11 Freelance Experts Share Their Favorite Tools for Productivity - Use them for 2018!

productivity tools

I am so excited to deliver this post to you! I recently sent a question to some of my favorite  influencers across the web and it asked:

What is the number one organizational tool that keeps you productive as a freelance creative/writer entrepreneur?

I expected to receive a lot of the same answers.

Boy, was I wrong!

I will write a little intro about how I met these 11 fabulous women and then give you a little insight on their tools.

But first, let’s start with me.

I have a few. I have my Passion Planner that keeps me on track for my goals and my action plans. I also use Google Keep as a little note jot place. I frequent voice texting/emailing myself when I am on a commute somewhere (thanks Kids and work lol). I recently became a fan of Tailwind for my Pinterest posts. Overall, I am still a huge fan of Google Drive, even though I have tried to be converted many times to Dropbox, Asana, and other management tools.



Brittany Hyatt
Launch your Daydream | Home Sweet Hyatt.

First we have, Brittany Hyatt. I met Brittany back in 1987, back when I was 2.5 years old. She is my BABY sister! She has built her creative business after my nephew was born and I couldn’t be more proud as a big sis. If you need any design for your website (she did mine), you can contact her through her business, Home Sweet Hyatt. She recently collaborated with her friend Kelsey (they became online BFFs) to provide branding and website services to their clients. Check out their site: Launch your Daydream, it’s pretty sweet


Britt says for organization...

I use Trello to keep myself on task! I set up each section as a day of the week and plan out my week my placing cards in to each day. I always go in at least the day before, so I can start each day fresh and not question what needs to be done.
— Brittany Hyatt


Britt Hyatt is the co-founder + website designer at Launch Your Daydream -- a branding + website design agency. Britt, Kelsey, and their Dream Team work closely with creative business owners to provide them with custom, personalized branding services for their business. www.launchyourdaydream.com


Terra Dawn

Next up, we have Terra from uncorkyourdork.com. I am a subscriber to Terra’s email list and love the content and live video help she provides! She is an introvert (like many of us) and provides tips and tricks for bloggers, like me!

Terra answers by saying,

My ALL TIME favorite tool is a platform called Airtable.  If I’m going to write a course, create a content calendar, plan out an ebook...or anything, really, I use this platform!!  Basically, it’s a spreadsheet system that allows you to organize data, long text or any downloadable inside the cloud.  Airtable has found a way to make the “spreadsheet” easy and fun to use.  Oh!!  And did I mention it’s completely free??  I’ve helped so many bloggers get hooked on this tool, it’s ridiculous.  :D They’ve developed a drag and drop system that allows you to store everything from text to images to PDF’s to Videos...AND makes it easy to re-download onto your hard drive when you need them!  You can even convert any cell with a date into a calendar system!  AND...you can share the system with anyone who has the link (exactly like Google Drive)!  

I’ve been blogging for almost 15 years, and it’s honestly, one of the most robust, organizational systems I’ve ever used!
— Terra Dawn

Airtable.com is the site for you to explore!

Terra Dawn
Blogger and Badass, Uncork Your Dork
terradawn@uncorkyourdork.com || http://www.uncorkyourdork.com

Gina Horkey

Up next we have, Gina Horkey from https://horkeyhandbook.com. I have been a part of Gina’s Mompreneur mastermind group when I first was getting serious about WriteRN. She has been right along side with, helping me develop my business ideas, and helping me offer more services.

Gina agrees with me by saying:

Google Drive is still my standby, even though Daryn is trying to get me to adopt a real project management tool (we’re currently using Basecamp). Our editorial calendar is in Google Sheets and I collaborate with clients using Google Docs, since it can be updated in real-time and shared so easily. Gotta <3 free Google tools!
— Gina Horkey

Gina Horkey is a married, millennial mama to two precocious kiddos from Minnesota. Additionally, she’s the founder of Horkey HandBook, a website geared towards helping others find or become a kickass virtual assistant (including writers!). Gina’s background includes making a living as a professional writer, an online business marketing consultant and a decade of experience in the financial services industry.

Carol Bush
Healthcare Marketing Network | The Social Nurse

One of my favorite people, Carol Bush, is next. Carol and I met a little over a year ago when we had the same vision to help healthcare writers write for money! She is the founder of the Healthcare Marketing Network and is a huge mentor for me with my business. Carol always looks to me for some organizational tips, so I threw the ball in her court this time and asked what she loves to be organized

I’m always trying to find just the right mix for me!  Right now, I rely heavily on:

Batching my work & I have set times blocked on my calendar for social media, LinkedIn leads, Client follow ups, editing and meetings...for example.

The next thing is using a timer on my phone to work in 30 min sections of time...then take a stretch break and come back.

A great tool I am learning to use is Kanban Flow.  I can convert emails to action items.  That way, I’m in and out of email fast & spend my time focusing on my workflow.

Another tip:  I’m a early morning person...so I do my thinking work really early...4-7am.  Find the best time for you!
— Carol Bush


Carol is the Content Strategist, Writing Coach and President at The Social Nurse. She is a founder of The Healthcare Marketing Network, which is an online community created to support freelance healthcare writers of all disciplines & experience levels. Carol is an editorial advisor for Oncology Nursing News. She has over 25 years of experience as an Oncology Nurse & Clinical Consultant. Carol is a graduate of the Mayo Clinic Social Media Residency.

Carrie Smith Nicholson

Another person I adore in the blogging/freelance world is Carrie Smith Nicholson, owner of carefulcents.com. She is always posting round up posts, like this one, on her blog. Her tips for organization are:

The number one tool I use to stay productive while balancing multiple clients and projects is Asana! It’s a free task management system where I keep tons of information about my daily to-dos, clients, due dates, and tasks. I create templates, checklists, and processes for all of my business projects so I can easily hand them off to team members or other contractors if I get too busy. I’m also able to manage my household and personal tasks. I love it! Plus, it syncs to Google Calendar so it allows me to monitor how long certain tasks take, so I don’t miss important reminders but can still increase productivity.
— Carrie Smith Nicholson


Carrie Smith Nicholson is a systems strategist, financial organization expert, and business blogger. After working as a small business accountant for over a decade she paid off all her debt, and quit her job to be her own boss. During this time she started her business at carefulcents.com, where she helps entrepreneurs scale without the stress!


Ariel Rule
Freelance Freedom Fighter

Ariel Rule, is a freelancin momma like myself who was part of the mastermind group I was in. She is an influencer of mind because I think a lot like her. I like her style for systems and organization, as well as planning.

She mentions for organization

Right now, I’m using the Full Focus Journal in tandem with my GetPlan.co calendar. I’ve tried a lot of systems that help me set goals and stay on track, but nothing seemed to mesh well with my the way my brain works. However, these two have become my go-to system for goal setting, planning, execution and keeping up with the little day to day things.

We all have goals that we want to hit in a year, but in order to actually reach them, we work better and more effectively in 90-day sprints. What I like about the Full Focus Planner is it can cover any goal you want. Whether it’s a business, family or health goal, you can plan for it.

There is an emphasis made in the planner for rest, reflection and working on important relationships. It’s literally the life planner you have been looking for but didn’t know existed. As the days and weeks happen, I make notes of other important tasks that come up.

Those can be small notes like emailing someone, keeping track of a possible client and even house stuff like switching the laundry, paying a bill, etc.

All those little things go into To-Dos in my GetPlan calendar and scheduled for certain days.

This way, I have a physical calendar that keeps me on track and a digital one where my entire life happens. So now, very few things fall through the cracks.
— Ariel Rule

Maureen Bonatch
CharmedType | MaureenBonatch  

Maureen Bonatch is a nurse who I have helped coach into freelance writing. She is an amazing writer, who has accomplished a lot in her nursing career. I am her writing coach, but I learn from all my so-called ‘students’. I admire her being a freelance writer and fiction writer, and always learn new ideas from her. For organizational tools she wrote

As both a fiction and a freelance writer I’m often pulled in many directions. But in order to grow, an active presence on social media is essential. It’s also time consuming. They expression, It takes a village, also applies to building an online presence. Networking with others can produce many positive benefits. In order to increase my overall exposure and reduce the amount to time I spend sharing blog posts for myself and others I find Triberr.com very helpful. My blog posts go into the ‘stream’ of the tribes I’ve joined to be shared and I can go in and easily schedule sharing other’s posts. Another tool I use is Hootsuite. Even with the free version I can schedule up to 30 tweets and space them out over the coming weeks. Hootsuite can also be used to schedule other social media platforms and has paid versions that offer additional options.
— Maureen Bonatch

Maureen Bonatch MSN, RN is a fiction author and a freelance healthcare writer specializing in leadership, careers, and mental health and wellness. She is the owner of CharmedType.com and MaureenBonatch.com  

Jessica Rockowitz

Jessica Rockowitz is a nurse writer, and also a contributor to my upcoming book.  She mentions a unique twist to organization, which ties in with time management.

Having designated pockets of time dedicated solely to work. I work around my kids because I purposely wanted the flexibility to be home. Sometimes that can get tricky, so I make sure that at least a certain amount of hours each week, I’m solely dedicated to work time without any distractions.
— Jessica Rockowitz

Jessica is an OB/GYN Nurse Educator, originally from Boston but currently in Austin, TX. Though she still loves all things pregnancy and birth, she left nursing in 2015 to start a full-time freelance writing and digital marketing career — and has never looked back! 

Carrie Madormo

Carrie Madormo, from http://carriemadormo.com,  is someone who I met this past year and I have watched grow! She has built her freelance writing business into different niches of business. She puts health and family first, which helps keep the stress of finding the next writing client to a minimum. She has incorporated a health and wellness company into her business, but how can she keep herself organized? She loves her planner.

The tool that has made the biggest difference for me is The Simplified Planner from Emily Ley. I love sitting down every Sunday afternoon to plan out my week and month with it. Each page allows you to plan your day by the hour, so I can first schedule in family time, a workout, meditation, then see where I have space for my work. It has seriously helped me stop wasting time and see how exactly what is most important when I have to physically write it down. I actually just purchased a second one to use as an editorial calendar for my blog and coaching business.
— Carrie Madormo

Carrie is a nurse turned health writer and coach. She launched her medical writing career after becoming a mother and desperately wanting to be home with her family. Carrie's writing has been featured in Working Mother Magazine, Livestrong, and The List. She is passionate about supporting fellow mothers in discovering and going for their big dreams.

Annie Donahue

Annie Donahue, is a member of our Mastermind group, and a fellow ISFJ (a what?). We think on the same level, but this woman is amazing beyond words! She incorporates her freelance writing business as so much more. She teaches, she is an author, a journalist, you name it. She also has 4 kiddos to raise! Phew! How does she stay organized?

My number one organizational tool is the At-A-Glance Administrator-style monthly calendar. While I do love all of my online tools, I can’t function without a handwritten calendar. I have to be able to flip open the page and see it all on paper. I use one calendar to plan out my work schedule and deadlines. I have a separate, identical calendar for family appointments. On my work calendar I block out times for writing for specific clients and try to batch all of my similar tasks for the month. (Batching could be an entire post on its own.) The one thing I don’t put on the calendar is my daily schedule. I use the Cozi Calendar app and website to plot out my hour-by-hour routine.
— Annie Donahue


Annie Beth Donahue is a business content strategist that specializes in healthcare and agriculture. She is also a journalist, children's book author, teacher, and nonprofit founder. Annie Beth lives with her husband Brad and their four children, near Charlotte, North Carolina.

Vicky Warren

Vicky Warren, from www.vickywarrenwriting.com,  is one of my fellow freelance writing friends and part of our Mastermind Group. Vicky and I often collaborate ideas on an app called Voxer. When I say, “collaborate ideas”, I am also referring to, asking questions to one another about motherhood, careers, and our husbands. Haha. We have created a girl friendship that I never thought could happen virtually. We use Voxer because we are 5 hours time difference and it works for us. She is a lot like me with organization in the world of a good ol pen and paper.

One of my top tools that keeps me productive is my handy paper pad and pen. I utilize about a million electronic apps for this and that, but at the end of the day (or beginning of the morning) the things I get done are the tasks I hand write on my paper pad. There is just something about putting pen, pencil, sharpie (whatever) to paper that gives me the extra push to get er’ done.
— Vicky Warren

Vicky Warren - Once a nurse, now a Mompreneur, offering social media and writing services to solopreneurs.


What have we missed? What keeps you organized day in and day out? Please share in the comments!