Work hard and it will pay off – the old adage we were all taught to believe. It would be foolish to rely only on hard work. Hard work is vital and serves as a catalyst driving you towards success, but to rely only on hard work, you’re up against your most precious asset of all, time.
We all share the same 24 hours within a day and I’ll follow that cliche with a metaphor about how working smart is the yellow brick road leading you to success. Hard work serves as the vehicle driving you towards the end goal. I can also talk about the tortoise and the hare if you would like.
Knowing that the path towards success is paved with the intelligent and diligent practice of smart decision making and execution, make the decision now to become better and you will. Free technologies in the forms of apps and programs on the devices we carry on us every day are sometimes an untapped life-changing resource. These devices we are already using are seldom used for our own good or to their full potential.
Consider downloading these free apps and begin taking the necessary steps towards working smarter:
Scheduling / Calendar:
What many consider, “The best calendar app for iPhone.” Sunrise works with exchange, Google Calendar and iCloud. Sunrise also connects with all your favorite apps like Facebook, Evernote, Foursquare, TripIt, Todoist, Trello and more to make sure you’re always up to date with all the events happening in your life.
It had its hurdles early on, but has, in recent months, not only become polished, but launched new features (like the ability to create a link with possible appointment times for inclusion in an email or text message).
Further, its integration with Google Maps and search allows the search for a meeting location and then driving directions to that location on a single click. If it could only tell me when to leave, i’d have it all.
Scott Rogerson – CEO at CommunityElf.com
Simply put, it’s beautiful. Google Docs not only provides the perfect platform to collaborate with others on documents, it also gives you the ability to collaborate with yourself. Why waste time taking notes, emailing them to yourself, and then reformatting on your computer? Knowing that most of the world is already proficient in Microsoft Word, Google Docs allows for easy communication and collaboration even from those who are not that tech savvy.
This is a free app that does exactly what it needs to do. GroupMe is used for correspondence between more than two people allowing for instant communication. Sure, you can do the same with a group text too but who even likes those?
Over 12 million people use Pocket! You cannot remember every single article you’ve ever read and storing links in an Excel sheet or note on your phone is inefficient. Pocket’s clean design allows you to store your links to your favorite articles and videos, organized by tags, and the content can even be viewed when offline.
Need to scan and send documents while on the go? The CamScanner app captures information precisely to storing, sharing, annotating and managing documents for different purposes. It makes the contents easily-accessed, organized and the collaboration efficient.
I simply take a picture of whatever document or documents I want to send. The app then captures the image and allows me to me to edit it however I like. I am able to save the image as a PDF. If there are multiple images, you can save them together as one PDF. I then can email the document to whatever department or company that is receiving it.
It’s a great tool for our sales team as well since they are mostly in the field meeting with clients. It has tremendously helped with the efficiency of some of our company’s processes.
An app that is now crucial for tracking my own productivity. RescueTime runs in the background of my computer all day long providing up to the minute analytics on my daily progress, how many hours I’ve worked, what sites or applications have taken up most of my time, complete with a weekly follow up email helping me to work towards my goals.
Integrating the RescueTime program into our office has become extremely beneficial for tracking progress of our employees. The program tracks all tasks performed on our employee’s computers, websites visited, programs used, etc.
The easy to understand reporting feature allows for us to identify where our inefficiencies are taking place. At the end of each week, a full report is sent showing the week’s progress from each employee including myself. I use this data and individually meet with the employees to determine what is working and what is not.
This has allowed us to identify the weak points with our organization so we know how to better train and carry out our duties.
Any.do is a beautifully designed free to-do app that also syncs with the Any.do Cal (calendar). It features an extremely clean and simple interface allowing for the simple separation and breakdown of important tasks.
Honorable Mention for a paid to-do app:
Did not mean to mislead as this app is not free and comes with the very well worth it price tag of only $4.99. Clear is an extremely well designed app featuring beautifully choreographed functionality integrated for ease of use, this may be the to-do list to end all to-do lists.