5 Must-Have Tools Every Freelancer Needs

5 Must-Have Tools Every Freelancer Needs
Freelancers probably need more than 5 things. But maybe start here, says Molly Bolding
“These are a few of my favourite things” - Me, in this blog

1. A favourite mug

Hot drinks are the backbone of freelance life: even though I almost only drink decaf these days, I still put away far too much coffee. Thus, I need the perfect ceramic receptacle.

Mine is a three way tie between one with cartoon tortoises on it that my partner had made for me; one with scribbly polka dots on that I bought in Tesco; and one with a rainbow on that my Mum bought me for my 21st birthday.

In fact, I have a special matrix for determining what makes a good mug, including size, volume, material and height... I promise I’m fun at parties.

2. A planner/desk pad/something with dates on

This might seem obvious, but you'd be amazed how easy it is to fall into the habit of writing everything on post it notes and promptly losing them.

If you’re neurodivergent and terrified of missing a meeting, like me, you’ll need at least two layers of calendar security. I have an online Google calendar, with timed alerts on my phone, and then a physical weekly desk pad.

I put all my events into my phone, so I can plan long-term, then on Mondays I write in all of the events and deadlines I have that week. Once they’re in, I can then plan in my to-do list round those dates and times.

3. A favourite snack combo

I’m not very good at remembering to eat, so snacks are a relatively new discovery for me. Apparently it's fine to eat lots of little meals throughout the day, which tends to work better for me - I get sleepy after a big lunch and hate forcing myself to eat a big breakfast. As long as you switch up your snacks, and don't rely solely on salt-filled crisps and nuts, then you're all good.

My go-to snack combo at the moment is carrot sticks + Sour Cream Sunbites. I don’t know why, but they just work really well together.

I’m also rubbish at remembering to drink water (no surprise there) so I try to include some water-filled snacks like grapes, smoothies and soups.

For context, my partner’s favourite snack combo is yogurt pots + digestive biscuits - don’t ask.

4. A decent playlist

I’ve recently rediscovered all of the songs I loved as a younger person and it’s so refreshing: I know all the words and only some of them are actually terrible in hindsight.

Plus, I’m alone in my living room, so no-one can judge my singing. Having a quick sing-a-long boosts my mood and gives me an excuse for a quick dance break.

But you may not want lyric-heavy tunes if you're trying to concentrate on finishing your sentence. If you have no idea what makes good music to work to, then check out my new favourite album: Those Who Throw Objects At The Crocodiles Will Be Asked to Retrieve Them, by Bruno Pernadas. It’s a whole load of funky, mostly instrumental jazz-pop which blends together seamlessly.

Or, check out Winona Forever on Bandcamp for something slightly more garage-rock-y.

If anyone wants more recommendations, I’ll be writing up my ideal freelancer playlist in a few weeks.

5. A plant

Or, you know, several.

This one isn’t a joke: plants have been scientifically proven, if not to improve your air quality, then certainly to improve your mental health. It can also help you to feel less alone as you begin your fifth hour of staring at a Word document.

If you, like me, aren’t able to commit to an actual pet (and are quite scared of both cats and dogs), then plants are the perfect alternative.

I like succulents and other small, hardy plants. They’re quite difficult to kill and they don’t judge me when I forget to water them for a few weeks - if anything, they seem to quite like being left alone.

If you can’t handle a real plant, that’s cool too: just buy this cheap and cheerful set of tiny plastic ones from IKEA and you’re all set.

Image credit to Jess Bailey on Unsplash