At oDesk headquarters in Menlo Park, California, every Tuesday is a WFHT. We know that organizing a work load -- let alone a freelance work load -- at home can be a challenge. In our mobile, tech-savvy world, the old paper calendar might not cut it for you anymore. Here are three (free!) online programs to help organize your freelance life:
HiTask. This program is fairly user-friendly and just pretty enough for those of us who want a little color and some fancy icons to help us sort our tasks from our events. You can view your organized life from just about any angle: hourly or by the week, with tags, etc., and an easy drag-and-drop system helps users organize by project as well. HiTask, like the other two programs listed here, will remind you of your tasks a variety of ways (phone, e-mail, home page widget), and in fact, it stands out in that the e-mail reminders contain the task description in the subject line -- a tiny detail that busy people will appreciate. The free version also allows you to share your schedule with several team members. (As with all of these programs, paying a premium offers you more options.)
Todoist. Nope, that's not a typo, there really is no L in the name. This program promises a lot. In fact, their ideas for Gmail integration are to die for. The trouble is, it's easier said than done, and the organization of your tasks on the site itself are tricky and less user-friendly to manage. In other words, potential is right there with Todoist, but for those of us who are perhaps less tech-oriented or just don't have time to learn their system, it's a little too out of reach.
Remember the Milk (beta). This free beta has won the battle of the task management systems at my house. It was, by far, the easiest to figure out (I have very little patience for written instructions); you can e-mail your account new tasks throughout the day and organize them later. It's colorful, it has built in tabs to separate work from personal from school -- if you're a student. It's got all the bells and whistles (widgets, feeds, sync), my only hangup is that the reminders sent to my e-mail account have to be opened up for me to see what the task is. HiTask definitely has the upperhand here, with their "at-a-glance" e-mail reminder system.
The bottom line is that there is free help out there. There is no excuse to lose track of your crazy freelance tasks anymore. Go check these out!
Much like a divorced marriage counselor, my ability to dish out advice is not an indicator of my ability to implement it. However, having worked from home for over a decade, I've learned what works and what just creates more work.