If you're looking to get more done at work, turn to technology. With the popularity of tablets and mobile phones, there are a plethora of productivity tools and apps designed to help you do more in less time. Here are a few to explore:
1. Google Docs. Although Google announced at the end of last year that it would no longer offer its business Apps suite for free, its Google Docs is still a fantastic tool for productivity if your company invests in it. Because you can create word processing documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and forms online, you can also share them with co-workers so that everyone can edit from the same document. And you can access your documents from any device, Android-based smartphones included.
2. DropBox. If you love the cloud, try DropBox. You can store any kind of file in the cloud and share access with whoever else needs the files. A basic account is free, but if you need more than 18 GB you can upgrade to a paid version starting at $9.99 a month. DropBox has apps for Android, iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, and Kindle Fire.
3. Roambi. If the average PowerPoint isn't cutting it anymore for your sales presentations, try Roambi. It's presentation software you can use on your iPhone or iPad that is actually intuitive. It takes complex analytics and turns them into visually appealing presentations.
4. Skype. If you make video calls, Skype is a must. You can make calls or video calls over your computer, tablet, or phone for free (your boss will love it for cutting his department costs), plus you can conference in up to 25 participants for a group call.
5. 37signals. 37signals is the parent company for three widely known products:
--Basecamp: project management software
--Highrise: contact management software
--Campfire: team collaboration and instant messaging
All three are cloud-based and make it easier to collaborate with your co-workers on projects, keep track of client information, and communicate with your team without adding to your inbox.
6. HootSuite. If you use social media at work, HootSuite will make the job easier. With it, you can manage multiple Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google +, and other social media accounts. You can schedule updates to publish in the future, and look at your analytics to see which tweets get the most retweets and clicks. Basic accounts are free, but if you manage more than 5 social media profiles you should try to get your boss to shell out the $9.99 a month to upgrade your plan.
7. Evernote. If you're trying to move away from having sticky notes covering your computer, try Evernote. Using this application you can take notes for meetings or different clients and even speak your notes while using the mobile app version. The mobile version is available for iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows phones.
8. Compfight. If you blog as part of your job or otherwise use images in your work, then this little widget, which is built into Wordpress' plugins, is a lifesaver. You can only use what are called "Creative Commons" photos, which are images approved for public use, so you'll have to cite the source for the photo in each blog post. With this plugin, you search for Creative Commons images directly from within Wordpress, and once you select one, it automatically includes the appropriate citation.
9. Amazon Kindle app. If you read a lot of business books or trade publications for your job, having the Kindle app installed on your PC, laptop, tablet, or phone lets you catch up on your reading without lugging a stack of reading material everywhere you go. This is especially handy if you travel for work: You can have the equivalent of an entire library in your lightweight tablet.
Lindsay Olson is a founding partner and public relations recruiter with Paradigm Staffing and Hoojobs.com, a niche job board for public relations, communications, and social media jobs. She blogs at LindsayOlson.com, where she discusses recruiting and job search issues.
- Technology & Electronics