Remote work isn't for everyone as it requires a different skillset. Those who opt to work remotely tend to have exceptional organizational skills, above-average time management capabilities and also highly self-motivated. In order to meet deadlines, dedicate the appropriate amount of time to each client and also balance a personal life, staying organized is essential.
There are a plethora of tools available both online and off, but which are actually worth the hype?
LMDES is a small team that also works remotely. We use a variety of platforms to keep our projects on deadline, communicate with clients, and every other minute detail that running a business entails. Although I won't say that we've tried them all, I will say that we've tried enough to know what works for us! Part of the beauty is trial and error, but if we can save you a few steps, we happily will!
Here are a few things to look for in an organizational tool or resource:
Firstly, do you have a budget that will allow for spending on said app or tool? Is the fee monthly, or annual? Is there a comparable free version?
Usability + Support
Is it easy to use, or will you need to spend time training both yourself and your team on how to use the platform? If you have questions or doubts, can they be easily resolved by reaching out to their support team?
You're probably going to be spending many hours using said app or website, so the question is: do you like looking at it? Are the colors appealing to you? Is it modern? Minimalist? Whatever it is that you value most? Design alone can have a huge effect on your experience!
Is it a one size fits all type of site, or can you personalize it according to your needs? Can you changethe font, or create custom notifications, add team members and change privacy filters? These are all things to keep in mind.
Tools to Stay Organized
Team Communication: Slack
Slack is a dynamic and easy-to-use platform for teams, groups and companies to communicate via personalized channels. You can tag people, organize your discussions with hashtags, star messages for later, create tasks, attach documents or photos and also send private messages. There is a free option as well as a paid subscription, however, the free option works wonders! Are you on morethan one Slack team? Not a problem! You can easily switch from one team to another without logging back in! Enable desktop notifications via their Slack app!
Project Management: Asana
We spent years using Trello until we realized, it's not very pretty, which is important to us! So, we made a switch and haven't looked back since! Why do we love Asana? Let us count the ways! It has a gorgeous interface that os very customizable. it's free, there's an accompanying mobile app, you can snooze notification, and there are different ways to visualize tasks from lists to boards to calendars.
Canva is an extremely straight-forward design website that even the most design-challeneged can use! There are pre-loaded templates for a variety of projects ranging from social media posts to CV to Twitter banner to poster! Simply decide what you need to make, select the template, and proceed to customize with a variety of fonts, backgrounds, images and photos. When you're finished, download your design and save in the corresponding folder on your computer. There's also a Canva app for iPads and tablets! Create eye-catching and professional looking designs with Canva, and thank us later!
Social Media Scheduling: Hootsuite
Hootsuite isn't the prettiest, nor is it the trendiest, but it is however reliable and straightforward and it has a mobile app that works wonderfully well! Ain't NOBODY got time to post on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram manually 3-5 times a day. Facebook now has a built-in scheduling feature which is very handy!When you batch your posts you free up your time to focus on more big picture things. You may not opt to use Hootsuite, and that's fine, but please batch your posts!
The Mother of Organization: Google
Google makes my heart smile. And Google knows this, as Google knows almost everything. (No, seriously. Have you read the terms and conditions? You probably owe them your first born... but whatevs) We use Google for everything! Google Drive keeps us updated with its real-time edits and automatic saving, we host meetings and chats on Google Hangouts, and sync our (lives) schedules using Google Calendar. We create curated maps for clients with Google Maps. Google Presentations is great for quick Powerpoints and Google Spreadsheets are way nicer than your vintage Excel document! When in doubt: Google. It's so much more than YouTube and email!
Email Marketing: Mailchimp
Let's be honest, email marketing isn't necessarily the most riveting aspect of the job, however, having an active and large client email list is crucial. If you want to create engaging and dynamic newsletter campaigns without knowing how to code or having an extremely high level of design skills, Mailchimp is the way to go. You can schedule newsletters to go out in advance, optimize the time you deliver, track opens and measurethe success of individual campaigns! It's also completely free for those with less than 2k subscribers! There's also a pay-as-you-go option for one-time larger campaigns!
Accounts and Billing: PayPal or Smartbooks
Time Management and Tracking: Toggl
Analytics: Just a friendly reminder: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (and of course Google aka bae) all have quite thorough analytics! Track what works and what doesn't with these features!
Working remotely can be the best thing, or it can be the worst! You can earn money while designing on a beach in Chang Mai or host virtual meeting while sipping sangria in the Plaza Mayor! The possibilities are endless, but if you want to keep your money coming in, and your sanity, organization is the first and only step!
Are you a digital nomad? How do you stay on top of all your work? Comment below and tell us!
Danni, Community + Content Director at Las Morenas de España, is a twenty-something, Chicago native currently residing in Madrid. Lover of language, words, and travel, she's managed to combine all of her passions through her work. In her free time, you can find her exploring the winding streets of Madrid, hunting down good flight deals, planning her next adventure and writing & researching for LMDES. Danni loves spicy food, natural hair, music and of course, her wonderful husband. If you need to find her, she’s the girl with huge hair and her face buried in her Kindle.