freeagent laptop

7th June 2015

Being the owner of Blueocto I need to be very organised to keep things rolling and balance family life with work life – especially with a 9 month old crawling around!
Some great websites and apps I have come to rely on over the years, have helped keep things in there place, stay on track, manage clients and more.
So I’m sharing some of my favourites with you today, in no particular order.

I am a bit of an Apple fan-girl so some of the most basic apps, such as Calendar and Reminders are great. I can add an appointment on my phone, and I will get reminders on my phone, tablet or desktop. Very handy for Twitter hashtag hours each week.

calendar app mac

Reminders app is basically like a check list, where I can set up different lists for different topics and you can tick them off as you go. Currently these include a Shopping list, Blueocto list, Blog Post Ideas list, Holiday list (hey you never know!) and Backburner list. If anything pops in my head, I can note it down before it pops back out, and this keeps me on track.

reminders app mac

Gmail has always been my preferred email client of choice. I organise all my incoming emails with Tags, such as ‘money related’, ‘client name/project’, ‘logins’, ‘orders’, so once I’ve dealt with or read that email, it gets filed away instead of staring at me every time I login.
I also use an add-on called Streak, which acts like tagging (you add the email to a Box) but you can add notes too, so I can keep all a projects emails in once place – saves searching the whole of Gmail! It also notes any attachments that appear in the box and you can define the status too. This way I know if a project is with the Client, in Design stage or Invoicing.

google streak

Pocket I use on all my devices too. If you find an article and want to read it later, just copy the URL, open the app and Save. When Sunday morning comes around, I can catch up on those articles over a nice hot brew. Additionally, you can choose to read the articles in a stripped down format, getting rid of website styles and ads, making it clearer to read without distraction. Again, you can use tags so if you ever fancy a day of reading about SEO, then you can easily filter articles read or un-read. They’ve recently started recommending articles based on what you have read which is interesting to see some nuggets you wouldn’t have have across otherwise.

Kodery is a website where you can store code snippets. As web development can involve a lot of repetition and to save your fingers from typing the same section or effect over and over, it is a great place to refer to when you can’t remember all that Javascript! Also if you have built something rather complex and would like to store it for future use, you can separate it out into sections, for example, the CSS, HTML and Javascript. All you need to do is copy and paste. It’s not as fancy as say Codepen with live previews, but I’m used to it *old school*.

buffer screenshot
Buffer I’ve used since their early, buggy days and they’ve come along leaps and bounds. Buffer connects to all your social media accounts and allows you to create posts/status updates and Share them across all accounts without having to login into each one, or schedule them for another time. I can’t always be sat on Twitter or Facebook all day long, and to be able to have updates go out at a time that suits me, or line them up weeks in advance, is a great time saver.

Freeagent is an online invoicing system great for sole traders and small businesses. After trying a few others and even a real accountant (!) I gave Freeagent a trial based on a recommendation from a colleague and never looked back. It is built by freelancers for freelancers. Everything is in there you could possible require; Contacts, Estimates, Time tracking, Invoicing, Banking, Reports… you can even submit your Self Assessment which I’ve done 2 years running, and all the hard work has been done for you. You can even add an accountant to your account if you wish them to keep an eye on things. You can get 10% off the already cheap monthly price of £20 a month, if you subscribe.

trello-boards
Trello I find great when working with a team or large project. It’s a bit like a digital whiteboard with sticky notes. Create a board and create columns with your desired title, then add Cards to that column, click/drag them around to your hearts desire. I know some folk use it to manage their Sales pipeline, but you can use it for anything – they have some great examples on Trello tour. You can comment on Cards, create Checklists, assign people, add labels and more.

I hope some of these resources can help you with your day to day work and personal life – would love to hear some of your feedback too.

About Blueocto

Blueocto is a web design and development company, based in North Tyneside, UK.

We work with sole traders, small and medium-sized businesses.

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