A freelancer’s stack

Emily Bazalgette
3 min readFeb 21, 2021

What I use to run my business and do my work

I welcome suggestions for

Task + knowledge management

Still figuring out an efficient knowledge management process, this situation is a hot mess.

  • I’ve finally found the perfect recycled notebooks, by Papersmith: “Designed in Hackney and made by a family-run bindery in Buckinghamshire, these British-made notebooks combine top-quality production with eco-friendly materials. The inside paper is recycled, FSC-certified, and printed with vegetable-based ink”. I was using Port West before (which are 100% recycled, cover and inside paper) but they’re too slight, I like a chonky notebook!
  • Recycled post-its and sharpies (I have yet to find a “sustainable” alternative to sharpies)
  • An ancient LAMY fountain pen + refillable ink cartridge + ink well (I’ve bravely quit my favourite plastic gel pens)
  • Google docs (meeting notes)
  • Trello (kanban)
  • Pocket (save articles)
  • Notion (wiki).

Document creation + storage

Google Workspace (docs, presentations, spreadsheets, forms and basic surveys)

ChatGPT (for research and first versions of docs/ blog posts etc)

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Collaborative project work

  • Google Workspace
  • Miro, Google Jamboard, Google Slides (digital whiteboards). I tend to use Miro when collaborating with small groups of design/ digital folk, and Google Jamboard/ Slides for client workshops. Digital whiteboards are not accessible, we need to solve this for remote work to be inclusive
  • Airtable (a spreadsheet crossed with a database)
  • Typeform (fancier forms and surveys)
  • Otter.ai (interview transcription). Interested in fireflies.ai

Synchronous communication

  • Zoom
  • The sweet relief of an old-fashioned phone call.

Asynchronous communication

  • Gmail/ Google Workspace
  • Whatsapp. Tried and failed to move to Signal, behold: network effects
  • Slack
  • Discord.

Visual design for people with no design training

Brand + comms

Time tracking + billing + accounting

  • Trialling Harvest
  • Xero (billing + accounting)
  • Dext (easy expenses, integrates with Xero).

Money

Miscellaneous

  • Firefox (Chrome destroyed my laptop battery, major bummer)
  • Calendly (meeting scheduling, I love this product, but I am will try out Cal.com, which is free, when my Calendly account expires)
  • Grammarly (spelling, grammar, style)
  • Simplify (makes Gmail more usable and more beautiful)
  • Signature Hound (create fancy email signatures for free)
  • LastPass (password manager). Got my eye on Bitwarden (free and open-source)
  • Freedom (blocks certain websites for productivity’s sake *cough* Twitter *cough*). I’ve blocked the same website on my iPhone by doing this (it’s very easy!)
  • Twitter’s Alt Text reminder feature (to turn it on, go to Accessibility settings > receive image description reminder)
  • Toucan (Chrome extension that translates words on webpages into another language to help you learn — in my case, Spanish!)
  • Researching workflow automation through Zapier and IFTT.

IRL infrastructure + hardware

  • Companies Made Simple (registered office address)
  • Co-working space tbc re: global pandemic
  • Macbook Air + iPhone + external keyboard
  • Yeti microphone (for giving talks/ recording podcasts)
  • Researching options for monitor, camera and mouse.

Thanks to Tom for writing his post, which prompted me to finally publish this! Tom has recently updated his post in his newsletter, with some interesting new tools.

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Emily Bazalgette

Regenerative organisational desiger. Coach. #ChronicIllness advocate. Creator of GriefSick: https://griefsick.substack.com/. Website: https://www.emrosebaz.com/