I’m catching up on my reading and I click through on yet another post entitled ‘Seven time-saving apps for freelancers’. I’m sure you know the kind of article I mean: catchy title, promise of a solution to the age-old problem of productivity, a list of shiny new apps you have yet to discover that will give you the gift of time.

But have you stopped and asked exactly what you are hoping to achieve?

Will reading about new apps finally solve your overflowing inbox, lengthy to do list, paperwork on your desk and the desire to just stop and have a cup of tea with the cat in front of the fire?

We all like to believe that clicking through and reading on will resolve our struggles with productivity, time management and the success of our businesses.

No doubt the spirt of the article sure has it right: technology when used wisely can be our friend.

BUT here in lies the problem.

Time after time we spend time reading the articles which list the new tools. And then what do we do?

Save it so we can take time to check out the apps at a later date? But never actually do.

Get out our phone and start browsing the app store?

Download one or more new tools and get them setup?

And then what?

Do they end up helping us?

Or are they cluttering up our phone screens or taking our attention with a new set of notifications?

Have you spent some time thinking through how these tools are going to fit into our workflows?

So however much you love looking at blog posts listing the best apps, the free apps, the essential apps please just stop. Stop.

DO this instead.

Take time to map out your workflows.

Ask yourself which tasks are taking up your time?

What do you wish you could make easier, simplify or automate?

What’s just not working for you?

Maybe, just maybe, you don’t need a new tool to fix your problems.

Look at what you have already. I am sure there are tools you use everyday that you could power up and get working harder for you. Instead of looking for new tools spend some time reading up on features already available to you that you aren’t making the most of.

What if there was a feature that would save you hours a week but you just never discovered it or integrated the tool into your working day for maximum efficiency. This happened to a monthly client of mine when we spent time together looking in detail at how she was using Trello. The very real impact to her is a saving of hours a week. And without reading a single article or introducing any new tools.

Less is more. I challenge you to run your business off the least number of tools, apps and plugins.

So next time you see a blog post suggesting that ‘A quick visit to the app store could be all you need to make freelancing work for you’ you know what to do.

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