Apps I Use: RescueTime Update

RescueTime Logo
RescueTime Logo

If you are a freelancer, it is important that you keep track of your own time and productive activities, yet you don’t want to spend all day tracking time. In a previous post, I wrote about an app that I use to track what I do all day: RescueTime, an online app that is also available on iOS, Android, and Kindle. Make sure to read my previous post to learn about all of the great features of RescueTime.

Just a few days ago, however, I discovered a wonderful and extremely useful feature of RescueTime that is available to premium users of the app: the ability to manually add highlights of each captured time and space during your day by writing a sentence or two about what you were doing.

Find out how RescueTime can help you track and save time every day by following this link.

In addition to tracking every website and app you visit or use during the day, RescueTime also tracks every website and app you visit or use during the day on all of your devices. If you do a lot of writing on software like Word or Pages, RescueTime doesn’t always list the actual document you’re working on, but it is easy enough for you to record that information manually.

Previously, I was trying to keep track of my “daily work journal” either manually in my Ecosystem notebook, or digitally on my Google calendar or my DayOne journaling app. However, now I can keep all of those notes in RescueTime along with an overview of how productive I was each day. I love it.

Learn more about out how RescueTime by following this link

Apps I Use: RescueTime

Time. It seems we never have enough. However, that is especially true when you run your own business as a freelancer or a solo professional. I enjoy using an app called “RescueTime,” which is a web based application that keeps track of all of your online and off-line activities.

The RescueTime app says that it will help you “find your ideal work-life balance,” and I have found that to be true. The app runs seamlessly in the background on your Mac or PC computer, and is also available on all of your devices including iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire. For someone who works on more than one device, as I do, the fact that RescueTime keeps track of every device you’re working on, and every gadget you have, all at the same time is a big plus.

When you’re when you are busy working all day, it is very often interrupt your workflow to have to stop and write down what you’ve done and try to remember or try to remember at the end of the day what happened with all of your projects and activities. With RescueTime, you can review every single website and installed application that you use all day long, and the app even allows you to manually add activities that are off-line so that you get a more accurate picture of your day.

To really track your productivity, RescueTime also allows you to set your goals for different activities, and lets you know when you are on distracting websites.

The RescueTime app comes offers two basic pricing options: “RescueTime Lite,” which is free, and RescueTime Premium, which is priced at $9.00 a month, after a 14 day free trial. If you have a large team or organization, larger packages are available.

If you are looking for an easy to use, highly accurate, productivity-boosting, web application I would recommend that you try the RescueTime app.


Collaborating on a Manuscript with Basecamp and Scrivener

Image representing Basecamp as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase
Scrivener (software)
Scrivener (software) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As you may know, Writing It Right For You has a related company, Detroit Ink Publishing, where we work with authors providing ghostwriting, manuscript preparation, editing, and book formatting and publishing services. We also publish our own books through the Detroit Ink Publishing imprint.

We are presently working with four authors who are in various stages of book completion. One of our clients has a very large and complex manuscript that she had been writing in bits and pieces for several years. Once she started working with Detroit Ink Publishing, we were able to get all of those disparate files together and get focused on producing a completed manuscript ready for publishing.

As my client’s editor, I am using two of my favorite apps to accomplish this large task: Basecamp and Scrivener:

Basecamp is a project management app that allows me to include my client , my assistant, and anyone else involved in the project to become a part of the “project community” and share files, schedules, messages, discussions, progress reports, etc. Instead of endless email threads, everything is kept in Basecamp and can be accessed as needed by all who have been given permission. My client and the cover designer she chose for her book live on opposite sides of the country, yet through Basecamp they collaborated on several revisions of the cover until the client got exactly what she wanted for her book. I was able to follow the entire process in Basecamp without having to be directly involved in this part of the project.

I recently wrote a post about how I am learning to use Scrivener for virtually all of my writing now (including this post). For this large project with my client, using Scrivener has helped immensely with organizing, re-organizing, editing, formatting, and compiling all of the chapters, front and back matter, photos, and other parts of the book that will be included in the final draft. I can work with two versions of a file side-by-side, easily move chapters around or in a different order, keep all coordinating research and additional files in the Scrivener project for this book, and track changes and leave and respond to comments in the manuscript as the editing process proceeds. So much easier than trying to juggle all of those files and ongoing changes within a word processing application. Scrivener works the way writers work. It is not a “word processor”, it is a writing tool.

My client and I have been working for several months on this manuscript, and it is almost finished and ready for publication. Working together in conjunction with Basecamp and Scrivener, we are very pleased with how things are progressing. As always, having the right tools for the job make all the difference.

If are an author and you would like to find out more about how Writing It Right For You and Detroit Ink Publishing can assist you with your manuscript, contact us! We’ll be glad to talk to you!



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Learning to Use New Apps for Increased Productivity

Dragon_Dictate_348X300 ScrivenerForWriters

It’s the first full week of February, and “Punxsutawney Phil” has predicted six more weeks of winter (like a rodent is actually a meteorologist…but I digress). This is a perfect time to really work on learning two apps I’ve used in the past.

Scrivener is the #1 app designed exactly for writers, I am in the process of moving all of my writing and editing projects from Word to Scrivener. It is already making a difference in how I work on projects for clients and for myself. In addition to the two books that I will have finished for myself by the end of this month, I have seven client writing and editing projects that I have uploaded to Scrivener to work on. I recently published a post about how I plan to use Scrivener.

Dragon Dictate for Mac (I stopped using a PC years ago) will allow me to speak most of what I want to do on the computer instead of typing. I am really enjoying working with a microphone and seeing what I see appear on the screen. I use an approved dictation microphone with the app on my MacBook Pro at my Midtown Detroit co-working community office, and I use the Dragon Microphone app on my iPhone5S with Dragon Dictate on my MacBook Air in my home office.

Both apps are so feature rich that I know it will take months for me to become really proficient with them, but I look forward to the increased productivity that I will have.

I always appreciate the fact that I can use apps on both on my MacBooks as well as on my iPhone5S, iPad2, and iPad Mini because of seamless integration.

I will keep you updated on my progress as I learn to use all of the features of these great apps that help writers like you and me.

If you use one or both of these apps, we’d love to hear your story! Let us know in the comments!

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Scrivener is the #1 App for All of my Writing Projects


I am a writer. I am an editor. I am a manuscript preparer and an eBook publisher. I am a social media marketing and branding consultant. For all of those roles that I manage for my three businesses, I do a lot of writing. I write on my MacBook Air from my home office and my MacBook Pro from my Midtown Detroit office. Away from my offices, I write my iPad2 and iPad Mini.

When I write short, often internal documents, I use Google Docs and Google Drive. Most of my clients send me documents in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, the global gold standard contained in the Microsoft Office Suite; I use those programs in Office for Mac 2011, which integrates (almost) perfectly with the PC/Windows version. Sometimes I use Pages, Keynote, and Numbers in the Apple iWorks Office Suite, mostly because the apps are fun to use (and now free in iOS). For now however, for the majority of my original writing and editing I do for myself and for my clients, I use Scrivener, the popular application designed especially for writers.

Scrivener is not a “word processor”, it is a writing tool. What is the difference? Scrivener was designed just for writers, who are, for the most part, right-brained “creatives”. Scrivener includes several features that allow writers to plan, organize, view, edit, and write in whatever structure they are most comfortable. Completed Scrivener projects can be exported in many formats, including for eBooks.

MacBook Pro Available in 15.4- and 17-inch dia...
MacBook Pro (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I use Scrivener to write my blog posts, my articles, my eBooks and books, my courses, my marketing materials, and my podcast scripts.

In a future post of my “Apps I Use” series, I will give you a more complete narrative of the app and how I use it for my businesses, but right now I have several client projects to finish. All of them have been uploaded to my Scrivener account, which I can access on both of my MacBooks.

This is going to be fun. If you need the assistance of the professional writers and editors at Writing It Right For You, contact us and we’ll get right back to you!

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The Top 10 Year-End Financial Questions for Freelancers


Updated for 2013:

Yes, it’s almost here—the end of the calendar year! While most people are asking themselves what is the best way to celebrate New Year’s Eve, freelancers and small business owners should first be asking themselves important financial questions about their business finances. Before the clock strikes midnight on December 31, here are some questions you should ask yourself and your bookkeeper or accountant:

1)            Are my general ledger balances reconciled with my bank statement balances?

2)            Are there any accounts receivables or bad debts that can or should be written off?

3)            Are the inventory balances correct—do they include inventory items that should be written down to match their actual market value?

4)            Are the listed fixed assets still owned and properly depreciated?

5)            Have all adjustments been made for any prepaid items such as insurance and fees?

6)            Have all payables been accurately recorded?

7)            Have all payroll tax liabilities been reconciled with the quarterly reports?

8)            Are all of the notes payable accounts (loans) reconciled with the bank statements?

9)            Are all debts included in the year-end financial statement?

10)         Are all accounts receivables been reviewed and correctly aged?

As you prepare to answer these questions and check your financial records, are you even sure that those records are in good order? Can you and your financial advisors easily access all of your documents? Are all of your invoices, receipts, and business documents entered and indexed? Do you have a comprehensive way to keep track of all of the relevant conversations and emails with your clients and customers? Have you sent out your final invoices and collected those last payments?

Those of you who follow our Writing It Right For You Blog know that we periodically highlight the great apps we use to run our company. We actually use the apps we recommend—after we’ve tried several similar apps. All of the apps we recommend are especially designed for people and companies like ours: freelancers, SOHO (Small Office/Home Office) business owners, and solo practitioners—they are not scaled down versions of larger applications meant for large businesses.

You know that if you treat your business as a business, taking good care of the administrative tasks are just as important as completing the actual client work. If you are a freelancer or a small business owner with 1-10 employees, check out the apps that we have found to be very helpful to keep our business records in order, to manage our clients and our projects, to do our bookkeeping and accounting, and to invoice our clients.

All of these apps are online and are SaaS, which stands for “Software as a Service”. Instead of plunking down hundreds of dollars for shrinkwrapped software SaaS applications are delivered and supported directly to your computer online for a monthly subscription fee. Besides the ease of use, one of the things we most like about our apps is that they are interrelated and work together so that we don’t have to enter the same information repeatedly.

The data is secure and can be accessed from any computer (and mobile devices in most cases) with an Internet connection. A good group of apps to start with if you are considering using cloud-based apps and keeping of your client and financial data in the cloud:

  • HIghrise by 37Signals for our CRM (Customer Relationship Management) application to keep track of all of our prospects and clients.
  • Freshbooks for time tracking and invoicing for your clients.
  • GoDaddy Bookkeeping (formerly Outright) for small business bookkeeping and accounting.

Happy New Year—here’s to greater success and a more organized business for you and your company!


Related articles:

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Apps I Use: Freshbooks Online Invoicing

Originally published November, 2010. Updated September 2013

The post is part of the on-going 2013 series on the apps I use for my writing and editing business. Over the last few years, I have tested or tried or sampled just about everything out there. It seems as if new apps appear every day! But I have to make my app decisions based on my business needs. I am updating posts as my apps matrix and the apps themselves change and improve.

Although I have part- and full-time independent contractors and administrative staff members on my team, I am essentially a one-person virtual business. This blog series and the apps I highlight will be geared towards what I call “VSMs”: Very Small Businesses, which include freelancers, SOHO (Small Office Home Office), and other solopreneurs.

This post describes the features I like for the application I use for invoicing my clients: Freshbooks. While this may seem like a strange choice for a writing blog, one of the things I love most about Freshbooks is that it integrates with almost every other app I use to run my business. As a matter of fact, if a business app DOESN’T integrate with Freshbooks, then I probably won’t use it.

I started using Freshbooks several years ago. The features and functionality of Freshbooks:

1) I can easily keep my contact data in the app and then quickly invoice my clients online. I have setup my PayPal link so that all my clients have to do when they receive their invoice in their email is to click the PayPal link and I am paid! Freshbooks will also send out increasingly less “gentle” reminders automatically at intervals I set up. As soon as payment is received, my clients receive an automatic receipt and “thank you for your payment” email.

2) All of my invoices are branded with my own company information and logo; they look very professional and consistent with everything else I send out. It is possible to send out estimates to your prospects; they can approve the estimates online and then you can turn the estimate into an invoice in one click. You can also download all estimates and invoices as pdfs.

3) I can track my expenses in my Freshbooks account, and generate all types of reports, including profit and loss statements, revenue by client, etc. I can re-bill my clients for any project-related expenses quickly and easily. Clients can be given permission to follow their projects and billings in your Freshbooks account; they can’t see anything unless you give them a special log-in.

4) Freshbooks has fully functional mobile apps for iOs and Android, so I can conduct business on-the-go. I can add or review my clients, projects, invoices, and reports wherever I am.

5) My contractors can log their hours and invoice their time for me in my Freshbooks account. To pay them, I click the PayPal link they’ve set up. Their cost goes into the expenses in my Freshbooks account.

6) I can import and download all of my other expenses from my business account. Everything takes just a few minutes. Who has hours and hours to track expenses?

7) There are several different pricing plans that start at *free*. As your business grows, you can upgrade quickly and easily. Paid as a monthly subscription, the Freshbooks fees are of course tax deductible.

8) Technical and feature upgrades are free and often; they happen in the background and usually overnight. Freshbooks has one of the best support divisions ever. Support is free for everyone and via email or phone. Freshbooks also sends out Twitter status updates if there does happen to be a glitch in the service–very much appreciated.

9) If you need to track your time, or the time of your contractors or team members, it can be done easily in Freshbooks, and then invoiced seamlessly.

10) Lastly, Freshbooks integrates with many different apps for mobile access, more advanced time tracking, advanced project management, other accounting and bookkeeping (if your business bills more than $300K, for example), expenses, CRM, email marketing, lead generation, ecommerce and much more. Available payment gateways include PayPal,, and Google Checkout.

The main purpose of having a for-profit business is to make a profit. Time is money. Time spent on one activity is time taken from another activity. And so on. After spending so much time producing excellent work for your clients, it can be a pleasure to invoice them with a cool app like Freshbooks. It’s time to get paid! Check out their website for even more information.

I LOVE (and Need) All of My Gadgets












Image credit:


Everyone who knows me also knows that I am a true “Gadget Girl”…I work with a desk full of computers, tablets, and smartphones. I use Mac OS, iOS, and Android (sorry, Windows and Blackberry, I quit you both a long time ago).

Today, I am editing the literature review for a dissertation proposal for one of my PhD student/clients. I LOVE (and NEED) to use three of my gadgets to speed up the process.

  • In the middle of my deskspace is my MacBook Air, on which I am using Word for Mac to do the actual editing.
  • On my left is my iPad2, where I am checking the list of references that I uploaded into my Dropbox account.
  • On my right is my Samsung Galaxy Note, with which I am checking the references on the Chrome browser.

I save time because I don’t have to switch back and forth between apps and tabs on my Air. I save paper and printer ink because I don’t have to print out lists or copies of documents. Everything is uploaded to the Cloud.

Now do you see why I LOVE (and NEED) all of my gadgets?

After I finish editing this literature review, I will be happy to assist you with the editing of your academic documents. Contact me right away so that I can put your project on my schedule. I look forward to putting my gadgets into service for you!