During my time as a designer I have found many ways to make my life just that little bit easier. In this series of articles on design resources I will share with you the resources I use on a regular basis.

The apps, websites, companies and products featured here are ones that I have personally used in my creative life. Some I use regularly and some are occasional but they all have one thing in common. 

They help me get stuff done!

I hope you find at least one things listed here useful for your own creative endeavours.

Productivity

The items listed here are some of my favourite productivity tools for keeping me organised and on the right track. 

Being self-employed it can sometimes be difficult to remain driven and focussed. These tools aim to relieve a little of that burden.

productivity

milanote.com

Milanote is the latest tool I am using to try and streamline my organisation and processes. It is a tool for organising creative projects into beautiful visual boards. By design, it feels a lot like working on the wall in a creative studio – visual, tactile and sometimes a bit messy – Milanote is a great fit for designers who work in teams remotely.

Key Features:

  • Write notes and to-do lists, upload images and files and save things you find on the web
  • Organise visually using the flexible drag and drop interface.
  • Boards by default are a private place to think, but with a single click you can create a shared workspace for collaboration with your team
  • Milanote is filled with hundreds of built-in templates to help you get started with a variety of different projects, from creating a mood board to writing that perfect creative brief.

I’m hopeful that this new tool could be the perfect solution for keeping a creative person organised!

evernote.com

Great tool for note keeping. You can include typed notes, handwritten notes, images, and to-do lists. Can access your notes across multiple devices and share with others too.

Desktop Task Timer

This is a desktop app that I use to track the time I spend working on projects. You can add colour-coded clients and specify hourly rates for each. The timer tracks how long you work on a project and based on the hourly rate it calculates the value.

Zoom

Great video calling app, especially for business use as you can have multiple users drop in and you can also share your screen, which is really useful for discussing artwork drafts and feedback etc.

Adobe Scan

A quick and easy way to scan and keep track of business purchases. Simply scan the receipt and save as a PDF for adding to your accounting software at a later date.

Adobe Capture

Really useful for transferring paper sketches or handwritten notes to the computer when a scanner is not an option. You can also use it to pick out colours from your surroundings, i.e. décor colour palette.

Kashflow Accounting Software

Online based accountancy software, payable via a monthly subscription. Originally designed by and for designers so it works well for creatives as you can customise your own invoice templates etc. You can automatically have your bank feeds show in the app, send VAT returns to HMRC and produce reports such as Self Assessement.

Apple Calendar

I use this constantly to keep track of my day to day appointments and deadlines.

Dropbox

Great for storing digital files online and offline. Also has the ability to look back through revisions similar to Time Machine. In fact yesterday I accidentally saved a flattened PSD file but in a few steps I was able to reinstate the non-flattened file I had backed up to Dropbox a few days before! Phew.