Self-discipline and freelancer are synonymous. Well, kind of. Making the commitment to earning a living outside of the traditional employer-employee mold means that you have to be ready to snap up work opportunities right away and slap your own wrist when off task. Freelancing is all about peaks and valleys, and you must have a game plan for handling the busy times or times when you would rather be lollygagging.
That’s where technology can come to the rescue. Modern web browsers, particularly Google Chrome, offer “extensions,” or browser plug-ins, that offer unparalleled techniques for efficient time management. Google Chrome users have a major leg up here, because the Chrome Store a wide variety of extensions to help improve your productivity as a freelance graphic designer. Here are seven of the very best:
This handy little extension uses Chrome to collect data and pump out statistics and cool info-graphics (pie charts, anyone?) to help freelancers understand how much time they’re spending browsing any given web page. There’s built-in support for multiple languages. Seeing how much time is spent on work-related web pages versus social media and gaming sites can be a real eye-opener for people who are self-employed.
Time Management: People work best when they’re not exhausted, but staring at a computer screen for hours on end is taxing both mentally and physically.
In fact, your brain uses up more glucose than any other bodily activity, and after about 60-90 minutes of hard-core work, your levels of glucose are virtually depleted. Both your eyes and mind need a break every 60-90 minutes, and Timout can help by setting up automatic breaks at preset intervals.
After the results come in from timeStats, Chrome users understand where they’re wasting time—and freelancers who need to focus their time on money-generating activity can look for solutions. Website Blocker allows users to select certain websites to block sites. The plugin also allows users to write custom pop-up warning messages if the blocked sites are being overused. It even lets you decide if they want to block certain sites at certain times of the day—so lingering over the local newspaper or Facebook won’t be a temptation anymore.
Visit Website Blocker
Every freelancer has had the experience of trying to concentrate while other minute to-dos pop up, resulting in an avalanche of hastily-scrawled Post-It notes piled next to the computer. Google Tasks can help by providing a central place to write down and check off tasks.
Visit Google Tasks
Graphic design freelancers who are not only tasked with the mission to create beautiful designs, but also serve as copywriters, can be overwhelmed and distracted by the volume of options offered in full-featured word processing software. Write Space offers a bare-bones, distraction-free environment for writing. Documents can be polished later, in word processors.
Visit Write Space
This crafty extension lets Gmail users put their email on hold when they’re busy or don’t want to deal with it. An auto-responder feature lets the people who are sending email know that their browser is temporarily paused.
Visit Inbox Pause
Read Later Fast
This extension allows users to save web pages of interest for later reading, either online or offline. It enables freelancers to close down unnecessary tabs and keep free space available for work purposes on the bookmark bar.
Visit Read Later Fast
Years ago, good time management required things like expensive organizers, Rolodexes, and index cards. Today, freelancers who are already invested in the Google ecosystem can leverage Chrome’s extensions to their advantage and develop a system that helps them maximize productivity and minimize time waste.