Administrative Professional Appreciation Day is the perfect time to spotlight the top free or nearly free apps and programs that increase productivity, simplify the workspace and make organization a breeze. As a freelance writer and virtual assistant who juggles many responsibilities, I appreciate top-quality tools that make my myriad of daily tasks flow smoother.
Here is a list of the top 10 free and frugal “must haves”. If you’re looking for improvements when it comes to being organized and efficient, but don’t have the budget for pricey solutions, try these fantastic resources first.
24ME is a free personal assistant app that features a calendar, to-do list and notes. You can connect it to your utilities, banks, and social networks. It will automatically tell you what you need to do ahead of time and can take care of several tasks from within the app. Set alerts and you’ll be reminded about all of your important responsibilities, from birthdays to bills, in advance.
Evernote This app is a favorite among freelancers for a reason. It allows you to clip information from web pages, make annotations, save pdf files, search images for text and create notes in custom notebooks. Evernote makes research and information gathering a breeze. The free version allows you to sync 2 devices so you can access your information on the go. Premium plans are available if you need more functionality.
LibreOffice This free and open source office software is a fantastic, fully compatible alternative to Microsoft Office Suite. You can create documents for Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint formats and even export your work as a PDF. LibreOffice is also extendable with numerous free templates and extensions, ensuring you can design the office suite that works for you.
Google Drive If you need a secure space to store backups of your files, Google Drive offers a generous 15GB of free storage. If you need more space you can get up to 100GB for only 1.99 per month. The beauty of Google drive is how easy it is to access from any smartphone, tablet or computer. With backup and sync you can automatically backup files from your computer, camera or SD cards to the cloud.
Teamwork Projects Keep all of your teams, contacts and projects in one place with this outstanding project management software. The free option offers 2 projects, 5 members and basic task management. The tiered pricing is very reasonable with a variety of levels and price ranges for larger projects. I love the ability to manage a project and collaborate with others all in one place. They even offer a free 30 day trial of the premium features to see if it’s the right fit for you.
Dashlane I love this password manager. You can use the free version on one device, or pay 3.33 per month and use it across an unlimited number of devices. It helps you to autofill forms and has very advanced safety features to keep your passwords secure. This is one tool I definitely can’t live without. If you have too many passwords to remember or want the ability to use unique passwords everywhere – this is the tool for you. It gives you the option to create your own passwords or have them randomly generated. Manage all of your passwords from your phone, tablet, laptop and PC with a simple click.
Canva If you develop content and want a drag and drop simple solution to create amazing social media images and presentations this is a great tool. There are free and premium options available, but even the free templates and layouts are impressive. The drag and drop functionality allows you to quickly create projects without having to learn to use programs like Illustrator or Photoshop.
Inkscape This is a free, open source software that allows you to create vector graphics. Vectors are perfect for branding since they can be resized for use on a variety of items without losing quality. There is a learning curve with Inkscape, but it’s a lot of fun and you can create your own unique, beautiful designs. Inkscape software has a large international user community and numerous free learning resources including in-depth written and video tutorials.
GIMP Like inkscape, Gimp is a free program that provides a strong alternative to pricier programs like Photoshop. It can be used for image composition, retouching and authoring. It features cross-platform compatibility and can be used with the Photoshop .psd file format. This impressive imaging software has extensive documentation, a user community and a variety of free tutorials and learning resources.
FreeMind Mind mapping is a fantastic way to get ideas out of your head and onto the page before you so you can organize them. This technique, sometimes referred to as a “brain dump” can help you feel less scattered, improve your memory and allow you to organize projects with greater detail. This free software is simple to learn and use. The newer versions even allows sharing and collaboration with others for group brainstorming sessions. What a great way to ensure everyone’s ideas are being heard.
Hopefully this list will give you some new tools for your arsenal and help you be more productive with less stress.