Tag Archives: technology

Four steps towards a more mobile and paperless office

In my first job out of college, I took notes on legal pads as if they were going out of style. I’d file away my notes in manila file folders after meetings, along with handouts and copies of agendas. My trusty Franklin Covey planner kept me on schedule and helped me keep track of my tasks. There was a 5-foot tall filing cabinet in my office filled to brim with papers and drawers in my desk with my “active files.” I thought I had a good system! I kept hard copies of important documents for historical archives. This was 15 years ago and times, technology, and I, have changed.

Most of my files are now kept on my company’s computer servers, saving into electronic file folders like I once did paper files. But up until recently I still had a handful paper files at my desk and relied on a trendy spiral notebook to take notes in meetings and keep a running to-do list. Oh, and dare I admit I had an actual Rolodex with a growing stack of cards sitting on top (mocking me) just waiting to be filed away.

As my job requires me to be more mobile than ever traveling to various locations, I’ve needed to stretch myself to be more efficient with my time and nimble with my space. I don’t want to carry around paper files or feel as though I’m missing important documents back at my desk when I’m on the road. So here are some steps I’ve taken recently to move towards a more mobile office:

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My top 5 apps for business

screen shot of appsLast week I presented my top app recommendation for business at Java Meet Up (612), a networking group for marketing, PR, social media and tech pros in the Twin Cities. I’ll share it with you here, too, along with four other apps I’ve found helpful to increase productivity.

Evernote – an app that works across all platforms and devices (yes, even the Blackberry). Enter and save your notes, pics, screen shots and even audio clips using this program, then access later from any of your devices (smart phone, tablet or laptop/desktop). The data synchs beautifully. The more I use this program, the more I can’t live without it. I love being able to quickly “jot down” ideas on my cell and access them later from my computer, and vice versa. Meeting notes, blog topic ideas, pictures I’d like to connect with certain topics — so far it’s been easy and quite brilliant to use. You can also tag your posts by topic or category and search easily.

LinkedIn – Just released last week for Android (following last month’s iPhone launch), the LinkedIn app is quickly becoming one of my favorites. If you use the traditional web site regularly and appreciate how it helps you stay connected with colleagues and access info on other professionals, you’ll like the app as well.  Although they are still working out some of the kinks, I like how the profiles are easy to read, you can send and manage invites, read and post status updates, and e-mail your network contacts all from your phone.

CamCard - This impressive app allows you to take a picture of an old-fashioned business card and import the contact information into your phone contacts. So far I’m happy with the Lite version, which is free in the Android Market. You can also keep images of the original cards in a virtual Rolodex of sorts. So far I’m loving this, but not sure I want every person I meet in my cell phone contacts… working out how to manage that piece and would love to hear tips from others who use this app.

TweetDeck - Twitter can be a great business tool, if you leverage your interests and use it to build your professional network. I’ve tried a few third-party mobile apps for twitter and keep coming back to Tweet Deck. If you use the software on your PC, you’ll find the mobile version similar in features and design. On your phone, you use your thumb to swipe from column to column. It’s very easy to manage multiple twitter accounts (work and personal, for example). I especially like how it gives me a screen to have easy access to my top 12 Twitter friends, and tips me off if someone is following me or not.

Google Maps – The map app from Google saves me quite a bit of time. Just a few months ago, I was looking up addresses from my PC and either printing the directions or e-mailing them to myself to access from my phone.  Now I find my way to new places by heading to my google search screen on my phone and typing in the name of a business, restaurant, etc. In the search results, Google Places typically provides an address and “get directions” button. Once I click on that button, it gives me a choice of getting directions via the internet or my Google Maps app. The app functions similar to a GPS tool, such as a Garmin. It calculates directions and navigation based on your location (via your cell phone GPS locator). You can then use the navigate function which has a voice (such as, “Turn right in approximately 200 feet.”) This app saves me a lot of time, as I no longer need to pre-plan my routes before leaving the house or office.

To hear more of the apps recommended at the Java Meet Up (612) event, check out this short video from the group.

Do you use any of the apps featured above? What are some of your favorite apps for business or productivity?

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