When I started freelancing, I found many tasks to be time-consuming because I was creating my own spreadsheets and forms.  For instance, I was tracking and logging my hours by creating an Excel spreadsheet.  And then based on the terms of my contract I would submit my invoices to my clients.  I created the invoices using a template in Word.  On administrative tasks alone, I was losing time and money by trying to do everything.  Once I realized that there had to be a better way to handle these tasks, I started to read what other writers were using, and I started posting questions on forums on how to handle tasks like tracking billable hours and creating invoices.  And the responses came pouring from other writers.

These days I use Harvest instead of Excel and Word to track my hours and create my invoices.  Harvest is an all-inclusive application that helps me to keep track of my invoices and follow-up on late payments.  It’s definitely saved me a lot of time.  And if that weren’t enough, I’m also able to label my tasks for a given assignment and run reports to determine the distribution of the time I spend doing certain things.  When I get writing assignments, I track the time I spend researching topics, interviewing sources and writing the article.

If you’re interested in ways to improve your productivity as a writer, I’ve found a great list of software and equipment that was compiled by a medical writer.  The article includes items that you have to pay for.  But there are also some free options that will help you save money, especially if you’re just starting out.  So, check it out!

Useful software and equipment

And if you’d like to share what you use to help improve your productivity, I’d love to hear about it.