I had a minor glitch while working today. Yes, I still work on Sundays. Today I was creating reports for clients, sending invoices, paying contractors, creating task updates. In that order. While I was at the later part of this to-do list for the day, I had a tech problem.
Recently, I have acquired a tool that would help me a bit in researching and gathering blogs for the niches of my clients. The program was installed a week ago and it is only now that I learned it has a problem — it causes crashes and BSOD (Blue Screen of Death). Although it is really helpful, it was a bit expensive. Today, I realized it could even be more expensive if it had killed my little laptop to it’s death.
My laptop showed some sort of popup message and then proceeded to shutdown. The Windows 7 tries to repair it but it proceeded to shutdown. Next few tries, it already showed a blue screen. I kept my cool, turned on our AC, left our fan at the room focused at my little work assistant (I should give my laptop a name!) and I proceeded to boil some canned soup for snack. Thankfully, I was able to start it back up.
At that few moments, when my laptop refused to be resuscitated back to life, I realized I needed to be a cloud surfer — learn to trust tools that I can access online regardless of the device I’m using.
These are the tools that I think is good to spend on as a freelancer. Besides, how can you call yourself a web worker if you don’t even trust web technologies right?
1. Google Docs
I was not a fan of using Google Docs. Found it hard to use and prefer using Microsoft Office apps. But since Kathy Pe gave me an account on JobNotes for our project, little by little, I have transferred most of the docs that I need in the hands of the Mighty G, Big G or the Great Google. Spreadsheets have been used for tracking and entering data. Documents can be made for laying out plans and reports. Forms for data gathering and research. I have created my little processes after setting it up for my team at Third Team Media.
The good thing about this for me is that it’s free, it’s from Google and super reliable for keeping your documents.
I am still in the process of using it for most of my needs and won’t deny though that it takes some getting used to.
Evernote is my little notebook. I keep everything here – contact details, account passwords, ideas, snapshots of dentist’s business card — almost everything I needed to note. Having it online and within reach if very convenient. I have it installed on my laptop, the iPhone and the iPad for quick notes.
The good thing about Evernote is you can also access it online. Even if you don’t have it on your gadgets, you can easily access it on the website itself.
Dropbox syncs your data on all of your work stations. Aside from that, you can also access it on your gadgets so you don’t have an excuse that you don’t have work with you. Really useful tool to ensure that you can have your data anywhere you want it to be.
Right now, I am still using the free version and have gotten free space from referrals and from their recent Dropquest which I enjoyed a lot. But 2 GB of free space is just not enough. Through the years of work, I am pretty sure it would accumulate and would be futile to transfer/backup files every weekend just to keep the usage less than 2 GB. I would eventually need to upgrade it soon to include files and files of client data.
This is really just a quick list of what I use and might invest in soon but for a really long list of apps, you might want to check out this article The Freelancer’s Toolset.
What tools do you use that can help you with accessing important data for work?