Freelancers and independent contractors know that limiting distractions is the key to working from a home office. Heading down a research rabbit hole or, let’s face it, getting trapped on social media, is even more of a danger when you’re not working from a traditional office.
The good news is that productivity apps like Evernote and Wunderlist make completing your to-do list easier. The former is scalable with the free version of the app providing a daily task list for the sole trader and group collaboration for the SME types. The free version also allows users to sync notes, tasks and group chats across multiple devices making for a streamlined mobile solution. After additional functionality? Premium users will appreciate the notes-to-presentation-conversion, PDF annotation on the go, business card scanning and the unlimited file uploads.
How many emails are too many? It’s a fine line between essential business product and spam; so if you’re the type to rely on email a little too much, consider switching to a team collaboration platform for your business. A familiar solution is Google Apps for Work – many will be au fait with the functionality (spreadsheets, documents, and slides) if not the exact products. Develop slides and documents collaboratively, rather than emailing versions, and tag and comment on individual cells within spreadsheets to manage your data remotely, together. It’ll send notifications and keep your documents accessible anywhere in the cloud.
Team chat app Slack allows users to set up project chat rooms and share files while archiving content for future reference. Account analytics let admins know who the team super users are and whether they’re chatting or sending files, and while there are only 750,000 global users, the 26% who are paid users are very vocal about their love for the app. A similar, and homegrown, version HipChat (made by Atlassian) takes the same approach; even outperforming its American competitor in certain areas like information at a glance and task allocation. And while the Australian productivity app doesn’t have a full complement of Emoji like its US contemporary, it is also missing the rudimentary IA Slackbot – a plus for users who’d rather not have the bot watching their every move.
Plan the path of least resistance
Finding your way between Meeting A and Meeting B takes time when you’re on the road building business opportunities. Fortunately, way-finding apps designed specifically for the Australian market are on the rise. Snarl keeps community members updated on current traffic scenarios so you can optimise, avoid, and work around existing traffic snags. Looking to build on Google Maps near-perfect algorithm? InRoute shows users a more efficient way; factoring in elevation, weather and time of day into route and time-to-destination projection. If arriving 15 minutes early is your goal, this is the app for you.
Notifications are a double-edged sword. Knowing when a new text, update or mention pops in is great but not at the expense of your current thought process. Keep your thinking time uninterrupted by using the do not disturb function on your iPhone to limit calls, texts and notifications. The crescent moon icon will indicate when the function is switched on allowing users to work through their to do list and stockpiling notifications for future reference. Not to be left out, Android users can install a comparable function on their phone with the Do Not Disturb app.
If this then that (IFTTT) truly delivers on its apps-do-double-duty promise. Working off a ‘recipe’ premise, the app lets users set a series of ‘IF’ and ‘DO’ functions to extend the functions of their existing apps. IF you take a picture with Instagram, then the app will automatically save that image to your *Dropbox DO functions allow users to quickly create a personalised camera, button or notepad, synced across multiple apps so you can swiftly complete a number of actions with a single tap, swipe or pinch of your fingertips.
Quick tips for managing your time:
- Make your bed
Adding a small, daily ritual improves your outlook, and making your bed, while a small gesture, means you’ve already achieved something within two minutes of waking up.
- Start with your most challenging task
Dreading a particular task? Tick it off your list first to save the easiest for last.
- Prepare for tomorrow, today
Writing a tomorrow list at the end of your day allows you to leave work prepared for your next workday while reducing dwell time overnight.
Dropbox is a Vodafone Ready Business partner.
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