When productivity matters, the system or process you have in place needs to keep pace with your demands. For the mobile professional, carrying a laptop around doesn’t always work and is seldom the most convenient way to maximize your productivity. As for paper based planners and to do lists, their bulk and limited capabilities are quick to slow down even the best laid plans.
Fortunately, the evolution of smart phones have reached the tipping point. Much more than a means of mobile communication, smart phones are a powerful and effective means to maximizing your productivity. I have explored and experimented with several smart phones and have landed squarely on the Android OS. Not only to handle my communication needs, but to also help design and implement my organizational and productivity system.
Being a small business owner of a part-time business, a Sales Manager for a Fortune 250 international corporation, an official in my home town, a husband and father or two, my time needs to be maximized, productive and organized. With the help of a few apps on my Android based phone, I can accomplish all the tasks I need to for my business life, and still have plenty of quality time for my personal life.
Here’s how I do it.
The Android OS integrates seamlessly with many of the free Google apps. Most importantly for productivity, are Google Calendar, GMail, Docs, Tasks and Voice. Each of these apps are free and only require setting up a Google account.
Google calendar integrates and automatically updates the calendar on my Android phone wherever I am. With the added capability to share my calendar, my business partner can view, edit and add events to my calendar. These changes are synced directly to my phone. As I am seldom in my office, having live updates via the Google Sync app on my phone, allows me the confidence that I always know what my ever changing day looks like.
The integrated email in box on Android phones is capable of managing several of my business and personal emails, including my GMail account. I have my Gmail in box separate from my other accounts as I use this account solely for personal use. Keeping personal and business separate is wonderful productivity enhancement made easy with the Android OS.
Google Docs allows me to store files for future review as well as sharing files for collaboration. Being responsive to my clients is critical in my field and having the ability to receive collaborative files sent directly to my phone has afforded me the ability to get back to clients quickly and accurately.
Google Voice is by far my favorite Google App. The Google Voice app that is a free download from the Android market works flawlessly with my Voice account. Not only can I receive transcripts of my voice mail emailed directly to my phone, but I can also set up multiple outgoing messages. I have messages specifically for clients, my business partner, family and friends as well as unknown callers. The level of personalization is incredible and, if used creatively, can make an important client feel as if they are the most important person in the world. Being able to manage and edit all my Google Voice features from my phone is a powerful productivity enhancement that I now depend on for my business.
For those who are tentative to use all the free Google apps, Astrid is a simple, yet effective app that is a free download. With its capability to sync with your account at “Remember The Milk.com” the Astrid app can be automatically backed up and synced directly to and from your Android phone. Astrid provides a different level of control over Google Tasks and its simple and clean interface makes managing projects or To Do lists enjoyable.
As I have used or owned many different smart phones, I feel confident when I say that the Android OS and the myriad of Android apps provide the most powerful and effective productivity enhancing combination available. Though there are many other apps for the android OS and other smart phones, this combination has worked wonders for me and my business. Moreover, each app I listed here are 100% free of charge!