As a self-professed gadget queen, I am the first to admit that I love all things techy! Because of my love for the newest apps, resources, and public health, I wanted to kick off part one in this new series, Gadget Tech, with my favorite gadgets and tools for work.
iPhone Reminders app. A 2011 update to Apple’s iOS included the Reminders app, the ultimate to-do list that sets location- and time-based reminders across devices. I use this app for many things in my personal life, but it has proven very useful for work life as well. Like many of you, I have several meetings that recur each week, and it can be a challenge to remember all the topics that need to be addressed with different stakeholders. I use the Reminders app to list an action item for upcoming meetings as soon as it comes to mind. The app update also includes categories, or to-do lists within to-do lists; I take advantage of this new perk by creating specific categories for each major meeting and adding action items that way. (If you’re the more adventurous type, you can even have Siri add the reminder for you.) When it’s time to prepare your official agenda, just refer to that list, and you’ll be confident that it’s comprehensive and up to date.
SmartSheet.com. This spreadsheet power tool makes tracking, managing, and collaborating on projects a breeze. I have sheets set up for action items from meetings, plans for technology projects, public health events, strategic plan goals, and more. Any project spreadsheet can be turned into a Gantt chart or calendar view in one click. We often share sheets with clients and with our remote team members for greater collaboration and efficiency.
In September, the Atlanta office held its first Social Media Day. Planners used a SmartSheet form on an iPad as the sign-in sheet at the event. The form auto-populates a spreadsheet so you never have to try to translate someone’s handwriting again.
Join.me. There are several screen-sharing programs out there, but Join.me is by far the simplest I have found. Sharing a Web site or document in a meeting can save countless e-mails, help avoid misunderstandings, and help virtual attendees truly feel like they’re in the same meeting space as everyone else. You can use the free version of Join.me to generate a code for someone to view your computer screen remotely or spring for the premium version to get a customized, personal code for multiple uses. While this platform has had a few issues with government firewalls, it works great between remote teams or nongovernmental organizations for an easy meeting in several locations at once.
Evernote. Evernote allows you to store notes, documents, photos, videos, and more via their Web site, desktop, and phone apps – and it saves it all across multiple devices. The best component of this app is the handwriting recognition feature. We take a lot of whiteboard notes in meetings at Danya; with Evernote, we simply snap a photo with a phone or tablet, and the OCR technology indexes the handwriting within the image files (writing as neat as possible helps improve the accuracy). You can also e-mail your Evernote notebook for safekeeping and even use the subject line to add keyword tags for more specific archiving.
Skitch. You should definitely check out Skitch, which was acquired by Evernote last year. Skitch lets you annotate or mark up any screen grab or picture on your desktop and phone it to give feedback and share ideas with fewer words and more visual storytelling. It’s great for adding punch to a PowerPoint deck or report, and it lets a simple sketch drive your point home with ease.
The tools listed here are just the tip of the iceberg for growing productivity within your own office space. Watch for more tips and new tricks from other Danya staffers in addition to Gadget Tech posts coming soon!