Technology tips: doing more with less
By Brett Anderson
St. Croix Advisors
We’ve been talking about technology a lot recently. This week, we decided to focus on taking advantage of technology you may already have to streamline the activities you’re already doing. Increasing productivity without expanding your budget just makes sense.
First, presumably you are using Microsoft Outlook for all of your business email, calendar and task needs. With Outlook Tasks, you are able to keep track of all of your to-dos with a running tab of notes and much opportunity for collaboration. Since you’re able to stay abreast of what needs doing and when, you won’t fall behind or forget important appointments or details.
Plus, assuming you already have a smart phone, you should make sure that your Outlook account comes with you. Even with that iPhone, you should now be able to sync your Outlook account with your phone down to the very last task item. Since you’re even able to set location alarms built on GPS, the question becomes: Are you using them?
With that phone also comes a variety of built-in apps and tools that you could be taking advantage of. (For our list, see our previous post on apps). However, your phone may offer additional bonuses as well, such as customization for silent alerts. While sitting in meetings, on conference calls, or with clients, we know you can’t have your phone on, per se, but you need to know if the important call you’ve been waiting for all day is on the line, or if it’s just that dental appointment reminder call. Set customized silent (vibration) alerts, so you know when it’s worth being interrupted.
Google, Google, Google. We’ll say it once, we’ll say it again. Google’s entire suite of business-ready, user-friendly products go a long way in increasing productivity and saving you time. Pretty much all you need is a free Gmail account for full access. (Note: If you are using Google for enterprise solutions, charges apply, depending on usage).
From Google Docs that allow you the opportunity to create, collaborate and share documents, spreadsheets and more, to Google Drive‘s online (cloud) storage, Picasa‘s picture organizing, editing, storage and sharing capabilities, and even Google Alerts. If you’re not using Google Alerts, you need to be. From creating Alerts to follow competitor client, and prospect activities in the news and on the Web to conducting up-to-the-minute topic-specific research, Google Alerts are a wonderful (and free) tool to incorporate into your business toolbox.
Chances are you are either invested in or starting to explore the waters of social media. If so, don’t waste your time logging into each different site every time you have something to say. Simply use a social media dashboard and monitor and manage your profiles for Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and more from one convenient place. Hootsuite is a wonderful tool and is free for individual users; however, there are plenty more, as well. Just make sure to find the one that works for your particular situation. Stay on top of Facebook conversations, keep an eye on Twitter mentions and seamlessly respond promptly to Linkedin comments without ever leaving that browser window.
If you’re still looking for additional tips on saving money and time while you do more with less in the technology arena, we suggest you follow Lifehacker.com. The site is completely dedicated to saving you time, increasing your productivity, and offering you the best tips on technology related subject matter.
Here’s to a productive autumn!