All of us are always looking for ways to be a little more productive at work and in our personal lives. The following article discusses what most of us do now and highlights a couple of new apps that will help make you more organized and productive. The nice thing about them is that they are very easy to use and you can get started with the basics within an hour.
The Traditional Way We Do Things
Most of us have a very bad habit of jotting down notes in a lot of different places. We still use stickies around our desk or on our refrigerator, maybe we’ll send an email or text to ourself, some people like to use their word processor apps (Microsoft, Apple or Google) to enter notes and some use a note app on their smartphone. With our lists, reminders and notes all over the place, it's no surprise that we often don't have them where and when we need them. These bad habits do not help us increase our productivity.
Better Alternatives using the Latest Technology
Evernote.com and OneNote.com (Microsoft), are two solutions that allow you to continue to write your notes and lists wherever you are, yet automaticly syncs the latest info to any device you may have near you. Let me share a couple of examples.
I’m going to use Evernote as an example app to explain some features and benefits. We’ve been using it in our our company for the last few years and have had tremendous productivity gains for our people at work, home, traveling or just hanging out.
Automatically Syncs Your Smartphones, Tablets, Laptops, Desktops & Watches
Evernote has done a very good job of putting apps on all the difference devices you might own: everything from a smartphone to a Google or Apple watch has an Evernote app. The most important concept in this system is that you can enter information once on one device and then it automatically syncs on all of your other devices. Say you’re in the office on a laptop and you’re going out to see a customer. By the time you walk out the door, all your devices have been updated with your latest information. When you open up a tablet or a smartphone at a customer's office, the information is there.
New Apple Watch App - What can you really do?
If you're thinking of buying an Apple Watch, you should read this section. "The iPhone and Apple Watch versions of Evernote work together beautifully. Dictate notes, perform searches, and see recent content on your watch when you need it. Set reminders and check items off your list without ever taking out your phone. Start reading a note on Apple Watch, then continue reading it on your iPhone with a swipe of the lock screen. It’s one app that moves with you from wrist to hand and back again." - notes from the Evernote Blog in 2015.
You can share Evernote Notebooks with your team, customers or partners. If you’re working on a project - it could be a business plan, it could be researching a big customer, a large account - everything that all the team members put in, it automatically syncs to the other people.
Evernote Web Clipper
Evernote Clipper is one of our favorite features. There’s a plug-in for all the different browsers, so as you’re doing research and there’s a screen that you're interested in, such as a competitor's pricing page, you can very quickly snap a picture of the page and have it assigned to a particular notebook. It's very, very fast. You can speed up your research and reduce the time line for projects.
Business Card Scanner is Built-in and Integrates with Linkedin
I use the businesscard scanner function just about every week. If you get some business cards after a meeting, trade show, coffee or a lunch, you can use your smartphone (I happen to have an iPhone) to scan the cards. You can save time by the following:
- Pull out your smartphone and load the Evernote app
- Flip to the business card scanning function and snap a picture of a business card
- A copy of the contact information is placed in the proper phonebook fields and in an Evernote note
- You should then check the info and confirm the quality of the scan... which is usually pretty good
- If you give the app permission, it will go out to LinkedIn and bring in the person's picture and any other information that matches what you found with this business card and put it into your phonebook
- If you’ve given the app permission, the app will also invite the new contact to connect on Linkedin
All of that happens with one click of the business card app. It amazes me every time I use it. Note: Business card scanning is an Evernote business and premium version feature.
The following are just some of the benefits from using a cloud, mobile, wearables application:
- Save time - reduce time looking for notes
- Get more organized
- Improve productivity
- Automatically sync notes to all devices
- Reduce project research time
- Teams can access notes in notebooks
- Clipper speeds up research and information on different projects
- Scan business cards and automatically load key info into your phonebook
- Business card scanner automatically links to LinkedIn (with permissions)
- Tremendous productivity gains for people in sales organizations
An easy and low-cost way to improve productivity is to adopt a modern cloud, mobile and wearable app technology. Evernote is still the leader and we prefer the application. However, if you use and like Microsoft Office, OneNote is fully integrated with MS Office, a very nice app and continues to improve.
There are three levels of Evernote. A free version ($0 per month), Professional ($5 per month) and a Business ($10 per month) version. I would start with the free version to learn the notes and list how-to basics.
OneNote (by Microsoft)
Photo credit: jesadapthorn2-freedigitalphotos