If you're a freelancer—whether a graphic designer, a web developer, an accountant, or a lawyer—your work may include many tasks that are outside your field. Freelancing usually forces you to manage your finances, market your service, schedule client meetings, and more.
In fact, being a freelancer is not too different from running a small business. And sometimes, all the unpaid work you have to take on can get overwhelming. Luckily, with the help of several Chrome extensions, you can manage your time more efficiently. Here are some of the best.
1. Boomerang for Gmail
Most full-time employees have the benefit of being able to disconnect from emails at the end of the day. For freelancers, however, it can be much harder. When you fail to answer an email in a timely matter, you may lose a potential client, which translates to you losing money.
If you use Gmail as your main work email, the Boomerang extension can help you manage your replies with more ease. First, you can mark an email in your inbox, and ask for Boomerang to return it after a certain amount of time. So if you don’t want to deal with something right now, you can remove it to make your inbox less cluttered, without the fear that you’ll forget about it.
Second, when you compose an email, you can ask for it to return to your inbox if there’s no reply. This, again, removes the fear that you’ll forget to follow up. Additionally, you can choose to track email opens, if you want to ensure your messages are going through.
Finally, you can even use the extension to schedule meetings. With the Meet button, you can offer your clients a few suggested times, or share your availability, to make it easier for them to choose.
Speaking of emails, it’s also important to be as professional as possible when you write them. As every interaction can result in additional revenue, you should avoid typos and grammatical errors. These may create the impression that you rushed to reply and didn’t put that much thought into your words.
Grammarly is a free spell-check extension, for anything that you write online—from your emails to your Reddit posts. You can also install the Grammarly extension on your Google Docs. In addition to the basic spell check, it also offers grammatical corrections, such as punctuation, and removing redundancy.
For the freelance content writer, it also has the added benefit of synonym suggestions and the choice between American, British, or Australian English.
As mentioned, many freelancers conduct their work mostly over emails. This is usually done to avoid unnecessary meetings that waste everybody’s time. However, emails can sometimes create misunderstandings.
For instance, if you collaborate with a website developer, and want to point out an element 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 point out exactly what you mean on a 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 lengthy emails that most people dread opening, and prefer to ignore. You can read more about what Loom is and how to use it effectively.
4. Clockify Time Tracker
If your freelance work is on an hourly basis, you usually need an effective way to log how much time you’ve worked, and what you did during that time. While some clients will ask you to use their system to do that, others trust that you can keep track of your work.
Of course, one way is to write your start and finish time on an Excel sheet, and submit that along with your invoice. However, with Clockify Time Tracker, you can simplify the process. First, you need to create a free account. Then, you can download your extension.
It lets you start a timer, and specify exactly what you are working on. You can also specify if this work is billable or not. When you stop the timer, the extension logs the activity on the Clockify website. There, you can organize according to projects, clients, and even see reports.
Not only will this help you provide detailed reports to your clients, but it can also help you figure out how much time you spend on each task, even if you don’t charge by the hour.
5. Google Docs Offline
Finally, we’d like to mention Google Docs Offline. When you work remotely (as freelancers often do), it’s easier to collaborate when you keep all of your documents on the cloud. There’s no need for emailing documents back and forth, and several people can make changes at the same time.
However, when you use a cloud, such as Google Docs, you depend on a good internet connection to do your work. But what happens if you decide one day to work from the beach, from a train on your way to a holiday, or from a new coffee shop? Nothing is more frustrating than not being able to access your work documents.
With this extension, however, you won’t have to move from one place to the other, to find a better connection. It saves the latest version of the documents locally, so you can continue working until the internet resumes, which saves you valuable time.
Unlike other extensions on this list, you don’t actually do anything with this one. You just need to install it, and 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 more available out there, to help you organize your work and maximize your productivity.
The key is to take a close look at your work habits and try to figure out what’s taking up the bulk of your time. Then, just run a Google search to see if there’s an extension to help with that.