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Running a business means you wear a lot of different hats. It is very easy to get unorganized or lost in the world of being your only accountant, sales person, customer support worker, and the top employee getting the work done. Thankfully their are tools available to everyone to help with staying organized and on top of you weekly tasks.
Throughout the years I have tried and tested a number of apps and programs for email, organization, to-do lists, invoicing, accounting, time tracking, mileage tracking, etc. What I found is that there are a lot to choose from and it is almost impossible to find the perfect app. Although, I have been quite content with a select few. Below are the apps that I have been using for the last year or more and have found them to be essential in my everyday routine.
At the beginning of 2018 I made a big switch from Mac to PC and I needed to find a way to still keep my computers in sync with each other as well as both my iPhone and iPad. Thankfully Gmail, Calendar, Maps and Drive allowed me to do so.
Gmail I use for the obvious reason...sending and receiving emails. The Gmail app is super easy to use and does exactly what I need it to do. It also connects seamlessly with Google Calendar which was a essential component I needed when switching from Apple Mail and Calendar. Although, I am still not onboard with the online interface of Gmail. I am not a fan of the lay out and often find myself just getting frustrated.
Google Drive has been apart of my arsenal of apps for as long as I can remember. Google Drive is a great file sharing and backup service. I have used a couple other file sharing apps in the past but I have always felt the most comfortable and confident with Google Drive. Drive makes sharing and delivering files and products with my clients super easy, and quick. Both the app and the online interface connect seamlessly and are very easy to use.
Google Calendar is an app that I started using at the same time I started using the Gmail app. I have been using a digital calendar for the last 2 ½ years to help schedule my day-to-day. Both the Google Calendar and Gmail Apps integrate seamlessly together for calendar invites and reminder notifications. Both the Calendar app and online interface are super easy to use.
As a very directionally challenged person, Google Maps is my co-pilot whenever I am driving. It automatically loads where I need to go for my next meeting or shoot and in my opinion gets me where I need to go the fastest. Although, Waze is a close second for navigation next to Google Maps.
Wave Accounting is the best FREE invoicing and accounting program that I have ever tried. Wave has everything you need to track all your expenses, bills, invoices, taxes, and anything that requires money with your business. Wave allows you to very easily send invoices, receive your payments, and track your spending. It also has 2 apps which allows you to send invoices, and track your receipts. I recommend Wave to almost everyone I talk to and have yet to have any bad experiences with Wave….other than it shows me when I spend too much money!
You still track your mileage with a log book? It is time to change that. Mile IQ has been my best friend for mileage tracking for the past year. The super simplistic interface of the app allows you to easily track your business and personal drives. The monthly report makes it super easy to submit your mileage to your boss, accountant, or whoever you need to submit your mileage too. Mile IQ may cost approx. $60/year, but it is one of the best $60 I spend all year...It probably will be for you too!
For years, on certain jobs and projects I am required to track my time. I have used Hours Tracker since 2015 and just this past year upgraded to the paid version which allows me to track more that one job at a time. Hours tracker allows you to clock-in when you start working, and clock-out when your finished. It allows you to send daily, weekly or monthly reports to yourself or the person you need to submit your hours to. And, one of my favourite parts about the app it reminds you to clock out after a certain amount of time to save you from forgetting to clock out until a week later.
Trello, I left until last because it is the one app I use the least and I very often forget about it. But, I think it is one of the best free team organization apps available. Often times on bigger projects I can have a couple team members working remotely with me and Trello comes in very handy. Trello allows you to assign tasks to team mates, set completion dates, upload completed projects, comment and discuss projects with team mates, and the list goes on. Although, I am married to my notes book and always create my weekly to-dos in my book, I use trello for team project management. I also use Trello to track my yearly goals.
All in all, these are just a few great apps you can use to make your day-to-day easier. These may not be the right ones for you, but they work great for me!