Taking up writing as a freelancer is a blessing and a curse. You can take your laptop anywhere, and manage your own timetable; but conversely you’ll be staring at your computer screen for the majority of your waking hours. Tired workers make mistakes, and mistakes could lose you crucial gigs.
With this harsh truth in mind, it’s worth acquainting yourself with these four must-have browser plugins to really get the most out of your time glued to your computer screen. The more productive you are, the more time you’ll have for taking on extra work, or indeed having a well-earned rest.
Spell-checkers are ten-a-penny, but the free Grammarly plugin is incredibly intuitive, providing the ability to instantly fix over 250 types of typographical errors. The useful advice is presented in a sleek and non-intrusive way – no irritating talking paperclip in sight.
Popular word processing software usually gives you the option of being able to bring synonyms up when the perfect word is on the tip of your tongue. Unfortunately, when writing on blogging platforms like WordPress or Tumblr, you don’t have that luxury, but the quick-and-easy Synonym 4 Right Click plugin hooks you up, so just like Donald Trump, you too can always have “the best words”.
StayFocusd is a productivity extension that restricts how long you can spend on time-wasting websites. Once your allowed time has been used up, the sites you have blocked will be inaccessible for the rest of the day.
You still get your fix, but this way you are encouraged to use your recreation time wisely, rather than getting carried away and letting it bleed into the hours you’re supposed to be using more responsibly.
Perhaps a no-brainer, but we’d be remiss to leave it out. Google’s free online service allows you to create documents in their online word processor (no need for expensive software), save them in the cloud, then access them from anywhere.
Major benefits include the ability to share documents with other people for quick, real-time feedback, and an automatic save feature to prevent you from elbow-dropping your computer when it crashes and you’ve forgotten to hit Ctrl+S.
We’ve waxed lyrical a few times about the Pomodoro technique, a popular life hack used worldwide for boosting productivity and ensuring regular breaks are taken. Pomodoro generally entails spending 25 minutes on the task in hand, taking a three to five minute break, then continuing for a full hour before taking a longer 15-30 minute break, and so forth.
This Pomodoro app (one of many similar ones to choose from) gives you an on-screen timer to ensure you stick to your allotted times.
Watching a new episode of your favourite TV drama after work can be a great reward for your day’s efforts. But the threat of having the plots ruined by some online party pooper could lead a freelance writer to take shortcuts, or worse – slack off to embark on a Netflix binge when they’re supposed to be working!
If only someone would invent an app that warned you when spoilers were about to pop up on your screen, so you could get more done. Well, it’s not a pipedream, folks, Unspoiler is here. What a time to be alive!
If you’re an aspiring freelance writer and looking for help getting the ball rolling, we’d recommend downloading our brand new jargon-free guide How to become a Freelance Writer. It’s full of handy tips and hacks on finding clients, getting paid on time, and maintaining a thriving business.