The Fleep Top 3: Our Pick of the Hottest New Gadgets for Freelancers

gadgets for freelancers

Need an excuse to splash out on some swanky new tech? How about: But I need it for my job!

As freelancers, you never truly clock off from work – and anything that can make your life and projects run more smoothly and effectively is virtually gold dust. Here’s our pick of the three most exciting gadgets for freelancers, which promise to do just that.

The All-Rounder: The LG G4

When you’re a one man band, you have to be very good at playing all the parts.

For a freelancer, that typically involves running every part of your business on the move, from your phone, and making use of the best mobile tools to streamline operations.

And, of course, when your smartphone is the main channel for all these overlapping workflows, picking the right one for you is essential. While iPhones and Samsung Galaxies remain popular choices, the very best smartphone of 2015 for freelancers might just be the LG G4.

gadgets for freelancersWith its huge, seriously high definition screen and intuitive keyboard, it’s great for writing notes, emails, messages and updates, checking proofs, editing images and generally getting your work done remotely.

It comes with Google Office pre-loaded and 100GB of Google Drive storage space that’s free for two years, helping you to tap into key cloud services for team collaborating and project management.

It’s fast and responsive, thanks to a top-of-the-range processor and a shortcut for waking it up when locked, and comes with expandable (on top of its 32GB internal) storage, fingerprint security and wireless charging.

Plus, it looks great, has a built-in 4K camera and clever image stablisation tools for high quality, gorgeous photos, and offers a “Smart Tips” feature to help you to stay productive while clearing out the junk you never use – keeping your phone (and you) a slick, lean, high-performing machine.

The Practical Lifesaver: LinearFlux Lithiumcard Pro

Having your phone, tablet or other devices die on you when you’re out and about can be a disaster, especially when you’re working remotely or need to be reachable from wherever you are.

gadgets for freelancersLuckily, a wave of great new portable chargers is helping to knock the problem on the head once and for all, and the LinearFlux LithiumCard Pro is one of the lightest, trimmest, sleekest variations on the theme.

Roughly the size of a credit card, the LithiumCard nonetheless has the capacity to fully recharge your smartphone (at a rate of around 1% per minute) and can even be used to back up your data.

Store it in your bag or even your wallet to ward off any project-wrecking, communication-breakdown crises while you’re out and about… just don’t forget to charge it first!

The Fun One: GoPro Hero4 Black

Everyone loves a GoPro. They’re cool, they’re sexy and they have a way of making even your most mundane stunts feel worthy of Tony Hawks.

And, of course, they take tremendous shots.

gadgets for freelancersWhen you’re freelancing, particularly in fields like media, technology and design, self-promotion is key, but creating a steady stream of great, gripping content for your website and social media channels is a constant challenge.

Even more so when you have to be able to create it quickly, on a tiny budget – and on your own.

As the ultimate self-shooting device, with a bit of thought a GoPro can help you take stunning, creative and engaging videos and images, in a short time frame and often with very little video production expertise.

Plus, it can cope with just about any terrain or treatment, is wifi enabled for quick upload or transfer, and is so much fun that you won’t want to put it down. So no more excuses for sub-standard content!

Marek Sanders, copywriter

 

This is a guest blog post written by Marek Sanders, who is a copywriter, productivity enthusiast and a Fleep evangelist.

 

Chat for teams

What if you never had to check your email again?

check your email

How much of your working day do you think you spend trawling through your emails? A fifth? A quarter?

More?

In fact, the average office worker spends a whopping 28% of their time – nearly a third of their working life – just dealing with email, according to this report by McKinsey.

All this time spent checking email goes way beyond being an annoying distraction. As Ian M. Paul pointed out in a study published last year by Penn State University, the cumulative effect of email overload can actually be very costly in wasted time.

Plus, given that most of us check our emails on our smartphones around the clock, it’s not just our work time we’re wasting. It’s our personal time, too.

As Kevin Holesh, creator of the Moments app that helps people track time spent on their phones, explains, most of us seriously underestimate the amount of time we spend on emails and social media. When they began trialling the app, says Holesh, both he and his fiancée were shocked to discover that they typically spent twice as long on their phones each day than they thought.

It’s pretty clear that emails are bad for our productivity. 

So how can we cut down the amount of time we spend checking them?

Part of the problem is that many of us use our emails as a legitimate way to procrastinate.

check your emailIdly scrolling through Instragram or watching YouTube videos of cute micropigs getting stuck on the stairs is an obvious break from what we’re supposed to be doing. We feel guilty for using our time in this way and if we’re busy, we usually try our best to cut it out.

Emails, on the other hand, are part of our job. Because of this, we can keep jumping back to them all day long while telling ourselves that we’re really hard at work.

“For the first few days my fingers felt almost twitchy when I couldn’t look at my inbox for hours at a time,” writes the author Laura Vanderkam in an article for Fast Company about trying to limit the time she spends on email.

“Every time I encountered a tricky spot in a chapter I was writing, I started moving my cursor toward the Firefox icon on the bottom of my screen. I caught myself but it was still interesting to see that checking email is how I cope with creative roadblocks, stress, and boredom.”

But, she says, forcing herself to step back from her inbox meant that she could stay deeply focused on her work for longer and, as a result, got loads more done.

Of course, the biggest problem with constantly checking our email isn’t even that it breaks up the task in hand. It’s that we could well be breaking up a task for no good reason at all.

“We all love to complain about our inboxes, but this is because we don’t want to read most things that are in there,” says Vanderkam. The messages are irrelevant, or we have to deal with messages we don’t want to deal with.”

check your emailFinding a way to screen out all the unnecessary or unwanted communication is the first step in cutting down the amount of time lost to checking our messages – and boosting our productivity as a result.

Fleep does this by replacing email with a conversation system and letting you “snooze” or “mute” conversations that you don’t need to monitor right now – cutting out much of the distracting noise that makes email such a productivity drain.

What would you do if you never had to check your email inbox again? 

However you opt to make use of the extra time, breaking out of the inbox cage can give your productivity a huge boost and bring far more freedom to your workplace and your general life.

Perhaps you’d take on more clients, improve your turnaround time, or finally get that internal project off the ground that no one had time for before?

Or maybe you’d simply take the opportunity to go home a little bit earlier and improve your work-life balance?

Marek Sanders, copywriter

 

This is a guest blog post written by Marek Sanders, who is a copywriter, productivity enthusiast and a Fleep evangelist.

 

Chat for teams

What makes an awesome hackathon? People, communication and location!

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Garage48 e-Residency hackathon

Recently, Fleep partnered up with Garage48 for a hackathon that focused on e-Residency. More than 100 people gathered on a small remote island in Estonia, to develop services for e-Residents. We left the hackathon re-energized, inspired and only slightly sleep-deprived.

Priit and Kai from Garage48 running the hackathon

This clearly was not the first rodeo for Garage48. What made the hackathon so awesome? We think it was the people, the hackathon communication and the location.

The people

This is pretty straightforward – just look at the Garage48 e-Residency hackathon example.

First, the people organizing it were pros, making sure there was a good framework to work with (theme for the hackathon, in this case, e-Residency), that everything ran to schedule and that there was a good support system present: food, caffeine and mentors.

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e-Residency program director Kaspar Korjus was a key mentor at the hackathon

Secondly, the people who were invited to the hackathon as mentors were professionals whose advice and guidance was crucial – e-Residency specialists, e-governance professionals, information system pros etc.

Third, the people participating were a diverse bunch – there were 26 nationalities present and, even more importantly, the hackathon had attracted people with diverse skills: design, front-end and backend development, QA, marketing, etc.

The communication

The organizers, mentors and participants of the hackathon used Fleep as the team communication tool throughout the event.

First, there was a general conversation for all general hackathon communication and sharing information – the schedule, any updates and last minute notes etc.

Evelyn Sepp getting acquainted with Fleep at the e-Residency hackathon

Additionally, the participants created their own conversations in Fleep for team communication throughout the hackathon. Newbies discovered Fleep, veterans shared Fleep best practices, some older users re-discovered Fleep and all of its newer features… (There was even a Fleep user story was born out of the conversations we had at the hackathon!)

The location

The idea of having a hackathon in a remote location is just brilliant. As all the participants at the e-Residency hackathon on Vormsi island were cut off from their normal environment, the secluded location helped make sure there were few distractions. Additionally, the remote island made the hackathon feel a little like a summer camp, sparking feelings of camaraderie between the participants.

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Vormsi – the remote island where the e-Residency hackathon took place

Sure, there is a lot more that goes into hosting an awesome hackathon. We chose these three variables as it seems that what the success of a hackathon really boils down to is the community and teamwork. And to build up the community and teamwork, you need the right mix of people, brought together in a great location, and you need to ensure seamless communication. That’s when the hackathon event format is at its best, with diverse people having fun together in a slightly unconventional way.

All photo credit goes to Maido Parv.

Chat for teams

How to Create a Great Company Culture When You’re Rarely in the Same Room

How to quickly create team conversations in FleepLet’s talk about company culture. How do you cultivate a great company culture when your team is dispersed – perhaps across a country (like Team Fleep), perhaps across the globe.

But first, here’s a big picture question for you:

Why do people choose to work for your company?

Is it because they love what you’re building together and they want to help it succeed?

Because they have respect and warmth for their team mates and genuinely enjoy working alongside them?

Or, deep down, is it simply because you pay them better than other companies in your field?

Because they’re hoping the experience will help them crack into the field or role that they actually care about?

Companies that have a strong sense of shared culture know why their employees choose to work for them. They know that they hired the people specifically because they share goals, values and personality traits.

Fleep has now a better picture previewer

Creating a company culture that everyone on the team buys into makes your team far more unified and productive. It makes it easier to trust people to get on with the job in hand. It reduces staff turnover and helps you to grow.

But for companies whose teams are geographically dispersed or work remotely, the big question is: how do we stay on the same page when we’re not even in the same room?

A decade ago, this would have been a hard one to answer.

International corporations used to spend hundreds of thousands to fly their staff from country to country for meetings, workshops, conferences and team-building sessions designed to crack this very nut.

But these large-scale events and meetings are hugely expensive – and there’s little evidence that they have much of an impact on how teams in different locations collaborate with one another.

Disconnect, hostility and buck-passing between separate teams in different countries is something that you need to tackle in your day-to-day work practices, not in big gestures once a year.

But the exciting thing is that, with the technology we now have at our disposal, you can bridge the gaps – and you can do it with even the most modest of budgets.

Leading a team that shares the same vision is all about regular contact in the present. It means keeping up the conversation, and making sure that everyone is involved, engaged and on track.

It means adopting project management methods that give your team the space to create – to be autonomous, self-motivated and productive.

You can now get notified about new messages in Fleep web version

In many ways, working remotely makes this easier, not harder.

By taking your business communication online, using app-based systems like Fleep, you send out the message that you trust team members to produce great work… and that they’re ultimately responsible for getting stuff done.

You foster a culture of accountability. Of transparency. Of hard work.

But at the same time, by developing a system that keeps everyone in the loop and is accessible from any device, you’re also saying: Hey, I’ve got your back.

You’re telling employees that they’re not stuck out there on their own. You’re telling them, let us know what’s going on and we’ll tackle it together.

You’re creating the kind of working environment that people aren’t only drawn to working in, but one that they’ll want to stay working in for years to come.

So next time someone asks you why people come and work for you, you’ll know just what to tell them.

Marek Sanders, copywriter

 

This is a guest blog post written by Marek Sanders, who is a copywriter, productivity enthusiast and a Fleep evangelist.

 

Chat for teams