Nathan Eddy's recent article says that “nearly three-quarters of the IT decision makers surveyed thought that the use of tablets and smartphones has led to an increase in productivity within their organization, with 25 percent saying it has improved productivity “significantly.”
This is not surprising at all. We see tablets and smartphones everywhere and for a special reason they do play a major role in one of the most important aspect of work, and that is no less than communication. It has made collaboration almost seamless. And one of the best part these gadgets have done, is to unshackle us from the office and give us the freedom of mobility without sacrificing a whole days work.
Imagine being on the road without your laptop but with tablet or smartphone at your disposal? I'm quite positive that many wouldn't dare think of forgetting these tools before they step out of the door. In some ways, these have built a bond with us that sticks like a glue. Wherever we go, they are either tucked on our sling bags or pouches. And almost quite instinctively, smartphones and tablets are slowly usurping the simple tasks we use to do on the laptop.
Apps are like wheels. You may have a car, but without the wheels, they are good as nothing. Apps does not only extend what smartphones and tablets functionality, they bring out the best in these little machines. And if you are an iPad user, you probably have hundreds of them installed. A few apps on my list include;
- Dropbox – this is probably something that would remain from among the apps I have if i am to choose only one. This cloud storage is simply irreplaceable as it acts as a primary backup to all my files. (Free)
- Skype – when you are looking for a total communication tool to call (for free) with clear and crisp audio and (a little) video Skype is on top of the list. (Free)
- Hootsuite – this is the only social media dashboard that I have used for my Twitter, Facebook and FB page management, no questions asks.
- Dolphin Browser – Safari on iPad, simply doesn't fit my needs. I like Dolphin's Chrome like UI and the recent password storage option. (Free)
- Blogsy – Got me a couple of drafts on this for my WordPress sites and it's simply great. Better than the official WordPress app on iPad. (Free)
- Flipboard – I've uninstalled some of the stand alone news apps I have after seeing Flipboard. It's very convenient and works great. (Free)
- Zendesk – For someone who has to take care of tickets for a client, Zendesk keeps me on top of my task even if i'm on top of the world. (Free)
- Analytics – This is the latest app I added to my list, it's great tool if you have multiple sites to monitor, and you can also add client's Analytics and easily email reports in PDF, CSV, or save to your Dropbox account.
- Invoice2Go – If you don't want to miss on your receivables, this will get you the job done. The iPad app is great and has options to configure/customize your invoice. ($14.99)
- Cortex Cam – One thing that disappointed me the most with iPad 2 was it's camera. With Cortex Cam, that changed the whole story. ($4.99)
- Pages – One of Apples suite of office tools. A good one but if you are on Microsoft Office products on your computer there are actually other options that you can try that already includes Excel, Word, and Powerpoint (9.99)
- Numbers – Same thing as the Pages app. (9.99)
The Downside with Gadgets
Smartphones and Tablets both have their inherent benefits and downsides depending on who uses it. So the question whether these gadgets are working to your advantage by increasing your productivity or has it become a distraction that keeps you from doing the important things is a question only you, can answer. It's easy to get distracted and lose focus if you keep on jumping back and forth to see your app notifications. So discipline plays a big role on how this can turn out to your advantage.
When you work all day, it's tempting to get something on your smartphone or Tablet to give you a little bit recreation or diversion from the busy day. Games! Unfortunately, if you are going to borrow my iPad, you won't see a single game installed in it. If it's tempting me to get on for an hour or so, that's already an hour or so lost work. And this could grow to 2 hours, 3 hours… So before it starts drawing me away from work, i've made my resolve to cut it to the root.
Second thing, be mindful of your time and the tasks for the day. When it's time to work, get the work done!
Now it's your turn. How has tablets and smartphones changed the way you work? (in a good and not so good way)