No matter your role these days, most of us find ourselves doing business on the road. It’s not just the sales team that find themselves swimming back and forth from office to office – CEO’s, assistants and busy parents find themselves working in the most interesting places. Is it a blessing or a curse that we can still participate in that conference call while we are waiting for our doctor’s appointment? A little of both, I think. But the good news is that you can multitask like a rock star if you have the right tools.
Here are a few things that I could not live without:
Dropbox: No longer do you need to fear that if your laptop gets stolen or takes a nosedive off of the coffee table that you will be without your most important files forever. I know, we are all supposed to back-up regularly, but don’t you find yourself only backing up after that panic moment when you see that blue screen of doom? With dropbox and other cloud solutions, I know that everything is constantly backed up and synced. If I am at a client’s office without my own computer, I can quickly login and grab anything I need. I use it for everything from doing a PDF presentation on my iPad to sharing of dynamically updated sales reports with my team.
Gmail: I know, you guys who use Outlook think it’s the best, but I truly enjoy the features and ease of use that gmail provides me. Once again, from my phone to any computer, I can grab any email from any folder (label), view what I had previously sent and even switch easily between my work and personal accounts.
Last Pass: Now that Last Pass has an app (a bit of a disclaimer, I haven’t actually used the app yet), I can add this to my life-saving list. For general productivity, this is another tool that I cannot survive without. I installed it on my laptop and it securely remembers and stores all of my login details; even allowing me to organize them by client or project. And, did I mention, it’s free!
Penultimate: Here’s my favorite app for my iPad. Penultimate allows you to handwrite notes directly on an iPad using a stylus. I can create different notebooks, share them by email, convert to PDF, store in iTunes and/or print. No more writing things down in three different notebooks and not being able to find them when you really need to. Plus, it’s a great conversation starter if someone hasn’t seen it yet!
Scanner Pro: Another app that I use on my iPhone that allows you to scan documents simply by taking a picture. If you don’t have a fax machine, this is a great way to sign and send a document just with a click and an email! The quality is surprisingly good and you can create multiple page documents with ease. I have found it useful for marking up graphic work and emailing changes to remote designers, and all I need is my phone.
I’m a bit of a geek when it comes for tools to organize and simplify my crazy life. I have tried more apps and programs than I care to mention, but this list is my tried and true family of virtual helpers. I hope some of these can make your life just a bit easier. And maybe make time for a few extra minutes that you can spend unplugged.