Practical Technology

Your best productivity tool is already in your pocket

Your best productivity tool is already in your pocket

Handheld gadgets aren't just for fun and games. They can also be powerful productivity tools while you’re working at your desk or out on the road.

Your smartphone probably sits beside you on your desk. It's true that it can sometimes be a distraction, but in the right hands a smartphone is a valuable business tool that can help you stay more productive throughout the day.

Even when you're in front of your computer, a smartphone or tablet might be the best way to liaise with colleagues and clients, organise settlement documentation or manage your finances.

Cut down on paper

A touchscreen device can put all your sale contracts and other important documentation at your fingertips, saving you from rummaging through your filing cabinet or sifting through piles of paperwork. A great document-reader app such as GoodReader lets you store documents on your device or pull them from an office computer or Cloud storage. GoodReader also lets you create, edit, annotate and sign PDF documents, and view Microsoft Office, text and HTML files.

Meanwhile, CamScanner turns your smartphone or tablet into a portable document scanner, making it easy to copy, email, fax and print documents. The app can also convert scanned images to text, save the document to your device and upload it to the Cloud to sync with your other devices.

Save phone time

Busy people don't have time to play phone tag, not when text messages offer a quick and efficient way to stay in touch with colleagues when they’re out of the office. Aside from standard SMS, you might also consider free messaging apps such as Viber or WhatsApp, which have both recently announced end-to-end encryption, meaning your private conversations will stay confidential.

Many messaging apps also let you make video calls, which are handy for those times when it's faster to simply show someone what you're talking about.

Corporate messaging app Slack takes things to the next level. The app makes it simple to create in-house discussion groups and share documents. This lets you work effectively as a team and make quick business decisions without wading through your email inbox and getting trapped in reply-all hell.

Bank on the go

These days most banks offer slick mobile apps for checking account balances and transferring money. Many financial institutions also offer business apps which let you issue invoices and accept mobile payments on the spot, which can help improve your cash flow.

Building on these, Cloud-based business accounting package Saasu recently joined the likes of Xero and MYOB in offering a mobile app that makes it quick and easy to pay your bills, generate quotes and issue purchase orders and invoices. Rather than staying chained to your desk, you can knock over your admin tasks and stay on top of your finances whenever you've got a minute to spare, so you can get more done during the day.

Rather than a hindrance, handheld gadgets like smartphones and tablets can actually help you get through a busy day. There's no need to put them aside when it's time to get things done – with the right apps, touchscreen devices are often the best tool for the job. 

Author: Adam Turner

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