There is a theory that the best creative people have to live in a world that is chaotic and unstructured. Whilst there may be some great examples to cite such as Amy Winehouse and Janis Joplin, imagine what they would have created with clear minds. Being organized, having effective systems, and achieving mindfulness creates more time for creatives to do what they do best; Think with clarity. Here are three great apps that will help you achieve this.
The benefits of meditating regularly has been well documented. Day-to-day life has never felt busier, especially for freelancers who struggle with the daily challenges of running a business as well as creating on a regular basis. But meditating can help with heightened levels of stress, improve your sleep, provide more focus, and provide a better perspective of your daily challenges.
Co-founded by Brits Andy Puddicombe and Richard Pierson, Headspace is meditation for modern living. The fundamental idea is that it will help you de-stress and improve your mood. It is packaged in such a way that makes meditating accessible to the complete novice with a free trial of ten 10 minute courses to be taken on consecutive days.
An annual membership to the entire catalog will cost just shy of $100. Write it off as a business expense, and find the mindfulness that will give you the “Head Space” (excuse the pun) to create.
Having an effective note taking app across all your devices that just works is vital to the running of your business, and Evernote has been best-in-class for years. More importantly, it is effective as a collaborative tool for larger teams.
Used effectively, Evernote can become your vault for ideas and creative thinking. The app easily handles a multitude of file formats to help create mood boards for upcoming projects that are easily shareable to clients and colleges.
This is a free download for “Basic” access which gives you use on two devices and 60MB upload per month. But for the power user, it’s worth investing in the “Plus” or “Premium” versions for more devices, more space, and their full toolset. Annual subscriptions are $34.99 and $69.99 respectively.
Using Evernote as your go-to app for all your notetaking and project building needs is a sensible choice due to its reliability and cloud based storage, keeping your notes safe and accessible 24/7, worldwide.
Let’s get the negative stuff out the way first before we describe what life is like the ultimate productivity app, and this is mostly to do it's accessibility. Unlike our previous two apps we have recommended, Omnifocus requires you to purchase the App at $39.99 to try it, there is no freemium access here. After you give it a try and enjoy using the App, you then realize you must purchase the desktop version for another $39.99 if you want the multi device experience that users should expect in a productivity app.
This isn’t a gripe at Omnifocus being too expensive, but I believe that a freemium model to test the waters would be more fruitful in acquiring more users. Instead it relies on word of mouth recommendations…it’s the Breaking Bad of productivity apps.
So what do you get for your $80 investment for what is essentially a convoluted to-do list? The answer is clarity. You first need to become familiar with the "Getting Things Done" (or GTD) principle.
GTD is essentially a process in which you offload all your thoughts and tasks which require your attention into a centralized inbox. You then begin the process of assigning times and deadlines for each task. Whenever you think of something you will need to do that will take longer than two minutes, stick it in your inbox. At some point in your day, clear your inbox by assigning all the tasks to a certain project, person or deadline. Omnifocus is the ultimate tool to assist your "Getting Things Done" lifestyle.
If you invest in the process, it becomes extremely satisfying to know that you don’t need to remember those 15 things to do the next day because they are written down somewhere. Or you are clear in where each project is because you have an up-to-date project timeline for every one.
Omnifocus helps ignore the irrelevant, gives you focus on what you can do now, and helps accomplish more. At $39.99 it’s probably going to be the most expensive app you’ll purchase from the App store, but one which can help you open up huge parts of your day for creative thinking by helping you achieve extreme productivity.
Being organized, healthy, and productive are buzzwords that could be taken from any business self-help book. But by instilling some of these principles into your freelance lifestyle as a photographer or videographer, you can open up more time to do the things that gravitated you toward this profession in the first place.
Personally, these three apps helped alleviate a lot of stress and anxiety as I transitioned from part-time to full time as a videographer. Omnifocus and the GTD principle helped me achieve levels of productivity that I thought were previously impossible, making it possible to pick up more clients whilst working a 9-5 job. Evernote is the ultimate in note taking apps that works across all your devices. It's advanced toolset has helped with the brainstorming phases of larger commissions, as well as the day-to-day necessities of having all your vital information in your pocket.
Having your notes and tasks invested in reliable processes means restless nights become few and far between. This has made me one of those annoying “morning people” because of a better quality of sleep, and what better way to start the working day than an early morning run and 15 minutes of mediation. After your daily fix of Headspace and your tasks laid out in front of you, it’s time to begin your day with a previously unrealized vigor and a clear mind. What apps and systems do you use that help you achieve clear head space for your creative thinking?