There’s a saying I often hear from customers – ‘a computer is only as smart as the person who programmed it’. For context, this is usually what I hear when things start to go wrong. But the fact is that while this was true in the beginning, computers and applications have come a long way and learnt a lot in the process. Today, it’s the humans who need to keep up with the computers, and in order to do that, we need to understand how they work and how we can use them to improve our work. This month we’ve rounded up 5 of our favourite computer and mobile applications that can boost your productivity, do some jobs for you and make your life a little easier with the click of a few buttons.
No productivity app list would be complete without a mention of Evernote. For businesses who can’t justify an expensive document management solution, Evernote is a fantastic alternative. It’s basically a digital notebook, which you can use to type or scribble notes as you go, scan documents, copy and paste information from the Internet or other files, store pictures and even record audio notes if you have a microphone. It’s simple and flexible organisational system means that you can keep any type of file by type, date or project, and the data backs up to a central system so you won’t lose it – a nice added bonus. It’s available in desktop and app version, which makes it perfect for keeping everything you need in one place, even if you’re on the go. If you struggle to keep on top of all your tasks, or just need a better way of organising your documents, Evernote is a great free option
One application we would never be without is Rescue Time. This little application runs constantly in the background and monitors the usage of your computer and feeds back the data to you through a web-based dashboard. This might sound sinister at first, but it’s an incredibly useful tool to figure out where your dead time is and what you get distracted by. Rescue Time tracks every application you open or website you visit and how long you were there, and then splits it down into categories depending on productivity. You can modify these categories at any time – so if you use a particular website for work a lot you can tell it that that website is productive, and it will adjust its readings. You can set it to monitor only during certain times, so if you want to surf the web on your lunch break you don’t need to feel guilty later. After a few weeks of using it we found ourselves working more productively and avoiding activities that Rescue Time deemed ‘distracting’. It’s perfect if you need a little push to keep yourself on task throughout the day.
I don’t know about you, but expenses can sometimes feel like the bane of my life. Trying to keep track of everything and store all of my receipts was a chore, and I would spend hours putting it all into a spreadsheet to generate a report. Then a colleague recommended Expensify. He was a frequent traveller and found it hard to hang on to receipts, but with Expensify he just needed to take a picture and then throw it away. The mobile app takes the picture, scans it and pulls all of the details (e.g. the amount, company name etc.). At the end of the month, or whenever you prefer to do expenses, it generates you a report in seconds, allowing you to get on with things
If you have more than one person in your business, or you are managing a team of people, it can be difficult to keep up with what everyone is doing. If you don’t like going around asking people what they’re up to (and let’s face it, no one enjoys that situation) applications like Wrike are a godsend. Set up team members, give them tasks, allow them to manage their own to do lists and encourage collaboration and communication in your team. A bit more advanced than Trello (another popular option for organisations), Wrike allows you to see what tasks everyone in your team is working on, still has to do or have completed from a single online dashboard. Wrike provides a great structure to help you streamline your workload and manage your team effectively – plus it helps you keep on top of your own to-do list!
At All Your Computers we love applications that can make life easier for the user – these are just 4 of our personal favourites. If you have a favourite productivity app that we haven’t mentioned, leave a comment below or email me and I’ll give it a try! For more information or to ask a question about your computer system or software, get in touch for a free consultation.