The difference between a house and a home is how much you love living there. LaunchPad explores the innovative technologies that help you care for your space more effectively.
Working from home seems like a dream. When you’re a freelancer, the entire day is yours. Every minute is spent just how you want, without anyone telling you what to do or where to be, all while wrapped up in the comfort of your home (and probably pajamas).
But soon, reality sets in. Never changing out of pajamas quickly becomes less glamorous, and most find that it isn’t easy to manage every minute of their own time and remain as productive as they once were in an office.
That’s where technology comes in. With the aid of a few apps and other gadgets, people working from home can keep their entire days just as organized as their office-going counterparts.
Snoozing is the not-so-silent killer of a day of freelancing. It seems like that’s where the luxury lies, but if you snooze for hours and start the day late, your masterfully devised productivity schedule goes out the window before it even starts. To nip the urge in the bud, kick the day off with an alarm “clock” like Ruggie, a Kickstarter project that requires you to actually get out of bed and put your feet on the floor to turn it off.
Once you’re out of bed, the next step is breakfast — the faster you can get coffee into your system, the better. With the Behmor Connected Brewer, all you have to do is tell Alexa to brew your coffee, and it does all of the work for you. Because it calibrates for everything from altitude to temperature, it just might be the best cup of coffee you’ve ever had, too.
Once you’ve whipped up food to go along with your brew, get your brain going. You can catch up on all of the interesting articles you come across but don’t have time to read with Pocket, an app that lets you save everything interesting on the internet in one place. Simply put, it is a great way to store inspiration and research.
Now it’s time for catching up on all of the emails, messages, and posts that have happened since you logged off yesterday. However, everyone knows how dangerous opening social media can be, which is why browser extensions like SelfControl are your best friend. Once you’ve hit your predetermined amount of time on a given site, SelfControl blocks that site for the amount of time you’ve selected in order to keep you from falling down the Internet rabbit hole when you’re supposed to be working.
Now that all the distracting websites are blocked for the next few hours, it’s time to get to work. One of the trickiest parts of managing your own time is tracking that time to report to clients. The Toggl app has your back. Toggl’s basic and advanced options let you track your time across devices and pick the features best suited to your specific work.
One of the advantages of freelancing or working from home is taking some time off in the afternoons to have lunch with friends and run errands while the lines are low everywhere, since most people are still at the office. For those days when you’ve simply got too much to do, though, Quiqup outsources all of that running around by getting a Quiqee (that’s what they call their drivers) to do it for you.
Freelancing is all about balancing working in your business with working on your business. When it’s time to take care of business (literally), Proposify makes whipping up proposals for new business quick and easy with professional-looking results. And if any of the errands you ran earlier in the day resulted in business expenses, tracking them as you go takes just a few minutes with the help of apps like Dollarbird and keeps you from pulling out all of your hair when tax time rolls around.
Back to the grind. A few more hours of work, but the end is in sight. And then, just as you’re hitting your afternoon groove, your cat starts rubbing up against your ankles, or your dog is dancing around his food dish. Because the last thing you need is an interruption in the home stretch, timed automatic pet feeders like the ones offered by PetSafe will keep your furry loved ones fed and happy — and you on track.
Every day that you survive as a freelancer is worth celebrating. Pour yourself a good old glass of whiskey or wine — on the really rough days, maybe both — and enjoy the websites you’ve been blocking since morning.
Cinnamon Janzer is a freelance journalist and content writer based in Minneapolis. You can read more about her at www.cinnamon-janzer.com.