All of us are aware by now that we can't live without technology and not only at work. With advice, aids, appliances and apps in abundance, we are at the point where we can't see the wood for the trees. Thank goodness we have advice from Michelle Storm Lane of the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE). In this issue, Michelle continues her series of articles introducing us to a raft of technologies there to help us. She is convinced that those who use selected technologies effectively are able to increase productivity, reduce stress, and free up spare time to earn (more?) money – or simply to enjoy life. She even recommends having a robot vacuum cleaner, which at least one of the editors of this section (AR) also fully recommends.
Amy Whereat has been looking at reference management software, and also points out that one way for those working on publications to work more effectively is to use systems that automate low-value tasks. These include keeping track of and correctly citing and formatting references and bibliographies. She provides us with an interesting overview of the pros and cons of different reference management systems.
As well as working efficiently as a self-employed person, you have to be able to market yourself and your services effectively using personal branding. Channels for this these days are your CV and your LinkedIn profile, and perhaps an executive biography or website – where you describe ‘brand You’, your value proposition, your abilities and your track record. Matt Craven is an expert in this and has an offer not to be missed for EMWA members: a FREE personal branding consultation. See Matt's article and don't miss this opportunity.
We also publish a question from Ruth Whittington in this issue about challenges when working with procurement agencies or outsourcing departments. This is a real problem we all face at some time in our careers, and we (and Ruth!) look forward to hearing about your experiences.
Why is it that some people have the magic touch when it comes to technology? Are there some strange magnetic forces within us that cause machines to spring to life in the hands of some, when in the hands of others they go into total meltdown? I have a very technophobic friend who certainly thinks so!
But if you can somehow master the miracle of technology, the rewards are significant. Freelancers who use technology effectively are able to increase productivity, reduce stress, and free up spare time to earn money – or simply to enjoy life.
Could you be making better use of all the amazing tools that are out there? We asked a range of writers and medical translators for some ideas. This is what they came back with:
Call in the robots
One of the wonders of the modern world is the sheer volume of innovative solutions coming out that allow you to automate repetitive tasks.
Sean d'Souza says that one of his biggest time-saving tools is Text Expander1. As a writer, he frequently has to type out very similar passages of text in articles or emails. Text expander allows him to programme shortcut keys for each passage – when he hits the shortcut key, the whole passage is automatically pasted into the document or email and he can tweak as necessary without retyping the whole thing. So if you frequently use the same phrases, paragraphs or even pictures, this is one ‘robot’ that could really speed up your work rate.
Another area that lends itself to automation is bookkeeping – there really is no need to do it all manually when you could quicken the process using online software. Tools like http://www.getha