As someone who works from home offices, coffee shops, couches, kitchen tables, airports, hotel lobbies, and every where in between, I’ve learned to love these services. In fact, it’s hard to imagine my work life without them.
I could (and likely will) write for days on end about ways to incorporate Google products into your work life to increase efficiency, productivity, communication, and organization. Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Hangouts, Chrome, and Maps…the tools that Google develops are made to work simply, well, and beautifully. Not only that, they seamlessly (naturally) integrate with Android devices, which means taking all of that beautiful simplicity with you when you’re on the go.
Also, it’s worth mentioning, if you’re not using the Business version of these products they’re free! Cheers to that!
If there is one app that I use as often as Google Chrome, it is Spotify. This streaming music app is worth its weight in gold. For $9.99 a month, you get limitless, streaming, ad-free music. Plus, when you have an active subscription, you can opt to download entire playlists to your computer or phone, which lets you listen any time regardless of whether you’re connected to the internet (or cell network).
Not only that, it couldn’t be easier to create your own playlists, listen to your friends’ music (you can even “follow” their playlist and have it added to your music section), or listen to the thousands of public playlists that Spotify or other music gurus put together.
Often, when working, I want to insulate myself from the world, jam to some music, and get work done; Spotify is the tool to help make that happen.
Fresh Books is the ultimate accounting and invoicing tool for a small business, consultant, or contractor. It has great invoicing functions, including future and recurring billing, time tracking that associates your work with appropriate accounts and projects and then automatically generates an invoice, and a simple, clear reporting feature. They also have a nicely designed mobile app — which means running your business on the go is just as easy as doing it from a desk.
For billing, you can link it to Stripe and accept credit cards online. For someone who invoices clients regularly, the chance to email an invoice, receive online payment, and three days later see have the funds automatically wired to your bank account makes this feature incredibly convenient.
As someone who is currently working internationally and can’t receive a check in the mail, this feature makes it a must have. It’s $19.95 a month, which may seem pricey; think about your hourly billing rate, how many hours you’ll save with Fresh Books instead of using Excel, Google Docs, or whatever other system you have, and do the math.
Dropbox is a recent addition to my tool belt, as I realized that the risk of losing files, the annoyance of repeatedly attaching documents to emails, and the, at times, frustrating separation between multiple devices made it worth paying the $99 annual fee ($8.25/month) for 1 TB of space. From there, I installed the software on my phone and my Mac, selected folders to synchronize, and proceeded to leave my computer on for about 24 hours while all of the data was backed up.
Now, I sleep a little better at night knowing that my computer could disappear, break, or spontaneously combust, yet my files are safe. You can also get to files from any device, any time. Well done, Dropbox!
Team Treehouse is the ultimate in online courses for web development, design, web service management, Adobe Suite, and anything else technical. Their courses are clear, fast, effective and have a perfect balance of video, practical exercises, and quizzes.
I’ve learned a ton from Team Treehouse. It’s advanced my skills in leaps and bounds and has saved me plenty of headaches and time. My only wish: that during my busy days, I could commit more time to lessons.
That said, it runs $25 a month and, if you ever get too busy, you can pause your membership and they will pro-rate the difference.
If you shop online, there is a 99% chance that you shop on Amazon.com. Depending on when you need something and the cost of shipping, you may decide to run to the store and pick it up. Enter: Amazon Prime. Free 2-Day shipping for an entire year, along with a number of other benefits like streaming movies and music (they’re looking to compete with Spotify and Netflix).
Once you have Amazon Prime, you’ll find yourself buying just about everything on Amazon (their goal, right?).
Why not take ten minutes during a lunch break to order office essentials, a new book, toy, camera, or any of the other bazillion things that Amazon sells? I consistently surprise myself by how quickly things actually arrive at the door. You place the order, check it off your to do list, and before you know it, you’re opening a box with the things you need. Amazon Prime runs $79/year (which is $6.58/month), but you’ll find yourself saving time, money, and lots of errand running by starting an account.