What tools do you use to stay productive?

Question: What tools do you use to stay productive? Read answers from remote workers to learn.

Interview with John, a full-stack web developer who works remotely

The tools I use for remote work are bonsai for managing contracts for outside of Upwork, Trello for task management, Toggl for time tracking and VS Code for development work.

John works remotely while using the latest web development technologies, learn how he works by reading his interview.

Read full interview from Interview with John, a full-stack web developer who works remotely.


Interview with Scott about working remotely for 20 years

I use the same tools that I’d use for onsite work, and they’re pretty basic: Laptop, phone, decent internet connection and VPN.

Collaboration tools like Skype for business and WebEx are critical for remotes.

I’d use Slack if it was part of our stack (I’m in a bigger company), but ironically video has never been part of the culture. As a designer and front-end developer, I make a point to keep pace with change and workplace trends.

For example, I’m really comfortable with my editor, but am downloading a new editor that my team has been testing out. You can’t be afraid to shift with the times!

Scott is a designer and developer that's been working remotely since 1998, read his interview to learn how he's been successful

Read full interview from Interview with Scott about working remotely for 20 years.


Interview with Nikita, an entrepreneur building a website to learn anything

My absolute favorite tool for working remotely is GitHub.

GitHub allows the entire world to collaborate on working on code projects no matter where you are located. I use Bee app to stay on top of all my GitHub projects and their issues and I apply a GTD approach there so I sort the issues I want to work on based on priority.

I use many tools that all help with working remotely but one of the big issues with working remotely is having proper communication channels. For that I personally love and use Telegram and the open source project I am working on (Learn Anything) uses it primarily. I dislike Slack/Discord for their lack of native apps on macOS.

Other than those tools, Fantastical, 2Do and Trello let me focus my time in the way I see fit and that helps working tremendously.

I also share nearly all the Trello boards I use publicly so anyone can get a feel for what my workflow with the tool is like.

Nikita shares his Trello boards publicly so you can see how he works.

Nikita shares his Trello boards publicly so you can see how he works.

I also have a habit of documenting everything. Everything I know is documented somewhere that both I and the entire world can reference. Currently this is achieved through writing articles on Medium and keeping a constantly up-to-date personal wiki with GitBook.

For example, check out my list of amazing macOS apps.

Nikita is an entrepreneur working on his startup while optimizing his productivity—learn how he organizes his life and work to maximize happiness

Read full interview from Interview with Nikita, an entrepreneur building a website to learn anything.


Interview with Ayesha, a freelance writer that gained early clients through her blog

As I mentioned earlier, I am old-fashioned when it comes to organizing and planning. I just keep a notepad and a diary to keep track of my work. If you’re working remotely, you know that a lot of your time is spent in front of the screen. So, the notepad is my detox for all the screen time.

In terms of apps that I’m using, there’re many of them.

I use Buffer to schedule social media posts. That makes it easier for me to schedule the entire month’s posts and get ahead of my work schedule.

I use Canva for my social media posts and other graphics. It has some really great templates without you having to fret over font types, colors, and layouts. I often use Photoshop occasionally to compliment with Canva.

Google Drive helps me communicate blog posts and other documents with my clients.

I use Toggl to keep track of my billed hours (I’m looking for a replacement for Toggl because there're a few hitches once in a while).

And of course, there’s no life without Microsoft Word. If I’m working, there’s always Microsoft Word open.

Other than that, I use Excel to keep track of the income. Then there are social media apps, Asana, Dropbox, and Google Calendar. I think there’s just too many to keep track of.

Ayesha is a freelance content writer—learn how she made the leap to remote work while building her blog and raising her family

Read full interview from Interview with Ayesha, a freelance writer that gained early clients through her blog.


Interview with Chanell, a freelance writer and social media manager

I am a huge fan of Google Drive.

I use Google Docs to share content with editors I work with, so they can quickly make edits or add notes for things I need to tweak. I also use the spreadsheets for content calendars and contact information.

In the past, I have used Harvest to track time, generate PDF invoices, and send these invoices directly from the app.

Asana and Airtable are other apps I have experience with in relation to project management and contact information storage.

If I need to create an infographic or regular graphic I will use Canva, which is an impressive free and easy-to-use online graphic design app.

Chanell is a freelance writer working from Atlanta that writes about business management tips and video game entertainment threads.

Read full interview from Interview with Chanell, a freelance writer and social media manager.


Interview with Adam, a UX engineer building his own consulting company

Station has been a great tool to collect all of the applications I had to check separately. Now I have one interface to check tasks, email, Slack, billing/accounting, hour tracking, and more.

Besides that, I think it's important to master the tools of your craft, so I continue to invest time into my terminal and my code editor to stay sharp and productive.

For terminal I use Oh My Zsh (with autosuggestion) and Solarized and Powerlevel9k.

Powerlevel9k, an awesome Powerline theme for ZSH

Powerlevel9k, an awesome Powerline theme for ZSH

For my IDE I Use Sublime Text with a huge host of plugins: color highlighter, syntax for Ruby, JavaScript, Elixir, GitGutter, JsPrettier, SideBarEnhancements, SublimeLinter, ...basically all the things to make my main programming languages easier to read and use.

Sublime Text 3.0 — a powerful code editor for programmers

Sublime Text 3.0 — a powerful code editor for programmers

Learn how Adam started working remotely from a cold-email on Hacker News, to how he's using a local co-working space to grow his business.

Read full interview from Interview with Adam, a UX engineer building his own consulting company.


Interview with Deb, a sales copywriter who transitioned from software development

The main tools I have used for remote work are:

I don’t use the above tools all the time – my choice at times is dictated by client preference. As an example, one of my current clients insists on the use of Jira, Slack, Zoom, Dashlane, and Google Docs. Another of my clients prefers Google Hangouts, Microsoft Word, and Trello.

Deb made the jump from full-time software developer to freelance sales copywriter—learn how he made the transition.

Read full interview from Interview with Deb, a sales copywriter who transitioned from software development.


Interview with Jenna, a freelance writer who works remotely to help manage her health

I like to keep things as simple as possible, and I try to use my bullet journal and cell phone for anything and everything. My phone calendar is good for reminders, but for the most part I just use regular lists! I’m a huge list maker. I also use my phone timer really often – I’d forget to take breaks and eat if I didn’t.

Specific to writing, I use the Hemingway Editor, but not religiously. I edit my work pretty thoroughly, but it’s helpful sometimes for catching things I've missed. Oh, and Evernote! It’s much better than trying to use bookmarks to help me keep track of research, ideas, quotes, and so on.

Jenna started working remotely after realizing her office job was causing health problems—now she works as a freelance writer and writes about self-improvement

Read full interview from Interview with Jenna, a freelance writer who works remotely to help manage her health.


Interview with Hanling, a data scientist that works remotely on machine learning

Since I primarily work on Upwork, the tool I use most often is the Upwork time tracker.

But we often use Skype to chat and make video calls with clients. Also I've used Trello to organize workflow for one of my contracts.

Hanling started working remotely as a student and now does freelance machine learning and data analysis for clients all around the world.

Read full interview from Interview with Hanling, a data scientist that works remotely on machine learning.


Interview with Alexandra, a freelance fashion designer building her own brand

I do Fashion Design so I usually use Rhino, Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and sometimes InDesign for creating layouts or journals.

I also have a small sketchbook where I sketch ideas or I add inspiration for my clients designs. Beside all this, my laptop is the main tool.

Alexandra is a freelance fashion designer who works remotely while traveling and building her own brand.

Read full interview from Interview with Alexandra, a freelance fashion designer building her own brand.

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