03 November 2017
Technology was supposed to make things easier, was it not? All these gadgets designed to go everywhere with us were meant to make it easier to get the things that must be done, done. The birth of the app ecosystem was supposed to change the way we operate completely.
- A system, or a group of interconnected elements, formed by the interaction of a community of organisms with their environment.
- Any system or network of interconnecting and interacting parts, as in a business
The idea of ecosystem in the technology and digital world was supposed to change how we operated for the better. We went from a couple of software packages to a multitude of apps, each designed to make an element of our lives more efficient. As with most things in this digital world, there are so many apps, and processes, and platforms, that it has become work simply trying to navigate the app ecosystem.
I went from downloading every app that seemed remotely useful and productive to small folder of apps that I use regularly, regardless of operating system or device.
- Evernote – The ultimate digital scrapbook, I use Evernote to take notes in meetings, brainstorm projects, save links to interesting articles I find online, etc. You can create Notebooks focused on a project and then have different notes covering all the different elements. For example, I have a Notebook for each edition of my email newsletter and will save clips of online articles that I want to include in that edition. I use the Premium account and find it is worth the R399 annually.
- Slack – While our business is still small, my business partner and I have been using Slack to communicate for about a year. Prior, it was a mission trying to figure out on which IM platform we talked about what, considering we used Whatsapp, Skype, WeChat, sms and BBM to chat. Slack is, essentially, an instant messaging service for professional teams. You create Channels for different topics/projects and can share documents, pictures, etc. in one space. I am also now part of a couple of Slack communities where professionals come together on common interests.
- Hours – In a bid to become more efficient, I work hard to keep track of how much time I spend on the different things I do every day, especially because my days are never the same. Hours is a simple app that allows you to do that.
- Asana – Project management software has traditionally been ‘bulky’, complicated and expensive. Asana enables you to setup multiple projects (limited in free version), sub-projects within the main ones and tasks. You can assign, put timelines, and add/share documents.
- Dropbox – There are other cloud storage apps, like Microsoft’s OneDrive and Google Drive, which I also have, but I find Dropbox the easiest to use. The Pro account costs $9.99 a month and you get up to 1TB of storage. Not only useful for cloud storage, we also use it to collaborate on the development of documents.
I use a couple of other apps, like Streak and IFTTT, but the above are my core. There is some overlap in terms of functionality so it is necessary to create a system that works for your unique needs. I have found that it is when there are flaws in my system and processes that I become inefficient in what I do and my use of these apps. But, amidst the cacophony of productivity tools out there, there is order, if you consciously work at creating it for yourself.
Disclaimer: The advice contained on this blog is for general purposes only and does not take into account individual circumstances, objectives or financial needs. Accordingly, readers are advised to seek appropriate advice from licensed professionals prior to making any investment, or taking up a financial product or service.