We all know the joke about New Year’s resolutions: we make the same ones every time around. That may be just as well for the plans to cut down on carbs and learn French: the trip to Paris is but a speck on the horizon, and a year without pasta is hardly a year worth celebrating.
But as a creative freelancer, you probably have a resolution or two that really needs to be kept. Organizing your time better, for instance, or improving the way you collaborate with others. To help with the important things, we rounded up ten organization apps, each of a different type, that promise real boons for your freelance career in 2015. Naturally, our selections are examples of good app design and branding as well.
1. Awesome Note (iOS)
There are a lot of “all-in-one organizer apps” like this one, which bring together to-do lists, notes and calendars. What sets one apart from the next is the user-friendliness of its design. Bright, easy-to-use and highly customizable, Awesome Note is at the top of the game.
2. Evernote (iOS)
Evernote is, as its name suggests, focused in particular on note taking—from quick Post-it-style reminders to lengthy research, graphs and presentation material, this exceptionally clean, sleek app is a must-have companion. It also has features that facilitate collaboration.
3. Ifttt (iOS)
So you have your lists and your notes, detailing all of the things you need to get done. Now, how about an app that does those things for you? To the extent that this is possible, Ifttt (standing for “if this, then that”) achieves it.
The app allows you to automate Internet-based tasks like saving newly uploaded Facebook photos to the cloud, or adjusting notifications based on your geographic location. You can also set up automated updates and reminders, like having the next day’s weather forecast sent to you each night.
4. Timeful (iOS)
Do you ever feel like there’s way more you want to accomplish in a day, than there is time to do it? Yep, so does just about everyone else in the 21st century. Fortunately, that means there is most certainly an app for that—many, in fact.
We especially like Timeful, the “intelligent time assistant.” You plug in your must-do and want-to-do items, and the app comes up with the most full and efficient schedule possible.
5. 30/30 (iOS)
This app tackles time management at a more micro level. Beginning with the premise, no doubt correct, that most of the day’s tasks fall in the 5 – 30 minute range, it breaks the day into manageable half-hour chunks. We have to say, it sounds pretty motivating.
This gorgeous app, which won a Webby last year for best visual design, syncs together all email platforms across all devices, repackaging all of your mail in a conversation-based, easy-to-read format.
More important, though, is the fact that its search function is supposed to outstrip other email providers. Anyone who has spent hours digging through an inbox in search of a client’s budget quote knows just how important a good search algorithm can be.
Alternatively, you can start cutting down on email altogether. Equally slick apps like Asana are designed to help you collaborate with others on a multi-function interface that coordinates tasks and conversations. You can keep track of everyone’s work schedule in one place, assign due dates and propose ideas, among other things.
Trello is one of our go-to project management tools here at 99designs. Perfect for solo organization or collaboration with a large team, it organizes projects by allowing you to dividing them into a series of columns and “cards,” each of which can be souped up to contain a progress meter, due date, and comment area. Honestly we don’t know where we’d be without it.
Looking to improve your networking skills in 2015? You better believe that organization plays a role here, too. For one, consider what happens to all the business cards you receive: odds are they’re sitting in a drawer somewhere, and you’d be hard pressed to find the contact you’re looking for, should you need to. Enter FullContact Card Reader, an app that scans business cards and converts the information into an iPhone contact. Pretty nifty.
We end on a subject that is not the most glamorous, but is quite important nonetheless: personal budgeting. Most young creatives have to stick to a tight budget from time to time, and there are dozens of apps out there to help you do it.
The problem is, most of them can only pull spending data from credit or debit card usage, leaving your cash spending a gaping mystery. Shoeboxed helps out by performing a function similar to the previous app: it scans your paper receipts, digitizes the information and uses it to track your expenses.