkie. In the last few years I’ve converted many people to using it. Think of it as a super easy, super flexible free visual tool that is perfect for managing both individual and collaborative projects. I have a whole series of Trello boards that I use for managing personal goals, client projects, internal and team projects, idea development and loads more. Get started and thank me later.
- Slack. This is how my team & I communicate. It replaces email by combining instant messaging, file sharing and has loads of cool functionality that will get you addicted in no time. I have channels setup for each different client project and for bonus points for integrating perfectly with Trello.
- Evernote. An amazingly versatile tool that many people are already using. I have thousands of notes tagged and sorted. Beyond the basic use for research, writing, web clipping and storing ideas, I also use it extensively for sharing notebooks with team members or colleagues on certain projects. Try listening to this podcast for some great power tips.
- Harvest. This is how my team & I track our time and project budgets. For any service business or creative business, you’ll need accurate, easy timesheet management for all projects, even for internal projects. I’ve tried several over the years and Harvest is by far the best and easiest to use. It gives me a live financial snapshot of everything we’re working on and helps me predict any project issues well before they become problems. If you’re a solo operator you can use it for invoicing, or if you’re like me with a team, it can integrate nicely with Xero, see below.
- Xero. Ahh finally accounting and bookkeeping software that doesn’t suck. When I switched a couple of years ago, it was the first time I’ve ever been excited and happy about doing the books. I can easily manage and track my transactions daily, monitor my accounts and Paypal in multiple currencies. If you’re in business, embrace daily bookkeeping or forever be stressed by cashflow. Switch to Xero and don’t look back to the dark ages.
- Buffer. If you use social media for business, especially with a team, you need this. Buffer helps you schedule and manage content and posts across multiple platforms easily. I get my virtual assistant to load up around 50 posts at a time which I then edit & approve for automatically posting over several weeks. I still make personal posts each day direct to social media, but this way I know it’s always active. I also use Hootsuite sometimes to check out interaction and engagement.
What are you favourite tools and software?