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Best Project Management Software for Freelancers in 2022: Apps & Tools

If you’re working as a contractor or other type of freelancer, chances are you need some help tracking your work. In this roundup, we go over the best project management software for freelancers that will keep you on task – maybe even for free.

Fergus O'Sullivan
By Fergus O'Sullivan (Writer, Former Chief Editor)
— Last Updated: 2022-12-01T07:53:57+00:00

Freelancers looking for the best project management software often get short shrift, as most roundups — including our own — focus on businesses with more than one worker. With this overview of the best project management software for freelancers, though, we hope to remedy that situation and get you managing your projects and tasks like a pro, even if you are just a one-man band.

If you are working on your own — either as a contractor, employee or true wild card who gets work wherever you can — you have a specific set of requirements that we at Cloudwards are all too familiar with. Between us, we have over a century of experience working from home offices and laptops all around the world.

Key Takeaways:

  • There are a lot of free apps out there, so there’s no need to pay for project management software as a freelancer.
  • If you’re running a small shop with a straightforward workflow, you’re probably best off with a simple app like Todoist or TickTick
  • If you’re managing more complex projects or overseeing other freelancers, tools like Asana and nTask are probably the way to go.

We’ve picked seven services, all with free plans, that should meet the needs of most freelancers and help you keep track of what you’re doing, with whom, and when it needs to be turned in. Our favorite is TickTick, though any of the other six may also meet your needs. The best way to find out which one is the best for you is to try out a few before settling for one.

  • 12/02/2021 Facts checked

    Added TickTick and Todoist to the list, changed the order of the ranking.

  • You have several options here, but overall we like Todoist and TickTick the most, closely followed by other free options like Asana and nTask.

  • Chaotically minded freelancers keep track of their tasks using scraps of paper and poorly programmed reminders. Successful freelancers use at least a proper to-do list, and the really professional contractors probably use something more advanced than that.

  • As much as we like monday.com, we can’t say it’s all that great for freelancers. While it does rank on our list with the best project management software for freelancers, it’s in last place thanks to its price and the lack of a free plan.

Top Project Management Software for Freelancers

What Makes the Best Project Management Tool for Freelancers?

Our main criterion when picking good task management tools for freelancers is cost, or rather the absence of it. All our picks have solid free plans (though we’re not blown away by monday.com’s, truth be told). This way, if you’re only beginning with project management, you can experiment with different approaches without any financial risk.

If the free tier doesn’t scratch your itch, in all cases you can upgrade for a reasonable price, though nTask, TickTick and Todoist are by far the cheapest. Here’s a quick overview of our seven top project management tools for freelancers.

  1. TickTick — The best way to keep track of freelance projects
  2. Todoist — A simple and effective way to manage tasks
  3. Trello — For fans of kanban boards and mobile apps
  4. Notion — Simple tool with great note-taking abilities
  5. Asana — Powerhouse project management software
  6. nTask — Flexible task management with built-in time tracking
  7. monday.com — A project management tool with a bit of everything

Next up in our criteria, we figured that most freelancers juggle many different tasks and need overview more than anything. Kanban boards and lists are the best way to achieve that, and all entries have a strong showing here. We left advanced features like Gantt charts and workload-balancing out of the equation because they’re generally used for larger teams.

Lastly, we wanted project management apps that can do a lot of different things, or at least let you use integrations so you can manage as much as possible from a single application. Though our picks have different strengths and weaknesses, all of them have some kind of access to things like word processing, time tracking and managing due dates.

On top of that, all of our picks have an easy-to-use interface and decent mobile apps. However, do note that if you want to do a lot of planning on Android or iOS, you may want to get ready for some mild frustration: Most project management mobile apps aren’t that hot.

The Top 7 Best Project Management Tools for Freelancers

With all of the above criteria in mind, we selected the seven project management tools for freelancers below. Our overall favorite is TickTick, but we’re sure that if that doesn’t fit your needs, there’s another that will.

1. TickTick

ticktick multiple lists view
TickTick is the best app for managing unlimited projects via lists.

More Details About TickTick:

  • Price: Free; $2.33 per month for the Premium plan
  • Website: ticktick.com

Pros:

  • Easy to track tasks
  • Cheap upgrade
  • Great calendar

Cons:

  • Interface has small buttons
  • Pop-ups on free version

TickTick is our favorite pick for freelancers thanks to its colorful interface, simple functionality and cheap upgrade. Though we generally prefer to recommend free project management software for small businesses, TickTick’s upgrade is so cheap we feel we can bend that rule a little. 

Before we talk money, though, let’s talk a little more about what TickTick can do. At heart it’s just another to-do list app, but it has some nice little extras. One of them is that there are several ways to divide lists. You can split them up into different smaller lists, or add some tags. If you’re particularly precise, you can even do both, which gives you a lot of interesting options.

Manage Multiple Projects

This kind of granularity also makes it easy to see at a glance what’s going on using the calendar, which is probably TickTick’s most powerful tool. We praise it at length in our TickTick review, as it is what puts it above its direct competitors Todoist and Any.do by a country mile.

ticktick calendar view foldout
Few project management software have made the list and calendar work together as well as TickTick does.

Add to that some extra doodads, like the ability to take notes — though Notion is a little better at that — plus its kanban board, and you’ve got a winner. Though TickTick may not scratch everybody’s itch, it’s definitely worth checking out.

That does bring us back to the main issue, though: namely, that TickTick’s advantages only shine when you pay for it. Luckily, it’s pretty cheap at just $27.99 per year, but it may be more than you’re willing to spend on a task-tracking app. However, give TickTick a spin and you’ll soon see it’s worth the money.

Free
  • : List, Basic filters, Kanban, Caps on use
Premium
  • : Calendar, Extra filters, Track progress, Caps raised

2. Todoist

to doist today list
Todoist doesn’t look that great, but it gets the job done.

More Details About Todoist:

  • Price: Free; $3 per month for the Pro plan
  • Website: todoist.com

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Kanban board

Cons:

  • Some lag
  • Privacy issues

Our second pick is Todoist, a great task management software. In terms of features is very close to TickTick. It may be slightly better in some ways; we recommend you check out our full Todoist review to see for yourself. The difference lies in how you use both services: TickTick lets you subdivide tasks, while Todoist is more limited in that respect.

This is what makes it our second pick as a project management app for freelancers: It’s just not as easy to see what’s urgent and what is less so with Todoist. Add to that the fact that it’s missing a built-in calendar (though it does integrate directly with Google Calendar) and there are some issues with tracking projects.

List-Based Project Management

Still, though, we can see a few scenarios where Todoist is the better choice over TickTick. If you keep a relatively simple schedule and you just need to complete tasks as you go along, it’s a great fit. It’s also good if you need to look just a week or so ahead, as Todoist offers tailored views for that.

todoist calendar
Todoist’s default view looks a week ahead, great for short-term project management.

Todoist is also a solid choice if you really don’t want to spend a single penny on project management. Its free plan is probably the best of all the simpler apps out there. It also has a plan for unlimited users if you decide to grow your business from a one-man shop to an actual company, making it an attractive choice for the more ambitious among us.

Free
  • : 1 main user 5 active projects 5 collaborators (per project) 5MB file uploads
Premium
  • : 1 main user 300 active projects 25 collaborators (per project) 100MB file uploads
Business
  • : Multiple users, (price is per user) 500 active projects (per member) 50 people (per project)

3. Trello

trello-review-slider-2
Trello’s board is a great way to track project progress.

More Details About Trello:

  • Pricing: Free, or $5 per month for the Standard plan.
  • Website: trello.com

Pros:

  • Excellent kanban board
  • Great drag & drop functionality
  • Lots of integrations to choose from

Cons:

  • Limited add-ons on the free plan
  • Upgrades aren’t great

Trello is the best kanban app out there, bar none, making it a perfect fit for freelance projects that need a board to track tasks. If all you need are some cards you can easily drag and drop to get some overview for free, we recommend above all others on this list — read our Trello review for more information.

However, that’s just part of the story for most freelancers, and when you step outside the board’s bounds, you’ll quickly realize that TickTick may be a better choice. For one, while Trello offers views other than the free board, it hides them behind a pretty pricey paywall. The Premium plan is $10 per user per month, which makes it uninteresting for most freelancers.

Trello Upgrade

Even if you do have the money, it’s questionable how useful it will be. The main draws of the Premium plan are the new views. There’s also an intermediate step, called Standard, that adds some doodads, but still most of what a freelancer needs is already offered by TickTick or Todoist, and for free. 

Trello review PowerUps
Trello has more integrations than you can shake a stick at.

As such, we can’t really recommend that freelancers upgrade Trello. Still, though, Trello’s free plan is good enough that you probably won’t have to, thanks to offering unlimited users and a lot of functionality.

Free
  • : Unlimited users, 10 boards, Unlimited power-ups, Unlimited storage
Standard
  • : Price is per user, Unlimited boards, Custom fields, Invite guests
Enterprise
  • : Price is per user, Advanced admin & security settings

4. Notion

best kanban notion
Notion combines project management with note taking, to good effect.

More Details About Notion:

  • Pricing: Free; $4 per month for the Personal Pro plan
  • Website: notion.so

Pros:

  • Combines note-taking & planning
  • Great for creatives & marketers
  • Creates advanced documentation

Cons:

  • Lacks advanced features
  • Can’t track multiple projects

Notion is an interesting mix of note-taking app and task management solution that does something very few other hybrid tools do — it does a good job at all the parts it’s combining. As you can read in our full Notion review, it is both one of the best note-taking apps and a great way to wrangle projects.

It’s a solid pick for freelancers because it’s completely free, though you can choose to pay $4 per month — if paying annually — to get some extras, like inviting unlimited guests. That said, paying for it feels more like a way to support the developers than a fully fledged upgrade. 

Getting Organized With Notion

Another reason we like it is because it combines note-taking, task planning, writing and the ability to attach files. For example, you could plan projects using Notion’s kanban board and lists, then link from each task directly to a directory within Notion where you keep both written notes as well as any uploaded images. It’s a one-stop shop.

notion review timeline
Notion also has more advanced features, like a timeline.

However, if you’re running more complex operations or are planning to expand your business, Notion may not be the best pick, as it really only runs the basics. It’s one of the best project management scheduling software, but we wouldn’t recommend using it for more than scheduling straightforward workflows, or for use by people who don’t work with documents. Check out the free plan and see for yourself.

Free
  • : 1 user only, Up to five guests, 5MB file upload limit
Personal Plus
  • : 1 user only, Unlimited guests, Unlimited file uploads, Version history
Team
  • : Unlimited users, Unlocks workspace, User permission settings
Enterprise
  • : Advanced security features

5. Asana

how to use asana task details
Asana’s interface is one of the best in the business.

More Details About Asana:

  • Pricing: Free; $10.99 per month for the Premium plan
  • Website: asana.com

Pros:

  • Lots of free features
  • Colorful, clear interface
  • Feels professional

Cons:

  • Pricey upgrade
  • Many superfluous options

We’ve placed Asana fifth here because, while it is the best free project management tool out there and one of the best web project management software, it’s not as focused on freelancers as the rest of the list. That said, it will be the better option for some readers, simply because it offers more robust features and functionality, as you can read in our Asana review).

Asana Task Management

Still, though, even lone wolves will find there’s a lot to like about Asana. It offers a number of views, including a great kanban board and a very easy-to-use list view, and using it feels very smooth. It also has some great integrations, like with time-tracking app Harvest, and is in many ways a lot more flexible than Notion.

wrike asana kanban
Asana’s kanban board is very useful as well.

The downside of Asana is its price, though. While the free plan will cover most freelancers, if you do need to upgrade, you’ll be paying top dollar. Plans start at about $11 per month, so your choices are either paying nothing or jumping straight to a lot. If you can’t work around the free plan’s limitations and don’t like the price, you’re going to have to look for something else.

Free
  • : Up to 15 users
Premium
  • : Price is per user. unlimited users, expanded features
Business
  • : Price is per user. unlimited users, even more features
Enterprise
  • : Custom pricing, advanced security features

6. nTask

ntask review list view
nTask offers a colorful, clear interface.

More Details About nTask:

  • Pricing: Free; $3 per user per month for the annual Premium plan
  • Website: ntaskmanager.com

Pros:

  • Inclusive free plan
  • Cheap upgrade
  • Great built-in time tracking system

Cons:

  • No kanban board in the free plan
  • Lots of clicking around in the interface

In many ways, nTask — our best cheap project management tool — would be a better pick for freelancers than Asana. The free plan is only a smidge worse than its rival’s, and its Premium plan is a lot cheaper too. However, there is an issue that prevents nTask from scoring higher here: There’s no kanban board on the free plan.

The Kanban Can’t

As we explain in our nTask review, we’re not completely sure why something as basic as a kanban board has been hidden behind a paywall, but we expect it has something to do with enticing people to come aboard.

best kanban ntask
Seriously, why would you hide something as simple as this?

At just $3 per user per month billed annually, nTask is the cheapest project management solution out there, or at least the cheapest one worth mentioning.

While $36 per year per user this isn’t a lot of money, we suspect it might still be a hurdle for freelancers, who generally prefer free stuff. Still, though, if you can live without a kanban board or can handle $36, we recommend giving nTask a spin.

Free
  • : Maximum 5 team members.
Enterprise
  • : Self-hosted option. 50 team members minimum.

7. monday.com

monday-review-slider-2
monday.com has a great interface.

More Details About monday.com:

  • Pricing: Free; $10 per month for the Standard plan
  • Website: monday.com

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Great list view

Cons:

  • Limited free plan
  • Pricey upgrade for freelancers

We end this list with an easy-to-use project management tool that we start most others with: monday.com. While monday.com is our overall favorite project management tool for multiple projects, it falls short for the average freelancer for a few reasons.

monday.com Free Plan

For one, its free plan offers just a list and a board. This makes it marginally more interesting than Trello, but unlike Trello, there’s no in-between when upgrading: either you go the whole hog and pay for the Standard plan, or nothing. The Basic plan is near useless, as all it adds to the free plan is a dashboard and some extra storage.

monday com user friendly
You need more than this for successful project management.

That said, as you can read in our monday.com review, it’s a very nice list and a great board. Add to that some of monday.com’s more interesting integrations and you may have a winning option on your hands. However, compared to our other contenders, monday.com won’t scratch a freelancer’s itch nearly as well, earning it last place.

Individual
  • : Maximum users: 2, Kanban Board, & list
Basic
  • : Minimum users: 3, Price per user, Basic features
Standard
  • : Minimum users: 3, Price per user, Expanded features
Pro
  • : Minimum users: 3, Price per user, Advanced features
Enterprise
  • : Enterprise-level features.

Final Thoughts

Freelancers don’t always have it easy finding the best project management software, but hopefully our list can help you at least narrow down the field a little. Our favorite project management tool for freelancers is TickTick, but all other contenders have plenty going for them as well.

If you’re building a software stack to keep your gigs organized, be sure to check our best organization apps list. If you use macOS or Windows, check out our guides for the best project management software for Mac and the best project management software for Windows.

If you’re a freelancer designer, you can also read our best project management software for designers guide to find software that offers the best of both worlds. If you manage a creative team, be sure to check out our best project management software for creatives guide.

What did you think of our list? Did we miss any important contenders that you feel deserve a spot? Maybe our rankings could be improved? Let us know in the comments below and, as always, thank you for reading.