Normally, when I start with, “I’m sure I’m not the only one who…” I find myself looking for confirmation. So, I’m sure I’m not the only one who has inspiration strike me at times that are less than ideal. Am I? Yeah, didn’t think so.
Whether it is driving down the road, jumping in the shower, or walking out the door for a romantic night on the town; inspiration seems to always know when I’m busy and hit me hardest then. This is a condition that I’ve been dealing with for years, but as I’ve gotten wiser, I’ve learned to harness it with that pocket computer that no American can get enough of. And, by adopting these four capabilities, you can as well….
Note Taking Capability
Having the capability to jot down extended thoughts is great when ideas come to you on the metro, or while waiting for someone at a restaurant. Often, there isn’t enough time (or space) to take out a laptop, but apps like Evernote provide all the capabilities you need to capture enough information so you can pick it back up again at a more convenient time. Built in, they provide a text editor so you can text, lists, images or tables. It tracks the date and time that the note was created, and you can sync to “the cloud” so that whether you are working on your phone, laptop, desktop or tablet, you have the latest version accessible to you.
Task Capturing Capability
Sometimes though, it’s not an idea that you need to remember to expand upon, it’s a task for an existing idea. “Oh, I need to send Frank an email about [abc] so that I can complete [xyz].” There are actually a couple great ways to do this on your phone.
Everyone who has a smart phone has a personal assistant. And while Siri is great at telling jokes, she can actually do so much more. One of the capabilities that she has is she can remind you to do stuff at a later time. If you hold down the home button on your iPhone and say “Siri, remind me to email Frank about [abc] at 6pm tonight,” she’ll alert you to email Frank at 6pm.
If you don’t like the idea of giving your phone commands, or you get frustrated when it never understands what you say, you can also go the route of an app like ToDoist. ToDoist is an iPhone/Android app (along with a Chrome Plugin) that allows you to identify and prioritize a tasking, assign a due date and project to the task, and the app will fire an alert at the appropriate time. It’s great for organizing a “to-do” list across multiple projects for both work and personnal.
Cloud File Hosting
By taking advantage of Cloud File Hosting services such as Dropbox, files remain at your fingertips. So, that 15 minutes that you spend sitting in the doctor’s office, instead of reading a magazine, you could be reviewing that file for your boss. As the file is synced between your phone, desktop and tablet, comments/changes made are available wherever you are. If you need to proof read later, you can. Or, if you are satisfied with your work, email from your phone and mark the task complete.
While this isn’t really a technology, take advantage of an Amazon Prime membership. Don’t underestimate the convenience of free 2-day shipping. There are always one-off things that you need to buy, that before Amazon, I’d have to create a Tasker to go to Home Depot to buy Tiki Torches on Sunday morning at 9am. Now, I open up my Amazon app, search for what I need, make a decision based on picture, price, and personal accounts, and it have it delivered to my door two days later. The convenience is well worth the membership costs.
Productivity on the go
The four capabilities outlined above keep me productive wherever I am. While I recommend searching around and finding the right tool to satisfy your needs, links to the tools that I identified in the article are below.
- Evernote – iPhone / Android
- OneNote – iPhone / Android
- ToDoist – iPhone / Android / Chrome
- Dropbox – iPhone / Android
What do you think? Can you think of any tools that I missed or need to adopt? Would love to hear what you are using in the comment section. Until next week GovLoopers!
Steve Palmer is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.