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Best project management software for freelancers 2023: Keep track of all your contracts and deadlines

If you’re looking for the best project management software for freelancers, we’ve got you covered

As a freelancer, it’s important to have the best project management software in order to keep track of what you’re supposed to be doing and when. After all, unlike your office-bound counterparts, you have nobody to help you stay focused or prioritise your tasks, and most gigs won’t remind you of a deadline until it’s already passed. Using software to help you isn’t just recommended, it’s practically a requirement.

We already tested dozens of programs to put together our best project management software roundup, and now we’ve used our experience as freelancers to further whittle down the list. The result is a lineup with a number of interesting entries, from simple checklists to more complicated features, though what they all have in common is that they’re effective, easy to use and – usually, at least – free for most users.

Best project management software for freelancers: At a glance

How to choose the best project management software for freelancers

As a freelancer, picking the best project management software can be a bit tricky as most providers worth their salt offer an almost overwhelming number of features and abilities, often spread out over multiple pricing plans. So, if you’re not familiar with this type of software and its underlying methodologies, it can seem daunting. However, once you look closer – and with a bit of help from us – it can actually be quite simple to determine what you need and which project management solution will be the right fit for you.

Price is a great example and, as a freelancer, you can generally skip the paid plans – with all their bells and whistles – and focus on the free tiers that almost all providers offer. While companies with multiple employees are not likely to be well served by these free versions – even though, as we explained in our best free project management software article, you can still stretch them a long way – they can be fine for freelancers, who often just need some basic tracking features and that’s it.

As a one-man band doesn’t need to keep abreast of long-term milestones, at least not in any sense that they would need to shell out for project management software, nor do they need employee tracking, advanced security controls or any high-level functions; you’ll probably be just fine with a list, a kanban board, a calendar and maybe a simple Gantt chart.

That said, not all project management tools are created equal and some will be better at certain tasks than others. For example, if kanban boards are your preferred method of tracking tasks, you’re probably better off using Trello than ClickUp. So it’s important that we determine which software handles what task best.

READ NEXT: Trello vs Asana

How we test project management software for freelancers

Testing project management software to determine which is the best for freelancers was a fairly involved process. As we mentioned earlier, price doesn’t play too large a part, but that doesn’t mean there’s no difference in value. In a market with dozens of providers, some stand out more than others.

As most of us have been freelancers of some kind or another, it was all about figuring out which programs fit our needs best. For example, for many people using a kanban board is more than enough. This handy tool is great at giving you at-a-glance information, and can be particularly useful for freelancers juggling a lot of small, different tasks, but if you only need to track a handful of tasks in any given week, using a simple list may be a better option. Especially as, for some weird reason, kanban boards can create confusion if you leave them too empty.

You may also need some way to track tasks through time – whether counting time spent on a task or counting down to a deadline, either through using a calendar or some other way of dating entries – unless you really enjoy explaining to clients why their project is running late… again.

Finally, we figured freelancers would want a program that’s easy to use, or at least easy to grasp. After all, you want to spend your time earning money, not messing about with some finicky software that you can’t get to do what you need it to do.

With all that in mind, we’ve put together this list of five providers. Each of them has its distinct strengths and weaknesses, and so, generally speaking, no one piece of software is truly better than the others, or at least not enough to matter.

READ NEXT: Asana vs

The best project management software for freelancers in 2023

1. Asana: Best project management tool for freelancers overall

Price: From £0/mth | Check prices at Asana

Asana is a great project management tool, no matter how you look at it. It has an abundance of features for businesses of any size, from the simplest of basics to long-term tracking, the ability to measure different team members’ workload and a number of other high-tech functions.

As a freelancer, you’ll most likely just need the basics and Asana shines here too, with a great list view that you can manipulate in many different ways, adding columns to include whatever detail you require, from the date a task is due, to who it’s for, or what other tasks are dependent upon it. There’s also a solid board that syncs extremely well with the list, so you can easily change views on the fly.

The good news is that most of Asana’s basic functions are free. The board and the list, plus a few other bits, are all included in the free plan, which means that, as a freelancer, you can use them without spending a penny. The only real restriction – besides the one on premium features – is that you can only have up to 15 users, but that shouldn’t be a problem for most freelancers.

Read our full Asana review for details

Key features – Free kanban board: Yes; Free list view: Yes; Free Gantt chart: No; Free integrations: Yes; Free automations: Yes

Check prices at Asana

2. Trello: Best kanban board for freelancers

Price: From £0/mth | Check prices at Trello

Our next entry is Trello, a project management tool that has none of the flexibility of Asana, but somehow makes that a good thing because it goes all-in on giving you the best kanban board out there. So, if you’re a freelancer that likes to visualise their workload exclusively using boards, it’s a great choice.

Trello’s board is easy to use, even easier to customise and entirely free, no matter if you’re on your own or if you have hundreds of coworkers. While you could upgrade, there’s no real reason to as a freelancer, since it mostly adds on features you can get elsewhere for free.

The downside to Trello is that it only has a board, so if you prefer lists and the like it won’t be for you. However, for devotees of columns and cards, there’s no better option.

Read our full Trello review for details

Key features – Free kanban board: Yes; Free list view: No; Free Gantt chart: No; Free integrations: Yes; Free automations: Up to 250 per month

Check prices at Trello

3. ClickUp: Most flexible project management software for freelancers

Price: From £0/mth | Check prices at ClickUp

ClickUp is an interesting choice for freelancers. Its free plan – which we figure freelancers would likely stick to – has more features than any other entry on this list. Besides letting you use lists and boards, you can also use Gantt charts and a number of other advanced functions.

This is great because very few free tiers will offer advanced features like this. However, ClickUp does restrict how often you can use them: the Gantt chart can only have 100 so-called “actions” per month. For larger firms, this would probably disqualify the free plan, but most freelancers should easily be able to work within these constraints.

If you’re a freelancer who needs more than just a list and a board – especially if you need to map dependencies and the like – then ClickUp is an excellent choice. On top of what it can do, it also makes it really easy to do it, with a solid interface and a wonderful tutorial.

Read our full ClickUp review for details

Key features – Free kanban board: Yes; Free list view: Yes; Free Gantt chart: Yes, 100 uses; Free integrations: Yes; Free automations: Yes

Check prices at ClickUp

4. Jira: Best Agile project management software for freelancers

Price: From £0/mth | Check prices at Jira

Our next entry is Jira, which seems to elicit one of two responses from people who know it: either you’re happy to hear its name, or you feel a sudden throbbing headache behind your eyes. Jira has long been both the darling and the dread of software development simultaneously thanks to its strong focus on the Agile methodology. As a result, it’s a strong contender for any freelance software developer or anyone that likes using Agile, with its mad sprints and discouraging backlogs.

Or at least, that’s how it used to be. In a recent update, Jira added a large number of features outside of Agile, meaning that just about anybody can get some use out of it.

What makes Jira stand out is that its free plan offers full functionality, with all of its features. So, if you’re a freelancer who thinks they’ll need to plan things carefully, Jira may be a great choice.

Read our full Jira review for details

Key features – Free kanban board: Yes; Free list view: Yes; Free Gantt chart: No; Free integrations: Yes; Free automations: Yes

Check prices at Jira

5. Google Tasks: Lightweight list for freelancers

Price: Free | Check prices at Play StoreOur final entry is another one-trick pony, but it does that one trick quite well. Google Tasks, the list app that comes included with any Google account – even free ones – can be used to good effect by freelancers, especially if you’re just running your freelancing gigs on the side of your regular job, or you don’t do too many separate things in a day.

If you’re not familiar with it, Google Tasks is a small list that you can open in Gmail. It’s easy to enter tasks and subdivide them, and even easier to cross them off your list. Besides this, its biggest strength is probably that it integrates directly with your Google Calendar, making it ideal for people that want to know at a glance what they’re doing on any particular day, week, or month.

Though, as you can imagine, its biggest strength is also its biggest weakness, as it can’t do much more than track tasks across basic lists. Still, it’s a good, free, and easy-to-use option in a pinch.

Read our full Google Tasks review for details

Key features – Free kanban board: No; Free list view: Yes; Free Gantt chart: No; Free integrations: Google Calendar only; Free automations: No

Check prices at Play Store

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