Amanda Holges talks about her top Business Apps and Taming Technology
Over the last decade or so our phones and devices have grown in capability from mere bricks that we made calls and texts with, to complex micro assistants in the palm of our hands. However, instead of feeling in control and at ease, we can end up feeling unable to switch off and as if controls us ……
This tip is part of a series that look at the key issues I help with as part of my Mentoring & Masterminds. Check out my other blogs for further Tips.
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– Our phones, tablets, and computers are all capable of helping us in our business, but we don’t need to be a slave to Mr. Job’s technology.
Over the last decade or so, phones and devices have grown in capability from mere bricks that we made calls and texts with, to complex micro assistants in the palms of our hands. It’s become the hub of all types of communication. A suite of media tools to run the office, with apps to provide a whole world of resources. However, instead of feeling in control and at ease, we can end up feeling unable to switch off and as if it controls us.
What if we miss something?
How do we use technology to help and assist but tame it on our terms?
I use various technology and apps to create and post content, communicate with others, send email and messages, keep track of what I’m doing and when. However, it also needs to know when to be quiet and let me take control. It is set up to keep the things I need at hand but not to distract me. That just wastes valuable time.
Technology can help us in our day to day activities but it needs to know its place.
So, here are my three key apps followed by my tips for taming your computer.
Number one – Dropbox. Dropbox is central to my business. From client files to blogs, images, and photos, and videos and courses, it’s all on there. Having a central location that syncs across all of my devices, whether I’m in the office or out at a meeting, is crucial. I can stop in a lay-by with an idea for a blog and finish it when I’m in the office later. I can share files and folders directly with others for collaboration, or with clients to provide advice and resources.
Dropbox has plenty of options from free accounts to business levels incorporating teams and advance tools. There are other options such as OneDrive and Google Drive but the crucial part is getting something that syncs across devices so you can access your files and resources anywhere you need them.
Number two – Evernote. This app works across all devices and with a multitude of uses from meeting notes to to-do lists, articles stores, and client files. Text, photos, scans, documents, audio, even hand-written notes can all be kept in one place and easily searched. By assigning tags or different notebooks, you can easily keep track and record the information.
If you’re reading an article online and want to keep it for later use or to read fully, then the browser extension lets you grab either the full article or a bookmark. I found this really useful for content creation as I can tag it with key words for ease of finding when I want to write something later. It’s also useful in meetings or events to write notes, record the audio, and take screenshots, all within the same note.
Evernote can also keep track of client notes, even the ones you have hand written, together with emails and other documents. And, with it’s scanning ability, even a paperless offices somehow seems possible.
Number three – Toggl. This is a time log tool that helps you keep track of how you’re using your time and can also be used for billing clients. By tracking the time you spend on tasks or projects, you can get a better idea of where the time is being spent or, more importantly, wasted. Quite often the time we estimate for a task is different to how long it actually takes. And this tool can help monitor that. You can also assign time to different projects to track various aspects of your day or your work.
And, if you provide services on an hourly basis and need to report your time log, then you can assign clients and even billing with full reports to send out with your invoices. This tool makes time tracking and reporting much easier.
So, these are just a small selection of the apps I use to help me in my business. If you want more, then there’s a page to head to at the end, but for now let’s look at taming the technology, too.
As much as technology can help us, it’s important that we stay in control. Back in my first Business Growth Tip – Juggling Priorities, I spoke about the importance of switching off your notifications. Just a ping from a phone or a pop up message is enough to distract you and creates a sense of urgent priority it probably doesn’t deserve. Switch them off now, if you haven’t already.
Set time aside to check things like email, social media, and apps on your own terms. You need to find a schedule that suits you but having 20 to 60 minutes two or three times a day to check emails, messages, apps, etc, and then respond is much better than being distracted and wasting time throughout the day. You will get more done and it still gives you a good level of service to those who want to contact you.
Be in control of your communications on your terms. Above all, remember to be present in whatever you’re doing, not buried in your technology. If you’re working on a key project, then silence the notifications and switch it to do not disturb for a set period of time, perhaps 60 or 90 minutes, so you can focus. If you’re in a meeting, then focus on that and get it completed rather than dealing with the interruptions.
And, finally, when it’s time for you to enjoy time on your own or with others, turn off the rest of the world – They can wait until you are ready.
Just like the technology we use, we all need recharging at times. So, remember to make sure that you’re health, wellbeing, and emotion batteries are well charged, too.
If you want further suggestions for apps that I use, then download my 20 Apps for Business Owners at amandaholges.co.uk/Apps. From content creation through productivity to wellbeing, there’s lots of suggestions there for you to try yourself.
So, my three tips for taming technology are control the notifications, set a schedule to check and respond, and ditch it! – Sometimes, life is more important.
And download my 20 Apps for Business Owners at amandaholges.co.uk/Apps – but don’t forget to tame them.
Until next time, Speak soon.