7 Online Tools I Love To Use
Running a business. Keeping life organised. Staying sane. Stress is a huge part of daily life, whether we want to admit it or not. However, whilst there’s no way of completely removing stress from our lives, there are so many different tools available that can help reduce it. Here are some that I love to use.
What is it?
“Trello is a web-based Kanban-style list-making application”
How do I use it? I use is to organise pretty much every area of my life from blog post planning, project management, keeping important information so that it’s all together. It can be used to:
Brainstorm and organise your thoughts with a brain dumo
Keep yourself up-to-date with where you are with projects
Remind yourself about procedures
Create daily, weekly, monthly, annual to-do lists for work, cleaning, childcare etc.
I’ve covered Trello in a lot more detail in a previous blog post: How a Copywriter uses Trello, if you want to know more.
Stress Relieving Rating: 9/10. Keeping my brain organised can be a chore at times, but Trello helps me so much.
What is it?
“QuickBooks is an accounting software package developed and marketed by Intuit. QuickBooks products are geared mainly toward small and medium-sized businesses and offer on-premises accounting applications as well as cloud-based versions that accept business payments, manage and pay bills, and payroll functions.”
How do I use it? I have some experience doing my own bookkeeping using spreadsheets, from the last time I was freelance, however Quickbooks definitely makes it easier by connecting to both my bank and PayPal accounts. I can also attach any receipts and paperwork to the relevant transactions which is incredibly useful, as well as being able to categorise where money I’ve spent money.
Quickbooks also has an invoice system which I have found helpful for ensuring that side of things is kept together.
Whilst I haven’t completed Self Assessment yet, I can tell that Quickbooks is going to make things a lot easier with everything ready for when I need it.
Stress Relieving Rating: 10/10. From my experience last time I was freelance, bookkeeping and self assessment can be a royal pain in the ass, so I know this is going to be a huge help and it’s not ridiculously expensive, which is also a big stress reliever.
What is it?
“Starling Bank is a digital, mobile-only challenger bank based in the United Kingdom. It focuses on current and business account products. Headquartered in London, Starling Bank is a licensed and regulated bank, founded by former Allied Irish Banks COO, Anne Boden, in January 2014.”
How do I use it? As a freelancer just starting out, I was incredibly intimidated by the other banks. Last time I was self employed, I didn’t actually have a business bank account and I tended to get confused when it came to sorting out my finances, so I was insistent that I definitely wanted one this time. I initially looked at the common high street banks, but they often come with free periods and then account charges in the future that I wasn’t sure I would be able to pay for, because I know this industry can be unpredictable at times.
I actually originally started with another independent bank, however they didn’t offer functionality with Quickbooks, which was incredibly important for obvious reasons.
I really like the mobile app because when money goes in or out of my account, I get an instant alert on my phone.
It also has a “spaces” feature that allows me to organise my money into different categories, such as savings, food money etc and you can move money between them as needed. I found this to be incredibly useful for helping me keep in control of my finances
Stress Relieving Rating: 8/10
What is it?
“Tailwind is best known for its ability to help Pinterest and Instagram users easily schedule their pins and posts. Users can upload images in bulk, drag and drop posts around their calendar, receive hashtag suggestions, and get recommended times to publish based on engagement levels.”
How do I use it? I use it to schedule posts to both my Instagram and Facebook accounts. I have used it for Pinterest, but personally Pinterest doesn’t work for me.
With the free account, I can schedule up to 30 posts which is useful for me as I like to schedule posts up to a month in advance and this tool really helps me to plan everything out. I can also easily look at what posts I have coming up and move anything around if I need to – this has been incredibly useful recently, with the unpredictable of lockdown.
Stress Relieving Rating: 7/10 just because it stops me going on social media too much which is useful when I need to step away from it for a while, as I know that my posts will still go live when I need them to.
What is it?
“Moleskine Timepage is a smartcalendar that makes planning your time and projects smooth and stress-free. It combines your events, maps, contacts and weather into one easy app, working with your existing calendar so you don’t need to setup anything new.”
How do I use it? I use it to pull together different calendars I have. I love how visual the layout of the app is that is made distinctive with colour coding, which I find useful for sectioning out different areas of my life, for example:
Home tasks – regular chores that need completing
Personal tasks – meeting friends and family
Work tasks – client appointments
Health – appointments
The visual layout is incredibly useful for when I need to block out a set amount of time for a specific job.
Stress Relieving Rating: 9/10 because it makes streamlining my life so much easier, and helps me organise different parts of my life.
What is it?
“Spotify is a digital music, podcast, and video streaming service that gives you access to millions of songs and other content from artists all over the world. Basic functions such as playing music are totally free, but you can also choose to upgrade to Spotify Premium.”
How do I use it? Listening to music has always played a big part of my life; it helps me to keep my anxiety in control and keeps me focused.
My problem is that I don’t really like bands or artists exclusively; I tend to like individual songs and I also get really bored of music very quickly. Of course I have favourites that I will always go back to, but I do love to discover new music so I have a main playlist each month of my favourites.
I love how Spotify analyses the music I listen to and offers recommended playlists featuring stuff it thinks I’ll like. Inevitably, I don’t always like what is recommended, but I’ve discovered so much great music that I would never have experienced without Spotify.
Stress Relieving Rating: 7/10 just because it helps with my mental health and keeps me focused.
What is it?
“Calm is a meditation, sleep and relaxation app, available in both the App Store and Google Play store. … Calm creates unique audio content that strengthens mental fitness and tackles some of the biggest mental health challenges of today: stress, anxiety, insomnia, and depression.”
How do I use it? I use Calm for two main purposes; first is to stop me from overthinking which inevitably triggers my anxiety and second is to help me sleep, although for the past three or four months, I’ve actually been sleeping quite well with only the occasional (once every couple of weeks) bout of insomnia, so I’ve been needing that side of things a bit less recently.
Stress Relieving Rating: 7/10
What apps and tools do you use to help make your working life easier?