As an entrepreneurial physician who has to keep track of many aspects of my own business both at my desk and on the road, I am often asked what my favorite business productivity tools are.
As technology has advanced and changed, my choices have evolved over the years. I confess to now being increasingly reliant on cloud-based or web-based programs and apps, which I suppose is a good thing as it enables me to be fully mobile!
Here they are, in no particular order:
Whether you’re a Microsoft lover or hater, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better tool for organizing and storing information in a completely logical way. It’s as if you have a wonderful pile of orderly notebooks sitting right next to your desk that you can some thumb through any time you want information. However, this information is even easier to find, because of the links and search functions!
I have a personal notebook, a work-related notebook, and several project-related notebooks. Each notebook can be filled with tabbed and titled pages, and each page can capture all kinds of notes, photographs, web URLs, snippets of information, tables … your options are endless. The best thing about OneNote is that it’s free for anyone, and the second best thing is that it sinks across all devices. This means I can access my notebooks on my phone, my tablets, my laptop or my PC, and everything looks just the same. Makes me happy.
Evernote is an equally powerful tool that I use for storing information in a slightly different way. It’s my real brain, now that my original one is packing up!!
I primarily use Evernote to store web pages, and websites that I come across, be they recipes, travel ideas, workplace articles, new coaching tools, or good poetry. In addition, I use my handy, breadloaf-sized Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner, sitting next to my desk, that I’ve set to scan directly into Evernote. I use the scanner to immortalize all my important household or work-related documents (trying to go paperless!), as well as scanned-in drawings, hand-written messages from my daughter, and memorabilia from happy family times. I’ve always paid for Evernote Premium to have its full capability, and once again this incredibly handy tool is accessible across all my devices.
I even use Evernote in conjunction with my Outlook mail, which enables me to click a button whilst in Outlook and automatically store an email in an appropriate notebook. Evernote doesn’t have quite the clean accessible design of OneNote but it’s optical character recognition (OCR) is very powerful and it has an excellent tagging function. These two additions enable you search all your content using a huge array of search terms.
There is much more to Evernote and I encourage you to take advantage of the many handy reference books to enable you to grasp its full power.
I’m a relative newcomer to Trello having only used it for the past year or two. I found it to be a very handy tool for organizing and managing my projects, ranging from work-related projects to my daughter’s bat mitzvah! I’ve only used the free version and found it more than adequate for collaborating with my assistant. The tool itself is pretty self-explanatory and permits you to add due dates, as well as assign and delegate tasks to others on your team.
I’ve been using Dropbox for years as a cloud storage and file organization system, and I have my cellphone set to automatically upload all its photographs whenever I’m within reach of Wi-Fi. I suspect most of you are familiar with Dropbox and don’t need much instruction. The tutorials are more than adequate if you need help.
5. Voice recognition.
While not a specific app per se, voice recognition has saved me from Repetitive Stress Injury of the right arm and hand! This entire blog post has been dictated using Dragon Professional and a good microphone headset! I use not only Dragon, but also my voice recognition functions on my cell phone and my tablet to save my digits. The accuracy these days is remarkable. Very highly recommended!
I hope these tools help you find your best path to your most productive days and enable you to get out of your office or business as quickly as possible and into your yard or on to your sofa or amongst your family members… Whatever your heart desires!