The idea of working as a freelancer can be seen as an ongoing effort to maximize productivity. You save the time you spend going to and from your office. You have more flexibility in choosing a compatible schedule, working at your most productive time. These are some clear advantages of freelance work.
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However, are there any ways to make this work even more productive and effective? In reviewing the thousands of new gadgets and devices, all of which promise new productivity levels, the answer is obviously affirmative. In that regard, the present article will attempt to provide an overview of a few items that could increase freelancing efficiency and effectiveness. We will also offer some suggestions on how these conveniences can best be used.
The first gadget holding out the promise of greater productivity is an e-reader. An e-reader is a device that allows reading electronic books on a screen display resembling the look of a real book. Most freelance jobs involve referring to texts all the time. Whether it is writing, designing, programming, or other creative tasks, there is always a need to consult some sort of documentation.
In the absence of such a device, the typical procedure of reading documents consists of opening a program for reading, i.e., a browser, a PDF (portable document format) reader, or any other application that can read the electronic text, and switching back and forth between those two applications the freelancer is working with. Furthermore, using a real book or journal has not been mentioned, which remains the only feasible reading method for many people.
The advantages of e-readers are a bit different from each of the aforementioned typical methods of reading. The overwhelming advantage of e-readers compare is its search function. Any particular word or passage can be searched for, saving untold masses of time flipping pages. Comparing e-readers with reading on a computer, e-readers save time switching back and forth between different applications; the e-reader will always be available for reference.
The next device for analysis is not as narrow in its functions as an e-reader, but at the same time, it’s a little bit more expensive. The device that will be discussed is called the iPad and belongs to the category of tablet PCs. A tablet PC can be described as a personal computer that consists of only a touch screen, with no keyboards or controllers attached.
The iPad is mentioned in this context, being the most popular device in such a category. The number of tasks that can be performed using such a device is enormous, limited only by the number of applications installed. For example, the reading function mentioned regarding e-books is performed on the iPad in a more comfortable, more efficient fashion, on a larger screen, and with more supported formats. There are applications available to enhance productivity in all the functions a freelancer needs. There are also applications that freelancers can use directly, e.g., a virtual drawing board for designers, a text editor for writers.
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Another handy capacity for a freelancer is the ability to utilize the iPad screen as an extension of the main screen of the PC. A typical scenario would involve a freelancer working on a particular application on the main computer while a window of emails or instant messages is opened separately on the iPad. By the way, the iPad can be set up in a portrait or a landscape orientation just beside the main display, so it always remains in the field view of the person using the computer. It seems clear that utilizing such a device will make a freelancer’s work more productive. Considered in this light, the price of such a device can be considered as an investment rather than an expenditure.
According to the statistical data gathered internally with the ResearchWritingCenter.com (based on internal reports and Google Analytics):
- In 2009: the proportion of chat sessions initiated with the support team via handheld devices was at the level of 5.4%
- In 2010: just for the first three quarters of the year, the number jumped up to 20.1%, then to 28.2% and finally up to 32.1%
It is a lot easier to be on the go or multitasking when you have a universal handheld device.
Finally, the last device that will be described is well known to all people; a mobile phone. The subject is not a simple mobile phone, but rather a smartphone, i.e., a phone that possesses simple computer capabilities, such as instant messaging, email client, etc. The benefits of such a device can be seen in cases when a freelancer has to travel between several workplaces during the day while staying connected to clients, managers, etc. The option of taking a laptop might require more effort. Concomitantly, a laptop cannot provide the same mobility that smartphones might provide. In general, all of the devices mentioned above can be seen as useful additions to the freelancer’s armament, sure to help freelancers work more efficiently and productively.